The Nets first mistake was hiring a coach with no experience — a guy who was going to need a learning curve — and putting him in charge of a veteran team with a one-year (two at best) title window. There was no margin for error.
Yet everything has gone wrong. It started with injuries — Deron Williams through training camp into the start of the season, now Brook Lopez for the rest of the season — and has spiraled thanks to the 27th ranked defense in the NBA.
It’s a mess. The Nets are 9-19 heading into the weekend and it’s hard to see how Jason Kidd is going to pull them out of it.
Here’s the question management is grappling with: Does Brooklyn start unloading its star players and stay the course with the coach, or unload the coach and let someone else coach these star players?
The loss of center Brook Lopez doesn’t deliver Kidd the guarantee of surviving his first season as coach. Whatever the dismal Atlantic Division standings say about the Nets trailing first place by only three games, Kidd won’t reach the All-Star break without restoring order to his team.
The report says that as things have gotten worse Kidd has isolated himself in the organization, away from management and the players. That’s not good.
Struggling teams need a lot of structure and very defined roles for players, which helps them turn things around and start to gain confidence. That isn’t happening in Brooklyn, Wojnarowski reports.
More than once, sources said, players have stood in the locker room and told Kidd they don’t understand their roles, that there’s confusion about their principles. When the Nets players keep insisting they don’t have a team identity, they’re offering code words for Kidd’s inability to give them clear structure, organization and vision.
The report gets into Lawrence Frank being let go, I’m not going to beat that dead horse again. Suffice to say, with Frank gone Kidd doesn’t have a scapegoat anymore.
The bottom line is the bottom line — Mikhail Prokhorov is paying $190 million for this team and he isn’t getting the contender he wanted. He’s not even getting a playoff team as of right now. If you’re spending that kind of money, you want your money’s worth.
If you’re not getting it, you demand changes. That should worry Kidd.
That said, if Kidd is fired GM Billy King and Prokhorov’s ownership group need to step to the podium at the press conference and accept the responsibility for the mistakes they made with this hire and roster construction. We’ll see if they would be willing to do that.