Andrei Kirilenko: Jason Kidd ‘couldn’t handle’ pressure of coaching in New York

25 Comments

Andrei Kirilenko played sparingly for the Nets last season, due to a combination of dealing with injury and not being that high on then-head coach Jason Kidd’s list of favored players.

Kirilenko averaged career lows in points, rebounds and minutes played, but shot a career high percentage from the field in 45 regular season appearances.

He obviously feels like he could have contributed more, and placed the blame on the now-departed Kidd for having a lack of coaching experience and an inability to deal with the pressure associated with running a team in the nation’s largest market.

From SB Nation’s NetsDaily:

As he has previously, Kirilenko seemed to diss Kidd, at one point suggesting he may not have wanted to deal with the pressure of coaching in New York,  “So the pressure is huge.  And Kidd couldn’t handle it.  Or maybe didn’t want to.”  He called the team’s second round exit a “lack of success.” (Kirilenko’s wife, Masha, publicly criticized Kidd for not playing the veteran in the playoffs.)

The criticism got harsher, more so than in previous interviews.

“Basically he was not able to do much of anything, if you look at the big picture – we have to admit that fact,” says Kirilenko,  throwing his arms open.  …

“When Kidd became head of the team, no one really knew what to expect,” he added. “Of course he had colossal experience as a player but no coaching experience.  Or reputation.  At the beginning it was difficult.  What else could it be when you’re losing more games than you’re winning?  Things were a bit easier for me as I was injured at the time and couldn’t be on the court and do anything about it, no matter how much I wanted to.  So, inside, I was calm.”

It’s worth pointing out that this was excerpted from a lengthy interview conducted by SovSport, and as always, we need to be careful putting too much weight into words that could have easily seemed more harmless in the native language in which they were originally spoken.

But none of this is exactly groundbreaking, right? Kidd was inexperienced, and he did struggle in the first couple of months on the job. Kirilenko being so open about it is the interesting part, but given his less-than-perfect relationship with Kidd due to his lack of playing time late in the season, it shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise.