Jason Kidd gives his players written tests on game days

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Jason Kidd got off to a slow start in his rookie season as head coach in Brooklyn, and that’s part of the reason he landed in Milwaukee after just one season with the Nets.

Rumblings that Kidd’s job was in jeopardy last December led him to seek more power within the organization to solidify his position once the season was finished, and when that didn’t go over well with the folks in the Nets front office, the Bucks swooped in and scooped him up.

Milwaukee has been better than expected to start the season, and currently sits at .500 in sixth place in the East. And the unique way in which Kidd prepares his players certainly has something to do with it.

From Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Kidd gives his players a written test every game day, a trick he picked up from Rick Carlisle and Terry Stotts in Dallas, he says.2 The tests ask about strategy and basketball history — everything from diagramming a particular set to naming the first coach of the Miami Heat. The coaching staff grades each one and keeps a running tally of player scores through the season.

“I’m not gonna lie,” Antetokounmpo says. “Sometimes I cheat and ask the older guys.”

Kidd hopes the players cheat. He noticed in Dallas how the tests got young guys talking about strategy, and he wants to foster the same kind of dialogue among Milwaukee’s players. Kidd is sometimes unsure the young foreign-born players understand instructions in English, and the discussion gives them another way to absorb coaching, he says.

It’s far from unprecedented to see a coach quizzing his players on strategy; Jeff Hornacek was seen doing this verbally in a candid locker room video that the Suns published last season.

But it is a window into how Kidd has achieved some of his early-season success.