The Los Angeles Lakers turned some heads when they brought Jason Kidd on as an assistant coach. The team seemed to have an interest in making him the head coach, but his lackluster stint with the Milwaukee Bucks kept them from pulling the trigger. However, they had to have him and he was going to be on the coaching staff of whatever head coach the team decided on.
While the Kidd addition was met with some criticism, it looks like it has paid off as the Lakers are at the top of the Western Conference. According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, the Kidd addition has sat really well with LeBron James:
“The Lakers felt strongly that the staff should be a collection of former head coaches whose experience could earn instant credibility with a veteran roster.
One of those primary assistants would be Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, whom two sources have independently said James regards as the only person alive who sees the game of basketball with his level of clarity.”
Easy to Forget How Good Kidd Was as a Player
Thanks to his disappointing stints as a head coach, it’s easy to forget just how good Kidd was at basketball. He was a 10-time All-Star and an NBA Champion. He’s in the Hall of Fame and was one of the best assisters in NBA history. Kidd had moderate success as a coach, but nothing that proved he should’ve been the Lakers’ head coach over Frank Vogel.
LeBron feeling like Kidd is the only person who can match his basketball IQ shouldn’t be seen as a slight to anybody on the Lakers. It should be looked at as more of a testament to just how much Kidd knows about the game. While it was mocked in the offseason, the Lakers clearly made the right call by assembling this team the way it has been.
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Kidd Calls Himself a ‘Good Teammate’
There was an expectation that a power struggle may arise between Kidd and Vogel had the Lakers not performed at a high level. However, Los Angeles has been playing like one of the two best teams in the NBA and Vogel has to be in consideration for Coach of the Year. Kidd doesn’t foresee there being a problem between Vogel and him.
“There’s always going to be chatter — it’s the Lakers,” Kidd said, per ESPN. “Sometimes people act like I never played a game and I’ve never been a teammate. I was a good teammate then, and I’m a good teammate now.”
When the Lakers wanted to hire Tyronn Lue, he wasn’t a fan of bringing Kidd onto his staff. That played a large role in Lue not getting the job in the end. On the other hand, Vogel embraced the idea and it’s clearly paid huge dividends for the team.
“I can’t have four video guys on my staff,” Vogel said, per ESPN. “The right complement for me has always been a respected former player who has coaching experience. But you can’t have the mindset that you’re going to look over your shoulder — you need firepower on staff.”