Coaches stepping back, to become assistants for a few years, this is not uncommon. The test with the Warriors. They have on their bench to support Steve Kerr, Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson, who have each already led a team before this experience in California.
But it is necessarily a small step backwards in a career as a technician. He can only remain in a parenthesis, as for Brown, who will recover in Sacramento next season (and perhaps also for Atkinson in the Lakers…), and can even become a moment of salvation.
This is the case of Jason Kidd. After a middle start to his career on the bench in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, he assisted Frank Vogel in Los Angeles. Evidently, this time on the Lakers’ bench did him a lot of good.
“It’s day and night”Jared Dudley assures Fox Sports, that he played under Kidd in Milwaukee then in Los Angeles, and now rubs shoulders with him on the Dallas bench, as an assistant. “He calmed down in character. Trust his assistants. She learned a lot from Vogel. When he gets angry, when he loses patience, his communication with the players has changed. He is more balanced, he has more self-confidence. Without this passage to Los Angeles, he would not have this success. »
An observation that the former Nets and Mavericks player has already made and therefore has no problem repeating it. “I learned a lot winning the title in Los Angeles with Vogel”, Kidd insists. “I realized that: you have to relax, things usually come naturally and you don’t have to stress about the little details. »
“It’s harder for superstars to understand how complicated things are for less strong players.”
Therefore, it took Kidd a few years to successfully find the right tone to speak to players. It was necessary to ensure the transition from former player to coach. And in his case, even more difficult, from former great player to coach. Because the very great ones, the ones who have a franchise or win MVP titles, don’t become great coaches.
Only five Hall of Famers have won one or more league titles off the bench: Lenny Wilkens, KC Jones (two titles), Tom Heinsohn (two), Bill Russell (two) and Bill Sharman. More recently, we can think of Larry Bird, an excellent but short-lived coach at Indiana. “Some former stars make it, others have it harder”confesses the 2011 champion.
How to explain? “We don’t make as much money as these guys”says Steve Kerr, smiling, talking about the Kidd player. “I’ve always heard this theory: It’s harder for superstars to understand how complicated things are for players who are less strong, less important than them. For a more withdrawn player, training makes more sense, because he can relate to all 15 players. Maybe it forces you to examine things more. »
The Warriors coach was a former player of good level, but far from being a star. Like Phil Jackson or Pat Riley for example. In a way, he has taken the opposite path from Kidd: becoming a great coach when you were not a great player.
“To the coaching fraternity, Kerr is a superstar,” says the Dallas coach. “It’s Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. He’s next to Gregg Popovich when it comes to superstar coaches. »