As a certified basketball junkie, Oklahoma City coach Mike Daigneault is well aware of the Hall of Fame career Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd has pieced together.
He’s also well aware that Mavs point guard Luka Doncic is on a similar Hall of Fame path. That’s why Daigneault – knowing Kidd also played point guard – believe Kidd is the perfect person to coach Doncic.
“Jason Kidd is uniquely qualified to give Luka Doncic insights that I don’t think I can give Luka Doncic,” Daigneault said before the Thunder stunned the Mavs on Wednesday in overtime, 120-114. “I would have to coach (Doncic) much differently than Jason Kidd can.
“Jason Kidd, though, has done it and has a level of credibility that’s through the roof.”
During his 19-year career from 1994-’13, Kidd was named to the All-Star team 10 times, first-team all-NBA five teams, second-team All-NBA once, first-team NBA All-Defense four times, and second-team NBA All-Defense four times, and also led the league in assists on five occasions.
Kidd parlayed his success as a player to a career as a coach, first with a one-year stint with the Brooklyn Nets in the ’13-’14 season, following by a three-year stay with the Milwaukee Bucks from ’14-’18.
Prior to become the Mavs’ coach last summer, Kidd was an assistant coach on Frank Vogel’s staff eith the Los Angeles Lakers, who captured the 2020 NBAA title.
“Kidd is a really good coach,” Daigneault said. “What they’re doing defensively this year is big-time.”
Daigneault was born in Leominster, MA, and always gravitated towards the NBA. And now, at age 36, is in his second season coaching the Thunder and is the youngest coach in the NBA.
“I was an NBA fan growing up,” Daigneault said. “I went to (Boston) Celtics’ games. I love the NBA, so I had great admiration.
“And now coaching in the NBA, I have even more admiration for what those guys accomplished because now I see up close how hard it is to be a great player in the NBA night after night.”
Daigneault acknowledged that he admires coaches like Steve Nash (Brooklyn Nets), Chauncey Billups (Portland Trail Blazers) and Kidd for the work they’ve done as coaches and former players.
“Nash, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, these guys were unbelievable players and I think (the current) players know that,” Daigneault said. “Which is why these guys are head coaches because their ability to leverage that and manage that with their teams.
“The ones that have that experience and then become great coaches — Doc Rivers, Monte Williams played and they’ve become unbelievable coaches. That has a lot to do with why they’re successful, and I have a lot of respect for not only their playing careers, but how their leverage their playing careers to become coaches and really good coaches.”
BRUNSON AS A STARTER: Jalen Brunson was one of the top reserves in the NBA when he wasn’t in the starting lineup. But now as a starter, he’s been equally impressive.
Brunson is averaging career highs in points (15.7) and assists (5.6), but in starting the past 26 games he’s averaged 17 points and 6.3 assists.
“It would be easy to start him, pull him and put him back in the role that we all think he should be as the sixth man,” coach Jason Kidd said. “But I think he’s taken full advantage of starting, and we all believe that he can start and play alongside Luka (Doncic).”
Brunson has been such a success for the Mavs that Kidd often has given him the freedom to run the offense.
“If you ask him, he’s enjoyed that, and you can see his game has started to grow,” Kidd said. “With JB it’s just cool to see his growth, and we all believe that it’s always been inside of him and it’s our job to get it to come out, and he’s doing it at a very high level.
“He’s himself, and I want him to have success and I want to help him. I do trust him, I trust Luka, I trust all the guys.”
BRIEFLY: Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. returned to Dallas on Wednesday after undergoing surgery on Tuesday in Indianapolis to address a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. “I talked to Tim today,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I text with him. He was flying back. He was more excited that he was getting an opportunity to come home and not have to stay in Indy.” There is no timetable for the return of Hardaway, who was injured in the Jan. 26 game against the Golden State Warriors. Kidd said he didn’t know how Hardaway was injured. “Sometimes runners, we can get those bone bruises from just jumping or running, especially with all the running,” Kidd said. “But I don’t know if there was ever one play that caused this.”. .Kristaps Porzingis (right knee bone bruise) and Sterling Brown (left foot soreness) also missed Wednesday’s game against Oklahoma City. “KP, seeing him, he looks good,” Kidd said. “I think his spirit is good. He’s working out, so hopefully we’ll get him soon.” As for Brown, Kidd said: “Sterling did some non-contact stuff yesterday, so hopefully we’ll get him back.”. .The Mavs host the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. But with the inclement weather causing havoc in the DFW area, the Mavs will not practice on Thursday. “Just safety first,” Kidd said. “If we have to keep our eyes of the road, then that’s what we’ll do, and then we’ll come back Friday for shootaround and get ready for Philly. Yeah, the weather does mess with us a little bit here, because we were going to practice tomorrow. Basketball school is closed. Recess will start on Friday.”. .On late-game situations, Kidd said “someone is going to have to step up and make a shot late-game” because teams will start taking the ball out of Luka Doncic’s hands. “Once we can find a couple of guys who are going to make those shots—and I believe we have them – then it becomes really fun,” Kidd said. Also, Kidd wants the Mavs to improve their defensive efficiency.
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