The NBA got a little bit of a shake up today when the Milwaukee Bucks fired head coach Jason Kidd. While the move wasn’t exactly surprising, the Bucks are currently holding onto a playoff spot, and normally playoff-bound teams are hesitant to make a mid-season change.
Still, the firing was justified. Kidd, in his fourth season with the Bucks, had never won more than 42 games. Despite having one of the league’s top players in Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as three very nice, defensively-strong role players in Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks were just 23-22, and sporting the 25th-best defensive rating in the league.
Despite being in the East, there’s some connection between Kidd and the Golden State Warriors. For starters, Kidd was one of the top Bay Area amateur players ever.
At St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, Kidd was a McDonald’s All-American, and was twice selected as the California Player of the Year. He then played two years at Cal, where he was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1993, and the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1994.
But the biggest connection to the Warriors may be the trajectory that Milwaukee is on. Kidd took over a bad Bucks team, helped turn a young talent into a franchise superstar, and got his team to play hard and believe they could win. Then, when they started to, his lack of X’s and O’s came into play, and the team stagnated.
I am, of course, referring to another star point guard from the 90’s: Mark Jackson. Jackson’s reign over the Warriors was an important stepping stone for the franchise, but when it was time to go, it was clearly time to go. No one can argue that Golden State would have sniffed the success of the last three years if Jackson were still roaming the sidelines.
Milwaukee is wildly talented. They have three borderline All-Star, two-way players, a young core, and one of the 10 best players in the league. Should they make the right hire (I’d target David Blatt, Becky Hammon, or David Fizdale, personally), look out.
This could be the top team in the East before too long.