The Brooklyn Nets host the Boston Celtics tonight in their first meeting since the massive trade that was supposed to make the Nets a contender and the Celtics a rebuilder. So far, the outcome of that trade has been the exact opposite of what many thought. The Celtics are on top of the Atlantic Division at the quarter poll of the season, while the Nets have already reassigned their top coaching assist and lost way more game than they have won. Frankly, it's a mess down there.
So what has gone wrong for the Nets that has gone right for the Celtics? It might have nothing to do with the guys on the floor. It might come down to who is telling those players what to do. Brad Stevens has not really made any huge mistakes thus far this season. He has changed things when he thought they needed changing and stuck with the right guys at the right times.
He has already made this team better in areas that they were horrible in during the pre-season and start of the year. The team's fourth quarter struggles have been soothed, the team's slow starts have also waned. Adding Jared Sullinger to the starting line-up was a huge move, and one that was not preempted by an injury. Stevens thought Brandon Bass was not doing the job, so he lost the starting role to Sullinger. Stevens seems to be figuring out his team and what each player is good at.
Remember when Gerald Wallace was complaining after games, even in the pre-season? That's gone isn't it? Was that Stevens? Possibly, it might have been Ainge too. Clearly the administrative team for the Celtics is on the same page. Wallace even told the media yesterday he was not going to talk about Brooklyn and his time there.
On the flip side is Jason Kidd's most well-known move so far was spilling a drink on the floor because he used all his timeouts. He has also reassigned Lawrence Frank, who was supposed to be the perfect fit for Kidd considering their history and Frank's history with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Boston. That did not work out so well.
Kidd does not seem to be doing much from the sideline, and considering the injuries he's dealing with he should be more active as a coach. One has to wonder if he just thought he could stroll in and let the team just play. In contrast, Stevens continues to preach that the process is the important part. He's building a team, while Kidd seems to be wishing his team just plays better.
Both men are new to coaching in the NBA, Kidd is not new to the NBA culture while Stevens is still feeling his way around a new league and new people. It's safe to say that playing in the NBA and coaching in the NBA are two very different things. So far this season Stevens and Kidd are perfect examples of different ways to enter a new job.
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