In his third season coaching in Milwaukee, Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks still remain in mediocrity. Even with his new contract extension, should Kidd be worried about his job security?
Jason Kidd’s tenure in Milwaukee has been filled with controversy, starting with the way he got here. While the Bucks still had a coach, the new ownership group decided to trade for Kidd from Brooklyn.
Brooklyn was very willing to part ways with their first year coach because he had made an unsuccessful power play there, trying to get more control over personnel decisions.
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After all the hubbub of Kidd’s entrance to the organization, his arrival signaled a new era in Milwaukee Bucks history. The new owners gave the promise of a championship, and Jabari Parker was drafted to become a franchise cornerstone.
Kidd’s first year was successful, as he led the team from the worst record in the NBA to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. One of the more notable moves made by Kidd in that season was reportedly orchestrating the trade that brought in Michael Carter-Williams from the 76ers. Carter-Williams was supposed to be a point guard he could shape in his own image, yet now that he plays in Chicago it’s hard not to view that experiment as a major disappointment.
For Kidd, however, his second year was a bigger problem as the team took a significant step back on the court.
The 2015-16 NBA season provided relative hardship for the Bucks, as Jason Kidd’s squad won only 33 games. However, the coach had his own struggles during the season. On December 15, 2015, the Bucks announced that Kidd would be out indefinitely after undergoing hip surgery.
Yet even while he was healthy and coaching, Kidd could not find a way to build a defense that allowed Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe to play at the same time, which was the ultimate downfall of that season. Considering the expectations created by the marquee signing of Monroe earlier that summer, the disappointment of how the team played shouldn’t be overstated.
Just below .500 through the first 13 games of the season, once again the Milwaukee Bucks fortunes have certainly been mixed in the early stages of this year. Still, the problems seem to be running deeper than the results on the court, though.
Even during this season, Kidd has struggled with rotations. For example, Michael Beasley had his best game of the season on November 11 against Memphis, but he only played four minutes in the next game against Atlanta.
There have also been issues with the center rotation. John Henson is now starting even though Miles Plumlee has been efficient, if far from spectacular, in the starting lineup. The most intriguing aspect of the center rotation this season has been Jason Kidd only playing Greg Monroe a total of 10:31 over the past three games. This is including a DNP-CD in the game against Miami on November 17. It’s clear that Jason Kidd is still struggling to get a handle on the intricacies of his rotation this season, but that isn’t the only reason he should be on the hot seat.
Jason Kidd was brought to Milwaukee to teach a young team. As a former player, Kidd was meant to teach the young Bucks how to play as a team and become mature basketball players. If the Bucks want to push forward and enter more of a win-now mode soon, a new coach might be the kick they need, as many successful teams have done previously.
The Golden State Warriors were a good-to-mediocre team struggling to win opening round playoff matchups, but in 2015, they fired Mark Jackson, hired Steve Kerr, and won the NBA title soon after. Although at a much more advanced stage in their process, the Cavaliers last season fired David Blatt, made Tyronne Lue the head coach, and also won the NBA title.
A team thought to be somewhat similar to the Bucks, the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Sam Mitchell and hired Tom Thibodeau to start their ascension in the Western Conference. There is a precedent for firing a coach in the middle of their contract, and in recent years the outcome has seen very successful teams formed in the aftermath.
The Milwaukee Bucks want to start their period of title contention sooner rather than later. At the very least they’ve made their desire to be a real contender by the time they move into their new arena crystal clear. As the season progresses and inconsistencies persist, they may have to strongly consider doing it without Jason Kidd at the helm.