The Lakers have been inexplicably enamored with Jason Kidd throughout the head coaching search. First, they granted him an interview during their first round when he wasn’t one of their three preferred candidates. Then, they zeroed in on Kidd as a lead assistant, despite the concerns of Tyronn Lue.
Even though Lue is out of the picture, Los Angeles is still fixated on Kidd being a part of the team’s coaching staff as the lead assistant coach, likely serving under Frank Vogel. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN pointed to a few reasons why that might be:
Kidd has a strong relationship with LeBron James and mentored Lonzo last year https://t.co/rOpYvqUHim— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 11, 2019
As Shelburne mentioned, part of the draw of Kidd is his existing relationship with the Lakers players. He grew close with LeBron James during the 2008 Olympics when the two played together on the gold-medal team.
But perhaps more importantly is Kidd reportedly mentoring Lonzo Ball last year. Ball was consistently compared to Kidd coming out of college as a California player who had command of seemingly every aspect of the game except for scoring. They are both exceptional passers, rebounders, and defenders with good size for their position, but no jump shot. It makes sense that Kidd would be someone that Lonzo looked up to for advice as a point guard.
The Lakers appear to be very interested in Kidd because of his ability to connect with developing prospects. Part of the reason they soured on Lue was because they weren’t satisfied with his scouting reports on their young players, while Kidd reportedly believes strongly in Ball’s potential and wants to develop the young core.
It’s hard to take the reports of Kidd’s ability to be a “youth whisperer” too seriously, considering he had to be persuaded to start Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. But if there’s a type of coach the the Lakers should be pursuing, it is one that values their young players. It’s just unclear if Kidd fits that bill, even if he is paying lip service to that idea and apparently worked out with Ball last year without anyone finding out until now.