Even before the Lakers had a replacement for Luke Walton lined up, they had an assistant coach in place in Jason Kidd. Kidd’s hire was met with with mixed reactions because of his rocky history on and off the court, but he’ll have a chance to prove his worth this season in Los Angeles.
One of the most attractive qualities about Kidd as a coach is his relationship with James and during a sit-down interview with ESPN earlier this week, the Basketball Hall of Famer said he’s looking forward to helping James in any way he can:
“Well you’re talking about one of the smartest players in the world, you’re talking about one of the best players to ever play the game the right way, and so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to help him hopefully achieve his goal and our goal as the Lakers, and that’s to win a championship.”
Kidd said he hasn’t talked to James much because he knows how busy James is filming “Space Jam 2” and eating tacos on Tuesday. However, he already has an idea as to how he can make life easier on James going into his 17th season:
“It’s about running the marathon. At 35 years old, I’ve had some experience at playing later in my career and being able to run that marathon, and so hopefully being able to share with some things that helped me be successful in running that marathon at 35 years old.”
Kidd was an All-Star at the age of 36 and didn’t win his first NBA championship until he was 37, so it’s safe to assume James will be keen to listen to whatever advice Kidd has. James isn’t the only superstar player Kidd has to help manage, though.
Kidd will also have the opportunity to coach 26-year-old Anthony Davis, who Kidd believes will benefit from playing alongside James:
“When you talk about Anthony Davis, he can put the ball on the floor, he can pass, we all know he can shoot the three, he can post up. Defensively he can block shots, rebound, he has the total package, and that’s why he’s one of the best players in the world. For us to be able to have him with LeBron, and Kuzma, Rondo, and some of the other guys on the team, it just makes it that much easier. This will be his first time playing with someone like LeBron, and so this will be a great learning experience for him too.”
Before we continue, we should probably talk about Kidd mentioning Rajon Rondo in the same breath as James, Davis and Kyle Kuzma, right? Yikes.
Alas, Kidd and his questionable eye for talent will play an integral role in making the Lakers a championship contender sooner rather than later. For Kidd, that’s the ultimate goal:
“As an athlete or a coach you always play to win. So for us in L.A., we want to win and that’s being successful in the season, but I think when you start talking about the bigger picture, that’s to win a championship, and that’s what we want to do in L.A.”
As long as Rondo doesn’t have as big of a role as Kidd thinks he might, they should be in prime position to do that.