NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jason Kidd has never coached at any level. He has no known system, no video of a practice or game that provides any hints about what type of player would fit his style.
So how are the Brooklyn Nets supposed to know who to draft for him?
“I don’t think you worry about never seeing him coach. I think he understands what he wants as players,” general manager Billy King said.
King said he always leans on the advice of his scouts more than his coach at this time of year, so Kidd’s inexperience isn’t a concern.
“They’ll rank them and once the ranking gets here, then Jason and I may ask questions, that sort of thing, but pretty much they’re the ones that run the draft,” King said. “My job is to try to trade and acquire players they think we should select.”
That’s not to say Kidd hasn’t been involved. Hired earlier this month shortly after ending his 19-year playing career following one season with the Knicks, the former Nets star has been attending draft workouts, offering input and reminding King of Hall of Fame coaches such as Mike Krzyzewski and Larry Brown in his ability to notice the little things about players.
“He’s not wowed by a guy making shots, he’s more wowed by a guy setting a screen right, or rolling on the pick-and-roll,” King said. “He says, ‘that was a great pass,’ or he’s looking at guys that maybe may not be in the draft that are here working out with us. He’ll say, ‘That guy has a chance, maybe we can draft him for the D-League.’ So it’s been fun.”
The Nets have the No. 22 pick after going 49-33 last season, their first in Brooklyn. King said they could use some more athleticism and outside shooting off their bench.
He also said the Nets would look to bring in someone at point guard, Kidd’s old position, to compete with Tyshawn Taylor for a backup spot behind starter Deron Williams. CJ Watson, last season’s backup, will be a free agent. Virginia Tech’s Erick Green and Isaiah Canaan of Murray State are among the players at that position who have worked out for the Nets.
This is the fifth time the Nets have picked at No. 22, most in franchise history. If they stay there this time, King said he doesn’t expect to get a player that can crack the rotation next season, but perhaps the following one.
The draft isn’t considered very strong, but that probably matters more to teams picking at the top of it and really in need of help than the ones in the latter end of the first round.
“I think for where we are it’s better, because I think you’re going to get guys that have more polish,” King said. “They may not be a franchise guy but they can be a good piece. I think when you’re drafting in the lottery, especially this draft, you’re trying to project where a guy may be and sometimes those projections may be off because a lot of guys are very close in talent.”
The draft will be held in Barclays Center, the Nets’ home arena, where they quickly built a solid fan base and home-court advantage this season after they were largely ignored in their final years in New Jersey.
Bringing back Kidd, who led the Nets to their greatest NBA success, has provided even more of a buzz. But the contributions of the former and now future face of the franchise will be limited for now, taking a back seat to the far more anonymous scouts.
“He’s been in the meetings, he’s here watching and we’ll give input, but they’re going to want to develop the list,” King said. “And we’ll say, ‘That guy may not fit the way Jason wants to play’ or ‘This guy, he likes what he has,” but as they get them ranked one through 60, we’ll stick to that ranking.”
The Nets only had one pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and they selected power forward İlkan Karaman with the 57th pick.
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