On Thursday morning Dallas Mavericks will officially introduce Jason Kidd and Nico Harrison as the head coach and GM. Jason Kidd is coming home to a team that drafted him with the second pick in the 1994 draft. He also helped deliver the franchise its first championship in 2011 and Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and Tyson Chandler.
“Dallas has meant so much to me as a player and I want to thank Mark Cuban for the opportunity to return as a head coach,” Kidd said last month. “I am excited to get to work with this young, hungry and incredibly talented team and to continue to build a winning legacy for the Mavericks organization.”
As for Harrison, he is a former Nike executive who worked with Kobe Bryant. He has also built numerous relationships with players in the league and basketball personnel all across the world.
“It’s a true honor to be the general manager of the Mavericks; an iconic franchise with a rich history not only within the NBA, but across sports,” said Harrison last month. “I’m grateful for this rare opportunity and want to thank Mark, and the rest of the organization for putting their trust in me to move the team to the next level.”
On Wednesday afternoon, I spoke with Ian Powers, the Fill The Lane, Founder and a National Recruiting Analyst at Nbadraft.net. He is also a close friend of Jason Kidd. During the interview, I asked Powers what it was for him to see get another coaching job.
“It’s good. When I first met Jason, I was 17 years old, and I grew up watching him in Oakland. The first saw him play, I think I was in the 7th grade, and he was a junior at St. Joseph High School in Alameda. He was a Phenom in high school and never expected to see someone as great as him become a head coach,” says Powers.
“Great players often do not want to get into coaching because they do not have the patience. He has taken some criticism from his previous two-stop as a coach. He was able to sit back a couple of years in LA and learn. Maybe learn from the mistakes he made at his previous stops, and I think you will see new and improve J-Kidd on the sideline with the Mavericks. So, I am excited for the city of Dallas, and it is great because things have come full circle. Dallas drafted him number two in 1994, and he came back to Dallas in 2011 and won a championship. Now, he is back in Dallas as the head coach, and it is going to be a great situation for him and the city personally.”
Many don’t think Jason had a real opportunity to finish what he started in Milwaukee before being let go in 2018.
“I don’t think he got a chance to finish what he started there, and I think he is a big part of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s development overall. If I remember correctly, he was the head coach when they drafted Giannis. He was a big part of the development, and I don’t think he would be the player you are today it wasn’t for Jason and his insight. I think the way Giannis sees the game propelled. Obviously, Giannis has put in the work, worked hard on his own, and developed his body. I think you asked him. I think he will tell J-Kidd played a major role in his development,” Powers shared.
On his way out the door, former Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said he saw a lot of Jason Kidd’s game in rising superstar Luka Doncic.
“Yeah, Jason was a savant, and he saw the game through the license of a cerebral player. He saw things three or four times before they happen, and he was like that in high school. I think Luka Doncic is a lot similar to him in the same way. He sees things that others may not see, and he can make plays that other guys cannot make. So those are a lot of the similarities between Luka and Jason.”
“Jason was not as big as Luka, he was 6’4 and about 215 lbs, and Luka is 6’7 235 lbs. So there is a size difference there, but overall in terms of style of play and just the way they see the game, I think they are similar. Luka was a better shooter coming into the league than Jason was, but he improved as his career progressed. However, in terms of the feel for the game and IQ, they are similar, and someone like Jason can only help someone like Luka,” said Powers.
Individuals such as Jamal Crawford and Champ believe Kidd and Harrison allow Dallas to meet with superstar-free agents.
Powers agrees, ” Nico Harrison brings relationships and the ability to build relationships. He was Kobe’s rep for years until he got promoted and moved up the chain at Nike. So, he has been around the games for years, and he has played overseas. So, he comes player background as well. He is a good dude, and I got the chance to know him a little bit. I wouldn’t say I know him very well, but I don’t know him well enough. I texted him when I got the job to congratulate him, and he got back to me. We have a cordial relationship, but I know enough about him to know he is a good dude, and he has a lot of relationships around the league.
He would say when you are trying to improve a team in this league, relationships are key, and you do not want to be in a situation where you cannot recruit high-level talent.
The press conference will be at 11 am CST in Dallas at the American Airlines Center.