For the first time since 2013, the Sixers are searching for a new head coach.
With the team announcing Monday that it has fired Brett Brown, we’re continuing our series analyzing candidates to replace Brown with Jason Kidd. We’ve looked so far at reported candidates Tyronn Lue, Jay Wright and Ime Udoka.
Kidd, according to The Inquirer's Keith Pompey, is interested in the Sixers' head coaching job.
Let’s examine the case for and against hiring him as head coach:
The case for Kidd
Kidd is one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and, if one is thinking optimistically, perhaps someone who could relate to Ben Simmons’ multi-dimensional game on a personal level and have unique insights that could facilitate his growth.
He has four-plus seasons of experience as an NBA head coach, has won a playoff series and is the Lakers’ lead assistant this season.
The case against Kidd
There are many components of Kidd’s head coaching resume that don’t boost his candidacy. He failed to win more than 42 games or a playoff series in his first three seasons with the Bucks, then had Milwaukee at just 23-22 despite Giannis Antetokounmpo having ascended to a near-MVP level in the 2017-18 season, when Kidd was fired.
Given their talent level, his teams in Milwaukee should’ve accomplished more. The Bucks’ aggressive, blitz-heavy defensive scheme didn't maximize strong individual defenders like Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. Milwaukee’s defense regressed after rating fourth in Kidd’s first year, ranking 23rd in the 2015-16 season, 19th in 2016-17 and 26th on the day he was let go.
The Bucks sat 10th in offensive rating at the time of Kidd’s dismissal, though Kidd wasn’t known to have an especially modern or innovative offense. Since his exit, Milwaukee’s three-point volume and pace have surged, and the team has become better in just about every way.
A big aspect of that is undoubtedly improvements in the roster around Antetokounmpo, as well as the Greek Freak’s continuous development, but it’s worth noting the strides Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon made without Kidd. In terms of player development with non-star players — helping young guys like Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton reach new levels, for instance — there’s little to suggest Kidd is a good candidate.
It’s hard to imagine what persuasive arguments Kidd could make for being the right choice for this job. Perhaps he could have built something with the Nets, but he wanted full control of the team’s basketball operations department, was denied it, and ended up being traded to the Bucks after a single season. We’ve already reviewed how there isn't much helping his case from his stint in Milwaukee. Outside of being a “new voice,” how is he an upgrade over Brown, or better than a candidate like Lue?
There are red flags on Kidd’s resume unrelated to basketball. Kidd pleaded guilty to spousal abuse in 2001 and pleaded guilty to DWI for a 2012 incident in which he crashed his car into a pole. Personal qualities and background matter when evaluating a head coach, and Kidd’s criminal history is problematic.