ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports that Giannis is “devastated” by this news, which is slightly worrying. Jason Kidd has led the Bucks to 2 playoff appearances (2015, 2017), and coached the team to its first winning season since 2010 last year. Kidd has been praised for his player development tools. He was able to take Malcolm Brogdon and develop him into the Rookie of the Year, he helped Thon Maker adjust to the NBA game, made Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker much better all-around players, and of course worked with the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, become the unstoppable machine he is today. Kidd was definitely a players coach, much like former Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
Kidd was often criticized for his coaching, which can often be interpreted as his offensive and defensive schemes, as well as his inbounds plays. He also has made some questionable decisions on the rotation. Last year players would go from starters to DNPs in the blink of an eye, and players would be in situations they didn’t belong in. This year he has made ridiculous decisions, like telling Khris Middleton to intentionally miss a free throw when the Bucks were up 3 with only a couple of seconds on the clock. The opposing Cavaliers had no timeouts. Kidd said he was worried about a 4-point play winning the game for the Cavaliers. He also seems to be in love with intangibles. Reddit’s /r/MKEBucks has taken his infamous “energy and effort” principle and turned it into a meme. Kidd rarely blamed coaching or execution for losses, instead saying the other team “played harder” and “wanted it more.”
The obvious next question is this: How do the Bucks move on? The Bucks haven’t conducted any interviews for new candidates and have not yet named a long-term interim coach. One thing is certain, however. The Bucks need to figure this out quickly. With over half the season done there is very little time for Milwaukee to experiment with new coaches. An assistant will likely take over for the immediate future, but it is unknown how long that will last. We will learn more in the coming days what the plans are. I expect Wes Edens and Marc Lasry to make some phone calls very soon. The Bucks are in a playoff race and there isn’t time to fool around. This is a big step for this team. They must play through adversity in the midst of a playoff race. Time till tell if the young Bucks can handle the pressure.