The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to part ways with head coach Jason Kidd effective immediately. They’re currently clinging on to the final playoff spot with a 23-22 record as they are currently riding a two game skid.
Kidd took the helm in Milwaukee the summer of 2014 replacing Larry Drew after one season in Brooklyn. He amassed a record of 139-152 in his three and a half seasons with two playoff appearances.
Coming into the season Milwaukee was a team predicted by many to break into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference but they clearly have not been able to live up to expectations. Sporting an MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo the Bucks have definitely shown flashes of brilliance but the product on the court as a whole has been a disappointment overall.
Criticisms of Kidd’s coaching style is not a new thing by any stretch. Despite having a roster full of young athletes the Bucks play at a despicably slow pace (22nd fastest in the league). And while they are very proficient at scoring from the midrange and close to the basket as they are shooting 47.8% from the field as a team good for third in the league they have almost no presence from beyond the arc only hitting right at 35% placing them 27th out of the 30 teams in the association. However, their lack of defense is arguably even more cause for concern. The Bucks rank 25th in defensive rating and is dead last in total rebounding. Once again, with his cadre of young athletes this should be better. This is even more shocking considering that Kidd is known as a defensive minded coach
Although there are fates much worse than being one game over .500 the outlook of the near future may have influenced this decision more than the present. Greak Freak is in the first year of his 4 year for $100 million deal and the Bucks are definitely working to put a winning team around him to persuade him to re-up when the time comes or better yet not give him any reason to demand a trade before then. Because we all know that if Giannis bolts after this deal Milwaukee will return back to the basketball wasteland from whence it came.
Assistant coach Joe Prunty will take over on an interim basis. He’s a veteran coach who was previously with San Antonio, Dallas, Portland, Cleveland and Brooklyn prior to joining Milwaukee with Kidd in 2014. He was the head coach of the Great Britain men’s national team from 2013 to 2017.
But the abruptness of this dismissal is what baffles me. Aside from being in playoff contention their arguably second best player in Jabari Parker in a little less than two weeks so there’s cause to believe that his presence will provide some sort of boost. It’s just kind of hard to see where a mid-season coaching change will help them meet their expectations.
And I definitely do not want to assume any sort of mutiny because despite Kidd being pretty tough on his guys and there being some bristling at times there was never any impression of a locker room split. Figure in Kidd’s close relationship with ownership and this really comes at a shock. Naturally, as the next few days pass more details will come out about this but for now the mood is one of disbelief.