EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Steve Kerr, the leading candidate to replace Mike Woodson as Knicks coach, has zero coaching experience.
How much should that matter? Jason Kidd, who never coached a game before taking over the Nets this season, is 1-0 in the playoffs after winning coach of the month honors twice during his rookie season. Kidd was asked Monday about his roller-coaster rookie ride and whether it was a tougher career path than he expected.
“Coaching is fun,” Kidd said. “It’s a lot of fun, and you get to learn a lot of different things. As a player, you think you’ve seen it all. As a coach, you get to see a little bit more.”
Kidd’s transition was even more jarring than the one Kerr would be asked to make. Since retiring as a player, Kerr has worked in the front office of the Phoenix Suns and as a television analyst. Kidd went right from playing point guard for the Knicks last season to taking over as coach of the Nets.
Kidd said that he enjoyed playing for Woodson last season. Woodson and his entire staff were fired Monday morning by Knicks president Phil Jackson after the team failed to make the playoffs and finished with a 37-45 record. The firing had been expected ever since Jackson was hired a month ago to revamp the franchise.
“It was great. We had a great run,” Kidd said when asked what it was like playing for Woodson. In their one season together, the Knicks went 54-28 and reached the second round of the playoffs.
Kidd said that a lack of job security is a tough fact that comes with being a head coach.
“It’s a part of the job and it’s unfortunate,” he said. “He’s a great coach and a great person, so I wish him the best of luck.”
It is the second time in Woodson’s head-coaching career that he has been fired. Woodson was fired in 2010 after six seasons with the Hawks. Nets swingman Joe Johnson played his first four seasons under Woodson and said he was instrumental in making him the player he is today. Johnson averaged 25 points in 2006-07, when he was the main man in Woodson’s isolation offense.
“He was a great guy for me. He really brought out the best in me,” Johnson said. “I had some great years under coach Woodson. He was a guy who real ly put the ball in my hands and told me to make plays. So he means a lot.”
Visit Newsday at www.newsday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services