Milwaukee Bucks 2016-17 Season Review: Jason Kidd

Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Best of Kidd

I think one of the toughest positions in basketball to judge is the head coach position. The easiest measurement to look at is wins and losses.

However, is Tyronn Lue a better coach than Erik Spoelstra because the Cavs had a better record than the Heat? Do we measure coaches higher if they surpass win expectations for the year? If they made a playoff run?

My criteria for a successful coach is graded on building a winning culture, coaching up players and the team, how they handle adversity, and respect from the players and organization. Let’s take a closer look at those key areas.

Winning culture

Coach Kidd finished the season with a 42-40 record, eventually bowing out to a veteran Toronto Raptors team in six games. Winning is important as the core of the Bucks grow. Getting over that .500 mark at the end of a challenging season was a major milestone, and the hope will be that it’s the beginnings of a winning culture that the organization will be able to reap the rewards from.

Coaching players up

This is hard to quantify, but I want to mention how Kidd handled playing Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker during the season. Not all NBA coaches would have decided able to bring Dellavedova off the bench and start a rookie in his place, or had the fortitude to insert Maker into the starting lineup. These were not easy decisions and Kidd handled them well.

Handle adversity

Adversity hit the Bucks with Middleton going down early in the season, and again later on when Parker fell to a season ending ACL injury. Moving parts at essentially every position outside of where Giannis suited up means coach Kidd deserves credit for how his team handled adversity this season.

Respect from players and organization

You can’t go far without a player singing not only the praise of coach Kidd, but also reaffirming their loyalty. Jason Terry played with Kidd in Dallas and found his way to Milwaukee because of that relationship. Terry even goes as far as to make some pretty bold statements about his coach and former teammate:

"“[Kidd]’s done a phenomenal job, too. If you look at his roster this year starting two rookies and a guy that Chicago pretty much threw away to accomplish what we did this year was tremendous. His staff works extremely hard. And when you’re talking about developing talent, there is no staff better than the Milwaukee Bucks. And you know I know, I’ve been around 18 years. They really develop their talent, they’re hands on — J-Kidd, when he finishes, he’ll be one of the greatest coaches to ever coach this game.”"

Another sign of respect, even from outside Milwaukee’s current core group is that Kidd was able to bring in future hall of famer Kevin Garnett to work with the young Bucks’ core. John Stockton was another legendary player who visited with the team this year.

Late into the season, Kidd also added a Coach of the Month award to an already packed mantle place as the Bucks played dominant basketball in March. One of the most notable statistics for the Bucks’ season came from the accompanying NBA press release:

"“Kidd led the Bucks to an Eastern Conference-best 14-4 record, the franchise’s first calendar month with at least 14 victories since going 16-2 in February 1971.”"

While coach Kidd led a young Milwaukee Bucks team to a playoff berth, not everything was perfect.