At just 25-years-old, Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the NBA. On the verge of winning his second-straight MVP, he’s averaging 29 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on 54.7% shooting.
His game and development as a player has him squarely near the top of the most elite stars in the league and is why he is seen as the top prize in the next free-agency period.
Teams are expected to pull all the stops to lure in Giannis — which may include the hiring of his former head coach, Jason Kidd.
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 22, 2020
Kidd coached the Nets from 2014-2018. In that span, while the Bucks were a playoff threat in the East, they didn’t reach their full potential until the years following his departure.
Still, it didn’t stop Giannis from expressing disappointment about his firing. They had a notoriously close relationship and he actually stood up in defense of Kidd after he was let go:
“He was a big part of my success,” Antetokounmpo said. “He trusted me, he put the ball in my hands, he motivated me on a daily basis, he pushed me to be great and not to be mediocre.
“I was 19 when he came and he said he was going to put the ball in my hands. The first time I wasn’t ready. I told him, ‘Coach, I’m not ready to create and make plays for the team.’ He said, ‘OK, we’re going to take our time.’ The next year, he put the ball in my hands and I was ready.
“But coming from a guy like Jason Kidd is big. He’s going to end up—whatever, if he got fired or not—he’s going to end up in the Hall of Fame. Having Jason Kidd as our coach was big.”
Assuming he still feels that way about Kidd, having him as a coach could be huge.
Currently, he is an assistant coach in L.A., but there’s no telling what’s in store for him in the months to come.