Coaches are a key part of helping players develop in the NBA. We've seen many players credit their coaches for helping them during their careers. However, there are also times where a bad coach will be detrimental to the players.
The Dallas Mavericks hired former Maverick Jason Kidd to be their head coach during the offseason. There have been former players who have also succeeded as coaches such as Tyronn Lue, and Jason Kidd himself is a former head coach. However, Jason Kidd's methods have recently been called into question by many after excerpts have surfaced from Giannis Antetokounmpo's biography. A particular excerpt featured a story about Jason Kidd forcing his players to practice during Christmas after a loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
But the Bucks were struggling, dropping a game to Charlotte on December 23, right before Christmas. Players returned to the locker room dejected, silent. Everyone was ready for the next two days off with their families.
"Zaza," Kidd said, turning to Pachulia but addressing the group, "Do you think this was a winnable game?"
"Yes, it was a winnable game," Pachulia said.
"And do you think we deserve the next two days off?"
Pachulia couldn't believe Kidd had put him in that situation, threatening to ruin Christmas. Pachulia tried to strike a diplomatic tone: "You know what, Coach - I understand the frustration. We're all frustrated because this is a game we were supposed to win. We didn't give enough effort. But at the same time, this is a holiday. Christmas is important to our families. It's not about us; it's about our families. Guys have made plans."
Kidd then turned to Dudley. "What do you think? Should we take these next two days off?"
Dudley, too, gave a diplomatic answer.
But Kidd wasn't satisfied. "See you guys tomorrow at 9:00 a.m."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," players said. "What do you mean?"
"We're going to have practice tomorrow."
"We booked flights to different places!"
"I don't care. You guys get paid to do a job, so you're doing your job tomorrow. Things change."
During that practice, it looks as though Jason Kidd singled out a former Milwaukee Bucks player, Larry Sanders during the practice. The biography excerpt mentions that Sanders spent the night in the hospital after that practice.
Practice next morning was ugly. Kidd went at Sanders. Called him a "piece of shit," a "terrible player." The team ran and ran and ran and ran, like a college team would. "I don't think I've done that since I left J-Kidd," Knight says. "It was not normal." Players had to finish a fast-break drill in twenty-two seconds, but twenty-seven was the team's best record. They did it over and over until they made it. Some were bent over, panting, cramping. Practice lasted three hours, and then Kidd made players lift weights and do pool exercises. Half the team didn't know how to swim, but Kidd made everyone run in the pool.
"Everybody was so tired that nobody was thinking about Christmas," Pachulia says. "We didn't have energy left to open gifts."
Kidd continued to berate Sanders, though, calling him "pathetic". Sanders couldn't handle it. Where he was in his life, his career, this practice, all his mistakes, all his frustrations, he felt his entire body turn to jelly as he cramped from head to toe. "I had a full body convulsion," Sanders says. "My body broke down. Physically I couldn't take it, and mentally, I really couldn't take it."
Sanders asked to be excused to the bathroom. "Oh don't worry," Kidd said as Sanders walked away. "We'll wait, then run some more." Sanders left the facility and took himself to the hospital, spending the night there. Few knew what happened in the aftermath, and he didn't have the energy then to talk about it.
"I don't think he's a bad person," Sanders says about Kidd, "but, mentally, he kinda, like, brain fucked me a little. I was a lot of I love you, kiss you on the cheek, now it's all about money, who cares about your mental health, your body breaking down."
"I'm happy. I'm in a much better place now," he says. "I'm sorry it had to go out the way it did."
NBA fans had a lot to say about Kidd's coaching style, with many pointing to the excessiveness of his methods. There are definitely coaches that have succeeded and won championships by using less extreme measures than Kidd.
There is no doubt that Kidd's coaching style has caused a lot of uproar among the NBA community. A player having to go to the hospital after a training session shows the extreme of Kidd's approach, and the goal with coaching is certainly not to hurt your own players. Hopefully, Jason Kidd takes a different approach during his time with the Dallas Mavericks.