When Mark Cuban hired Jason Kidd last summer, there were plenty of questions as whether it would work. A year later, Kidd answered most of those concerns by helping the Dallas Mavericks reach the Western Conference finals, something the team hadn’t done since winning it all in 2011.
The Mavs also eclipsed the 50-win mark for the first time since the 2014-2015 season. Under Kidd's watch, Dallas transformed into a top-five defensive team, finishing with a 109.1 defensive rating.
Last season, Kidd finished seventh in Coach of the Year voting. Among those voted ahead of him were Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins and Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams. Dallas beat the Suns in the West semifinals.
ESPN projects Kidd’s COY chances to increase this season, as he has the fourth-best odds of winning the award. He's just below Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra.
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“The top five are three coaches in different stages of their teams’ path to success,” the insiders wrote. “Jason Kidd is entering year 2 alongside Luka Doncic, as the Mavericks look to take that next step.”
Before returning to Dallas, Kidd struggled to find a coaching foothold. Kidd, the starting point guard on the Mavs' 2011 title team, won one playoff series on the sidelines with the Brooklyn Nets before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.
During his tenure in Milwaukee, the Bucks made the playoffs two out of his four seasons, but struggled to get out of the first round. Kidd would join the staff of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won a championship as an assistant.
Can he have that that level of success in Dallas? Last season, Kidd won Western Conference Coach of the Month for March and April. He might not have much young talent to work with, outside of Doncic, but the Mavs figure to be in the thick of the title chase.