Jason Kidd’s Three-Person ‘Council’ Is a Risky Innovation That Heaps Skepticism on His Ability to Coach the Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd appears to be working harder on player input than he ever did during stints with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. But his latest innovation only brings about questions about whether he is the right man for the job in Dallas.

Kidd played all 15 players during Tuesday night’s win over the Houston Rockets. He said after the game that the idea stemmed from something of an advisory group that will act as a brain trust during the season.

Communication between the coaches and the players is good. For his part, Kidd might be trying to soften his methods compared to his stops in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Still, considering the events of last season and this summer, it’s worth wondering whether this “council” could turn into catering, which got the Mavericks into a ton of trouble in the past.

Jason Kidd played all 15 players on Tuesday at the recommendation of a three-man council

Every player on the Dallas Mavericks bench took the floor during Tuesday’s home victory over the Rockets. It made sense for a bunch of guys to get some run, considering Houston is in a rebuild. However, Jason Kidd had a different rationale for getting everyone in the game.

Kidd revealed the existence of a three-person “council” during postgame interviews, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. He said this new leadership group approached him with the idea of seeing all 15 players enter the contest, which Kidd obliged.

Although the Mavericks head coach refused to name the three players on the council, Luka Doncic all but copped to being one of the musketeers. The All-NBA guard said he felt the leadership group was a “good idea,” per Townsend, and the request to play all 15 guys came from a sense of trust.

Meanwhile, Kidd’s institution of the council might be a reflection of his desire to change his ways.

Kidd could be taking a new approach…

Less than two months after the Dallas Mavericks hired Jason Kidd, a Giannis Antetokounmpo biography revealed troubling details of Kidd’s coaching methods in Milwaukee.

The book, entitled Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an MVP, depicted Kidd’s tenure with the Bucks as one of “psychological warfare.” He allegedly challenged players and intentionally provoked them, also having his guys endure brutal conditioning.

Kidd brushed aside the details of the book before the 2021-22 season began. He stressed that he has a strong relationship with Giannis and refused to address the claims made in the biography unless they specifically came from the Greek Freak himself.

It seems as though this new leadership group in Dallas might have come to fruition in part because Kidd hopes to adapt as a head coach. On the one hand, that could be invaluable in terms of his willingness to adapt and evolve.

However, the Mavericks are a team that needs to be coached, not coddled.

… but that approach might not be best for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic speaks with head coach Jason Kidd during a game against the Houston Rockets
Luka Doncic talks with head coach Jason Kidd during a game against the Houston Rockets on October 26, 2021, in Dallas, Texas | Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Communication with players and heeding their input is part of what makes for a strong team dynamic. But there’s a balance between communicating and downright catering to player wishes. Jason Kidd has to be careful to avoid the latter.

Rick Carlisle and former general manager Donnie Nelson both left the team after The Athletic dropped a bombshell report in June detailing unrest in the front office and on the bench. The report elaborated on Luka Doncic’s complicated relationship with Carlisle and made it seem as though Doncic pulled a lot of strings behind the scenes, particularly after the Mavs fired Haralobos Voulgaris and Carlisle and Nelson skipped town.

Doncic ultimately signed a supermax with Dallas, and it was thought that the team hired Kidd with Luka in mind. Is Kidd already caving to Doncic’s wishes?

The Mavericks head coach suggested the team got “great looks” in their season opener on Oct. 21, even though Second Spectrum rated the expected shot quality at 48.4%, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. That mark was worse than all but six of Dallas’ games last season. Kidd is also apparently willing to heed the wishes of his council out of some sense of team bonding.

Perhaps the three-person leadership group will serve to benefit the Mavericks in terms of transparency and cohesion. But considering what Dallas’ organization went through this offseason, there are likely to be times when Kidd needs to put his foot down. He cannot shy away from criticizing guys or avoid obvious negatives, as he seemed to do following the team’s first game.

Time will tell whether J-Kidd is the right guy to lead the Mavs into the future.

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