EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jason Kidd is one of the greatest point guards ever.
Yet the future Hall of Famer said Friday that Deron Williams is a better player than he was.
“He’s better than me. I mean, he can shoot,” the new Nets coach replied when asked if he saw himself in Williams. “He’s a guy who can set the table, get to the basket. He can score. I don’t look at him as me. Again, he’s a little bit better than I am.”
In 19 seasons, Kidd made 10 All-Star teams, five All-NBA first teams and four All-Defensive first teams. He was co-Rookie of the Year in 1995, and won a championship with the Mavericks in 2011. In his playing career, Kidd averaged 12.6 points, 8.7 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 40 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
In eight seasons, Williams has made three All-Star teams and two All-NBA second teams. He has yet to advance past the conference finals. Williams has averaged 17.8 points, 9 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range.
Kidd thinks he can help Williams get even better.
“Just recognizing situations,” Kidd said. “Deron is a very gifted point guard, so for me it’s just about talking to him about different situations and getting what he’s thinking so we can get on the same page.”
Kidd said he wants Williams to be himself on the court.
“I want him to be the basketball player that we all know he can be,” Kidd said. “We’re gonna set lofty goals, and as a coaching staff and as a team, we want to try to put him in a position to reach them.”
Like previous Nets coaches, Kidd is going to let Williams call his own plays in certain situations.
“What we’re looking to do is have different sets, where if it’s just a one-word set where he can call something, and it’s a read-and-react situation where if he makes a cut, everybody understands what play it is,” Kidd said.
Kidd reiterated that he isn’t concerned that his friendship with Williams will be a problem when it comes to coaching the team.
“We are friends. I want [him] to be successful and hopefully [he] wants the same for me,” Kidd said.