After serving a two-game suspension for a misdemeanor drunken driving charge, Jason Kidd will make his regular-season head-coaching debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night against the Magic in Orlando, Fla. Here’s what we’ll be watching for.
No more Kidding around: The Nets went 1-1 in Kidd's absence, losing to Cleveland and then beating the two-time defending champion Heat on Friday night. Kidd will get his first opportunity to call timeouts and diagram plays in a game that counts. He’ll likely lean heavily on assistant coaches Lawrence Frank and John Welch. As Magic Johnson was the latest to point out, the Nets are a talented team; Kidd just has to make sure he manages minutes and personalities.
Minutes increase: GM Billy King said earlier this week that Deron Williams would return to his regular minutes Sunday. The point guard played 22 minutes Wednesday night and 27 minutes on Friday -- nine in the fourth quarter. Williams is still recovering from a sprained right ankle injury he suffered during an offseason workout in Utah. Also, Andrei Kirilenko should see an increase in minutes from the 12 he played in his regular-season debut against the Heat. Kirilenko is a versatile weapon off the bench who can guard every position on the court for Brooklyn.
Believe in Magic? The Magic (1-2) continue to rebuild after trading away franchise center Dwight Howard. Arron Afflalo has carried the load for Orlando early on, averaging 22.3 points on 48 percent shooting. Victor Oladipo, the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, is averaging 12 points coming off the bench. The Magic shoot a lot of 3-pointers (22.7 per game) and they hit 44.1 percent, so Brooklyn’s perimeter defense is going to have to be sharp.