Despite his team’s early-season struggles, Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King remains in support of rookie coach Jason Kidd.
“We’re still together. Guys still believe in Jason as their leader,” King told the YES Network during an interview that aired at halftime of the Nets-Toronto Raptors game Tuesday night.
“They believe in each other. It’s been frustrating because we expect to be winning more games, but injuries have taken a toll on us and we’ve asked other guys to do a little bit more, but that’s not an excuse. Guys are still fighting. We’re adjusting on the fly and trying to adjust due to the injuries.”
The Nets, who came into the season with a $190 million roster and championship aspirations, entered Tuesday night’s game with a 3-10 record. They had lost five straight games and eight of nine. They were 1-7 on the road.
They ranked last in the NBA in defensive efficiency (105.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) and average third-quarter scoring margin (minus-5.2 points per game).
On Sunday night, sources told ESPN.com that Nets ownership was still standing by Kidd, even though the results weren’t there.
Point guard Deron Williams (ankle), center Brook Lopez (ankle), forward Andrei Kirilenko (back) and guard Jason Terry have all missed significant time recently due to injury. Forwards Kevin Garnett (34.9 percent) and Paul Pierce (37.9 percent) have struggled to make shots in the absence of those players.
Many players have had to take on increased roles, and they’ve lacked consistency, forcing Kidd to frequently change his starting lineup and rotation.
“We’ve gotta get a [consistent] rotation,” King said. “And there’s gotta be a trust factor from each other.”
King stressed that he and Kidd want the offense to run through healthy shooting guard Joe Johnson, who scored a season-high 34 points on Sunday afternoon.
King likes what he sees from Kidd in practice and during their meetings.
“From Day 1 of training camp to now, he’s grown [tremendously],” King said. “And I think he’ll continue to grow. It’s amazing how people are critiquing every little thing, if he’s sitting or what is he doing, but the one thing I know is he’s working as hard as he can. He watches a lot of film. ... He’s putting as much effort and time into it, so the progress he’s made if he continues that pace, he’s gonna be fine.”
King said the two often talk about personnel and style of play.
“It does help I think to let him know that he has my support,” King said. “Jason’s very confident in himself. He believes in his staff and he believes in the team. Now, he’s got that voice. He’s more confident in what he’s doing, so when he speaks, he’s got that authority.”
King feels the Nets will turn it around and eventually jell and become a cohesive and dangerous unit.
“I think we’ve just gotta figure out how to get some wins, because winning helps you feel a little better,” King said. “Right now, they’re frustrated that we’re not doing well, and that just takes hard work. But the more time we have, we’re gonna get there. I’m not down on this group. I’m still bullish on this group. We’re gonna get there. It’s just gonna take time.”