The Milwaukee Bucks enter the 2014-15 NBA season in a very interesting position as they have a new coach, new ownership and one of the hottest young players to come out of the 2014 NBA draft. It makes for a situation where many members of this organization, one that has been mired in mediocrity for years now, are going to be learning (or relearning) as they go.
For Jason Kidd, the Bucks’ newly minted head coach, he comes from a situation with the Brooklyn Nets where he was coaching a team loaded with veterans who knew what their role on the court was. In many ways, Kidd was simply trying to coordinate and to get the best he could out of his roster, one that was set in their ways and past the point where they would be open to change, especially from a first-year coach such as Kidd.
If we’re being honest, the main reason the Nets went 44-38 last year had to do more with the team being front loaded with talent than anything Kidd did as a coach (despite the infamous water incident).
Now he joins a team where he will have a 19-year old shooting guard in Giannis Antetokouampo and a 22-year old point guard in the form of Brandon Knight. Unlike the Nets, this is a team that is actually going to have to be coached, that is going to be learning from Kidd and looking to him for guidance.
And while he filled that role a bit in his final years with the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks, it’s different when you are the head coach and everyone is going to be looking to you when your team is down 15 points in the third quarter.
And then there is Jabari Parker, the No. 2 pick of the 2014 draft and a player, after only a year at Duke, that is still figuring out what kind of basketball player he is going to be. Despite a 20-point, 15-rebound performance in the Bucks final game in Las Vegas, Parker’s summer league was mostly a learning experience about playing at the pro level and listening to coach Sean Sweeney about aggressiveness and foul shooting.
Parker has readily admitted he has a long way to go before he feels comfortable on the court. At the Bucks’ final summer league game, he told Dane Young from FOX Sports Wisconsin he feels “about 50 percent” in regard to how sure he is about how the Bucks and Kidd plan to use him on the court. That leaves a lot of room for change and evolution, both for him and the coach as Kidd himself learns how to develop players and get them to play they way he wants them to.
Right now Parker sits at No. 2 on the Bucks’ depth chart at small forward behind Khris Middleton. It’s a no-brainer that he will be the starter sooner rather than later, probably as soon as Kidd begins to feel comfortable and can begin remaking the team into the image of what he wants it to be.
But any way you look at it, Parker and Kidd’s futures in the NBA are going to be linked. Parker has future All-Star written all over him and Kidd has the potential to be a great NBA head coach if he has the right tools at his disposal.
Time will tell if the two can bring a championship to Milwaukee together.