New Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason KIdd is optimistic his team -- which finished last in the Central Division in 2013-14 -- will exceed expectations in the 2014-15 NBA season.
If there's anyone who believes things are looking up for the young Milwaukee Bucks, it's none other than new head coach Jason Kidd.
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Kidd told Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Oct. 27 that the Bucks have adjusted well to his system. Kidd believes Milwaukee will succeed during the 2014-15 NBA season because of this:
"Jason Kidd is nearly ready to open his official tenure as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
"The 41-year-old Kidd believes his young team has adapted well to his system during training camp and compares the regular season to an academic year.
"The first bell will ring in Charlotte at 6 p.m. Wednesday night when the Bucks visit the Hornets.
"'At the end of April, if hypothetically we can make it to the playoffs, we can exhale and say, 'Did we get better for the school year?' Kidd said.
"'I look at it as a school year. It's being able to say, 'We passed a couple classes. Did we have to redo a class?'
"Kidd and his natty players were introduced with fanfare Monday at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Commerce Association luncheon held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
"It's the beginning of the 82-game grind and busy week that includes the home opener Friday night against (the) Philadelphia (76ers) and a Saturday night road game against the Washington Wizards, expected to be an Eastern Conference contender this season.
"'We've been beating on each other all month,' Bucks guard Khris Middleton said. 'We had a solid preseason but not it's time for the real season to begin, and I think guys are ready for it.'
"Kidd said the team has learned the foundation of its offense and defense and will gain in knowledge during the season.
"'It's as B. Knight said (to the luncheon audience), it's also understanding the tricks,' Kidd said of the Bucks point guard. 'When you see one way and the defense plays a second way, it's being able to read and react.
"'We're going to look good on some nights and some nights we're not going to be able to read the defense the right way. But it's just a matter of time under our belt as we get better.'
"Kidd said the Bucks, under new owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, are trying to follow a model established by the Milwaukee Brewers. He referred to the building of Miller Park and the team's playoff appearances in 2008 and 2011 under owner Mark Attanasio.
"The Brewers played in the National League Championship Series in 2011 but lost in six games to the St. Louis Cardinals, who went on to win the World Series.
"'Hopefully you build something (a new arena) like they did for the Brewers, and it all comes together and you have an opportunitiy to win a championship,' Kidd said.
"'Being in the playoffs, as the Brewers have; we all want to win championships but you have to climb that ladder. You don't want to skip a step.You look at our hometown team; they're kind of the blueprint for that success.'
"The Bucks have to start a long climb after winning a league-worst 15 games last season."
Kidd told ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk on Oct. 19 that rumors of him almost getting fired by his former team, the Brooklyn Nets, had some truth to them after they granted him permission to talk to the Bucks in June:
"In his first trip back to New York as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kidd spoke about his departure from the Nets after just one season as Brooklyn's coach.
"Kidd was granted permission to talk to the Bucks in June and then was subsequently traded for two second-round picks.
"'Did I want to be traded?' said Kidd, whose Bucks play the (New York) Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Monday. 'I think once [the Nets] OK'd the talk to Milwaukee, that just showed, whatever you want to call it, rumors or no rumors that they wanted to fire me in December had to have some legs.'
"Kidd was alluding to reports by ESPNNewYork.com and Yahoo! Sports about how management strongly considered making a coaching change last December when the Nets were in the midst of a 10-21 start but Russian ownership stuck with Kidd.
"Despite turning things around and leading the Nets to the second round of the playoffs, Kidd and the Nets went through a sudden divorce after sources said the first-time coach sought personnel control in addition to his coaching duties and was rebuffed.
"Kidd denied seeking additional power.
"'No, I don't need any power,' Kidd said. 'My [job] is to learn how to be a coach and be the best coach that I can be.'"
Kemba Walker's 21-foot jumper in overtime lifted the Charlotte Hornets to a 108-106 win over Kidd's Bucks on Oct. 29. It was the first game of the 2014-15 NBA season for both teams.
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