“I have one key, and that is to be the coach” – The Athletic

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It was my fault.

The premise was to talk to Jason Kidd about the Dallas Mavericks’ significant defensive upgrade over the season, one that left Dallas on the cusp of another 50-win season — and poised to be. among the top four seeds in the West. Conference – in Kidd’s first year as a coach. Going into Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards, the Mavericks, since New Year’s Day, had been right behind the Boston Celtics on defense. Dallas ranked first in 3-point percentage against opponents and number of 3s made, second in defensive rating, and seventh in opponent free throw attempts. That’s despite the Mavericks only having one player, Maxi Kleber, among the league’s top 90 players in FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR defensive rankings.

But Kidd and his team created a connected defensive unit this season, building on what Rick Carlisle produced in 13 seasons in Dallas. And Kidd, in his third stint as head coach after a tumultuous season in Brooklyn and more than three years in Milwaukee with a young Giannis Antetokounmpo, seems to be coaching very differently. There seems to be a calm in the 49-year-old who wasn’t there at the start of his coaching career. There are times when he is part of his team, of course; it’s part of the job. But Kidd is selective these days.

Kidd and first-year general manager Nico Harrison have assembled an eclectic coaching staff, bringing together former

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