DALLAS — Jason Kidd is remembered as one of the best point guards of all-time. The NBA legend is now a head coach and is currently preparing to lead the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA playoffs.

Kidd has seen up-and-down results since taking over the head coaching job in Dallas during the 2021-22 season. That year, Dallas reached the Western Conference Finals. It was a great first impression for someone who enjoyed many tremendous seasons with the Mavs during his playing career.

2022-23 was a down year, however. Dallas acquired Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, yet still failed to reach the postseason. Kidd dealt with criticism as a result, but he remained positive throughout. And now, as mentioned earlier, he is back in the playoffs with the Mavericks in 2023-24.

“Yeah, coaching is not easy,” Kidd said after I asked what he's learned so far during his coaching career. “I didn't come up in the coaching ranks, I came in as a player. It's taken me time, it's going to continue to take time. Understanding some will say that players are different. It's hard… You have to work. Understanding as a player you can not be afraid to fail. And I'm not afraid to fail. To learn from failures, no one is perfect in this room and no one is perfect on the floor. Understanding where you have made your mistakes, look at the mistakes and try to correct them so that you don't make them again. Continue working at your craft.

“As a coach, no different than a player, you spend a lot of time in the gym. And you spend a lot of time looking at the TV or the computer trying to put your players in a position to be successful. As a coach, I'm not afraid to fail. I'm not afraid to sit here and say that I made a mistake. But we will bounce back and we will be better.”

Mavericks players appreciate Jason Kidd

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd talks in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kidd's incredible playing career surely earned the respect of his players immediately. Still, some coaches have struggled to maintain that respect as their careers continued. Kidd, however, has seemingly impressed Mavs players thus far.

Kyrie Irving has been apart of a number of different teams in his career. The future Hall-of-Famer has had many different coaches as a result. Irving understands that coaches are going to deal with criticism, but he believes in Jason Kidd.

“Oh yeah, I think every head coach is going to receive criticism,” Irving said of Kidd. “He's one of the leaders of the team. A lot our wins and losses, he takes a lot of the responsibility. I just commend him for that and I love him for it. But us as players, we want to protect him and be successful for all of us because all of our legacies are on the line at this point.”

The rest of the Mavericks players have had nothing but positive things to say about the head coach. Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington, who were acquired by the Mavs at this year's trade deadline, shared their thoughts on playing for Jason Kidd.

“It's great (having Kidd as a head coach),” Gafford said Thursday. “Of course, one of the best in the league when he had played. Really just implementing some of his knowledge into the game. Some of the things that we want to do here is something that I'm really inspired by because of what he did in the league… He's just taking the stuff that he learned, the stuff that he did and the stuff that he was around, he's implemented just like how he wants to coach. I see it day in and day out. He's a real down-to-earth coach, he's real humble. For sure, when he needs to get on your tail, he will do that.”

“He's been great,” Washington said of Kidd Tuesday after practice. “Got to watch him as a kid growing up here. To see him as a point guard, obviously winning a championship here, being able to be coached by him is just… a dream-come-true. Being able to dissect all the stuff he does, pick his brain… I just think it's a luxury having him here.”

Kidd's coaching career

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd looks on against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Delta Center.
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kidd made his coaching debut in the NBA during the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn performed fairly well, but Kidd ended up as the Milwaukee Bucks head coach in 2014-15, a position he would maintain until 2017-18.

Ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, Kidd accepted a position as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. He stayed in Los Angeles for two years before he took the job as the Mavericks head coach.

Kidd was a great point guard when he played. He always understood the game well, and that is something that is apparent from his coaching prowess. Has he endured some difficult times in the NBA? Sure, but as Kidd mentioned, “coaching is not easy.”

Rumors of a contract extension have been swirling. The Mavericks are content with the job Kidd has done during his time in Dallas. Still, the 2023-24 playoffs will be important for his legacy as a head coach.

The Mavs endured an inconsistent first half of the year before they heated up in the second half. Now, the Mavericks are looking to keep their momentum alive in the postseason. However, their first round series projects to be a difficult challenge against a talented Los Angeles Clippers team.