Patrick Ewing remembers the challenges of going from an NBA player directly to an assistant coach with the Wizards in the same year (2002). So he knows it's going to be much more taxing for Jason Kidd to transition to a head coaching role with the Nets.
"It's a big difference, especially going to head coach," Ewing said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio on Thursday. "It was a big difference for me going from a player to an assistant coach when I did it in Washington. When you're a player, you don't realize how much time commitment that being a coach is. ... But then going to being a head coach, the buck stops there with him. That's where all the heat's going to be going."
Ewing said he was "very happy" for Kidd, who was introduced as the new Nets head coach on Thursday at the Barclays Center. Ewing spoke of two main things Kidd will have to do. First, Kidd will need to detach from his personal relationship with his close friend and star point guard Deron Williams.
"It's going to be difficult because you have to separate yourself," Ewing said. "That's one thing that when I first started coaching, the advice that I got was I had to separate myself from the players because I had just came from playing. You have to separate yourself to be able to give them constructive criticism or discipline them when needed."
Second, Ewing said Kidd will need to hire an experienced staff.
"He's going to have to surround himself with good people around him to help him with the transition," he said. "I've been doing this for nine years. First of all, all it takes is for somebody to believe in you, and obviously Mr. Prokhorov and all the VPs at the Nets believe in him."
Earlier this week, Ewing was named the associate head coach of the Bobcats -- his fourth bench role since retiring in 2002. In addition to the Wizards, he went on to work for the Rockets and Magic.
But even with his latest position, Ewing still wants to be a head coach one day.
"All I can do is just keep on working, keep on getting better, keep on improving and hope that one day I would have that opportunity to have somebody believe in me to give me a chance," he said.
On why that hasn't happened yet, he said, "I don't know. Maybe they think big men can't think. The point guard runs the show, but as a center, I'm the leader of the defense, I'm the one that's barking out the defensive schemes, the defensive plays. Just as much as a point guard can think, big men can think also."
Ewing was asked about Mark Jackson taking the rare climb from player to head coach in 2011, and he said, laughing, "Mark has the gift for gab. That's why he became a preacher and that's why he's done a very good job out there in Golden State. He knows how to hold an audience."
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