Jason Kidd didn’t “call out” his players. He simply wanted to have a “conversation” about the way they “give in” when they fall behind in games.
Yeah, that sounds so much better.
Kidd tried to defuse the growing tension around the Brooklyn Nets on Friday by disputing a report that he called out his players following the team’s blowout Christmas loss to the Chicago Bulls. The first-year coach admitted he was frustrated by the 17-point defeat but said he only told his players they haven’t shown a willingness to battle for 48 minutes.
“That we’ve gotta fight,” Kidd said, describing to ESPN.com the nature of his comments. “It wasn’t to call them out. It was just a conversation in the locker room that we’ve got to compete.”
The Nets were competitive in the first half before the Bulls outscored them 36-20 in the third quarter to walk away with an easy win. The margin of defeat wasn’t as important to Kidd, who believes players are letting any deficit get them down. Again, though, this isn’t calling anybody out. It’s a “conversation.”
“No matter if we go down eight and there’s 30 seconds on the clock or in the game, we’ve gotta believe that we can still find a way,” Kidd told reporters. “And right now, we go down and we kind of give in to that fight, so we’ve gotta continue to keep grinding, and if I have to keep rotating guys until I find the ones that are gonna fight, then that’s what I’ve gotta do.”
The Nets face the NBA’s worst team, the Milwaukee Bucks, on Friday before taking off on a three-game road trip through Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. The Nets might need to have quite a few conversations to get through that gauntlet without any casualties.