The Los Angeles Lakers were forced to navigate through unprecedented circumstances in order to secure the franchise’s 17th championship and there were a number of factors that led to the team’s success inside the Orlando bubble.
Although their efforts were spearheaded by the dominant play of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the onus fell on the coaching staff to make the necessary adjustments both on and off the court for their players.
Head coach Frank Vogel has rightfully gotten his due for the job he did in his first season with the Lakers. Of course, a couple of his more notable assistants in Jason Kidd and Phil Handy have also been credited with helping put it all together.
Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka revealed Kidd not only was a key member in his duties as an assistant but he helped the players during meetings as they considered walking away from playing, via “The Woj Pod”:
“I did feel like there were points that night, when all the meetings started happening, where maybe the bubble was going to come to an end. There’s no question. And it’s interesting in times like that when people emerge as leaders and in unpredicted ways. And we worked really hard to formulate a coaching staff that had a particular connectedness and different skills for different areas, which I think played out really well in the bubble, obviously led by Frank and we can talk later about some of his amazing defensive schemes he had for each team we play in the playoffs. But in that particular time Jason Kidd emerged in a huge way.
“I’ll be forever grateful. … Of course he was on the USA team with LeBron, and because of being a Hall of Fame player and winning championships as a player, he just has a way to be a listener and to be a problem solver. And that night when the emotions were high, rightfully so. I can remember him being up till three, four in the morning, just just being there to talk, and to work through issues. Because when LeBron and Anthony are making decisions about the future of our team, they’ve got to be heard. You’ve got to kind of unpack and go through all the issues with them and Jason was a listening ear.
“Of course their agent Rich Paul played a big role too and kind of letting them see the issues from all the different spheres: the financial sphere, the social justice sphere. But there was a key moment and that’s been publicized where, and I remember being with Jason when this was happening, where the players, LeBron and Chris Paul and a couple others, got on the phone with the former president, Barack Obama. And that was a pivotal moment, just in terms of the advice that was given about, ‘Hey let’s just focus on a couple issues. If you try to bite off too much you’ll get nothing done.’ and I think coming out of that time where they were able to then sort of partner with the governors and the owners to come up with a voting plan and to come up with running ads about voting…
“In those times, where the bubble seemed tenuous, leaders emerged. Who would have known Barack Obama would have gotten on the phone. Who would have known Jason Kidd was built for a time like that to be around our players.”
Kidd’s pedigree as a Hall of Famer, along with his familiarity with James and Davis added a unique dynamic between the players and coaches. While his arrival had initially led to plenty of speculation regarding Vogel’s job security, the move ultimately panned out better than Pelinka had even hoped.
It is safe to say that the praise from Pelinka only further helps to boost Kidd’s value for teams in need of a stabilizing factor to lead their staff.
Kidd improved image
After failed stints as a head coach, Kidd’s reputation took a hit. He is said to have revitalized working under Vogel, but that has not been enough for Kidd to this point receive another opportunity as a head coach.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!