Jason Kidd is shifting expectations when everyone expected him to fail

Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

After missing the playoffs entirely in the 2022-23 season, it didn't seem likely that the Dallas Mavericks would be matched up with the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Finals this season.

However, through an MVP-caliber season from Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic and 32-year-old Kyrie Irving playing some of the best basketball of his career, the Mavericks have miraculously climbed to the NBA's mountain top and are in prime position to win an NBA Championship.

Now the Mavericks have the opportunity to become the first fifth seed to ever win an NBA Championship, which can heavily be attributed to Jason Kidd's ability to manage Dallas' rotations effectively throughout these playoffs as well as the late-season starting lineup change that he made.

Jason Kidd is shifting expectations when everyone expected him to fail

This comes off the heels of Kidd being labeled as a scapegoat by fans for many of the Mavericks' woes over the last few seasons, as he's had his fair share of moments that made Mavs fans scratch their head despite recent success, particularly during the start of his tenure with Dallas.

Kidd has completely revitalized his career with the Mavericks with a run to the NBA Finals this year as well as a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, especially after posting a 183-190 coaching record in his previous stops in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Kidd's even-keel mentality and player-first approach have proven to have paid extreme dividends throughout his first three seasons with the Mavericks, and he's become a far better in-game adjustment maker as well throughout this recent span, particularly in the playoffs.

This can even be evidenced by some recent anecdotes from Mavericks players in some of their recent post-practice interviews, as almost every player on the Mavericks has spoken glowingly of Kidd when asked about him. Mavericks rookie center Dereck Lively II followed this trend with what he had to say following Dallas' practice on Sunday afternoon, as Lively II was quick to shoot down any criticism coming Kidd's way when he was asked about him by reporters.

"He’s been one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He’s put me in positions where he’s expecting me to fail, and even if I fail, he’s gonna leave me in there to learn…Being able to have a coach like that who’s gonna make the players speak, and then say what he thinks, it’s an amazing process…There’s been a lot of criticism on him, but I don’t understand why. I feel like he’s an amazing coach and an amazing person."

Dereck Lively II

Not only does Lively II's quote serve as a microcosm for the sentiments expressed by many other Mavericks' players at large. but he also commended the way Kidd has let him develop by learning on the court, something that a lot of young players in the league don't get the opportunity to do when they are playing under more hard-headed coaches.

Lively II's quote clearly shows that Kidd is a great coach in both the present as will be in Dallas' future as well, as he and his staff have done an excellent job at developing Dallas' young players this season whilst still prioritizing winning.

Equipped with a talented young core and a chance to win the NBA Finals, Nico Harrison and Kidd couldn't have drawn up a better season for the Mavericks if they tried, as Mavericks' fans should be extremely excited at this opportunity to compete for a championship for the first time since 2011.

For more on Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks ahead of the 2024 NBA Finals, stay tuned as we will have you covered.