The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the most surprising teams this season, and a big part of their success has been the tutelage of new head coach Jason Kidd.
With such a young team, Kidd has employed a strategy that he learned from Rick Carlisle and Terry Stotts while playing for the Dallas Mavericks–giving players a written test on every game day.
“The tests ask about strategy and basketball history — everything from diagramming a particular set to naming the first coach of the Miami Heat. The coaching staff grades each one and keeps a running tally of player scores through the season,” reported Grantland.
Second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted to seeking answers from teammates. “I’m not gonna lie,” Antetokounmpo said. “Sometimes I cheat and ask the older guys.”
But Kidd doesn’t mind if the players cheat.
“He noticed in Dallas how the tests got young guys talking about strategy, and he wants to foster the same kind of dialogue among Milwaukee’s players,” Grantland said.
“Kidd is sometimes unsure the young foreign-born players understand instructions in English, and the discussion gives them another way to absorb coaching, he says.”
— Nick Monroe (@nmonroe) December 9, 2014
Kidd is not the only coach to employ this type of strategy–Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns was captured on video doing it verbally last season.
Kidd is also working on building a winning culture in Milwaukee.
“We don’t want to be a layover city,” Kidd said. “We want coming here to be like going through Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas — where if you have a dogfight in Chicago one night, you know you’re going to have a dogfight in Milwaukee the next night.”