Jason Kidd hopes his players cheat.
The Milwaukee Bucks' first-year coach gives his guys a written test before each game, and he says he encourages collusion.
In his new story about the resurgence of Milwaukee, Grantland's Zach Lowe reveals that Kidd's tests cover everything from X's and O's to basketball history. For example, one recent question asked players to name the first coach of the Miami Heat.
The coaches keep a running tally of the scores.
— Nick Monroe (@nmonroe) December 9, 2014
“I’m not gonna lie,” Giannis Antetokounmpo told Lowe. “Sometimes I cheat and ask the older guys.”
Kidd actually wants the players to discuss answers during the test, hoping that the conversation continues in the locker room. Younger players say Jared Dudley, who is in his seventh NBA season and has more league experience than everyone except Zaza Pachulia (11 years), has become a reliable tutor.
Kidd got the idea for the exams from Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle, for whom Kidd won an NBA championship in 2011. The tests also reinforce certain concepts, especially for foreign-born players who sometimes struggle with verbal instructions.
Whatever Kidd is doing in Milwaukee, it's working. One year after finishing with 15 wins, the Bucks are showing signs of improvement. Rookie Jabari Parker leads all first-year players with an average of 12.5 points-per-game and his 49 percent shooting mark is fourth among all small forwards.
Despite being a relatively young team, with four out of five starters having no more than four years of experience in the NBA, the Bucks are 11-12 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
And in case you were stumped, the first coach of the Heat was Ron Rothstein.