The Dallas Mavericks theme song should be Drake’s “In My Feelings” for the remainder of the playoffs. That is, because head coach Jason Kidd is all in his feelings over the team being (repeatedly) fined for bench violations. Kidd’s team has been hit three times by league authorities during this postseason, with each instance stemming from bench misconduct. But Kidd doesn’t see the issue and would rather blame “the media” instead.
“If you want to talk about the bench, we can talk about the bench, that’s on you,” Kidd said before Game 3. “We don’t talk about the bench. You guys did the article on the bench, and that’s how we started getting fined because you brought light to it. So you guys should be paying the fine.
“So the media is at fault here. But we don’t complain, and that’s the truth. We lose with class, and we win with class, and that’s what we’re about.”
The Mavs have been fined three times in two rounds of the playoffs for essentially the same thing. Their bench players and coaching staff are either standing for extended periods, getting too close to the court (and being on it), or affecting in-game action from the sideline. It’s clearly become a pattern. It’s always easier to point the finger rather than take responsibility for your team’s actions.
No other team has been fined during these playoffs besides the Mavs. They’ve been dinged once in the Western Conference Finals and twice during the semifinals against Phoenix. It’s one thing to make a mistake, but it is ridiculous to get popped for this type of thing so many times. Or at least it should be, you’d think.
These incidents shouldn’t overshadow the quality of Kidd’s work with this previously underachieving Mavs team, but the lack of accountability here can’t be overlooked. Deflecting blame and pointing his finger at others was one of the reasons for Kidd’s dismissal in Milwaukee a few years ago.
Kidd knows the game as much as anyone who ever played, but there’s more to coaching than just the X’s and O’s. Head coaches also manage players and personalities. They should also know when their players’ enthusiasm might be getting in the way of what’s happening on the court.
It sure seems like Kidd doesn’t care about his bench’s antics, or the fines they’re spurring. And I’m pretty sure his billionaire boss Mark Cuban doesn’t care much either, which isn’t surprising based on reports (multiple allegations of a hostile workplace, sexual harassment, etc.) of how that franchise has been run over the years.
Accountability from the top will trickle down, and if there is none, you can end up with toxic work environments, as we see too often in professional sports. Hopefully, Kidd and his staff will clean this up moving forward. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Mavs continued with the same behavior, considering their coach exhibited the same attitude toward the fines.