Monday, April 30, 2007

The Kidd is Back- Did he ever Leave?

In 36 minutes of play Jason Kidd is averaging a triple double during the playoffs, 13 points, 11 rebounds, and a fucking unheard of 13 assists (though Nash is netting 15...). Will he maintain this clip beyond the first round (where I am now convinced the Nets are heading)? Probably not, but these incredible numbers underscore a basic truth of the power and ability of often forgotten Jason Kidd. As I’ve mentioned before, a shooting coach who worked with the Nets during their back to back runs to the finals claimed that Kidd is the best transition point guard this side of Magic Johnson, and I’m not inclined to disagree.

He is not the fastest guard in the league, especially now, at age 34 with two bad knees, but rarely does he make a bad pass when running the break. In the half court, his size allows him to post up smaller guards, and he can speed up in bursts, allowing him to penetrate with ease. Nay-sayers will point out that Kidd never developed a reliable jumper, and that his offensive game can never be complete without it. That is nonsense. True, if Jason Kidd had a jumper we’d be looking at the most complete offensive point guard of the past 15 or so years (going back to the era of Thomas and Johnson), but show me proof that he has struggled without it. Kidd is so good at getting the ball where it needs to go that he can have other people make it rain for him. And, by the way, Kidd shot 34% from three this season, not a terrible number considering his other talents.

Speaking of other talents, what about his defense. I have no scruples about naming Kidd among the most effective defensive point guards in the league. He was never a speedster on D like Gary Patyon (his mentor FYI), but he makes up for it in craftiness and size. At 6-4 and 210, his body and wingspan frustrate opposing guards (2.25 steals a game this series, 2 for his career). And he is immune to larger guards who like to post up (looking at you Baron Davis), pushing back as hard as he gets pushed.

Why the sudden Kidd love? I feel I owe him for doubting him all these years. Back when the Nets were putting the rest of the East to shame, I was never one of the voices calling for his MVP nomination. I always accepted him as the best, but was never a fan. Not sure what the reason was, and it doesn’t matter now. Probably because I was never a Kidd fan, somewhere between 2003 and today I forgot what this man was capable of. No longer. If they can finish off the Raptors, I will pick the Nets to be playing for the Eastern Conference Championship in a few weeks. Besides… I’d rather jump on the bandwagon now rather than in round 2.

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