40-year-old veteran point guard Jason Kidd has been a non-factor for the New York Knicks in this year’s NBA playoffs thus far, and his team will need him to make an impact in Game 3 if an incredibly tough road win is to be pulled off against the Indiana Pacers.
Sixth man J.R. Smith is not only on a seemingly endless cold streak, but he may also miss this game due to illness, thus leaving New York without its best spark off the bench and top scorer outside of star Carmelo Anthony. With his 19 years of experience, Kidd has what it takes to provide some instant offense for the Knicks should Smith be unable to suit up.
The 10-time All Star and surefire Hall-of-Famer averaged 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals over 26.9 minutes per game this season, showing great prowess as a 3-point shooter and on-ball defender in head coach Mike Woodson‘s system. From long range, Kidd shot 35 percent.
However, outside of his streaky 3-point game, Kidd’s offense was nonexistent. Rarely did he capitalize on opportunities to drive the lane for an open layup or even, on occasion, take a wide-open three. It appears that in the twilight of his professional career, he has lost a bit of his confidence on the offensive side of the hardwood.
This has led to him putting up sub-par numbers in the postseason thus far. Kidd is averaging 4.4 rebounds and a steal over 24.9 minutes per game, but just 1.4 points. He has not scored one basket in the series against Indiana, and it’s becoming harder to justify his minutes when all he really brings to the table is defense and leadership.
This means that if Smith is unable to suit up for Game 3, Kidd cannot show one ounce of hesitation on offense. If he has the opportunity to shoot a three, he must take it even if it means having a hand in his face. If he can drive for a layup, he must take full advantage of the chance and not dish the ball off at the last minute.
The Knicks’ offensive attack cannot afford to become stagnant in this game, and Kidd being at least something of a factor could be enough to swing the pendulum in New York’s favor.
Otherwise, New York’s scoring game could go into desperation mode, thus creating opportunities for Indiana to take control not only of the game, but possibly the series.