Jason Kidd should return. He should be allowed to right the wrong that was his postseason, when he was held scoreless in 10 straight games. Having Kidd on the court is akin to have a player whose basketball IQ is at a doctoral level. If the New York Knicks select a point guard with its 24th pick in the NBA Draft, Kidd would be the ideal tutor to get that young player acclimated to NBA life.
Kidd can still have a positive impact as a player on the court as well, if given limited minutes. The NBA’s second all-time leader in assists was a valuable contributor to the Knicks, particularly at the start of this past season.
According to ESPN, over the Knicks’ first 27 games, Kidd had a 4.1 assist-to-turnover ratio (third-best in the NBA) and had the third-highest true shooting percentage (a percentage that accounts for free throws and 3-pointers) among NBA guards. His minutes were limited, but his impact was palpable, as the Knicks won 20 of those games.
Anyone who has watched a fair share of Knicks’ games this season will tell you Kidd positively impacted his team whenever he was on the court – something statistics cannot measure. The ball moved better with Kidd, and he had a calming effect on Raymond Felton, who is prone to questionable decision-making, especially with the shot clock winding down.
What’s more, Kidd is still a capable defender. He may not be as fast as he used to be, but he’s capable of defending bigger wing players in spells. The man is strong. In fact, Kidd led the Knicks in defensive win shares during the regular season, a stat that measures the number of wins contributed by a player due to his defense.
Felton missed 12 games this season mostly due to a fractured finger he suffered last December. That led to Kidd playing more minutes, which resulted in a drop in production. The only explanation for Kidd’s lack of offensive production in the post-season was the fact that he had to see more minutes on the court during the regular season.
Limit his minutes, and Kidd is still a valuable player, particularly as a facilitator, defender and mentor.
The point guards who are on the Knicks radar for the draft are Shane Larkin of the University of Miami (FL), Nate Wolters of South Dakota State and Lorenzo Brown of North Carolina State. Can you think of a better teacher of NBA Point Guard 101?
Thus, Kidd should give it one more season, if only to leave fans with a lasting memory of his greatness, not the unfortunate aberration that marred his postseason. He owes it to the Knicks and his legacy.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+