7 Reasons Jason Kidd Puts New York Knicks in Contention
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Kidd has agreed to join forces with the Knicks in the Big Apple. Although Kidd and all NBA free agents could not sign until July 11, Kidd had decided he would join New York all the same.
With Baron Davis and Jeremy Lin sidelined due to injury last season, it was important for New York to seek a PG threat in free agency. Kidd has started at the position in each of his 18 years in the league, won an NBA title and has a chance to help this talented team compete.
Rest assured, Knicks fans are looking forward to next season following Kidd's decision.
These are the seven reasons why the addition of Kidd has placed the Knicks in championship contention.
A Steal Machine
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Upon entering the league, Kidd made his presence felt on the defensive end of the floor. His expertise, however, is playing physical perimeter defense and creating turnovers as a result.
His 2,559 steals rank second in NBA history behind John Stockton's 3,265. The total is easily the highest of any active player today. Kobe Bryant is second among active players, but trails Kidd by 837 steals.
The best part is that he is 39 years old and still led the team with 1.7 steals per game. That average was just 0.2 under his career average. Not to mention, he bumped the mark up to a whopping three steals per contest in the 2012 postseason.
The Knicks had Jeremy Lin, Baron Davis and Mike Bibby running the show last season. All three failed to contribute defensively, which is an area Kidd thrives in.
Better Three-Point Shooter Than It May Seem
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The New York Knicks, much like the Miami Heat, is a team in need of a consistent three-point shooter.
Given that the Heat and Ray Allen will join forces next season, the Knicks essentially get the next best thing in Jason Kidd. Kidd is not known for having a lethal three-point shot that compares to Allen's, but as ESPN's Mike Breen would put it, he puts it up and puts it in.
He is not afraid of taking deep shots and has averaged at least four attempts per game in his last five seasons with Dallas. A total of 1,874 three-point shots made for his career has him third all-time behind Reggie Miller and Ray Allen.
Talk about impressive.
New York shot just 33.6 percent from distance, which ranked No. 21 in the NBA last season. Expect Kidd to ever-so-quietly get the job done from three-point range, something the Knicks need significant help doing.
The Touch of Perfection
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Jason Kidd is an artist at work on the offensive end as he seemingly always gives his players the rock in just the right spot.
Unlike other point guards, like Rajon Rondo or Steve Nash, Kidd racks up his assists by making a plethora of simple, perfect passes. He doesn't drop jaws with behind-the-back passes like Rondo or make no-look dish passes better than Nash. However, when it comes to making just the right play at just the right time, Kidd is the answer.
He is as fundamentally sound as any PG we have seen to date in that regard. Expect Kidd's knowledge of the game and passing expertise to help Anthony get better shots off and get Stoudemire more involved in the half-court set.
A Mentor for Jeremy Lin
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Linsanity was the craze of the Big Apple for quite some time last season, but reality has surely set in.
With no disrespect whatsoever towards Lin in the slightest, he is still a point guard that has much to learn about the game. A lot of the times when Lin has struggled to get things going, he seems to go out and try to make things happen instead of letting the game come to him. This is exactly where Kidd can help.
Losing 3.6 turnovers per game in fewer than 27 minutes per contest is a clear indicator of Lin's occasional careless play. It's something Kidd can help with. Kidd posted a career-low 1.9 turnovers per game and could well teach his ways to the young guard.
He has spent 18 years in the league and started games in all of them, won an NBA championship and gone up against Nash and John Stockton as well as today's top point guards. Lin has to know that there is a plethora to learn from this battle-tested champion and the Knicks will surely love that combo next season.
Recent Championship Experience
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A 2011 NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks was exactly the accomplishment Kidd needed to continue to start games in the league.
During the NBA Finals series against the Miami Heat, Kidd was playing tough post defense on LeBron James and forced him into some questionable shots. His defense on James, along with Sean Marion's efforts, were major contributors to the King's poor fourth-quarter play during that series.
It is important not to overrate a player because of championship experience. However, considering the impact he had in the series and the fact the title came just over a season ago, there is every reason to believe Kidd will help elevate the Knicks next season.
Gives Carmelo Anthony a Helping Hand
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The search is over, Carmelo. Kidd has now entered the building.
As a team, the New York Knicks struggled to score the basketball last season. In spite of the plethora of scoring talent this squad is armed with, the team averaged 97.8 points per game.
The mark ranked No. 11 in the NBA, which to some may not appear as poor. Yet, when considering the team has numerous scoring threats including Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, that average is quite low.
Kidd has constantly proven he can score the ball in the league. He has the second-most three pointers in league history, is tough driving the basketball and has been consistently putting up respectable point averages. For his career, the top point guard has recorded an average of 13 points per contest.
A Significant Advantage in the Eastern Conference
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Of the eight playoff teams representing the Eastern Conference, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose were the only elite point guards.
In the West, there is Tony Parker with the Spurs, Steve Nash with the Lakers, the Clippers' Chris Paul and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook. The talent in the East is clearly not at the level of the West at the position. In turn, the addition of Kidd gives the Knicks a talent most of the conference's top teams don't have.
Even the Miami Heat are without a force at the position. Kidd is a championship-tested talent that is known as one of the better PGs of our generation. The Knicks need this advantage over the Heat, Hawks and other teams who out-performed New York in the 2012 playoffs.