6 Ways Jason Kidd Makes New York Knicks Much Tougher Next Season
Any way you look at it, with or without Jeremy Lin, the addition of Jason Kidd is an upgrade to the Knicks' roster. New York will be a tougher, more versatile, more experienced, more disciplined and an even further defensively-minded team this upcoming season than they were in 2011-12.
Kidd, and Glen Grunwald's other main offseason acquisitions, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and now Ronnie Brewer, are definite improvements over Jared Jeffries, Josh Harrellson, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Bill Walker and, at this juncture, even Jeremy Lin.
Just swapping these players will lead to a stingier defense, less turnovers, a long-missing proper half-court game, more points and hopefully, a deeper playoff run.
Kidd's 18 years in the NBA speak for itself, but in case you need some refreshing, and are still reeling from Lin's departure, here are six reminders why Jason Kidd single-handedly makes the Knicks a tougher team—one that should make it at least to the second round come May, and perhaps beyond.
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Until a couple of years ago, Jason Kidd averaged over 35 minutes a game for his whole career. With his move to New York, Kidd expected and informed Knicks management that "he hopes to play 20-25 minutes a night for the Knicks, but will be ready to go more if called upon."
It looks like the latter may hold true.
Kidd's minutes will come both as a starter and off the bench. Raymond Felton has already received the nod to be the team's starting point guard, but Kidd will clock time from minute one on more than a handful of occasions.
With the return of Iman Shumpert in January, joining Felton and Kidd, New York is much more tougher at the point guard position, both offensively and defensively than they were with Jeremy Lin running the show, Shumpert in between positions and Toney Douglas off the bench.
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"Kidd, second on the NBA’s all-time list in assists and steals, will bring veteran poise and leadership to the Knicks next season," according to David Aldridge of NBA.com
Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, all over 38 years old, will be the sage old leaders of the team this season. But Kidd has always been more vocal than the other veterans and will direct traffic not just on the floor, but in the locker room as well.
It also helps that, unlike Camby and Thomas (and Anthony and Stoudemire), Kidd has...
3. Championship and Postseason Experience
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Make that two players on the whole roster.
Jason Kidd and Mavericks teammate Tyson Chandler are the only current Knicks to climb the mountain and plant a flag. They know what guts and determination it takes in April, May and June.
Kidd is also the only Knick to make it to the Finals more than once—back to back with the New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003. He's played in 146 postseason games, too—50 more than any of his current teammates.
Only two other 2012-13 Knicks have made it to the Finals: Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby, back in 1999, with guess who?
4. Cohesion (or "Gelling")
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Jason Kidd is (finally) the right point guard to put Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the same page. Will that elusive team gel finally stick? It really hasn't in total so far, but there was definite improvement last year over Anthony's first half-season in New York.
Kidd's play will be the note that at last synchronizes Anthony's Knicks' tune, and he's looking forward to it.
ESPN's Ian Begley reported:
The 18-year veteran called trying to get the trio of Stoudemire, Anthony and Tyson Chandler to fit together "a great challenge." Hopefully, I can make those pieces run smooth...I think it's a great opportunity.
No way Jeremy Lin was going to achieve the level of cohesion Kidd will be bringing to the table, both on the court and off.
5. Closing Games
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1. Carmelo Anthony
2. Jason Kidd
Even if Jeremy Lin were still on the team and Kidd were backing him up, Jason would "want to be on the floor when the game is on the line," as he was quoted in the New York Post.
"If I’ve learned anything in the last 18 years, it’s the last six minutes of any NBA game, down 15 or up 15, you can still win or lose. So that’s the best part of the game."
When it comes down to last-second decision making, perhaps on occasion you might even feel more comfortable with the ball in Kidd's hands rather than the great-finisher Anthony's.
Oh, you will feel that at least a couple of times this season.
6. Mentoring (Corralling) the Youngsters
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Three years may seem like a lot to sign an already 38-year-old who was preparing to 10-minute his way into retirement with the Dallas Mavericks.
But it's just the timetable the Knicks could use, starting with this year.
Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and the more experienced Raymond Felton will all pick up their games (and careers) by playing with Kidd, who was already set to mentor Jeremy Lin.
Surely, Carmelo Anthony could learn a thing or two from the All-Star and destined Hall of Famer, too.