After making his name on the receiving end of Steve Nash's pick-and-roll passes, you can see why Amar'e Stoudemire always seems like he's a point guard away from greatness.
For a time, Jeremy Lin looked to be that point guard.
Felton developed a nice dynamic with Stoudemire during their first stint together in NYC, but Kidd certainly comes into camp as the backcourt rotation's best passer. He told Knicks Now blogger Jonah Ballow that he intends to use that passing ability to Stoudemire's benefit:
"With Amar’e, I hope I can be like a Nash to be able to get him the ball where he likes it to be successful. Make it where he doesn’t have to work as hard, easy layups, catch and shoot where he likes it,” Kidd explained.
The 39-year-old spent more time spotting up on the receiving end of passes than he did making plays like he used to. He still managed to rack up 5.5 assists per game, but that was his career low by far.
Could he create a few opportunities for Stoudemire? Sure.
Will he look anything like Steve Nash in the process? Probably not.
It's a nice thought, but there's no question Kidd isn't what he used to be (or what Nash still is). If you're tempted to dismiss his performance last season as an outlier on account of the fact he averaged more than eight assists the season before, just remember he's 39.
At this stage, an off season is more likely a sign of decline than it is an outlier.
After all, there was a reason he played just under 29 minutes last season. Kidd doesn't move as well as he used to, and he's a fairly stationary passer at this point. He won't probe the defense with dribble penetration like Nash, and he won't be able to maneuver in pick-and-roll situations quite so adeptly.
Kidd may be able to match Nash's cleverness, but he can't match his ability to make the most of even the narrowest slivers of space, slithering around picks and keeping the defense guessing.
Of course, point guards don't have to be young. On the contrary, there's no position that benefits more from a few years of experience.
And Kidd has more than a few of those.
But, there's still something to be said for quickness, and Kidd no longer has nearly enough of that. On the defensive end, he has to match up with shooting guards if he has any hope of staying in front of them. For all intents and purposes, he's a shooting guard on the offensive end, too.
None of this should be interpreted as an argument against Kidd's ability to help the Knicks.
He still remains an efficient, intelligent and somewhat versatile player. He isn't the triple-double threat he once was, but he still rebounds well for a point guard. And, though his defense has sagged by his standards, he still has quick hands and a knack for jumping into passing lanes.
New York won't regret bringing Kidd on board.
But, nor will it get an approximation of Steve Nash.
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