Jason Kidd Lends an Assist to USA Basketball

Rachel MarcusCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 14:  Jason Kidd #2 of the Western Conference is welcomed by fans during introductions before the NBA All-Star Game, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at Cowboys Stadium on February 14, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Eastern Conference defeated the Western Conference 141-139 in regulation.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This month, the USA Basketball team is practicing in Las Vegas as they prepare for the upcoming World Championships.

All of the players from the gold medal-winning team of the 2008 Olympics have opted not to play (although many will still play in the 2012 Olympics), leaving the team with many young stars and an experienced Chauncey Billups.

However, one player has opted to go help the team as a mentor and a leader off the court. That player?

Jason Kidd.

So often Kidd gets overlooked among the league's best players. He may be a future Hall of Famer, but I know that when I mention him being my favorite player, I do not get the best responses. Sometimes he's too old, too this, too that.

But here's what I say: He can change the game without scoring a point and has undeniable leadership qualities that would make any team better.

And that is why Coach K invited him to Team USA's practices in Vegas—because the young guys can learn a lot from him. Maybe they can also learn that he's just as good as he was 10 years ago despite what people say.

Back in 2001, when Kidd was traded to New Jersey, the Nets were coming off a season with the league-worst record. All Kidd did was lead the team to the NBA Finals with the best record in East. And he led them back the following year.

He may very well be the best current player never to win a championship, and that is a true shame. Kidd is a world-class player.

The number of assists reflects how well a point guard does his job, and J-Kidd always had a high assist number. If you're a point guard and you're not averaging at least seven assists, then maybe you should switch to shooting guard.

Anyway, I just thought it was about time that Jason Kidd, one of basketball's most unrecognized players, get the due credit he deserves.

But don't take my word for it. Watch him run the fastbreak on the court. Because he's still got it.

And plenty of players would be more than happy to catch that alley-oop on the other end.