Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Jason Kidd tallied triple doubles with regularity during his prime
Unlike all the point guards widely considered to be greater than Jason Kidd, he never had a teammate that even remotely approached his skill level during his best years—Magic Johnson had Kareem-Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, Bob Cousy had a plethora of Hall of Famers to dish the ball to and John Stockton had Karl Malone.
Kidd’s early and best years were wasted playing alongside the likes of Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn, Tom Gugliotta, Shawn Marion, Antonio McDyess, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin. Granted, each of these players were by no means bad players, but Kidd was a cut above all of them and he unquestionably elevated their play.
When Vince Carter finally came around, Kidd was still playing at a high level, but he was on the decline and past his prime.
If Kidd had a dominate teammate like Dirk Nowitzki earlier in his career, who knows what he could’ve accomplished. After all, he managed to win a title alongside Nowitzki late in each of their respective careers.
So this ends up being a “what if” type of scenario. Kidd was never able to maximize his talents and potential playing alongside the supporting cast he was afforded through a significant part of his career.
Gary Payton was blessed with a perennial all-star in Shawn Kemp, who happened to be one of the most intimidating players at the time and the perfect complement to Payton.
When going up against one another, in 41 head-to-head regular season matches, Kidd leads Payton with 22 wins to 19 losses. His overall stat line is also superior: 14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 10.1 assists to Payton’s 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
In 16 playoff battles, Payton has a two-game edge in wins, but he had superior teammates for most of their matchups. However, in terms of individual performances, Payton was outplayed by Kidd in the postseason.
Kidd averaged 16.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.9 steals against Payton in the postseason. Payton countered with respectable but inferior numbers putting up 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.2 steals.