I’ve always had an affinity for the point guard position. More than any other position in basketball, I love how they can affect the outcome of a basketball game. Depends on who you ask, but more often than not, point guards have the ability to change the course of a game to their teams favor.
Yes, I still believe that “height equals might” in basketball, albeit with a little reservation. While it’s always convenient to have a low post presence on the offensive side of the ball and a “patrolman” on the defensive side, centers don’t have many responsibilities apart from scoring down low, guarding the rim, and getting rebounds.
On the other hand, point guards play the role of coach on the basketball court. Similar to a quarterback in football, the point guard is tasked to call out the plays in the game. He reminds everybody where they’re supposed to be within the context of certain plays. The point guard also controls the tempo of the game. Depends on what system they run, point guards can either push the ball out in transition or slow the game down to set up their teams half court plays.
So while the bigs do possess a certain degree of responsibility, it still pales in comparison to the responsibility of being the point guard.
That being said, basketball is still a team game and point guards can’t win games by themselves. They still need their teammates to make their shots, set screens for them, and finish off their passes on the break.
“It takes five”, as Adidas would say.
Regrettably, one of the lingering images I will take away from this year’s NBA playoffs shows a Hall of Fame point guard put up performance after performance worthy of his legacy, only to have his teammates go AWOL when he needed them the most.
And no, I’m not talking about my man, Baron Davis.
I’m talking about Jason Kidd.
This guy is 34 years old with two bad knees (one knee underwent arthroscopic surgery, one of the most serious injuries anybody can have), a bad back, and a family in shambles.
This guy’s career was supposed to be on the decline.
Instead, what did he do in the playoffs?
He averaged a triple-double.
Let me write that down again: He AVERAGED a triple-double.
For those who don’t know how hard it is to record a triple-double in a game, let alone average it for 12 games, it’s really hard (I couldn’t come up with a suitable comparison, so try to be convinced with my `it’s really hard’ quip).
His shooting could have been better, but he’s never been known for scorching the net. What he does bring to the table, however, is a steady diet of everything.
In Game 3 of the Toronto series, Kidd recorded the 10th triple-double of his postseason career with a whopping 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 19 assists. Two weeks later, he followed it up with his 11th triple-double when he did in Game 3 of the Cleveland series. In all 12 games, Kidd’s lowest assist outing was 6 and his lowest rebounding figure was 7.
His average for the playoffs? 14.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
That’s amazing stats for anybody.
But then again, Jason Kidd isn’t just anybody.
Besides the gaudy stats, it was J-Kidd’s veteran leadership that kept the Nets this long in the playoffs.
The 16-16-19 line? It came a day after he didn’t practice because of a knee injury.
In Game 6 of the Nets-Cavs series, Kidd almost rallied the Nets from a 22-point 1st half deficit all by himself. In the 3rd quarter alone, he was unstoppable, seemingly willing his team to an improbable comeback victory. When the Nets were down by 15, Kidd put on a show worthy of a superstar with daring drives to the basket, relentless defensive pressure on the Cavs, and timely dishes – including a beautiful bounce pass to Mikki Moore for a three-point play. Everything was set for Kidd to add another chapter to his legacy.
But then LeBron James took over and after Jason Kidd led that third quarter comeback, he was physically spent. He had nothing left for the stretch run.
And that’s when Jersey needed their other superstar, Vince Carter, to step up. But alas, Carter choked and everybody was robbed of seeing Jason Kidd continue his brilliant playoff run.
The sad reality? New Jersey just may have seen the last of Jason Kidd in a Nets uniform.
(I know this is a Kidd post, but I’m still annoyed at Carter’s late game no-show that I must give space on this post to rant about him:
For the record, I haven’t seen a superstar stink up the joint this bad since, well, Dirk Nowitzki became the poster-boy of the LVMVP (Least Valuable Most Valuable Player) a couple of weeks ago. Vince has been so disappointing this playoffs that I’m actually wishing the Nets let him walk in free agency.
Late in Game 6 against the Cavs, when the Nets needed a basket in the worst way, how did Carter respond? On one possession, he dribbled the ball too much which eventually caused a shot-clock violation and on numerous possessions, he passed up the ball instead of taking it strong to the hole.
That’s not what superstars do, Vince. They rise up to occasion, not wilt under the pressure.
People used to call you “Half Man, Half Amazing”. Now, you’re just “Half Tin Man, Half Cowardly Lion”).