Jason Kidd to Join the Knicks

In a shocking development, Jason Kidd has decided to leave the Dallas Mavericks and join the New York Knicks. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Kidd had decided to stay in Dallas. Kidd’s reported deal will be 3 years and approximately $9 million. Whether the Knicks are using the mini mid-level exception or a sign and trade to acquire Kidd is unknown.

I’m not a huge fan of this signing, as I believe Kidd’s best days are far behind him. You can make the argument that he’s got the intangibles and he can mentor Lin. I won’t dispute that Kidd is a player with strong intangibles. He can be a good mentor and he is a good locker room guy. However, they hire coaches to mentor players and the players in the locker room are supposed to be guys who can contribute positively on the court. I’m not so sure Jason Kidd can do that anymore.

Defensively, he’s a complete liability. His lateral quickness has far worsened from what it once was and he really has trouble staying in front of opposing guards. That isn’t a good problem to have when you’ve got to deal with guys like Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams in your own division. As a “bigger guard”, Kidd used to be able to use his size to his defensive advantage. However, at age 38 Kidd’s lack of lateral quickness has taken away the advantage he once had. He’s a complete liability defending the perimeter for a team that already will be playing most the season without Iman Shumpert as he recovers from a torn ACL.

Offensively, he’s not at all what he once was. Kidd shot just 34% and 35.4% from downtown over the past two seasons. According to Synergy Sports, Kidd shot just 33% on 3 point spot up jumpers. Overall, Kidd shot only 32% spotting up. His passing seemed to have also lost a few steps last season. Kidd’s assist numbers have been declining over the past few seasons and his 5.5 assists per game last season was a career low. I believe Kidd’s steep offensive decline was a big reason that the Dallas Mavericks offense went from 8th in offensive efficiency in 2010 to 21st in 2011.

Having said all that, I do believe Kidd is an upgrade over Baron Davis, Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas. That’s not saying much considering all 3 aforementioned Knicks were in the bottom 13 of all point guards in Player Efficiency Rating last season. Kidd ranked 47th in the NBA among point guards with a 13.11 PER (the league average is 15.00).

If the Knicks were bringing Kidd in as a 3rd point guard on a veteran minimum contract, I would love this acquisition. However, the Knicks need Kidd to contribute 15 minutes per game and I’m not sure Kidd can register 15 positive minutes a night. I think Kidd is a strong locker room figure, but for 3 years $9 million and potentially the mini-MLE, the Knicks need more than that. New York needs strong defense and spot up shooting from their backup point and based on his performance from last season Kidd may not be able to do that.

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