By the time he came to the Dallas Mavericks in 2008, Jason Kidd’s career arc had already begun to trend downward. But despite his age and diminishing athleticism, Kidd still possessed the remarkable basketball IQ that made him an NBA Hall of Famer.
Kidd always had a knack for creating passing lanes and finding the open man. He ranks second all-time in assists, though Chris Paul might have something to say about that when all is said and done. However, as former Mavs teammate Jason Terry understands, J-Kidd also saw the game in a way that others simply could not.
Jason Kidd returned to Dallas and helped the Mavericks to a championship
Jason Kidd began his career with the Mavericks and blossomed into an All-Star in his sophomore season. But it wasn’t until his second stint in Dallas that he realized the ultimate team goal.
The Mavs acquired Kidd from the New Jersey Nets during the 2007-08 campaign. While the veteran point guard no longer had the scoring capabilities of his younger, more spry self, he could still impact the game in various ways.
Kidd made his final All-Star team in 2010. He started in 80 games the following season and helped lead Dallas to its first NBA championship. Aside from being an assist man, the All-NBA point guard gave Dallas a sniper from beyond the arc. He shot close to 43% from beyond the arc in the Finals against the “Big 3” Miami Heat en route to the only ring of his career.
But the subtle brilliance of Kidd’s game went well beyond the box score. His intellect and recognition defined his status as one of the best PGs in league history.
Kidd had the Mavs run the same play on four straight possessions, and they scored all four times
Jason Terry remembers thinking Jason Kidd was crazy. At least, until he understood how Kidd’s wiring informed his sensational basketball IQ.
The 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man of the Year told The Athletic a story about Kidd’s visionary tendencies, albeit in the simplest manner possible. The story takes place during the Mavs’ 2010-11 championship season.
According to Terry, Kidd noticed something after The Jet made a 3-pointer before the half. At the break, he suggested the Mavs run the same play four consecutive times to open the third period. Terry couldn’t believe his ears.
“I’m looking at him crazily like, ‘Come on, Jay, that’s not gonna work. They know what we’re doing. If I come off (a screen) the first time, they know what we’re doing. It’s not gonna work.'”–Jason Terry, via The Athletic
However, Terry acknowledged the potential of getting at least one open 3-point shot from the corner. So, he decided to run with Kidd’s plan. Good decision, Jet.
Dallas ran the same play four straight times at the beginning of the second half. The Mavs scored on the play every time, prompting the opponent to take a timeout.
“We get back to the huddle, and [Kidd is] just laughing. He never said anything, but the smile on his face, it was like, ‘Look man: I’ve been here before.’ It was just so impressive.”–Jason Terry, via The Athletic
Experience, understanding, and foresight made Kidd an elite talent on the hardwood. Those same qualities have not translated to the bench.
J-Kidd is having a much tougher time as a head coach
As Jason Terry’s story indicates, Jason Kidd could make basketball look like an easy game. However, Kidd’s time in coaching is proving far more difficult.
The Mavericks came under fire for hiring Kidd this offseason, in part because of his past legal issues. That hire looked all the more questionable after shady details emerged about his time as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kidd attempted to instill a greater sense of transparency by creating a three-man council earlier in the season. But a different approach hasn’t added up to more wins. Dallas is 16-17 through its first 33 games. The Mavs are the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and rank in the middle of the pack in net rating.
Current Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups understands that moving from uniform to a suit and tie is not always easy. The same applies to Kidd, with the Mavs likely hoping their old point guard can help get Dallas back on a winning track.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.