Jason Kidd's Value Goes Far Beyond NumbersJason Kidd is the poster child for the limitations of statistical analysis. He attempted just 10 field goals as Team USA rolled to a 10-0 gold medal performance in last year's FIBA Americas tournament yet he was voted USA Basketball's Male Athlete of the Year. Kelly Whiteside's July 31 USA TODAY article about Kidd contains quotes from several NBA stars who express awe about how Kidd plays the game:
"I can't explain it to you," forward LeBron James says. "I don't know what Jason does, I don't know how he does it. If I could explain it to you, I'd be like a prophet or something."
"He sees things," guard Dwyane Wade says of Kidd's sixth sense. "When you're on the court and you see him do something, you think he had to see that like three minutes ago."
"He just sees the game differently," (Kobe) Bryant says. "He grew up being a passer, understanding the angles. He makes very quick reads, very quick decisions. It's a different role for me and makes the game easier. Some of the shots you get you tend to be uncomfortable with because they're so damn easy. You're used to having guys on your arm all the time. With Jason, you get wide-open looks. He puts the ball right on the money."
Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski says that Kidd's basketball IQ is on par with Magic Johnson's. Kidd's defines basketball instinct as "being able to be creative in a split second." Here is Kidd's description of what he sees when he is on the court:
"When somebody shoots, I take a picture of where everyone is out on the court and then go from there with my whole thought process. There's maybe 100 things I'm going through, a checklist that all happens in two seconds. First is to get the ball, second is, where is the defender? Where are my teammates? Is my teammate tired? If I throw it too far will he quit on me? What type of pass is called for? Is it a bounce pass? Is it a chest pass? If all that isn't there, then what play are we going to run? That (answer) comes where you're probing and trying to find something and that's where your creativity and daring come in because maybe you're going to do something that most people would never think about doing. It becomes a chess match, not with the opponent but with yourself because you're trying to figure out what's the right thing to do in that split second."
Coach Krzyzewski explains why Kidd, at 35 the oldest player on Team USA's roster, starts ahead of Chris Paul--who finished second in last year's MVP voting--and Deron Williams, who is also a terrific young point guard:
"Being the best means that you have the ability to have the biggest impact in the creation of an environment to win, and Jason has that. With the experience of that many years in the NBA and internationally, coupled with the passion to continue to do it, teamed up with talent around him, I don't think anyone on our team has a better equation. Obviously Kobe and LeBron are better players, but that entire impact, he's as important a guy as we can have."
posted by David Friedman @ 3:49 AM