Why Jason Kidd Helps the Mavs so much

There were 2 major plotlines tonight in the NBA. First, Shaquille O'Neal made his debut for the Phoenix Suns against their nemesis Los Angeles Lakers. I was also watching another debut, Jason Kidd back in Dallas and playing his first game following the finalizing of the trade late last night.

I really like the trade for the Mavs. I think Jason Kidd can get the Mavs into transition quicker with good outlet passes and he also has that ability to deliver the ball to where it has the best chance to score in the half-court. On defense, Kidd brings the intangibles, a rebounding guard that is versatile enough to guard both quick point guards and bigger wing players. Here are just a few sequences I took of Kidd in their game against the Hornets in the third quarter,

The Complete Guard:

There are alot of great point guards in the league. Steve Nash, Baron Davis, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Jose Calderon, Chauncey Billups, etc.. But what I like most about Jason Kidd is that he's the complete guard. The only weakness he has is that he doesn't shoot the ball well, but he does everything else.

On Offense, of course the most important ability for a point guard is to find your open teammates, Kidd gets into the lane and has Devan George in the corner of his eye and gets him the ball for the open 3-pointer,

On defense is where Kidd really shines. He can guard just about anybody 1v1 without help, which is huge because it means that guys can stay on their man and contest perimeter shots. Here, he takes on a bigger Stojakovic who tries to post Kidd up and back him down, Stojakovic eventually settles for an awkward turnaround that misses the rim,

It's sometimes a difficult concept to teach to young guards, but I try to teach guards to rebound down. When the shot goes up, most guards are thinking about the break. But what they don't realize is that what starts the break is a rebound. Teach your guards to rebound down to just below the FT line on long perimeter shots and you'll be a better running team,


Now, the Mavs lost this game. Mostly due to Chris Paul going off on one of his huge scoring nights despite being well defended. But I have no doubt that Jason Kidd will make the Mavs much better than they were prior to the trade. The Mavs need a leader (no slight to Dirk) who knows the bigger picture of how games are won and Kidd is just the man for the job. It may not be enough to beat the Spurs, Lakers, Suns, Jazz, Hornets or whoever they face in the playoffs but they weren't going to win with what they had so it definitely is worth it for Cuban.

A great video from one of the most storied coaches in the history of basketball is Morgan Wootten's brand new DVD on his 20/20 hindsight. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.