By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Join Kidd aNd Play
Jason Kidd NEW JERSEY,
NEW JERSEY,During the 1994-95 season greatness was predicted – someone had come along that seemed to possess the skills necessary to equate with the greatest floor generals that the NBA had ever paid witness too.
With the second pick of the 94 draft the Dallas Mavericks had selected Jason Kidd, a 6’ 4” point guard from California. The San Francisco native, while at Cal had broken Kevin Johnson’s career steals and assists marks of 204 and 272 respectively after just two seasons at the University. With this, Kidd became the only sophomore ever to earn Pac-10 player of the year honors. So when the energetic guard decided to forgo his final two years and enter the Association his star shined bright.
In his inaugural season with the Mavericks J-Kidd averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 assist earning himself NBA co-Rookie Of The Year, an honor he shared with that year’s number three pick, Grant Hill (Detroit Pistons; now with the Orlando Magic).
After just twenty-two games into the 1997 season J-Kidd found himself headed for the deserts of Arizona. The Phoenix Suns had acquired the future Hall of Famer in exchange for Michael Finley, A.C Green and Sam Cassell.
In Kidd’s first full season with the Suns he help guide the team to the playoffs after generating a 56-26 regular season record; only to see his 1998 post season end when the Spurs set the Suns in four games.
Unable to carry the team far into the post season over his four years in the Sun Belt State he was once again traded. Rod Thorn (Nets President) felt that Kidd was the ingredient needed to fuel his vision of how the Nets should play; so he gave up a fan favorite (Stephon Marbury) in exchange for the pass first, defensive minded Kidd. With his uncanny knack of making the players around him better the 2001-2002 season saw Jason Kidd propel the Nets to the brink of an NBA Championship. Kidd repeated that feat the following season as the Nets lost to the Champions San Antonio Spurs in six games.
The 2003-2004 season saw Kidd and the Nets trying to earn a third shot at a NBA Championship Title—but the Detroit Pistons beat the Nets after seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. At that time the Nets had no idea that they were responsible for the focus and determination the Pistons showed in their quest to out shine Shaq, Kobe, Karl and Gary. It only took five games for the Pistons to send the Los Angles Lakers on vacation for the summer without the Championship that was literally handed to them before the start of last season; a Championship that could have very well been Kidd’s.
After the Pistons dismantled the Lakers; literally – Rip Hamilton stated that when the Pistons Players looked into the eyes of the point guard just before the start of the 2002-2003 Eastern Conference finals they saw a determination that stuck with them (the Nets beat the Pistons in four straight that year). Rip stated that beside the acquisition of Rasheed Wallace, Kidd’s stone facial expression, the determination that the point guard displayed during that series was something they’d learned from. Kidd’s playoff demeanor was the ingredient the Pistons needed to become Kings of the NBA, “It was that look in Kidd’s eyes—the way he took the court every game during that series—he had that same look; it was like he wasn’t about to let his team lose. We understand that now,” Rip insisted.
Greatness is about making everyone around you better—and Jason Kidd is the best at it since Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and of course Michael Jordan. I grew up in Michigan and had a chance to see the beginning of greatness while watching Magic emerge during his senior year as a Lansing Everett Viking.
Watching Kidd and the Nets on Tuesday night knock off the Boston Celtics 104-98 reminded me of how special a floor general the point guard is. Flirting with the 62nd triple double of his career (14 pts, 9 ast, 9 rebs) J-Kidd had his team playing as if they expect to make the playoffs (Last place, trail the first place Sixers by 3.5). Just as the Magic Man had done throughout his career Kidd directed his team like a fine tone Symphony Orchestra. He knows when to call in the bass; dishing out a lob for a thunderous slam by Vince (25 points, 9-20) or when to bring in the strings; setting up Travis Best with passes in his comfort zone which resulted in 24 points on 8-11 from the field.
So for those that think that the Nets should lay down for a lottery pick—Kidd is more then capable of salvaging this season.
“We’re going to keep fighting, we have now found ourselves right there in the race no matter what our record is (15-24). Somebody has to win it, and we’re thinking why not us,” Kidd said. “It does matter who puts the ball in basket—we’re starting to play like a team,” He continued.
“He’s one of those rare players—he makes the people around him better, there’s no question about that,” Larry Frank said after the game.
With the lost of Richard Jefferson for the season its time for the Nets players to look into the eyes of their leader; it’s time for them to see what Rip saw—be focused, have fun with KIDD aNd PLAY; if you do—he’ll conduct a playoff run.