First off, congratulations to Kidd and Team USA for pulling out a close win against Spain early Sunday morning.
Not sure how many of you followed Kidd and Dirk in the Olympics these past few weeks, but I thought since there isnt much basketball til October, that we start of this week talking about what you think about Kidd now after seeing him in this summer in a more of an open-court offense. I didnt see all the games, but I would say I saw the majority of them. So I will briefly kick things off on what I took away from his short bursts of play, and what it means for the Mavs.
Offensively, Kidd is VERY limited in the half court. In the open court though, the sky is still the limit with this guy. It was almost embarrassing at times to see him wander around the perimeter in the half court, with no one paying attention to him defensively at all.
This may come to you as a surprise, but the Mavs MUST run next year, if Kidd is going to be effective. The supporting cast must be able to finish and knock down open shots as well. Kidd hit a few key shots when most least expected it, but thats because his defender usually was playing about 10 ft from him. Still though, even with him hitting an occasional jumper, having Kidd and Diop or Damp in the lineup together could mean we see a lot of 3 on 5 basketball offensively this year.
Kidd averaged about 11, 7.5 and 10 last year, this year I predict him finishing at 12, 6, and 11. The reason I have him slightly better is because I think Avery held his game back too much for much of last year, and he will also be playing for a new contract for the following year.
Defensively, I thought the 9-time All Defensive selection Kidd, still held his own pretty well. He definitely has lost a step, but only to the point where I see a handful of guards abusing him this year. He is not quick and crafty like Harris is, but he is not afraid to get physical by any means. I also think that having the defensive presence of both Damp and Diop now will help cover up some of his flaws that we will undoubtably see from Parker, CP3, Harris, etc. this year. But against the likes of some of the bigger, not lighting-quick guards, like say Davis, Billups, etc, I see Kidd being able to at least compete defensively against those guys physically. Also because of his size, if he and Terry are playing together on the floor, he will more than likely defend the other two guard, leaving the slightly quicker Terry to defend the likes of the opposing quicker guard. This helps cover up some of the biggest weaknesses for both Terry AND Kidd on the defensive end.
I think if we go into the year with the current roster, it might be fair to say that our defense will again be anchored at the center position. Teams scoring heavily in the paint has never really been THAT big of an issue for the Mavs with Diop and Damp. Shaq wasnt the Mavs worst nightmare in the Finals, and surely neither was Biedrins from GS. Its been the perimeter defense that has been shady, at best, and I dont see how we have really addressed this issue... AGAIN. We will live and die defensively again this year based upon how well Josh, JET, George, Stack, etc. all defend the perimeter.
Anyways though, thats a what I took away from what I saw from Kidd. A few strengths, and a few weaknesses. I think its fair to say we cant expect a HUGE improvement numbers wise from him from last year. I do expect however, a huge improvement on how effective he should be at getting not only his numbers, but helping others get theirs as well.
Should be interesting to see all this come together this year... share your thoughts below.
[Note by Toddy, 08/25/08 12:21 PM MDT ] An interesting quote from LBJ on Kidd yesterday :
"I'm undefeated," Kidd, 35, said. "I told them I can retire now from international ball, but LeBron [James] threw out something I didn't like. He said he won't play in 2012 unless I'm there."
During the team news conference after the United States' 118-107 victory over Spain on Sunday, James suggested a slightly different scenario: "J-Kidd is going to become a player-coach now," he announced.
And what about his shooting? He was 6-7 in Olympic play, but says to expect more of that when he puts back on the number 2 jersey again:
"Now I'll become selfish and shoot all of those shots that I didn't shoot here," he said. "Carlisle and I talked about it before I left. I've been working on shooting a lot of shots. We'll see what happens."
Not sure how I feel about him taking a lot of shots though. Ideally, if he can penetrate and finish shots around the rim or be able to pass it out, thats all I would ask for. The occasional jumper is always handy, especially if defenders play him much like they did in the Olympics, but at this point in his career, he will never punish a team with his jumpshot. It seems as though he missed so many easy layups last year, I would like him to be a threat down there in the same way Nash and CP3 do when they drive.