To be honest, Dirk was probably the easiest person to grade on the roster. He earned mainly 9’s and 10’s, which he definitely more than deserved. Now, getting into the meat of the team, judging player’s grades should become much harder.
In our second report card, we’re going to take a look at Jason Kidd. For the most part, Kidd had a very good regular season. This was particularly shown in a 12 game stretch thru late February and early March in which he played his best basketball since he’s returned to Dallas by providing critical play and leadership at key junctures of the games. Looking at that stretch, Dallas really didn’t dominate other opponents, winning only one game by more than 10 points. This drew major criticism, particularly from ESPN’s John Hollinger, who stated that the Mavs should have defeated the significantly weaker teams by larger margins than they had. Sadly, Hollinger was right; however, that’s not to say that Kidd’s stretch wasn’t sensational. Although there was no possible way for Kidd to play like that every night, he did, for the most part, show his worth to the Mavs throughout the season and will be a key player yet again next season.
Positives: As I said earlier, this was probably the best basketball Kidd’s played in his second tenure here in Dallas. What’s lost between most fans, though, is that Kidd’s shooting has been on the rise ever since he arrived in Dallas, culminating with him shooting a career high 42.5% from beyond the arc last season and making a career high in 3 pointers. Furthermore, although already at 37, his numbers continued to remain solid in the regular season as he reached double digits in points for the first time since he retuned to Dallas, and still managed to average over 9 assists and 5 rebounds per game. He also provided veteran leadership and savvy in key moments, such as running into Hawks coach Mike Woodson to draw a technical foul in a crucial moment in a game that Dallas went on to win.
Negatives: For this, it mainly relates to the playoffs. Although it was not mentioned that he was battling a virus throughout the playoffs until after Dallas was eliminated, his play was clearly suffering. Following a solid showing in Game 1, Kidd fell apart in the last 5 games, shooting below 30% from the field while his assists also dropped. Of all the blame that went around after the loss, Kidd deservedly got a significant portion of the blame. Outside of the virus that he got, another telling sign may have been that his minutes rose for the second consecutive year. For a man who’s 37 years old, this is absolutely the wrong direction the Mavs want to go in and will need to be fixed (maybe with Roddy B getting time at the Point).
My Grade: This was a tough one, but I’d give Kidd a 7. Obviously, he had his problems in the playoffs, but for a second, let’s take Kidd off last year’s team and start JJ Barea or someone else. Where does that team go? For all the problems the Mavs had, Kidd greatly helped carry this team in the regular season and was a very important piece.
Outlook: For all the talk of Dirk still not having won a Championship, the fact of that matter is that Kidd has not won one yet either and is older. With the Mavs returning a lot of the same supporting cast, look for Kidd to continue to play well in reduced minutes while searching for the elusive Championship. With two years left on his deal, he figures to be around and will still be a large part of the Mavs, whether as the starting PG or the back-up to CP3 (Yes!!!!!).