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Is Jason Kidd still an Elite Point Guard?

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Ball Don't Lie is the NBA blog on Yahoo! Sports and it's been ranking the top players in the league at their respective positions.  I was highly curious to see where Jason Kidd ranked.  I've never seen it before but apparently, this is an annual event for them.  They really don't give the standard for their ranking system, but hey...it's relatively quiet in the NBA now so rankings are fun discussion pieces.  Let's take a look at where he ranked on the list and what is around him.

 

 

 

12. Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks (last year: 10th)

There's no doubting the idea that Jason Kidd basically gets things about basketball that we do not -- never so perfectly articulated in a random Washington setting as it was last season by Rob Mahoney -- but his defensive shortcomings (despite, Kidd's best efforts) push him down a notch. Still, the guy is shooting over 40 percent behind the arc, now. How nutty is that? How great is this Hall of Famer?

Ball Don't Lie

The Players ranked 13th to 17th were:

Stephen Curry, Andre Miller, Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison and John Wall

The players ranked 11th down to 7th were:

Jameer Nelson, Baron Davis, Tony Parker, Devin Harris and Russell Westbrook

 

I think people tend to overreact or underrate Jason Kidd because people tend to expect the Jason Kidd we remember in his peak-performing days.  That definitely isn't the type of player Kidd is now, he's reinvented himself while still having the ball of tricks at his disposal. 

The man has his faults and limitations, but they really don't outmatch the positives he brings to the table.  You can say he's running on empty, some would say he's done and needs to get out of the league.  The people that say that need to get their eyes checked.  You can say Kidd isn't the elite defender that was he was in his day and he can't kept up with the quicker players in the league now.  What is the dirty little secret?  There are a LOT of players who can't keep up with the quickest players in the league, just because Kidd can't do it doesn't make him an automatic bum.

What people forget is that the players that are on the court are ultimately better with Kidd on the floor as opposed to another point guard on the floor.  The leadership that Kidd brings on and off the court is immeasurable.  If you want to look at it strictly for on the court value, imagine how Roddy Beaubois would perform without Jason Kidd guiding him. 

Kidd continues to make passes that most point guards can't even imagine making, he still hovers around the nine assist/game mark, which is elite.  His rebounding numbers (5.6 rebounds/game) were still the best out of any pure point guard last season.  What am I missing that declassifies Jason Kidd as an elite point guard?

I will say the one part of his game that I wish would find it's way out of the attic is his post up game.  It might be a philosophy issue, it could be a willingness to do so issue, but Kidd is still stronger than most point guards in this league and he could absolutely abuse them on the block.

As I mentioned earlier, he is reinvented himself to still be a valuable threat offensively.  Before coming back for his second tour of duty in Dallas, Kidd only had one year in fifteen year career where he shot above 40% from behind the three point line.  Now, Kidd has done that every season since he's come back to the team.  He's not just taking an occassional three here and there over the course of the game, he averaged 5.2 attempts/game which had him ranked 5th in terms of attempts.  His percentage last season (42.5%) ranked him Stephen Curry, Mo Williams and Steve Nash.  Those numbers are incredible for a player who was never really known as a legitimate outside shooter.

The last thing people remember is the bottom falling out from Kidd in the playoffs against the Spurs.  There is no doubt that he didn't perform up to par in that series.  You can buy the reports of him being sick if you want to, some people don't want to.  I will buy the fact that he was overused in the regular season.  Kidd averaged 36 minutes/game during the regular season and he played in 80 games.  Both of those numbers are ridiculously high for Kidd.  He was burnt out by the time the playoffs rolled around and he didn't have anything left.  The Mavericks will need to learn from that mistake and give him occasional games off and do whatever is necessary to reduce his minutes closer to 30-33 minutes/game.

I would easily move Kidd up to 7th or 8th best point guard in the league.  The facThe people at Ball Don't Lie clearly don't see Jason Kidd as an elite point guard anymore, they are clearly mistaken.