GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Jason Kidd's 3-point shooting and facilitating as a point guard were two key factors in the Knicks' early success this season.
On Friday night, even though the Knicks lost, Kidd reclaimed his outside touch, finishing 2-for-4 from downtown -- his first game with at least two long balls since Jan. 24. He also had four assists, right above his season average.
Not only has Kidd been a bit reluctant to shoot recently, he has also been more of a stationary perimeter player -- mostly awaiting kick-out passes or making the extra pass. But Mike Woodson wants the future Hall of Famer to do more of what he does best -- facilitate -- which he did in the 12 games Raymond Felton missed with a broken right pinkie.
"Early on, (Kidd) was initiating offense, too. That kind of freed Raymond up to freelance and shoot and do a little bit more," the coach said after Sunday morning's shootaround. "When we went through that stretch when Raymond was out, he had to do so much and I think it burned him some.
"I need him to get back to facilitating a little bit, and maybe pull his minutes back. But I don't need Raymond to have to pound it as much. I need Jason to help him in that regard because, I mean, that's what he's done all of his career in terms of running a team. When you've got two guys, the beauty of it is both of them can run the team."
It's also important to watch how opponents continue to attack Kidd when he's on defense. Recently, the Pacers and Raptors both looked to put their starting shooting guard -- the position Kidd has been playing -- in isolation situations against the 39-year-old. In addition, both teams looked to force the Knicks to switch on the perimeter to leave Kidd on their star small forward. Paul George and Rudy Gay took advantage at times.
While Woodson admits Kidd has gotten exposed occasionally, the coach believes in his defense.
"Kidd is probably one of our best defenders being out on the perimeter, as old as he is," Woodson said. "He gets beat from time to time, but for the most part, he's pretty good and clever at pushing guys off their sweet spots when we switch and they try to post him. And he's got pretty good hands when guys have the ball around the rim in terms of stripping and things of that nature.
"So I don't have a problem with Kidd in terms of how he defends or if somebody tries to take advantage of that, because he's pretty good at holding his own."
The Knicks can work out their constant switching by having Felton and Iman Shumpert improve defensively. That means better predicting, communicating and fighting through screens. If they can stay with their man better, that will not only help Kidd, but it will also allow Tyson Chandler to protect the basket better. Too many times lately, he has been stuck on opposing guards, leaving the paint more vulnerable.
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