Thursday, October 4, 2012
Kidd's earning leadership points
By Jared Zwerling
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Jason Kidd hasn't wasted any time.
The future Hall of Famer encouraged the entire team to meet earlier than usual at the Knicks' practice facility on Sept. 10, and once they started scrimmaging, he was dishing out pointers to every player.
"When we got together last month, he was one of the spearheads behind that, telling us what he thinks we have to do," Carmelo Anthony said during media day. "When you have a guy like that with that type of knowledge and experience, it helps everything."
A veteran NBA advance scout who worked for the Mavericks when Kidd was there said the 18-year veteran always looks to make his presence felt right away every season.
"The guys love playing with him and they respect him because of what he's done in this league," he said. "Players will actually go up to him and ask a lot questions, and learn how to play with him -- just as well as he learns how to play with them."
While Anthony will be leaned on most nights to carry the scoring load and hit the game-winning shot, Kidd will arguably be the most influential member of the Knicks -- even as the point guard off the bench.
"He's never played backup, but he's been ready to accept it," the scout said. "Even if he had come back to Dallas, he was ready to sit down and allow D-Will (Deron Williams) to be the point guard."
In addition to his superb floor direction and passing ability, Kidd will provide valuable minutes off the ball. Not only is he an underrated 3-point shooter -- he's third all-time in makes behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller -- he has the build (6-foot-4, 210) to defend shooting guards.
"He shoots a 3-point set shot and it's almost automatic," the scout said. "He's very effective because he can still guard some twos because he's a little bit bigger and naturally he's stronger than other point guards. He's also so much smarter than so many other guys."
Even at Kidd's age (39), the scout still believes he can be a triple-double threat. He ranks first among active players with 107 TDs.
"I can't say enough about how smart he is," he said. "He picks and chooses his spots on the floor, when to score, when to go get a rebound and when to make a play. At the end of games, he needs to be on the floor."
The scout thinks Kidd will play around 20 to 25 minutes per game, a solid amount for a backup point guard. He envisions the Knicks regulating his court time like Dallas' training staff did.
"We didn't have him practice a lot, even on game days and during shootarounds," the scout said. "He would watch from the sidelines and add direction. He had flexibility where he didn’t really have to extend himself, so he was fresh for games."
But Kidd's biggest hurdle -- and the Knicks' -- isn't health. It's the Miami Heat.