Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Knicks [Print without images]

Saturday, March 2, 2013
Kidd boosts bench in Knicks' win over Wiz

By Ian Begley

Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony said Jason Kidd is at his best coming off the Knicks bench.
WASHINGTON -- Maybe to us, Mike Woodson taking Jason Kidd out of the starting lineup is a demotion.

But to Kidd, the move put him back where he'd always intended to be.

"I came in (to the season) thinking I was going to be the backup, but with the guys that we had on our roster, Coach asked me to start. Whatever they need me to do, or whatever Coach needs me to do, that's my job," Kidd said.

Woodson made the move many Knicks fans had pined for for weeks on Friday, removing the cold-shooting Kidd from the starting five.

Kidd said he and Woodson had discussed the move recently and he was "on the same page" with his coach.

"I think it was fine," Kidd said.

It also makes sense.

Kidd simply couldn't hit a shot in recent weeks and, to Woodson, he's a better fit coming off the bench with the ball in his hands.

"He's a point guard, and I've got to put him in a position to be more successful," Woodson said. "I don't think I've done a good job in that area ... I want him more with the ball in his hands to run this team."

It worked on Friday. Kidd had four points, five assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes. He helped facilitate for the second unit and helped the Knicks close the Wizards out in the fourth quarter.

John Wall, Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd defends Wizards guard John Wall in the second quarter.
New York outscored Washington by seven when Kidd was on the floor, and he was on the floor when the Knicks overcame a four-point deficit early in the fourth.

"He just makes our bench better," J.R. Smith said.

That was the general sentiment around the Knicks locker room.

Carmelo Anthony felt the move to the bench even takes some pressure off the 39-year-old Kidd.

"We didn’t expect Jason to come in, play 35, 40 minutes every night. So he comes in off the bench, gives us what he got, controls the tempo of the game. That’s when he’s at his best," Anthony said. "We’re not expecting Jason to sit out there and make 3s. That’s not his role on the team."

That's a good thing. Because Kidd's offense was non-existent in recent games.

He's made just seven of his past 49 3-point attempts and entered play tonight shooting 19.6 percent in his past 10 games.

"I didn't come in this league as a scorer and it doesn't look like I'm going to leave as a scorer," Kidd deadpanned.

Jokes aside, the 18-year veteran is confident that he'll be able to knock down shots again -- which is important because teams are going to leave him open.

"In warmups, I feel great; they all go in," Kidd said. "You just keep shooting it."

The Knicks really don't need Kidd to score.

They need him to thrive in the role they put him in Friday night -- as a distributor, a guy who keeps the floor spaced and puts the ball where it needs to be.

"Doing the little things," said Kidd, who is signed through 2014-15, "That's what I do."

He did it on Friday off the bench and the Knicks walked off the floor with a win.

Right move for Kidd, right move for the Knicks.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.