The Knicks currently sit atop the Eastern conference standings with the second best record in the league at 7-1 after mauling a beat up Pacers team Sunday afternoon. The Knicks can attribute this historic start to stifling defense, excellent ball movement, and Mike Woodson’s goatee. However, the Knicks would not have a better record than the Miami Heat if not for one Jason Kidd. A man who was once despised by the Garden faithful during his time as a New Jersey Net, Kidd is quickly becoming a Garden favorite. Jason Kidd, in my opinion, is like a wizard on the basketball court. He always seems to have a trick up his sleeve right when the Knicks need a stop or a bucket, and not to mention, he’s old. This is why I think that Kidd is the X-factor of this Knicks team.
Kidd is an extremely smart player who makes very little mistakes which is why he currently ranks second on the Knicks in PER to Chris Copeland who has a ridiculously high PER since he has only played about 6 minutes in blowout games. So, Kidd is basically leading the team in player efficiency rating. Not bad for a soon-to-be 40 year old who many considered to be washed up after a disappointing 2011-2012 season in Dallas. Part of the key to Kidd’s success is that Woodson is not overusing the future hall of famer by keeping his minutes per game average at a reasonable 25.3 minutes. Kidd has only played 30 or more minutes twice this season. The first time in Orlando where he helped build the Knicks lead to double digits in the fourth quarter to cement their victory against a surprisingly competent Orlando Magic squad. The second instance came in San Antonio where he basically won the Knicks the game by leading them past an elite Spurs team that was already up by 12 with 7 minutes remaining.
The Knicks’ spectacular ball movement can largely be attributed to Jason Kidd constantly making the extra pass and finding the open man. Kidd has also been the beneficiary of this ball movement on numerous occasions when his teammates find him for a wide open 3 pointer. This is the primary reason why Kidd is currently shooting the 3 ball at a deadly 56.5%, good for 5th best in the NBA. J-Kidd has also been very careful with the basketball, turning it over only 4 times this season. On the defensive end, Kidd has proven he can still be quite useful. His 13 steals and 3 blocks (which all occurred in the Spurs game) can be accredited to his hounding and stifling defense. Although he has clearly lost a step, many people have forgotten Kidd has been named to all-defensive teams 9 times.
Jason Kidd may not be the player he once was with the New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns all those years ago but he is still finding ways to contribute and help the Knicks win ball games despite his advanced age. He is a major piece to the Knicks’ puzzle and without him this team would not be the same. If Kidd can conserve enough energy come May, I believe he will be a major contributor in any playoff series the Knicks find themselves in. And if we’re lucky, Kidd may find some of that same magic this season that he found 2 years ago in Dallas that led to his first NBA championship.