Over the course of the offseason, Buckets Over Broadway will be doing year-end report cards of the New York Knicks roster. The roster experienced a decent amount of overhaul this season, so we’ll simply be covering the core players of the 2012-13 team. Players will be analyzed by their offense, defense, and overall contributions throughout the season. Next up is Jason Kidd.
Offense: Jason Kidd’s effect on the Knicks’ offense dangled between wondrous and disastrous all season long. At times, as he has shown through his long, illustrious career, Kidd’s ahead-of-the-play passing instincts and floor-spreading made the Knicks’ offense absolutely click. Other times — and it happened a bit too frequently — Kidd’s play-making was hindered by his inability to create off the dribble and when his stroke went awry, thus making him a non-factor on the floor.
Kidd’s overall effectiveness waned throughout the season, but he was at his best early in the year. As a 40-year old is wont to do, time and length of the season took away from all that Kidd could do. In November and December, Kidd averaged 8.9 points on 45% 3FG with 4.1 assists per game. Post All-Star break, Kidd averaged 4.3 points on 29.9% FG with 2.8 assists per game. Early on, Kidd was beneficial to the Knicks’ offense, acting as a secondary play-maker at the two-guard slot next to Raymond Felton. The Knicks’ pick-and-rolls often kicked out to Kidd where he could knock down three-pointers or make the swing pass to other shooters. Early in the season, he came through in clutch situations and hit a bundle of big shots to help the Knicks win games.
However, as the year wore on, Kidd’s production just completely dropped off, including a stretch of 10 straight playoff games in which Kidd didn’t score a point. He lost his starting job to Pablo Prigioni and became ineffective off the bench. For the year, the Knicks were almost completely the same offensively with Kidd on or off the floor. He made a remarkable difference early on, but he was so ineffective late in the season that it likely evened the numbers out.
Defense: Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Kidd’s season was his defense. Where his offense came and went, his defense was mostly stout. Kidd no longer possesses the speed or springs to keep up with most guards, but he is equipped with Old Man Strength and his hands are sticky in the passing lane and on sloppy dribbles. Kidd occasionally got assigned bigger, more elite scorers and did a commendable job trying to lock them up. He can still defend the post well, and those thieving hands of his gave players trouble in isolation situations.
With Kidd on the floor, the Knicks had a Defensive Rating of 103.2 and a 103.8 Defensive Rating with him off the floor. As was the case with his offense, he fell off later in the season, but not to the same degree. He didn’t hurt the Knicks on defense the way he did on offense. However, in the playoffs, there were some crucial slip-ups, like bad rotations and late close-outs on shooters, especially in the Indiana series. As nice of a surprise as his fairly consistent defense was, it’s not going to get better with time.
Overall: Kidd’s entire season could be summed up as this: it’s not going to get better. The Knicks signed Kidd to a three-year contract. All indications seem to say that Kidd won’t retire this offseason, which means the Knicks will need to find another more reliable guard to take more of Kidd’s minutes. He was terrific through half the season and borderline unbearable through the latter half. Kidd still brings some great qualities to the team, but it doesn’t appear he can continue to add all that much to the floor going forward. We may have seen the best of Kidd in a Knicks uniform.