Jason Kidd is heading to the Hall of Fame. The man who donned a New Jersey Nets jersey from 2001-2008, who made five All-Star rosters during that time and six appearances on the All-Defensive first or second team during his tenure, is a Hall of Famer. The last man to coach a Nets team to victory in a playoff round is a Hall of Famer.
This is obviously a time to rejoice, but it’s also a time to revisit some of Kidd’s best moments, especially when all his time as a Nets player happened in the New Jersey days. There are probably diehard Nets fans who didn’t watch Kidd play for the team, who don’t know what they’re missing out on.
I decided one of the best ways to help y’all appreciate Jason Kidd would be to look back on one of his best games as a Net. With the help of Google and Basketball-Reference, I settled on Kidd’s 38/14/14 game against the Suns from December 2006. The Nets lost that game in double overtime 161-157, but Kidd played great basketball. (Also, this is a game that I was able to find a video of, so that factored into the selection of it.)
The First Quarter
- Kidd running the floor well early, but a lot of offensive possessions are ending up in the hands of Nenad Krstic, which is not the ideal way for a Nets offensive possession to end.
- Kidd already getting exposed defensively against Steve Nash. Kidd was a great defensive player, but how could anyone be expected to defend Nash?
- Kidd makes a great pass around the 8: 00-minute mark of the first to Krstic in the paint. Krstic misses the shot, but man — Kidd could make some tough passes.
- Kidd gets on the board for the first time with a smooth jumper from the baseline. Misses a tough layup on his next shot.
- There was a lot of variability in Kidd’s three-point shooting over the years. His last year in Phoenix, Kidd shot 29.7% from deep, but by the 2009-2010 season in Dallas, he was shooting 42.5%. His New Jersey seasons most featured him hovering in the low-to-mid 30s. I hadn’t watched much of Kidd since I started taking basketball seriously, but his jumper looks to have a weird little lean in it as he’s getting ready to release. I wonder if that contributed to some of the inconsistency.
The Second Quarter
- Kidd sits for the final four minutes of the first and the first three minutes of the second. It’s 20-15 Suns when he leaves and 36-36 when he comes back in.
- I am being told that Boris Diaw has a brother who played at Georgia Tech am I am not upset we were deprived of having two Diaws in the NBA.
- Kidd hits another mid-range jumper.
- 7:24 left in the second and Kidd swings a wild and perfect pass from under the basket out to an open Antoine Wright behind the arc. Watching Jason Kidd pass the basketball is my new favorite thing.
- I’m also wildly impressed by Kidd’s ability to go from dribbling to shooting in an instant.
- Eddie House feeds Kidd under the basket and Kidd responds less than a minute later by hitting House on the fastbreak. House three. Nets had just allowed a run by the Suns, but this cuts the lead back down to seven.
- We’ve got us a bit of an assist run here by Kidd, who picks up an assist on five consecutive made baskets for the Nets and then caps it off with New Jersey’s last made bucket of the half. The fast break is a big reason why this stretch happens, as the Nets get out and push the pace on each play. The Nets ranked just 16th in pace that season, which seems silly and bad for a team with an elite point guard in Kidd and Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson in their primes.
- Kidd opens the second half with a made three off a Krstic assist. I’ll tell y’all what — if you’d told me anytime before I decided to write this that I would be writing about Nenad Krstic in 2018, I would not have believed you. (By the way, with 6:48 left in the half Kidd has another magical pass that leads to a long two by Krstic. JASON KIDD IS MAGIC, PEOPLE.)
- Kidd doesn’t really have much of a third quarter. Five points, two assists, with most of that coming right at the start of the quarter, let’s just skip to the fourth.
- Kidd checks back in. There is 10:35 left in the fourth. Just 10 seconds later, he’ll dish an assist to Vince Carter, but in-between these two things there will be a commercial break and upon returning, Ian Eagle will talk some trash about Mark Jackson getting dunked on.
- That assist makes this the 78th triple-double of Kidd’s career. That puts him in a tie for third-most ever with Wilt Chamberlain. Kidd ended his career with 107, passing Chamberlain but never moving higher on the list. He’ll likely be passed very early this upcoming season by Russell Westbrook, who sits at 104, but it’ll be a long time before anyone else passes him. LeBron is at 73 and has a chance, maybe? (Also, shouts to Fat Lever, who is eighth all-time in triple-doubles.)
- With 9:19 left in the quarter, Kidd scores inside. On that possession, he dribbled in, retreated, reassessed the defense, and then attacked again.
- Later on, Kidd inbounds, waits at the three-point line, and when Nash makes the bad decision to double in the paint, the ball is kicked out for an open Kidd three. It gives the Nets the lead.
- Kidd hits a pair of free throws with four seconds left to give New Jersey a three-point lead. This comes after Vince Carter fouls out — he had 31 points — to send Diaw to the line for two. That’s smart because it prevents the Suns from getting off a three with five seconds to play. It also eventually comes back to bite them as they play two overtimes without him.
- Look, Jason Kidd was an offensive mastermind in this game, but there were times when Steve Nash roasted him. Kidd couldn’t stay with Nash on the inbounds play, letting him get a cushion and hit the game-tying three.
- TIME FOR OVERTIME.
- 3:24 to go in the first overtime, Kidd crosses over and hits a mid-range jumper.
- Kidd’s first overtime is mostly just free throw shooting. 4-for-4 from the line.
- Kidd gets a good look at the buzzer, but the jumper rims out. Double overtime coming up.
- A free throw line jumper early in the second overtime drops. Kidd was taking — and making — a lot of mid-range shots in this one.
- Some more of Kidd’s passing magic in the second overtime as well. A great assist to get the ball to Jefferson in the paint, followed by quick decision to pass up a three of his own on the next possession to get Jefferson a three.
- With 33 seconds left, gets the one-on-one he wants against Shawn Marion. Drives in, gets the bucket, gets the foul. TIE GAME.
- And that’ll be it for Kidd. He turns the ball over with 10 seconds to play, misses a three at the end of the game. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that he spent this entire game throwing the ball around the court like a wizard and hitting anything he wanted in the mid-range.