Thursday, June 6, 2013

Knicks Notes: The Kidd's Alright

Amidst the MLB draft, the Biogenesis drug scandal, and the NBA Coach of the Year being fired, there was some transaction news for the New York Knicks in which their point guard depth chart just got a little shorter. After 19 seasons in the NBA, Jason Kidd, the oldest player in the Association has decided to retire. This was rumored to be true earlier in the season, as per "sources close to Kidd," but there was nothing definitive until he took a weekend to relax with his family. The Knicks were surprised, as Kidd had previously told them he would continue playing, according to his comments in a piece by Ohm Youngmisuk of

As a Knick, Kidd finished the season averaging about 27 minutes, 37.2% in FG, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Truly a far cry from his career numbers (which are certainly in contention for the Hall of Fame), but then again, he was asked to play far more than originally anticipated. Kidd started the year as the starting shooting guard in place of Iman Shumpert and was likely to see reduced minutes as was the case in Dallas, but was forced to play extra in the wake of injuries throughout the Knicks season, most notably to starting PG Raymond Felton.

How will Knicks fans remember Jason Kidd? Perhaps for his fine play as a member of the New Jersey Nets or Dallas Mavericks, helping him on his way to become one of the most prolific passers and great rebounders in the game. Or maybe while the roster was still being formed, when Kidd first signed on and said he would sign on to mentor Jeremy Lin just to watch him be picked up by Houston, then pick up a DUI while partying in the Hamptons. What about when he went ice cold in the postseason, shooting 12% from the floor over 20 minutes per game?

.. wait a second, let's talk about that. He scored a total of 11 points that postseason. His 12% FG was 3-for-25. Funny how 17 of those 25 attempts were 3-pointers, and he made three of them. His other two points were free throws, for which he was perfect, but that's not too hard when you only attempt two. Those were his last games as a Knick?! Man, it's a good thing he's retiring... (I Kidd, I Kidd.)

Personally, as a Knicks fan, I will remember Jason Kidd for the tear the team went on to start the 2012-13 campaign. Certainly he was not alone in this, but Kidd made GM Glen Grunwald look like a genius when the team opened with an 18-5 record, seemingly ready to roll until injuries to virtually every player put a strain on what would still persevere to be the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference.

Numbers aside, his veteran knowledge and intangibles made the unlikely trio of himself, Felton, and Pablo Prigioni at point guard work so well that, until the Felton hand injury, pundits everywhere gave legitimate praise to a team generally criticized for an all-or-nothing, win-now approach that has generated little positive result. The transition out of Linsanity was made seamless only by way of Lin's lackluster play to begin the season for the Rockets and the success of the new Knicks, led by way of the intangibles brought by players like Kidd through training camp and practice as the season wore on.

So, where to now? With Kidd retired, Prigioni a free agent, and Felton inconsistent, what's the next move? Unfortunately, with so much money tied up on the bench (here's lookin' at you, Amar'e), the options are minimal, with only the taxpayer's mid-level exception.

This tweet from ESPNNewYork's Jared Zwerling seems to imply that our course is to look for a solution through the draft. It's fairly impossible to track who will land with the Knicks at pick #24, but that won't stop anyone from trying, right? Shane Larkin will likely be off the board, but in another article, Zwerling takes an in-depth look at Isaiah Canaan, who is simply enamored with New York. You really never know what may come out of a late first-round draft pick - sometimes you get an Iman Shumpert.

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After the Knicks were bumped by Indiana, I made a prediction: Heat vs. Spurs, with San Antonio taking it in six. I'm never big on betting against LeBron and whatever Miami bench player decides to wake up in any given game. However, not only do I have a good feeling about the Spurs (.. funny how Tony Parker is only mentioned as one of the best PG in the game when they're in the playoffs?), but my grandmother is easily the biggest Tim Duncan fan I've ever seen, so I have to side with her on this one. The only question mark now was the nine-day layoff for the Spurs, and while it's difficult to argue that rest is good, the best teams in long playoff formats are the ones who catch fire. Anyway, I can't change my pick now, so I'm rooting for some good basketball.

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