Posted by Neil Paine on March 18, 2009
Back in the old days, the book on Jason Kidd stayed basically the same year in and year out: you denied him penetration at all costs, always went under on the screen/roll, and if he happened to knock down a few perimeter shots on you, you lived with it. I mean, there was a reason people called him "Ason Kidd" -- he had no "J".
But have you seen J-Kidd's shooting stats this year? Especially alongside his career stats prior to this season?
As you can see, Kidd has been taking more jump shots than ever (note the dramatically increased % of FGA taken from 3-point land and the corresponding drop in FTA/FGA), and he's been making them at an uncharacteristically high rate as well. Needless to say, this is a very new development in Kidd's career, and it's not simply a Dallas thing, either. These were his numbers after arriving in Big D last season:
Although Kidd shot better from beyond the arc after the trade, the fraction of his shots that came from outside was essentially the same as his lifetime average. This year, though? Completely out of step with his career norms; among players with >1000 MP, Kidd ranks 15th in 3PA/FGA! How's that for a guy who used to be nicknamed "Ason"? And to do it at 35 years of age? Remarkable. In the 3-point era (since 1979-80), here are the oldest players ever to jump from a <40% 3-point tendency (3PA/FGA) to one >50% (minimum 1,000 MP in both seasons):
Suffice to say, it's pretty unusual for a player to change his stripes like this, especially this late in his career, especially for as big a star as Kidd. Yes, Kidd has always been a passable open shooter when he gets squared and catches + shoots, and yes, Rick Carlisle is asking more of that from him than ever (his possession % is down from the mid-to-high 20s in his New Jersey heyday to 16.2 this season), but you'd be lying if you said that before the season you thought Jason Kidd would shoot 40%+ from deep and take more than half of his shots from out there. You have to admit that this is a fairly interesting -- and unprecedented -- transformation for a veteran like Kidd.