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Jason Kidd: 3-Point Specialist?

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?

Year Ag Tm G Min 2P% 3P% FT% TS% FTr 3Ptd
1995 21 DAL 79 2668 43.3 27.2 69.8 47.1 32.1 30.0
1996 22 DAL 81 3034 40.1 33.6 69.2 46.8 25.6 30.6
1997 23 TOT 55 1964 41.8 37.0 67.9 49.8 31.2 31.2
1998 24 PHO 82 3118 45.4 31.3 79.9 50.2 24.3 27.1
1999 25 PHO 50 2060 46.1 36.6 75.7 52.7 34.2 17.6
2000 26 PHO 67 2616 42.7 33.7 82.9 49.8 28.7 19.4
2001 27 PHO 77 3065 44.2 29.7 81.4 51.0 36.7 21.1
2002 28 NJN 82 3056 42.4 32.1 81.4 48.4 21.7 32.0
2003 29 NJN 80 2989 44.5 34.1 84.1 52.6 32.4 29.7
2004 30 NJN 67 2450 41.1 32.1 82.7 48.5 26.0 30.6
2005 31 NJN 66 2435 42.5 36.0 74.0 50.6 22.5 41.9
2006 32 NJN 80 2975 44.5 35.2 79.5 52.6 27.0 43.6
2007 33 NJN 80 2933 44.8 34.3 77.8 51.6 25.3 39.8
2008 34 TOT 80 2906 38.7 38.1 81.8 49.9 20.8 39.3
95-08 1026 38269 43.0 33.7 78.1 50.0 27.7 31.0
2009 35 DAL 67 2396 45.1 40.7 81.4 55.9 16.4 51.2

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:

Year Ag Tm G Min 2P% 3P% FT% TS% FTr 3Ptd
2008 34 DAL 29 1011 41.1 46.1 81.5 53.6 22.1 31.1

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):

Player Year Ag Tm 3t_Y-1 3t_Y
Dale Ellis 1999 38 SEA 39.1 54.9
Darrell Armstrong 2004 35 NOH 36.1 58.3
Jason Kidd 2009 35 DAL 39.3 51.2
Danny Ainge 1993 33 PHO 34.0 51.0
Donyell Marshall 2005 31 TOR 31.9 61.3
Nate McMillan 1996 31 SEA 39.0 50.8
Chuck Person 1995 30 SAS 32.3 59.3
Maurice Evans 2009 30 ATL 38.3 50.3
Terry Mills 1997 29 DET 30.7 59.1
Kenny Smith 1995 29 HOU 30.9 55.8
John Starks 1995 29 NYK 34.5 57.5
Raef LaFrentz 2006 29 BOS 32.7 51.8
Greg Buckner 2006 29 DEN 39.9 58.3
Tony Delk 2003 29 BOS 36.4 54.3
Trent Tucker 1989 29 NYK 36.7 51.1

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.

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3 Responses to “Jason Kidd: 3-Point Specialist?”

  1. Ryan J. Parker Says:

    Jason Kidd--rebound specialist! :)

  2. MyArvydas Says:

    It makes some sense to me, as slashing for the layup gets more difficult when your legs get older. Leave it to a smart player like J-Kidd to adjust his game and work so well at his jump shot.

  3. bastillon Says:

    There's a reason for it. He's efficient being a spot-up shooter and terrible pull-up shooter. This year he's getting a lot more of open looks, because of defenders drawn by Terry and Nowitzki. Mavericks are wisely coached, so they told Jason to shoot more spot-up threes since it's his highest percentage shot in terms of efficiency. So Kidd is like first time in his career shooting effectively ?

    He's a lot like Ron Artest. He isn't good pull-up shooter either, while being at least dangerous threat with his feet set.