Posts Tagged ‘Jason Kidd’

After the Gold: First-class comments from Team USA

August 24, 2008

Straight from the horses’ mouths …

Post-game comments from members of Team USA

Click the link ^ … and read each one.

What it means to be a TEAM.

Hoops 101

August 24, 2008

This corner hates to say, “You were told what was going to happen”, in advance, but …

* USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold
* Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

The USA will NEED to send its VERY best players in order to win Gold Medals in Olympic Games’ men’s basketball.

If not … the rest of the the world is quickly becoming good ‘enough’ to capture Gold or Silver should the USA slip up.

Top flight basketball … like soccer/football … is now truly an international game … with good players and coaches scattered everywhere around the globe. -)

Kudos to …

* Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Mark Gasol, Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Jimenez, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa, Berni Rodrigues, Raul Lopez, Alex Mumbru, Jose Calderon (injured), their coaches & support staff

* Kobe Bryant, Leron James, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, their coaches and support staff …

Box Score & Game Summary

for giving such a good account of yourselves.

That, right there … ^^^ … my friends … was first-class basketball.

USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold

August 23, 2008

19 days ago, this corner told you what was most likely going to happen in the 2008 Olympic Games’ men’s basketball tournament …

Upside and Motor: Team USA blogger roundtable [August 4, 2008]

It might not be pretty tomorrow during the final, from a USA perspective, but the ‘Stars & Stripes’ is going to win the Gold Medal.

Q1. What was wrong with USA Basketball in 2002, 2004 & 2006?

A1. Nothing which could not be fixed by the likes of Kobe Bryant & Jason Kidd.

NOTE: This corner’s favourite moment, thus far, in this Olympic tournament was the two-armed shiver delivered by Jason Kidd … to Carmelo Anthony when the latter was about to lose his head and physically combat an Argentinian player [Luis Scola?] in the heat of battle, in response to a hard foul which had been made on Dwight Howard, early in the 2nd half of yesterday’s semi-final with the defending champs still within strking distance. In effect, it said: “Smarten up kid, we have a Gold Medal to Win!” When a team gets on-court leadership like that … it is going to win the Gold Medal, if it also has (i) THE BEST PLAYER on the planet (i.e. Kobe Bean Bryant), (ii) the 2nd best player on the planet (i.e. Lebron James), and (iii) the 3rd best player on the planet (i.e. D-Wade), when healthy … not named Tim Duncan. American basketball was never ‘deficient’. Their very best players, weren’t playing in combination with one another.

El Matador es el numero ocho

August 15, 2008

[as a follow-up to last week’s entry … Ranking Jose Calderon as a PG]

Given the list of players who customarily play the Point Guard position for their respective teams in the NBA, this is how they now rank, in the eyes of this corner:

[previous ranking]

1. Deron Williams [5] … the best combination of PG skills today
2. Chauncey Billups [1] … when healthy, still formidable
3. Chris Paul [7] … only drawback is his lack of size
4. Tony Parker [4] … still plagued by periods of erratic decision-making
5. Steve Nash [3] … inconsistent D & now age beginning to take their toll
6. Jason Kidd [2] … major slippage noticed this past season; REBOUNDING king
7. Baron Davis [6] … multi-dimensional but where will playoff success come from?
8. Jose Calderon [8] … physically sound, steadily improving & just entering the prime of his career

That said … if there was one game to be played next season with the outcome to determine the fate of the hypothetical team GM’d by khandor’s sports blog, in the NBA … Brandon Roy would have the ball in his hands with the shot clock ticking down, on behalf of that team.

NOTE: Thanks to those who submitted comments and voted during the past week; unfortunately, not enough in total to serve as a valid ‘informal’ poll.

Ranking Jose Calderon as a Point Guard

August 7, 2008

Saw this quote two days ago in a solid Olympic Scouting Report [courtesy of Xavier, a European coach, at Forum Blue and Gold]:

Jose Calderon would be a starter in 25 of the 30 NBA teams … “

and, as you might expect by now, it started the wheels a-turning.

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Where exactly does El Matador [Jose Calderon] stack up in today’s NBA, versus the likes of:

[in alphabetical order]

Alston, Rafer; Arenas, Gilbert; Barbosa, Leandro; Bibby, Mike; Billups, Chauncey; Blake, Steve; Calderon, Jose; Conley, Mike Jr.; Davis, Baron; Duhon, Chris; Ellis, Monta; Felton, Raymond; Fisher, Derek; Ford, TJ; Foye, Randy; Gibson, Daniel; Gordon, Ben; Harris, Devan; Hinrich, Kirk; Iverson, Allen; Jack, Jarrett; Kidd, Jason; Livingston, Shaun; Lowry, Nick; Marbury, Stephon; Miller, Andre; Nash, Steve; Nelson, Jameer; Parker, Tony; Paul, Chris; Ridnour, Luke; Rondo, Rajon; Roy, Brandon; Telfair, Sebastien; Terry, Jason; Tinsley, Jamaal; Udrih, Beno; Watson, Earl; West, Delonte; Williams, Marcus; Williams, Deron; Williams, Jason; Williams, Mo

Do you think Calderon would be considered as The Starter for as many as 25 of the NBA’s 30 teams?

Where do you rank him, as a Point Guard, heading into the 2008-2009 season? [i.e. as No. ?]

In your personal rankings, is Calderon in your:

i) #1-5
ii) #6-10
iii) #11-15
iv) #16 plus

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Once again, all are welcome to participate.


Note 1:
Final Results will be published Thu, August 14, 2008.
Note 2 : As a precursor … this ranking was published here Dec 19, 2007; followed by this one [Jan 30, 2008].

Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

August 4, 2008

Courtesy of Hardwood Paroxysm’s, Olympic Basketball Gets Feisty:

Team USA Blogger Roundtable!

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Here’s the take from this corner …

The REAL answers to the 8 questions asked. 🙂

1. Which single player is the most pivotal to the team’s success?

Kobe Bean Bryant. If you take the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Team USA’s that came up empty and add Jason Kidd to each of those squads, Does that team win the Gold Medal? Maybe; maybe not. BUT, go ahead and add Kobe Bryant to each of those teams, instead, and what’s the correct answer? A RESOUNDING “Yes, they do!”

Kobe Bryant’s all-around game … beginning with his COMMITMENT TO WINNING, then his individual ability to DEFEND his assigned check (positions #1-3) AND his ability to REBOUND his position AND his ability/willingness to SHARE THE BALL with his teammates on Offense AND his ability to SHOOT THE BALL FROM THE PERIMETER … would have made each of those 3 previous teams champions in their own right.

I am NOT an unadulterated (pardon the pun) Kobe admirer but … the facts ARE the facts … tha Man is (very simply) the best (individual) basketball player in the world today. PERIOD.

With Kobe Bryant defending the best Guard or Forward scorer on the other team … Team USA’s opponent (whoever it is) will simply NOT be able to score enough points to beat this American team this go around.

2. Is starting Jason Kidd over Chris Paul (or Deron Williams a mistake? Why or why not?

Starting Jason Kidd is the CORRECT decision for this version of Team USA.

Jason Kidd, at the PG-spot, has NEVER lost a game in international competition … and, NEVER is a long time.

J-Kidd is unselfish, to a fault … gets his teammates involved and is big enough to Check (and Rebound against) any Point Guard, Off Guard or Small Forward he might need to, in order to allow Kobe Bryant to defend whatever player he NEEDS to Defend (and Rebound against) so that Team USA established the CORRECT TONE, from a Defensive & Rebounding standpoint, at the outset of the game.

On the court, Jason Kidd is THE Leader of this Team. Period.

3. The lack of Centers on Team USA’s roster is well chronicled. But aside from that, what is this team’s biggest weakness?

Mike Krzyzewski.

For further explanation, see the following link:

https://khandorssportsblog.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/game-time-usa-vs-turkey-take-i-ii/

Nuff said.

4. If you had to pick one team to upset the United States and win the Gold Medal, what team would it be? Why?

There is NO TEAM, this year, which will defeat Team USA … as outlined in the answer to Question #1.

Several teams could come close … e.g. Spain, Greece and Argentina … but there’s a HUGE difference between ‘coming close’ and ‘winning’.

Isn’t there?

5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. 🙂

6. Which is more likely to be the achilles’ heel of the American defense: perimeter shooting, high post play, or the pick & roll?

Between these three options (exclusively), it’s (deadly) Perimeter Shooting … originating from the Pick & Roll play, principally involving offensive players (in a 2-Man Game) that are not being checked by Kobe Bryant, while the player who Kobe Bryant is checking is being isolated in an offensive Corner position, either strong or weak side, depending on the specific set play which is being run … at least, that is, IF the international coaches have any clue at all about how to stay close AND maybe steal a win from this version of Team USA.

All teams, everywhere, are vulnerable to deadly Perimeter Shooting … at least, for specific stretches of a game.

7. Which of Team USA’s “big three” of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, or Lebron James will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses?

Kobe Bryant “will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses” … because when HE INITIATES a defensive sequence which results in a Team USA STOP the defense of their opponent has almost NO CHANCE to recover in transition to prevent Team USA from scoring easily in Offensive Transition Mode.

This is Team USA’s single most effective (efficient?) Offensive Scoring play. PERIOD.

8. W’ell do this last question Tiger Woods style: Who are you taking for the Olympics? Team USA or the Field?

Team USA will NOT lose a game this go round.

For further explanation see the answer to Question #1. 🙂

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Enjoy, one and all!!!

Game Time: USA vs Turkey, Take I & II

August 1, 2008

A collaborative effort thanks to David Wafer’s nbaroundtable.

Enjoy!

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Take I
by David Wafer

Missed the start of the game. We’re tuning in halfway through the second with the US leading 37-34.

  • LeBron James playing tonight. He just hit a midrange J off the dribble. Turnover Turkey, Deron leads the break, pass to the left wing to LeBron, touch pass, Kobe layup. Nice passing from Williams and James.
  • Erden is playing for Turkey tonight. He was the final pick in the draft this year, selected by the Celtics.
  • US looking very dangerous off of turnovers again tonight. Their halfcourt offense looks a bit disjointed so far though. A couple of sloppy turnovers haven’t helped matters but the main problem is that their offense doesn’t seem to be heading in any particular direction.
  • LeBron James with two steals in a little over a minute here. US are putting a lot of pressure on the ball and creating a lot of havoc defensively, primarily on the perimeter. Another turnover, Kobe leads the break, high lob to LeBron, one handed slam. US up 50-37 now. Turkey’s offense can’t get anything going. LeBron makes another steal, beautiful recovery play. The US’ zone was all over the place and left one of Turkey’s bigs under the left hand side of the rim, LeBron was defending his man out in the opposite corner, he sprinted a good 15 feet and soared through the air to deny that easy dunk. Great stuff.
  • Carmelo and LeBron have 25 of the team’s 52 points. Wade is the third leading scorer adding another 8. US are getting outrebounded ever so slightly (13-12) though. US outscored Turkey 23-7 in the second quarter to get their lead.
  • Chris Paul making another razzle dazzle play to end the half. He got a high screen and roll at the top of the key, he cut through the middle of the paint, sold the help defense on the ball fake (pass to right wing), sliced inside for a layup. He made that look simple.
  • Halftime
  • Looks like the Turkish team has thrown in the towel. They’ve started the second half with no intensity and they’re giving up easy shots right at the rim. They’re down 21 points now. This could get ugly. They’re getting very little going offensively also which seems to be effecting their levels of effort and confidence.
  • This is like a layup drill. US up 25 points after the powerful flush from LeBron. Turkey are faking it just enough to make you think they’re still trying.
  • Turkey hit a nice three there. The US almost stole the ball four times on that possession but Turkey made the most of the broken play and found an open shooter. What happens next? Wade leaks out and gets a wide open layup off the inbounds pass. Terrible defense by Turkey.
  • Nice play. Turnover Turkey, long outlet from LeBron up ahead to Kobe, right by the bucket now, Kobe pounds the ball hard and high off the floorboads, Melo goes up, collects it, flushes it. Creative alley oop.
  • Gonlum has given the Turks some good work tonight. He’s been a threat. A few nice moves and looks to go inside a little bit. He’s been their best big man. #13 the point guard has been decent too.
  • US up 31 points here in the fourth. Okay I’m going to call this one because the game is pretty much dead as a contest, all that’s left is the odd highlight type play here and there.

Great defense again by the US tonight. They’re terrific at creating turnovers and making teams pay on the break.

On the dubious side, I can’t help but wonder what their offense will look like when the opposition limits their layups and actually makes them create something in the halfcourt. They’ve gotten quite a few turnovers in the halfcourt and have mostly resorted to one-on-one plays rather than team orientated stuff. Anyway it’s too early to tell about that but it’ll be interesting to watch as the level of competition picks up.

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Take II
by khandor

Once upon a time (e.g. 50 years ago) the USA had major advantages over every international team in the world in every single facet of the game. Today, this is no longer the situation.

The major US advantage today is the individual Defensive ability of their very best players … specifically, to pressure and then steal the ball from their opponent, in effect, totally disrupting their opponent’s half and/or full court offense.

This version of USA Basketball is centered on the Defensive abilities of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, and their respective capacities to wreak havoc on this side of the ball, both in freelance situations and within scripted defensive ‘plays’.

Jason Kidd’s unselfishness, as this team’s leader at the PG position is crucial, as well, but only as a corollary to the DEFENSE of Bean & The King.

Second.

Coach K. is simply an ‘average’ game coach. Has been throughout his career. His strengths as a Leader exist outside the parameters of the 48 (or, in this case, 40) Minutes of Live Action, and have to do with such things as interpersonal relationships, goal-setting, Command, communication, preparation, etc.

In contrast, making in-game adjustments and the application of specific X’s & O’s have never been hallmarks of his unique coaching style.

It’s not that he doesn’t know these things … because he surely does; he’s a veteran, solid basketball coach. It’s that he CHOOSES not to make these specific aspects of ‘coaching’ what he specifically emphasizes with his teams.

There is nothing wrong with this; it’s merely HIS ’style’ and it works … most of the time … especially when his teams are substantially more talented than their opponents (e.g. see when at Duke).

When his teams struggle, it is usually when (i) they are matched-up against an exceptional in-game coach, whose team can make the necessary adjustments to counter their opponent’s strengths and effectively minimize their own weaknesses, or when (ii) they are physically over-matched.

In international competition, as long as the USA sends a collection of their best players ’situation (ii)’ is not going to happen … but, depending on which team they are matched-up against, and who is coaching that opponent, at that given point in time, Coach K’s team WILL ALWAYS BE VULNERABLE to the type of situation the most recent version of USA Basketball ran into in Japan (at the 2006 World Championships) … i.e. situation (i) … where they were simply out-executed by a savy veteran team under the direction of a solid in-game coach that was (a) physically talented enough and (b) skilled enough (etc.) to cope with the strengths of that specific USA team … in other words, “They were/are Loaded for Bear.”

This year’s version of USA Basketball WILL win the Gold Medal and restore American pride in their basketball supremacy … but, as long as Coach K. is leading their team they will always be vulnerable in this way.

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What did others see?

J-Kidd for Harris, Diop, plus two #1 draft picks – First thoughts

February 18, 2008

If this rumoured trade happens … Mavericks close again on landing Kidd … astute NBA observers would do well to keep in mind the initial assessment of Jamal Washburn (one of the original ‘Three J’s’ for the Mavs), according to Tim MacMahon (Dallas Mavericks Blog, Kidd won’t make much difference):

“I still think they’re about the same, … they’re still behind the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns and also the San Antonio Spurs, … Jason Kidd is an upgrade; he’s a Hall of Famer. But they’re going to lose something in that paint area.”

Meanwhile, from New Jersey’s point of view … this move allows the Nets to re-stock their cupboard (with useful pieces for the future) while keeping their hopes alive to grab the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference Play-offs this season.

If you’re a Nets fans today, looking at the following line-up …

Starters:
Devin Harris/PG
Vince Carter/OG
Richard Jefferson/SF
Sean Williams/PF
Nenad Krstic/C  

Key Bench Players:
Marcus Williams/PG
Bostjan Nachbar/G-F
Josh Boone/PF
DeSagana Diop/C

(with a plethora of serviceable reserves AND multiple 1st Round Draft Picks)

you’re smiling, ear-to-ear … as this is the best you could’ve hoped for following Jason Kidd’s recent ‘public’ trade request.

Misdiagnosis in New Jersey

January 31, 2008

Q. Should the Nets trade Jason Kidd? (or not)

Nets in three-way talks for Kidd 

A. In a nutshell … (absolutely) NO (frigg’n) WAY! 

Jason Kidd has been New Jersey’s stalwart PG, and a perennial League All-Star, since his arrival in ‘the Swamp’, via trade from Phoenix (when Nets’ GM, Rod Thorn, fleeced his Suns’ counterpart, Bryan Colangelo, exchanging Jason Kidd and Chris Dudley for Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman and Soumaila Samake, Jul/18/01).

Reviewing Kidd’s 6 prior years with the Nets …

Season W-L Win% Finish
’01-02 52-30 .634 Lost NBA Finals
’02-03 49-33 .598 Lost NBA Finals
’03-04 47-35 .573 Lost Eastern Conference Finals
’04-05 42-40 .512 Lost 1st Rd Playoffs
’05-06 49-33 .598 Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals
’06-07 41-41 .500 Lost Eastern Conference Semi-finals

New Jersey has yet to miss the playoffs, has made 5 trips to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, 3 trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, and 2 trips to the NBA Finals …

which stands in stark contrast to how the Nets fared prior to his arrival:

Season W-L Win% Finish
’94-95 30-52 .366 *
’95-96 30-52 .366 *
’96-97 26-56 .317 *
’97-98 43-39 .524 Lost 1st Rd Playoffs, 0-3
’98-99 16-34 .320 Lockout Season *
’99-00 31-51 .378 *
’00-01 26-56 .317 *

* Missed Playoffs

a decidely dim period in their organization’s history.

In fact, The Difference is, literally, like Night (sans Kidd) and Day (avec Kidd).

THE PROBLEM, however, in New Jersey, right now, has nothing to do with Jason Kidd.

THE PROBLEM, in New Jersey … has everything to do with, one, Vincent Lamar Carter!

Period. Full stop. Exclamation Point. End of discussion. 

Since HIS arrival in ‘the Swamp’, via trade from Toronto (in exchange for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two First Round draft picks, Dec/17, 2004), the Nets have moved steadily in reverse, and have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals each of the past 3 seasons.

The fact is … ‘Wince’ Carter is a supremely talented ‘individualistic’ basketball player, who plays only ‘when’ and ‘how’ he chooses to, on any given day (depending on the mood he’s in), is a ‘chronic under-achiever’, and who is  a ‘poor fit’ with the other two shining lights for the Nets (Kidd & Richard Jefferson).

Instead of simply acquiescing to the trade request of Jason Kidd, what Rod Thorn needs to do, in this situation, is look out for the best interests of the Nets organization, and:

(i) Find a willing suitor for the services of Vince Carter, who was signed this past off-season to a reasonable contract extension by New Jersey; and, then …

(ii) Stay the course with Jason Kidd;

(iii) Await the return of Nenad Krstic (C), who has missed the Nets’ last 33 games this season, after missing almost all of last year, while rehabilitating his injured knee …

Nenad May Be Needed Addition

Trading Jason Kidd is not the solution to what ails the New Jersey Nets, right now … currently, holding down the 8th (and final) Playoff position in the Eastern Conference (19-26).

What New Jersey needs, both, this season and moving forward for the future, is a terrific Point Guard (i.e. Kidd); a 1st class Small Forward (i.e. R-Jefferson); a young and athletic Power Forward (i.e. Sean Williams); a rock solid Center, who can rebound effectively, defend an opposing ‘Big’, pass the ball, and make mid-range jumpshots, selflessly (i.e. Nenad Krstic); and, then, a Prime-time ‘Scoring Machine’, at the Off Guard position (i.e. ???), who can consistently knock down perimeter jumpers and get to the FT Line on a regular basis … all of which ‘Wince’ Carter no longer does, night-to-night, in the NBA.

All-Star, ‘pass-first’, ‘triple-double’ Point Guards (like J-Kidd) do not just grow on trees, in this league … wildly inconsistent, athletic, egocentric, ’20-14 & 5′ wing men (like V-Carter) do.

The Best Point Guards in the NBA: An Update

January 30, 2008

Whaddayouthink: the NBA’s best point guard?

Here’s what I wrote a month-and-half ago, on this topic …

The Best Point Guards in the NBA (Dec 19 2007)

and, here’s exactly where I’m at today … with a slightly different slant on the question asked (above) by Kelly Dwyer:

Conventional Be Damned 

If you could put any 4 other players you wanted to with the Point Guard (PG) of your choice, right now, in the NBA, completely healthy, to play and win only 1 game, on which your own life depended … this is how I would rank the following list of individuals playing in the league today:

1. Jason Kidd
2. Steve Nash
3. Chauncey Billups
4. Tony Parker
5. Baron Davis
6. Deron Williams
7. Chris Paul
8. Brandon Roy (climbing with a bullet)
9. Jose Calderon
10. Devin Harris

but … if I am putting together my own “5-man team” of players … regardless of which positions they play, at the moment, in the NBA … to take on all-comers, this is who I would choose to use at the PG spot on my current-day “Dream Team”:

PG – Lebron James
OG – Dwyane Wade
SF – Kobe Bryant
PF – Kevin Garnett
C – Tim Duncan

and, then, you could take any of those 10 “other” players you wanted to and it wouldn’t matter one bit to me … my “Group of 5” is going to kick your team’s a$$, in an NBA game, played under NBA rules.

That’s my answer to Kelly Dwyer’s question.