We conclude our three part look at Kidd's time and career at Cal--Part I focused on his freshman season, Part II focused on his sophomore season. Today we focus on his signature plays, his overall game, and show off some of his best vids in the pros. Watch Kidd tonight with us on our CGB NBA Finals Open Thread!
LeonPowe: Chick Hearn used to talk about Magic Johnson "powering out" onto fast breaks, where he would snatch the rebounds and instead of throwing to an outlet man, as the point guard he would be able to shift immediately into offense-mode. Kidd was better at this than anyone I've ever seen (possibly LeBron might be better now) - but Kidd was like Magic - but faster and stronger. Until you saw him around campus - you never really got a sense of just how big JKidd was. He was the size of a football linebacker - 6'4", 220-230. And so fast with the ball. It didn't seem to matter that he wasn't that great a shooter - because he could get to the rim or get the ball in Lamond's hands for an easy finish as long as he was able to orchestrate the offense - and especially on the break. He was throwing passes that I never saw Magic make - left hand 50 foot bounces through traffic, jumping in the air, faking one way, throwing to a cutter behind him around his head. Just amazing stuff.
Jason Kidd: Court Vision (via NBA)
What do you remember the most about Jason Kidd at Cal? Comment away! After the jump, more thoughts plus highlights.
Kodiak: There were so many moments he gave us. He outfought a Kansas player for a loose ball, in the process he goes behind the back to elude a defender, then behind the back again to elude another before finally dishing it off to a cutter for an And-One finish.
LeonPowe: One thing for the Kansas play that Kodiak references; apparently Kidd spent all summer lifting and getting bigger and his t-shirts that he wore as a freshman no longer fit well - so he had a sleeve cut off for his right arm which is why he looks so funny in the highlight - which went to Lamond Murray.
Kodiak: He bounced the ball off a defender's back on the inbounds pass, grabbed the ball, and laid it in against ASU. I almost want to say that this was during their tourney run. Kidd was modest about it saying that Lamond's play was better (he did the same type of pass a game or two later) because he got a dunk out of it.
LeonPowe: Dick Vitale in Harmon Gym when Oklahoma State with Big Country Bryant Reeves came to town and we ran them out of town. Jason running off a string of triple doubles (IN COLLEGE!).
Kodiak: He was the first college player I've ever seen pull off a mid-air fake-pass followed by a no-look flip the other way. He threw the ball forward with his left hand, caught it with his right, pulled it back, then looked away and flipped it left to hit a cutter for a dunk, all before coming back down.
LeonPowe: The steals. The open court alley-oops to Lamond and Randy Duck.
Kodiak: Against one of the Washington schools, Cal was running out the clock and the other team was trying to foul. And they couldn't. Kidd got the ball, went behind the back, spun, juked, and just dribbled away from the other team. They eventually gave up and just let time run out. He was left dribbling near midcourt with a smile on his face. I remember the announcer yelling, "My god, look at him! He's enjoying this!"
Kodiak: I'm afraid I don't have the brain cells to remember as many plays, or scores, or stats, or great games. The first thing that I remember about Jason Kidd were his incredible hands. He had amazing handles. You just didn't steal the ball from him. And if it was loose on the floor, he almost always was the guy to come up with it. Any type of press or pressure defense would almost inevitably end up in an easy break with a score at the other end.
Everyone already knows about his uncanny vision. He was quick and strong, but what made him play faster was his incredible anticipation. He could see guys coming open before they knew it. He was the best rebounding guard that I've ever seen - especially at the offensive end because he had a knack for knowing where the ball was going to go. At least once or twice a game, he'd beat everyone to the ball and either sustain the possession or turn it into points. He also used this gift of anticipation to terrorize the passing lanes. There were games he just took over because the other team couldn't get into their set offense. I think he had a game with an amazing 8 steals, most of them from picking off passes around the perimeter.
He had incredible poise for a true frosh, especially a true frosh running the point. I didn't really appreciate how special he was until after I watched the next two decades of young point guards struggle mightily to adjust to Div-I ball.
Although he was at his best in the open court, he also had an incredible drive and dish game. Even though other teams knew to play off of him, he still had a way of breaking down the defense, getting into the lane, and then finding someone in traffic.
He made Cal basketball such a big deal that even after he left, it was crazy getting tickets.
Jason Kidd Mix (via LakerDogg10)
Ohio Bear: Final career stats at Cal?
Career averages: 14.9 PPG, 5.9 reb/game, and 8.4 asst/game. In two years, Kidd dished out 494 total assists. He had a more than 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. (494 assists to 241 turnovers.)
Kidd made also 204 steals in his 2 years. He averaged 3.5 steals/game in his career. His 110 steals in 1992-93 is an NCAA freshman record.
Kidd holds Cal's single-season record for assists and steals.
LeonPowe: The games tend to run together 18 years later. I only remember snippets. How fast he was end to end. How hard he played.
Actually - let's talk about that for a little bit. I know there will be a lot of people who talk about the hustle of Jorge Guttierez, but in all my time of watching basketball ever - I've never seen a player play as hard as Jason Kidd did during his years at Cal (and his first few years in the pros with the Mavericks). Dave Newhouse, the Oakland Tribune writer talked about him making a layup, and the other team throwing the ball to half court to try to start a fast break, and Kidd stole that pass at half court. In a game that was already almost over. So he laid the ball up, sprinted back and caught the fling down court. There were stories about him in Dallas having to shower after games on a stool because he was too tired to stand up.
His legacy - well, Kidd is obviously one of the stalwarts of Bay Area basketball - Lusetti (the Furd guy - he invented the jump shot), Russell, Payton and Kidd. He is one of the 5 best point guards of all time (Stockton, Magic, Thomas, Nash) and to think I was in school along with him and would see him around campus (always, always, always on Lower Sproul Plaza), eating at Blake's (the basketball team was always at Blake's), is mindblowing to me.
Moving Pictures: Jason Kidd Thrives on Simplicity (via TheTwoManGame)