Ask anybody why the 2013-14 New York Knicks failed and they'll say the same thing:
The Knicks missed Jason Kidd.
Sure, they missed other veterans, too. But it was Kidd who stabilized them, who led them, who enabled them to get off to such a great start in 2012-13.
Yet when told of this on ESPN NY 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show" on Monday, Kidd, now the rookie head coach of the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets, politely disagreed.
“I was just one piece of the puzzle, a very small piece at that,” Kidd said. “I really enjoyed my time with the Knicks, and we had a great run. We came up short. We felt we could’ve made a run a little bit longer, but I had a great group of guys to play with and a great coach in [Mike Woodson]. I’m not the piece that’s missing.”
Was Kidd surprised the Knicks missed the playoffs after winning 54 games a season ago?
“It’s funny because everybody has injuries, and different teams handle them differently,” Kidd said. “The Knicks, they’re a very talented team. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the playoffs, but they’ll be back. They have a great player, one of the best players on the planet in [Carmelo Anthony]. And now they have a new president, Phil Jackson, so they’ll turn it around.”
The irony in all of this is, the 2013-14 Nets look and play a whole lot like the 2012-13 Knicks. Consider:
Using a stretch forward instead of a power forward? Check. (Anthony versus Paul Pierce)
Reliance on the 3-point shot? Check. (28.9 attempts/37.6 percent versus 23.4 attempts/36.9 percent)
Trying to limit turnovers and force them on the defensive end? Check. (988 turnovers/672 steals versus 1,155 turnovers/686 steals)
Playing at a slow pace? Check. (89.8 possessions used per game versus 91.4 possessions used per game)
Pretty crazy, when you think about it.
Former Knick Metta World Peace, cut loose by the team during the season, said this back in February: “I spoke to a lot of people, and a lot of people are saying Jason Kidd was the reason [for the Knicks’ poor play this year]. ... I spoke to Tyson [Chandler] about it, and Tyson said Jason Kidd used to do a lot of adjustments on the court. So that was an issue that we had this year with Jason Kidd becoming a coach. A lot of times they kept saying, ‘We miss that presence of Jason Kidd.’”