Jason Kidd is worthy of a spot in this year’s All-Star game.
In fact, Jason Kidd should be a starter in this year’s All-Star game.
Before you call me crazy or assume I’m the leader of the Jason Kidd fan club, ask yourself this question: Who would you confidently pick as a starting guard for the Eastern Conference?
If you haven’t already noticed, we’re in the midst of a statistical revolution where you can more accurately measure a player’s value to his team’s performance. In the NBA, points, rebounds, and assists are no longer the only measures of individual excellence. If you want to choose your All-Stars on those old measures, then go ahead and pick Monta Ellis, Andrea Bargnani, and Danny Granger.
Let’s start this statistical journey with a popular hockey stat – plus/minus. I’ve always liked this stat because it clearly shows how well or poorly your team performs while you’re on the court. We’re approximately 15 games into the season, so there’s a good sample size already generated with which to make an observation on. The starting five of the Knicks – Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, Ronnie Brewer, Raymond Felton, and Kidd – rank first in the NBA. When looking at two-player combinations, the highest ranked duo in the entire conference is Carmelo and Kidd (5th).
You’re probably saying it’s all because of Carmelo. While that’s an accurate assessment, also remember we’re trying to find an All-Star-worthy guard – Anthony’s spot on the East squad is already secure. When looking at individual players, only one Eastern guard ranks higher – Felton, whose also played two more games and whose plus/minus per minute is much less than Kidd’s.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER) measures a player’s per-minute performance, while adjusting for pace. It’s a system that rates every player’s statistical performance, using a detailed formula that attempts to boil down all of a player’s contributions into one number. Only eight of the top 20 hail from the East, with only two East guards cracking the list – Kyle Lowry and Jason Kidd (16th and 17th).
Win Shares are another one of those “new-age” stats that are slowly gaining acceptance. In baseball, it’s called Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and basically calculates the number of wins contributed by a player. The only East players with higher Offensive Win Shares than Jason Kidd are Lebron James, Tyson Chandler, Chris Bosh, Anderson Varejao, and Carmelo Anthony – all Forwards or Centers. Considering Kidd plays fewer minutes than each of those players, we can also look at Win Shares per 48 Minutes, where Kidd ranks 4th in the NBA, behind Chandler, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul.
Am I boring you with these statistics? Okay, let’s quickly look at other stats and where Jason Kidd ranks against other East guards:
Field Goal % (FG%) – 1st (51.8%), ahead of Rajon Rondo (51.7%)
Steal % (STL% – percentage of opponent’s possessions that end in steals when the player is on the court) – 1st (4.2) tied with Jennings
Offensive Rating (ORtg – points produced or scored per 100 possessions) – 1st (151.0),
True Shooting % (TS% – measures shooting efficiency by taking into account 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws) – 1st (76.1%), ahead of Ray Allen (68.4%)
Effective Field Goal % (eFG% – statistic that adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal) – 1st(71.4%), ahead of Ray Allen (63.9%)
Despite all the data provided above, where Kidd outranks every other guard in the East, there are probably still some lingering questions.
What about Joe Johnson? If you want to vote for someone who’s struggling through his worst shooting season since getting starter’s minutes in the NBA, then go ahead.
What about Dwyane Wade? If you want to vote for someone who trumps Kidd in only one statistical category (18.1 points per game vs. Kidd’s 8), then be my guest.
What about Kyrie Irving? If you want to vote for someone who’s “led” his team to a 2-8 record before getting injured and is currently sitting out for the next month, then knock yourself out.
What about Jrue Holiday, Deron Williams, and Jeff Teague? All valid contenders who have led their respective teams to .600 or better records and who each have better points and assist figures than Kidd. Should I re-list all the other categories that Kidd surpasses all of them on? FG%, 3PT FG%, TS%, eFG%, STL%, SPG, Offensive Win Shares, Win Shares, Win Shares per 48 minutes.
What about Rajon Rondo? Okay, you got me!
Your starting guards for this year’s 2013 East All-Stars: Rajon Rondo and Jason Kidd
Jay Rosales is a writer for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @Rosalesaurus