I’ll preface this with: Jason Kidd was hands down, my favorite point guard growing up. Kidd was a top-tier talent who is still regarded as one of the very best to ever play the position. But that’s not what this is about. Nobody is questioning his on-court résumé. No no, what I came across this week pertains to Jason Kidd’s handling of Giannis Antetokounmpo, among other things.
So two days ago a report came out that Jason Kidd views Jabari Parker and Matthew Dellavedova as “equivalent playmakers”. WHAT? Equivalent playmakers???? Jason, Jason, when is your return flight to Earth?
If your brain isn’t immediately flooded with cartoon-sized question marks, then stop reading now because there’s so much more.
Now I’m not going to go into crazy detail here about how asinine, ten, eleven and twelve that statement is. I don’t have the time or brainpower to unpack all that. But no matter how politically correct or “coachy” Kidd is trying to sound by saying this, he’s dead wrong and we all know why. Delly is an on-ball defender, that’s it. Period. He’s not some magical wizard floating around the court, creating easy looks for teammates. He’s absolutely not someone you can ask to score 15-20 points while averaging 6-8 assists as a primary ball handler. Forget Parker’s injuries (I know it’s hard, but try), he is a perennial 20+ppg scorer, who has shown positive growth each year in the association. He’s also developed a sustainable inside-out game, which propelled him offensively to career highs before his most recent, season-ending injury.
Maybe this is Milwaukee’s (Kidd’s) way of sneakily making Jabari available for trade? After all, Parker’s contract does expire at the end of next season. Still, his youth and incredibly high ceiling, will ultimately command a high dollar on the open market. Or perhaps the Bucks are going to be in wait-and-see mode before committing to Jabari long term. If Parker wants to stay, he’ll likely receive a “prove it” deal from Milwaukee. Something in the ballpark of 2 years and $24-28 million. They say, availability is the best ability, but when Jabari is available he’s certainly more of a playmaker than Delly. Case closed.
Kidd wasn’t done.
Kidd recently made it known that he’d like unrestricted free agent, Derrick Rose to be his full-time point guard this upcoming season. Rose will inevitably come with a steep price tag of his own, which is likely why he has yet to sign anywhere as of July 16th. Yet this seems to be an odd fit considering Giannis was Milwaukee’s glorified point guard last year. Aka the same year that saw Giannis cement his place as an otherworldly NBA SUPERSTAR. So what gives?
Imagine having a potential future MVP/generational guy like Giannis and leaving him in the hands of Jason Kidd. Like just imagine that.
Kidd went on to say he’d prefer Giannis to “play off-the-ball and average about 18ppg” because in Kidd’s words, “We don’t know what Giannis is yet……” If this is the case, both Kidd and the Bucks organization are quite dumb and insanely unimaginative. Seriously, you don’t know what he is?? He’s a top-7 player in the league who just turned 22. He’s a 6’9 athletic specimen who can play any position on either end. That’s what HE is.
The league is now transitioning into a game of positionless basketball. Giannis doesn’t need to be defined by two silly letters next to his name in some nerd’s player index.
Personally, I don’t care if the Bucks bring in Rose or not. It’s Giannis’ team now and for the foreseeable future, so put the ball in his hands early, often and get the f@*# out the way. K.I.S.S. (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!)
But it gets worse..
Jason Kidd then leaks to local ESPN writers in Milwaukee that Giannis is at times very “selfish.” Apparently having the temerity to create shots instead of mindlessly swinging the ball to motionless teammates against unscrambling defenses classifies you as selfish nowadays.
Speaking of which, Kidd apparently forbade Giannis from shooting any three point shots last year to “help his development.” This is the same coach who just last season, punished his own players for airing some dirty laundry to the media. Pot meet kettle.
What happened to the “locker room environment?” What happened to “hey guys what happens or is said in here stays in here?” Ever heard of diarrhea of the mouth? It appears coach Kidd has all the symptoms.
In fact, Jason seems to be doing everything in his power to run the best player in franchise history out of town. Makes sense if you don’t think about it at all… To be clear, this isn’t L.A., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, San Antonio or Miami. Milwaukee is hardly a popular free agent destination. The Bucks are a small market franchise who rely on scouting and drafting to acquire/retain talent. It goes without saying, that they cannot afford to lose Giannis. If he goes, then Parker goes, which would mean the Bucks will GO right back to the draft lottery.
Frankly, I’m confused by all of Kidd’s aforementioned tactics here. The game has evolved and it seems Mr. Old School is being a tad bit resistant to the change. However, if this continues to go south and the Bucks don’t seem to be gelling cohesively, management will have no choice but to take a hard look at Kidd’s position with the team.
It would behoove Jason Kidd to remember the NBA is a player’s league now. Coaches are a dime a dozen. Every NBA bench is littered with assistants itching to get their chance. Hello Jason, there’s only one GREEK FREAK! Probably don’t piss him off, you know?
Read it, learn it, and CLEAN. IT. UP.