At first glance, this is a pretty easy one. The Knicks had three point guards on the roster. Raymond Felton returns, but Pablo Prigioni may not. Jason Kidd is under contract for another two years, he posted a 13.5 Player Efficiency Rating, and shot 35 percent from three-point range. He can help the Knicks. He stays. Right?
Well, as dangerous as it is to slice and dice stats, selective endpoints, etc., it would be foolish to ignore just how finished Jason Kidd, who is 40 years old, looked over the final 40 games of the regular season and the playoffs. Kidd’s first 36 games, his effective field goal percentage was 58.1 percent, his assist percentage was 20.6 percent. The final 40 games of the regular season, Kidd’s eFG was 41.6 percent, his assist percentage was 15.8 percent. And in 12 playoff games? eFG was 18 percent (!), assist rate was 13.9 percent. And his turnover rate ballooned to 33 percent, which is insane. That would have led the league over a full year.
So it isn’t surprising that Kidd is wavering about returning. And ultimately, it will be his decision, with that guaranteed contract. For a great player like Kidd, the Knicks ought to bring him back if he is willing, and see what he has left.
What the Knicks can’t do is plan on receiving anything from Jason Kidd. Not at his age. Not with the half-season they just had. Bring him in, sure, but let him be a pleasant surprise that forces a potential logjam at a position, not as an expected cog who, if he really has passed his expiration date, leaves the Knicks without a viable alternative, as happened in the playoffs.
The same is true of Amar’e Stoudemire, but that’s for another day. But the rule holds, generally. You want to hope for bounce back performances? Sure, teams do that all the time. You want to plan around bounce back performances? No, that’s how poorly constructed teams lose.