So few players get to write their own endings. The greats typically get cut down as father time catches up to them and their bodies break down. Many hang on for too long or get squeezed unceremoniously out of the league.
Jason Kidd, one of the great all-time point guards in the NBA's history, signed a three-year deal with the Knicks this summer while on the doorstep of his 40th birthday (which was last week).
Kidd had a bit of a renaissance in the second (or maybe it is the third) act of his career. With Dallas, he did not have the same speed as before but redefined himself to be a shooter while keeping the passing game. He was no longer _ason Kidd as he hit jumpers in key spots for a championship team.
He wanted one more shot and returned to the New York area, where he had his MVP-caliber seasons with the Nets. And things were working out well.
Now . . . not so much. And Kidd is finding out at 40 that his body and his abilities are not aging well. He told Zach Braziller of the New York Post that he may not finish that 3-year, $9.3 million he signed this summer:
We’re going to revisit [it],” he said. “We [would] love to make it to 42, but we have to be realistic. If the body and mind can’t compete at the same time, then I got to move to the side and watch these younger guys play. But I feel great.
Optimistic, yet ominous.
Kidd's play has fallen off of late. He is averaging 6.4 points and 3.3 assists per game, in addition to a career-low 4.4 assists per 36 minutes. It is pretty clear his skills are declining, but he can still shoot the three at a decent rate, hitting on 35.8 percent from beyond the arc.
However, in his last 20 games, Kidd is averaging 4.7 points per game and 2.8 assists per game. He is shooting just 29.9 percent from beyond the arc. Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 6.7 points and 3.9 assists in the last 20 games. These are not Kidd's typical numbers. Not even close.
New York has pretty much been a .500 team for much of the past three months. Kidd's struggles have certainly been a part of those struggles. New York's struggles coincided with Miami's streak and the team is fighting off Indiana for the second seed in the East.
The Knicks have plenty of potential still. Carmelo Anthony is a good enough player to change any game. Tyson Chandler is a strong defensive player. But the two are fighting nagging injuries and Chandler is out right now with a bulging disc in his neck. The Knicks clearly need him to find success in the Playoffs.
To get where New York wants to go, the team will need Kidd to step up as a shooting guard or backup point guard. He has to find a way to produce again this year.
As for the next two years? It is clear Kidd sees the end of his career quickly approaching. His skills and his stats are diminishing to a point where he cannot contribute at the high level he is accustomed to.