Kidd and Shaq are not good additions
Some thoughts on the first round of the NBA playoffs:
• They're moaning in Dallas about Jason Kidd's inability to defend New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. But really, there's no great surprise about that.
When Dallas came to Portland on the final weekend of the regular season, the Mavs made a few attempts at having Kidd defend Brandon Roy down the stretch.
Roy punished Kidd - and not with his size and strength. He beat Kidd off the dribble seemingly whenever he wished. I'm not sure if Kidd was ever the defender people thought he was, but I'm positive at this point of his career that he is barely an average defensive player.
By the way, that was sure a lousy trade that brought Kidd to Dallas, wasn't it? Kidd is a terrific passer, but he's very unusual in his development over the years.
A lot of players didn't shoot very well when they entered the NBA, but if they were good enough to stay on a roster and play big minutes, most of them got better.
Kidd never has. He's still a very poor shooter - other than the occasional set shot for a 3-pointer. And his inability to make open shots hurts his ability to impact a game in the waning minutes.
It's a great testimony to his cleverness as a setup man that he's been as effective as he has, because with his poor shooting people are always looking for him to pass first, shoot second.
• Not sure I like the Shaquille O'Neal trade to Phoenix much, either. The acquisition of O'Neal has changed the way the Suns play, and Mike D'Antoni has done a terrific job of adjusting for the big fella. But for me, I'd much rather watch Phoenix play the old way. To see the impact of Shaq on a lineup, take a look at this statistic from Tuesday night's Phoenix-San Antonio game: Fastbreak points - Spurs 23, Suns 4. Ugh. UGH!!!!!
• Tracy McGrady is going to hear it again - all about how he can't win a playoff series. But seriously, Rocket fans, how can you blame him for this one? Houston overachieved in the regular season without Yao Ming in the middle. Against Utah in the first round, the Rockets are so totally outmanned up front they have no chance against the Jazz. Utah's reserves in the frontcourt are better than Houston's starters. And it doesn't help that Rafer Alston, the Rockets' starting point guard, missed the first two games.
• Don't you find it hard to get very excited about the Eastern Conference playoffs? Man, there's not much there. The Celtics are getting a free ride into the East finals.
• The one thing I like about the Denver Nuggets is that they seem to play hard all the time. But they sure don't play very smart. George Karl is the most overrated coach in the league.