Team USA's Engine: Kidd still has youthful energy

Team USA's Engine: Kidd still has youthful energy

Postby JSM on Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:18 pm

Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal wrote:Nobody on Team USA is going to tell Jason Kidd to act his age. Especially when he's having so much fun playing basketball -- and playing at such a high level.

This is the 35-year-old Kidd's last hurrah playing for his country. He already has a gold medal from the 2000 Olympics, and he fully expects to earn a second gold next month when the 2008 Games get under way in Beijing.

"As long as I can play at a high level and give something to the team, I want to be out there," he said Tuesday after Team USA's training camp session at Valley High School. "It's always a great honor to represent your country, and it's always a thrill to play with guys this talented."

Kidd is the elder statesman of the Americans. He also happens to be the starting point guard, and his teammates love playing alongside him.

"Of course they do, because they want the ball," Kidd said with a laugh. "And they're going to get it."

Kidd's pass-first, shoot-second philosophy makes sense, given there are so many weapons on this team. He can find Kobe Bryant on the wing, get it up the floor in transition to LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, or feed Dwight Howard in the post. With that kind of talent, why would Kidd want to shoot?

Last year, Kidd averaged just 1.8 points as Team USA earned an Olympic berth by winning the FIBA Americas championship. But he also averaged a team-leading 4.6 assists while playing just 22 minutes per game. His limited court time allowed him to remain fresh, and he came out of the competition feeling good physically.

"As long as I could get up and down and help these young guys with my experience, I was coming back," Kidd said. "I felt great at the end (of the tournament)."

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said he plans to use Kidd in the same fashion next month in Beijing.

"I think it's important we retain the continuity we built last summer," Krzyzewski said. "Obviously, Jason's an important part of that. He's the one who gets us going."

Kidd said he might be tempted to shoot a little more because he knows teams probably will leave him open to concentrate on Bryant, Anthony and James.

"Maybe I'll lead the team in scoring," he said jokingly. "But I may need to look for my shot more because I think teams are going to forget about me shooting and try and stop me from passing."

Kidd is old, but he's not the oldest U.S. Olympian going to Beijing. Swimmer Dara Torres is 41, and Kidd remembers watching her compete in 2000 when both were in Sydney, Australia.

"She represents the older group, the older bracket," Kidd said. "I'm in that older bracket. I'm thrilled for her story. I think it's great. Not just for her. But it shows if you put your mind to it and work hard, it all pays off."
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Postby KB24 on Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:40 pm

Paul and Deron are both better...and they are winners...

the truth is there is no reason for Kidd to start on that team. If he does, its simply out of respect because coach K probably doesn't have the balls to start a young player and sit Kidd...

but IMO he is not even needed. He can't do anything that Paul or Deron could not.
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Postby JSM on Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:06 pm

Strongly disagree. The problem is you are going off of what they've done in the NBA, international play is a different animal.

Kidd is undefeated in international play.

There is reason everyone on the roster is giddy to play with Kidd. He's one of the best playmakers on the planet.

Deron and Paul need to score more than Kidd does. CP3 likes to attack and create plays that way. Neither has quite the court vision Kidd has. Neither has the international experience that Kidd has.

Kidd has become an on the court extension of Coach K. He's done a great job of leading the team thus far. Everyone looks up to him.

He and Kobe are the difference makers on this team.
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Postby jlkr on Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:22 pm

D Williams and CP3 are great at the drive and kick game, and they are better outside shooters than Kidd. But, but ... no one playing in the NBA today has Kidd's overall floor vision. You would have to go back to Stockton and Magic to find someone who sees the whole floor like Kidd does. D Will and CP3 represent the next generation of great American point guards, but today they are there to learn from Kidd. 20-22 minutes per game is perfect for him and the team.
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Postby GNC on Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:25 pm

i would take kidd's experience to win these olympics > paul and williams.
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