Living the Fantasy: The Kidd Effect

By NBA TV's Rick Kamla

In four games with Kidd, the Mavs are up in assists (19.9 to 23.5), field goal percentage (.462 to .471), and three-point percentage (.339 to .397).
(Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images)
It’s highly ironic that the Mavericks went small when everyone else got bigger, but their deadline deal for Jason Kidd is reaping immediate dividends.

First of all, the Mavs are 3-1 since Kidd’s return to Dallas, including the last three in a row by an average of 13. Yes, those wins came against Memphis, Minnesota, and Chicago, but the Mavs played well enough in those games to beat anyone in the league.

To wit, in four games with Kidd, the Mavs are up in assists (19.9 to 23.5), field goal percentage (.462 to .471), and three-point percentage (.339 to .397). Ironically, they are averaging 98 points per game in four games with Kidd as opposed to 99.3 on the season. Avery Johnson has to be happy about the increase in steals, from 5.8 per game on the season to 9.8 in four games with Kidd.

And to the surprise of no one, Kidd has had a positive effect on all of his new teammates.

Let’s start with Dirk Nowitzki, who has said after one practice with Kidd that the magical point guard “makes passes you can only dream about.” If you read between the lines, Dirk is really saying—and I paraphrase—thank God we finally found a comparable replacement for Steve Nash. What I’m really saying is that—with apologies to Jason Terry and Devin Harris—there was a distinct drop-off at the one after Nash left.

But now the Mavs are running again. Now the Mavs are getting easy baskets again. Now the Mavs are really fun to watch again. And it’s all because of Kidd.

Dirk has exploded since the All-Star break, pushing his value in eight-category leagues up from 13th on the season to seventh in four games with Kidd. Dirk’s shots are actually down from 16.7 per game on the season to 16 with Kidd, but his three-point accuracy has skyrocketed from 29 percent on the season to 67 percent with Kidd. Here’s a side-by-side look at the change in Dirk’s production…

Season stats: 23.2 points / 8.7 rebounds / 3.9 assists / 48% FG pct / 0.8 threes per game
4 games with Kidd: 29.0 points / 8.0 rebounds / 2.8 assists / 61% FG pct / 1.5 threes per game

If this Dirk-Kidd thing keeps gaining momentum and the Mavericks finish with the best record in the Western Conference, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Dirk matches Nash with back-to-back MVP awards.

Like Dirk, Kidd’s fantasy value is on the rise since the trade. On the season, Kidd ranks 25th across the primary eight categories, but he’s been the ninth best player in 8-cat leagues in four games with Dallas. If Dirk and Kidd both remain in the top 10, they would join Nash (eighth) and Amare Stoudemire (fifth) as the only teammates in the 8-cat top 10. Here’s a look at the difference in Kidd’s stats this season with New Jersey and Dallas…

51 games with New Jersey: 11.3 points / 8.0 rebounds / 10.4 assists / 1.5 steals / 37% FG pct
4 games with Dallas: 8.3 points / 6.8 rebounds / 11.3 assists / 3.8 steals / 54% FG pct

It’s interesting to note that Kidd’s three-point shooting is down in Dallas, as he sacrifices shots for Dirk, Terry, Josh Howard, and even Erick Dampier. After hitting 1.6 threes on 4.6 attempts per game in New Jersey (36 percent), Kidd is carefully knocking down 0.5 threes on 1.3 attempts per game in Dallas (40 percent). I would expect the number of made threes to hover around one per game the rest of the way, as Avery has already told Kidd to shoot more.

More from Living The Fantasy
Living the Fantasy: Point Guard Shuffle
Living the Fantasy: Meet Shaq
Living the Fantasy: Monster Jefferson
Living the Fantasy: Oh No, O'Neal
Living the Fantasy: Taking Inventory
Living the Fantasy: More Minutes Please
Living the Fantasy: Martin Outta Month
Terry has benefited from both Kidd’s arrival as well as getting his starting job back. He’s the 62nd ranked 8-cat player on the season, but he’s up 14 spots to No. 48 in four games with Kidd. Here’s a look at the specifics…

Season stats: 15.3 points / 1.1 steals / 47% FG pct / 1.9 threes per game
4 games with Kidd: 16.8 points / 1.8 steals / 51% FG pct / 1.5 threes per game

Did you see Dampier on Monday against the Bulls on NBA TV? If not, shame on you. If so, you saw one of the best games of Damp’s life, as he racked up season highs with 16 rebounds and seven blocks. Damp has looked like a different player ever since the trade and Kidd has a lot to do with that, obviously.

That said, the absence of DeSagana Diop has created more responsibility for Damp, whose minutes are up from 23.4 on the season to 31.3 in the last four games. Thus, it’s no coincidence that Damp’s 8-cat ranking is up from 146th on the season to 53rd since the trade. Here’s a look at the vitals for the Mavs’ center…

Season stats: 5.7 points / 7.2 rebounds / 1.4 blocks / 64% FG pct
4 games with Kidd: 8.0 points / 9.3 rebounds / 2.8 blocks / 75% FG pct

I’ve saved the most confusing for last, as J-Ho’s numbers are down since the arrival of Kidd, but it has nothing to do with Kidd. It has everything to do with Josh coming back early from a back injury that cost him the two games before the All-Star break. Had Josh been picked by the coaches as an All-Star reserve, the sore back might have kept him out of the greatest exhibition known to man.

Josh wants to get in on the ground floor for Kidd’s second tour of duty in Dallas, so he is playing at less than 100 percent, and it’s showing in the numbers you will see below. The bad news…Josh is the 205th ranked 8-cat player over the past four games. The good news…he’s averaging 16.5 shots per game on the season, but 18.8 shots in four games with Kidd. Once that back loosens up and the shots start falling again, those extra looks will come in handy.

Season stats: 19.9 points / 7.2 rebounds / 2.0 assists / 46% FG pct
Last four games: 14.5 points / 5.0 rebounds / 1.3 assists / 29% FG pct

So far, so good for J-Kidd in his return to Dallas, but will he push the Mavericks all the way to the NBA Finals?

I’m hanging in there with my preseason pick for San Antonio to repeat, and here’s hoping the Mavs and Spurs lock horns at some point in the postseason. For now, we’ll have to “settle” for Thursday’s showdown in San Antonio, which doubles as the early game on TNT at 8 p.m. ET. Enjoy…