D.J. Augustin, Jason Kidd

Why do the Knicks keep playing Jason Kidd?


Jason Kidd has scored exceptionally during the playoffs.

There are many ways to evaluate scoring, but here’s how five players rank by one measure:

  • Jason Kidd: 73
  • Carmelo Anthony: 24
  • Stephen Curry: 23
  • Kevin Durant: 21
  • LeBron James: 17

That’s how many points each player has scored during the 2013 playoffs, as a percentage of the total points scored by their draft class.

Kidd has gotten a lot of flack for his eight-game scoreless streak, but he’s 40 years old. 40! It’s not his fault the Knicks keep sending him out to miss shots, as his rut has now reached 0-for-17.

The Clippers didn’t rely on Grant Hill, the only other member of the 1994 draft class to score in these playoffs. The Heat aren’t even playing Juwan Howard. NBA teams long ago stopped asking players Glenn Robinson, Eddie Jones and Brian Grant to contribute.

But the Knicks keep trotting out Kidd, hoping for better results. And in that way, they’ve elevated Kidd’s scoreless streak into unprecedented territory.

Since 1963-64, as far back as Basketball-Reference’s streak finder goes, there have been 32 scoreless streaks of at least eight games,* including two each by Mark Madsen and John Salley. But most of those streaks came from end-of-bench players who didn’t play much.

Kidd is still an integral part of New York’s rotation.

Here’s how many minutes each player had during his scoreless streak. Keep in mind, some of these streaks have lasted a game or two longer than Kidd’s, but I’m still counting total minutes.

Kidd is represented by the orange bar that towers over everyone else, who are represented in blue.

pbt jason kidd scoreless streak

*Any streaks that spanned more than five seasons might not be counted due to the setup of B-R’s streak finder.

**McDowell’s minute total does not include the first game of his scoreless streak.

***Minutes played weren’t available for Fernsten’s and Fillmore’s streaks.

New York has other options. Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland can score a bit, and it’s not like Kidd is helping in other ways. The Knicks have defended worse in the playoffs with Kidd on the court.

But they just keep asking Kidd to do what he can no longer do.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.