January 24, 2008
Kids, it's time to pick a point guard for the All-Star team. The way I see it, you have two choices.
37 minutes per game, 11.4 points on 37 percent shooting, 33.5 three-point shooting, 10.5 assists to 3.8 turnovers, 8.3 rebounds, doing his damage on a 18-23 team. Good defender.
Or this guy:
31 minutes per game, 12.1 points on 51 percent shooting, 43.5 percent three-point shooting, 8.6 assists to 1.6 turnovers, 3.2 rebounds, doing his damage on a 23-19 team. Good defender.
It's the second guy, right? We're not crazy, especially when our basketball-lovin' mind involuntarily tries to pro-rate the second guy's stats to the first guy's 37 minutes per game. I'll do it for you:
14.5 points, 10.3 assists, 1.9 turnovers, 3.8 rebounds.
The NBA will announce its All-Star starters today, voted on by knowledgeable fans like you and I (and, sometimes, our girlfriends at T-Mobile store with the boyfriend right next to her imploring her to punch out the little circle next to Antoine Walker's name), and Kidd is considered a shoo-in as a starter for the East.
Calderon? Not so much. Which is pathetic. He's barely being mentioned as a replacement for the All-Star bench, either. Peter May called him "a long shot" in this column today dedicated to Ray Allen's hope for the All-Star team. Ray Allen?
Calderon's been hurt by Kidd's rebounding ability, and propensity to make the ESPN highlights with "another triple-double!" Of course, those 12-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound games (on 4-11 shooting, with four turnovers) tend to pale in comparison to Jose's 14-point, 10-assist, 3-rebound games with two turnovers and 50 percent shooting to these eyes, eyes that tend to go into these sorts of things objectively.
I mean, what's the point of Kidd's rebounds if he's starting a fast break that's going to end with him making a turnover (remember, Kidd turns it over almost two and a half times more than Calderon per game, in six less minutes), or clanging a jumper?
And don't act as if the aging Kidd has more than a negligible advantage over Calderon defensively, it's a rough way to articulate what I've seen and scouted, but I'll use the stat anyway: point guards facing Kidd average a 16.2 PER, point guards facing Calderon average a 17.8.
You'll have to spare the, "it's for the fans, and they want to see Kidd run a break for the East"-bit. Please. Unfortunately, the All-Star games of the last few years have been pretty boring, and Kidd was on the court for quite a bit of that.
But these points are all moot. He's going to get in, nobody on the TNT set will raise a hackle tonight (in his column trumpeting Kidd for an All-Star nod, Kenny Smith pointed out that Jason "single-handedly gave Team USA credibility again." International competition. Does that mean Andrei Kirilenko gets a nod after his dominant play last summer?), and Calderon will just have to deal with it.
It doesn't make it right, though. It doesn't make it right.