Jason Kidd and the List of All-Time Point Guard Greats, or “I Am Number Four”

A lot of the conversation surrounding this NBA Finals series has centered on “legacies” and where a player fits in the entire history of the Association. Most of this is extremely difficult since today’s players are both (1) not anywhere near done with their careers and (2) playing in a league that is still evolving, so it’s difficult to compare these players to those of other time periods.

Still, it’s an interesting process to try to place today’s players into an appropriate historical context. Here are the storylines that I’ve seen so far:

  • Is Dirk one of the best all-time shooters?
  • Is Dirk one of the all-time best players?
  • Where does LeBron fit on the list of the all-time best?
  • How do LeBron’s dud Finals games affect his legacy?
  • Where does Dwyane Wade fit on the list of the all-time playoff greats?
  • Who is the best player in the league right now?
  • Will this Miami team be one of the all-time greatest teams?

As soon as the series ends, we’ll probably see either Dirk or LeBron mentioned in conversations with Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Reggie Miller about best players to never win a ring.

These conversations are all pretty relevant, but in the case of all of these players, the story isn’t nearly done. It’ extremely hard to guess what will happen in Game 6, and nearly impossible to speculate about the achievements they will pile up in the next decade.

Jason Kidd knows where he stands.

I’ve already mentioned this one other time on SpreeGoogs, but I think that the individual player whose legacy rides the most on this series is Jason Kidd. We’ll dive into this topic a little in this post to see where he would fit on the list of all-timers if the Mavs can win this series.

If you take a look at Kidd’s personal stats, he seems like a surefire Hall-of-Famer: Second place on the all-time assists leaderboard, third most three-pointers made, 10 times in the All-star game, nine times on the all-defensive first or second team, and an impressive number of triple-double-based stats that put him in conversations with Magic and Oscar Robinson.

When Shaq retired a week or so ago, we all talked about where he fit on the list of all-time best centers, yet Kidd is still active this season and maybe we need to talk about where he fits on the all-time list of point guards.

That list undoubtedly starts with Magic Johnson. It’s not a question. After that, it gets pretty blurry.

Hard not to wonder why the two uniform parts aren’t the same color. Don’t look too close, there’s a lot of thigh in there too.

The flock of point guards after Magic is pretty nebulous. I’d personally put John Stockton second because I think his 15,000 assists is one of the most unbreakable records in sports and let’s not forget how great he was at stealing the ball. Stockton was so good for so long that he earns the number-2 spot on my list.

It’s very difficult to compare numbers on players from two separate time periods, but I’d say that Oscar Robertson probably beats out Kidd for third best. Like Magic, Robertson was capable of doing anything that the team needed and his type of athleticism was pretty different from any other player in the league at the time. His numbers are hard to put into context, but generally too massive to ignore.

Kidd might come in at fourth if the Mavs win this thing. He might be fourth even if the Mavs lose this thing. I probably put the championship ring on less of a pedestal than most other people, but the next tier of all-time point guards gets a little cluttered and going from 0 rings to 1 ring would be a nice resume-builder for J-Kidd.

Who else could be number four? Maybe Walt Frazier. Maybe Isaiah Thomas. Maybe Cousy. Maybe even Steve Nash. I don’t think any of these players has a clean claim to be better than Kidd. They’re all pretty different and most played in different times, but still, I can’t think of a situation where Jason Kidd isn’t in the top five all-time point guards. Winning this ring might push him into an uncontested number four.

I think this is an important story. Where do you rank Kidd on the list of all-time greatest point guards? Who is in front of him? Does winning a title here change anything? Let me know in the comment section. I know I always ask for this, but this one is more serious than usual. I think the all-time point guard conversation is very open for debate and I want to know what your rankings would be.

Game 6 Bolder Predictions

Dallas

  • Dirk shoots fewer than 10 free throws, and only finishes with 20 points
  • Shawn Marion gets a double technical and is ejected
  • JJ Barea and Tyson Chandler both outscore at least one of the Miami’s Big 3
  • Terry cools off, but it doesn’t stop Mark Cuban from wearing his jersey on tv tonight

Miami

  • LeBron makes up for lost time at the free throw line, making 12 of 15 tonight
  • Bosh disappears with the Big 2 making sure they get theirs. He’ll get 12 points and 4 rebounds
  • Wade’s hip isn’t an issue. He goes for 35 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists
  • No one outside he big 3 takes more than 6 field goal attempts
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