No….not really. Wait, what I truly mean is, not yet.
Ok, what do you think of when you hear the name Jason Kidd?
- Great passer (career 9.2 assist per game average).
- Deceptively quick, one of the best in transition.
- Court vision…and he takes care of the ball, 3.18 TOs per game for his career – excellent for someone who handles the ball so much.
- Best rebounding point guard (actually, best among all guards — he’s averaged 6.7 for his career).
- He’s big, (6’4″, 210 lbs.) and this is part of the reason why he can see the court so well, rebound, and post up smaller point guards causing the opposing defense to adjust.
- Before his knee injury history slowed him down, Kidd was a premier league defender, still has averaged over 2 steals per game for his career.
The negative? Jason Kidd simply cannot shoot, and leaves a lot to be desired on the offensive end in general. Partially, this is a side effect of him being such a great distributor…he doesn’t exactly need to score. But then again, his lack of range decreases the amount of offensive spacing for his team. His career FG% is a small hair above 40%, barely 33% from 3-point range.
So, how about Steve Nash?
- Experienced. He’s a savvy veteran who knows all the tricks.
- Court vision (pretty much a prerequisite for all great pure point guards) — 2.57 career TOs per game.
- Much better scoring threat than Kidd. His shooting percentages (FG & 3P),along with his scoring average has improved throughout his career
- Great transition player, and in my opinion, he is better at getting penetration into the lane than Kidd. This is probably a side-effect of him being more of a scoring option.
- And not that Kidd doesn’t, he’s great at this also, but Nash seems more astute in knowing the passing angles, along with the timing of ball distribution (not to mention that great PGs must know their personnel. — How many times have you seen a bad passer feed the ball to a lumbering big man on the break, only to see a bumblin’, fumblin’ turnover or missed shot?
And the negative? Defense. Look, I’m sure you can blame many other Suns players as to why they are not a good defensive team. And I’m sure you could also cite an offensive system which is not conducive to lock-down D. But if you are making, or going down, a list of reasons, put Steve Nash at the top. As the point guard, usually defending the other team’s point guard, you are the first line of defense in either keeping that other PG from getting into the lane and thus, making your own defense avoid a shift and cover…or, at least keeping the other guy from easily getting his team into their half court set. (Gilbert Arenas, are you listening?) Steve Nash is fast in the open court, but he is not quick on D…..but he certainly has his “tricks”.
Saying that Chris Paul will eventually be a better point guard than Jason Kidd or Steve Nash is easy to do…although, it may be a tough pill to swallow for some. But here’s the thing, CP3 is closer to that statement than you think. I’m talking this year.
Here is the obvious:
Chris Paul is a much better defender than Steve Nash and on-par with Jason Kidd. He’s averaged over 2 steals per game for his career so far, almost 3 per game this year. And I know what you’re saying….Chris Paul is only 6’0″. How is he going to be able to stick with the bigger point guards? Heck, at least Nash is 6’3″. Yes, C-P-Threazy can possibly be eaten up in the post. But really, with the loosening of the zone defense rules in the NBA, how many point guards are really posting up anymore? Considering that more and more teams are swaying towards a run’n'gun offense in today’s NBA, I’d rather have a point with the quickness and ability to stay in front of the opponent.
Chris Paul will also be a better offensive player than Jason Kidd, and most likely, in line with Nash’s capabilities today. I know, I know…defenses are still giving him space. Not for long though. I really think his numbers so far this year are more indicative on what he will be able to do over the course of his career. Through 8 games so far: FG% – .504, 3P% – .438, PPG – 19.3. Yes, I know that Paul shot around 43% from the field his first two years in the league. And from beyond the arc, he shot 28% and 35% in those years respectively. Keep in mind that Nash shot less than 42% from the field his first 3 years in the league…and while the Canadian may be a better 3 point shooter over the duration, I don’t think Chris Paul will be far off of Nash’s 42.8 career 3 point shooting percentage.
So, it’s easy to see. Court vision, transition game, unselfishness, pin-point passing…..Chris Paul has all of that now. And he will continue to develop these skills once he has the experience that Kidd and Nash have today. But CP3 is the more complete player. He has defensive and offensive traits that either of the other two lack. Paul will be remembered as the better point guard of the three, if not one of the greatest of all time. Even knowing what I know today about the games and careers of Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, if all the factors were the same…in terms of if Paul, Nash, and Kidd were all coming into the league at the same time, or even free agents after their first 3 years per se…… I would choose Chris Paul over the other two every single time.