The Mavs have to find a way to make Tony Parker work defensively. The Mavs also have to keep Jason Kidd on the floor. Put the two together, and you have a little bit of a problem.
J-Kidd isn’t the type to aggressively drive the lane with the intent to score, and he’s not a talented enough finisher to warrant that thought process. He’s also not a pull-up jumpshooter, meaning his ability to score off the dribble is about on-par with Erick Dampier. Kidd’s true offensive strengths lie in his ability to make the passes no one else on this team can make, perfectly place the dishes that seem routine, and nail his spot-up looks. But at 6’4” – 210, there is one other significant weapon at Kidd’s disposal: the post-up game.
This isn’t a novel concept. Kidd has the strength and size to, in theory, punish the smaller quicker buggers that try to man up him. That’s just the perk of being the only PG this side of Chauncey Billups with the build to get the job done. But, what’s being overlooked in the assessment of Kidd’s frame is one, tiny, tiny issue: Kidd can’t score in the post. He has exactly one post move, and that’s a little turnaround jumper that is far from automatic. Most point guards, even those with ideal frames, have so much to focus on that they ignore the possibility of a post-up game. It’s clear that Kidd’s inside moves are far from polished. But unsurprisingly, he’s an incredible passer out of the low post, creating for cutters and shooters camped out on the perimeter.
Yes, posting up Kidd worked brilliantly against the Suns late in the regular season. But unless Tony Parker channels his inner Steve Nash, the low post game won’t be a valuable scoring option for Kidd. However, just because Kidd can’t actually score in the post doesn’t mean that he can’t at least create the illusion of being the threat. When facing the bear, Kidd needs to wave his arms, jump up and down, and generally make his inside game look much bigger and stronger than it really is. Threat construction is often more important than real danger, and it’s exactly the kind of misdirection that could open up the Mavs’ scorers. It’s one thing for Parker to have the notion that Kidd’s interior scoring is a non-threat, but it’s another entirely for the entire defense to be aware and not succumb to the temptation of doubling Kidd. Easier said than done.
Forcing Tony Parker to guard Kidd down low won’t wear him out like chasing J.J. Barea, but it will make him do a little work. If Kidd can back Parker down and make himself look a bit dangerous, Dallas could simultaneously find a method to tire out Tony and a catalyst for their offense.