NBA fans were treated to a spectacle in the mid-2000s when both Steve Nash and Jason Kidd — easily two of the best guards of all time — were in their prime and went toe-to-toe. Comparing is an inevitable yet valid exercise in sports. And Paul Pierce, who faced the iconic guards multiple times, shared who he thinks is better.
All around guard
Pierce did not hesitate to choose Jason Kidd over Steve Nash. And the Truth had an interesting argument about why he chose the one-time NBA Champion.
"J. Kidd. He can do more. He's a better rebounder. You know, the passing is a toss-up. Better defender. Kidd is one of the top 10 all-time 3-point shooters,” Pierce said.
From the looks of it, Pierce valued a versatile teammate. And Kidd certainly fits Pierce’s standards. Those who saw Kidd in his prime know that the man was a triple-double machine. He was that guy before Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic.
The most impressive thing about Kidd is that he was a traditional guard in the sense that he stood 6-foot-4 and wasn’t as freakishly athletic as today’s guards. So the fact that he snagged as many as 8.2 rebounds per game in his career is an interesting point of discussion. His height certainly wasn’t a key factor. His IQ and nose for the ball enabled him to crash the boards.
As Pierce pointed out, Kidd is one of the best 3-point shooters of all time. Records show that he ranks 12th with 1,988 3-point field goals. Kidd didn’t knock down multiple 3-pointers every game. Rather, he was consistent and he’d hit at least one 3-pointer every game.
But it wasn’t always like this. Kidd was actually a 27.2% shooter from deep in his rookie year. Opposing teams were sagging off him, the way players nowadays treat Ben Simmons. But slowly and surely, Kidd worked on his stroke. He bumped his shooting to sub-30%, which is a pretty good percentage no matter what era you’re from.
Kidd’s willingness to add a 3-point stroke to his arsenal worked wonders for him. He was already a versatile guard who could dish assists and crash the boards. He also became a catch-and-shoot fiend. In the 2011 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat learned the hard way to respect Kidd’s stroke.
Whether you agree with Pierce’s choice is not the main point here. We all have our preferences. Rather, this serves as a good reminder that before Kidd became a coach, he was one of the best guards of all time who did not rely solely on talent. Kidd worked his tail off to become a complete player.