21-year-old Jefferson was pissed. One moment he’s close to home, playing for the team that was two games away from making the Playoffs; the next, he’s shipped to “the Clippers of the East.” But as it turned out, his frustrations were short-lived.
That same summer, the Nets made another move – one RJ found out about while driving on the freeway in Phoenix. They sent their All-Star Stephon Marbury to the Suns in exchange for first-team All-NBA point guard Jason Kidd. Just like that, Jefferson got excited about playing in New Jersey.
I know everyone knows Jason Kidd, but for my generation, playing with Jason Kidd is like hearing you’re going to play with Magic Johnson, hearing that you’re going to play with Steve Nash.Richard Jefferson, Called Game
And Jefferson felt the Jason Kidd effect from day one. The Hall of Fame point guard helped him make a transition from a promising rookie to a legitimate NBA star, and that translated to wins. The duo ended up leading the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in ’02 and ’03, turning one of the worst franchises in the league into the team to beat for that small window of time.
According to RJ, that was all on J-Kidd. That’s why on the all-time list of NBA point guards, not including the guys from the 60s and the 70s, the current ESPN analyst ranks his former teammate very high.
Jason Kidd in modern day history, in the last 30 years, Jason Kidd in my opinion is a top 5 point guard.Richard Jefferson, Called Game
He ranks him even higher on the all-time list of passers. “The greatest passers of all time in modern-day are probably Magic Johnson and then him,” said RJ. “Even if you go back and look at some of the absurdities of his passes like you can look at the highlight and see him do seven around the back passes, but that used to be every single night. And on top of that, he was the defensive monster.”
So although he was frustrated at first, RJ loved playing in New Jersey. And that, as well, was all on Jason Kidd – one of the most underrated point guards in the history of the game. Thankfully, there are still guys like Jefferson to defend his legacy.