Lamar Fields | March 27th, 2020
Who would you choose Gary Payton or Jason Kidd? Both players grew up in the Bay Area in the city of Oakland. Payton is five years older than Kidd. Kidd played 19 seasons in the NBA, and Payton played 17.
Payton was nicknamed “The Glove” for his outstanding defensive ability. When Payton first came into the NBA, he struggled offensively. It took Payton a few years to develop his offensive game. By year number five, Payton had his scoring average up to 20.6 points per game. While Payton was with the Seattle Supersonics, he was one of the best players in the league. He helped the Sonics go the NBA Finals in 1996, where they lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Payton was a pick and roll point guard who also liked to take smaller guards down to the post and score on them. His outside shot was questionable, but once he got it going, he was more than capable of knocking outside shots down.
The former Supersonic player was a great defender, winning Defensive Player of the Year in the 1995-96 season. In the Finals against Jordan, Payton did a fantastic job slowing Jordan down. Jordan averaged 27.3 points per game in the 95-96 finals and shot 41% from the field. In five other finals appearances, Jordan averaged 30 plus points per game.
Payton finished his career with one NBA title which he won with the Miami Heat, and he was a nine-time All-Star. Also, Payton made nine All-Defensive first teams. The Glove made nine All-NBA teams too.
Jason Kidd won the Rookie of the Year in the 1994-95 season with the Dallas Mavericks. People use to call him Ason Kidd; they would leave the J out because Kidd did not have a jumper when he first got into the NBA. Kidd was more of a floor general; he would get his teammates involved much like Magic Johnson did with the Showtime Lakers.
Kidd was a fun point guard to watch because you knew he was going to play up-tempo basketball and make flashy passes. He was also great at posting up smaller guards and forcing the opposing team to double team, allowing Kidd to dish out assists to his teammates. Kidd was excellent with that when he was with the Phoenix Suns.
Once Kidd got to the New Jersey Nets, his three-point shot started to develop. While with the Nets, Kidd shot 34% from behind the arch. Kidd helped lead the Nets too back to back finals appearances, which they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.
After the Nets, Kidd made his way to the Dallas Mavericks, where he won his only NBA championship. Kidd used his leadership and three-point shot-making ability to help the Mavericks win. Kidd finished his career a ten-time All-Star and made nine All-Defensive teams.
I have been going back and forth on this topic for about three years. My choice would be Jason Kidd, while not the offensive scorer like Payton, Kidd was a great floor general and was a more than a capable defender. What gave Kidd the nod for me was taking those Nets teams to back to back finals. The Nets did not have that much talent. They had Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Keith Van Horn, and Kerry Kittles, not your star-studded lineup. Kidd’s playmaking ability helped the Nets play above their potential.
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