MIAMI (AP) - After all the assists, steals, 3-pointers and triple-doubles, Jason Kidd has an easier path to his next entry in the NBA record book.
All he has to do is show up.
Kidd will become the oldest guard to start a game in an NBA finals when the Dallas Mavericks face the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
While Dirk Nowitzki calls him a “fossil,” and Shawn Marion described him as being “almost 50,” Kidd is a few months past 38. That’s two years older than Ron Harper was when he started for the Lakers in 2000.
Of course, Kidd would prefer the title of oldest starting guard to win a championship. That also was set by Harper in 2000.
Winning it all is among the few things Kidd hasn’t done in his 17-year career. He came close in 2002 and ‘03, reaching the finals with the New Jersey Nets, but they were swept by the Lakers then fell to the Spurs.
“I thought we were going to go on a roll in Jersey and make it three or four in a row,” Kidd said. “But, now we’re here. And hopefully we can find a way to win a championship.”
If so, Kidd likely will be the one leading the way.
He still starts most fast breaks and controls the halfcourt offense. Leave him open and he’ll hit a 3-pointer; he made six in the first-round opener and buried another in the final minute of overtime to win Game 4 of the conference finals.
Defense is where he’s really excelled this postseason. Late in close games, coach Rick Carlisle has assigned Kidd to cover Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Carlisle has said Kidd will be among those asked to slow LeBron James in this series.
So much for taking it easy on the old man.
The only concessions to age Kidd seems to have made are playing less minutes and tolerating the flecks of gray in his beard.
“He’s playing at a high level, keeping up with a lot of these young guys,” said Miami’s Juwan Howard, who was drafted a few spots after Kidd in 1994-95 and is the only player older than Kidd in this series. “Normally when you’re our age, people count you out. They say you don’t have anything left in the tank. But as you get older in this league, you get wiser.”
Wisdom is a big part of Kidd’s game.
After 1,267 regular-season games, and another 136 in the playoffs, he’s pretty much seen it all. He knows what risks are worth taking and when to take them.