- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Seen and heard last night at MCI Center:


NOT KIDDING AROUND During the Wizards' shootaround yesterday afternoon coach Doug Collins proclaimed that New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd was his early season choice for league MVP. Later, Nets coach, Byron Scott, agreed.

Like Collins, Scott compared Kidd to his former teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

"There are the obvious physical differences," Scott said, pointing to the 5-inch height advantage the 6-foot-9 Johnson had. "They both push the ball at every opportunity, they both make guys better, they both have the flair for the dramatic, they both have unbelievable leadership qualities and they both hate losing."

Kidd was traded to the Nets from Phoenix in July in exchange for Stephon Marbury, a star player whom Scott and Nets management had grown tired of. Last season the Nets, who lead the Atlantic Division, finished 26-56.

Scott makes it clear that he feels the team made an upgrade at the point.

"He takes care of half of my job," Scott said about his on-court coach. "I don't have to jump on these guys about playing hard. Most of the games he feels we should win he comes out like a bullet from the start to show these guys that we shouldn't lose this game. I don't have to go into my bag of tricks to find something to say to these guys. As soon as he steps onto the court I know that he is going to play every minute like it's his last."

John N. Mitchell


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