With his 17th career training camp in the books, Jason Kidd sees in front of him a Dallas Mavericks team motivated to make a run at that ever elusive NBA crown.
"Everything’s going well," Jason told the Dallas Morning News. "We’re competitive as hell. Nobody wants to lose. And from a coaching standpoint, you like that. And as a teammate and a player, you love that. For us, it’s a matter of getting healthy, and we only have Roddy[Beaubois out] right now."
J-Kidd and the starting five for the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks (Getty Images).
The Mavs tip-off the preseason on Tuesday night as they host the Washington Wizards, their first chance to show off the progress they’ve made since a first round ouster last postseason. Among the items in their progression have been defense and rebounding, two needs the Mavs addressed by trading for center Tyson Chandler from the Charlotte Bobcats.
"I think this could be one of the best rebounding teams in the league," J-Kidd told the Dallas Morning News. "You got guys at each position that have always been at the top of their position in rebounding. You can’t take that for granted.
"It triggers the running game and it also triggers that secondary break where you don’t have to set it up every time," Kidd said. "If you get the rebound and come down two or three times in a row fast, it’s hard to guard that wave after wave, especially if you got Dirk trailing or our other guys who can knock down shots trailing. That makes it hard on the defense."
Recent Dallas teams have been known for their high-octane offense but were considered a liability on defense. But the emphasis was placed on defense in camp and Jason told ESPN Dallas it’s not something the Mavericks can win without.
"If you look at teams that have won championships, they’ve always been in the top five in defense," Kidd continued. "For us, that’s where we have to get to. We have to build on what we did last year, get the new guys into the principle and then go from there."
BIG DEPTH IN BIG D
The Mavericks believe that Chandler can help to fulfill their needs on defense while also being a force down low on the offense.
No. 2 has been impressed by the showing of Chandler in camp and expects the two to do a lot of work together in the pick and roll this season.
"He can catch and he plays above the rim. It changes the game," Kidd said. "It makes the game a lot easier because he’s so athletic offensively. And defensively too, he can rebound and block shots. With him healthy and the way that he looks right now, he looks like back in New Orleans when he was running the pick-and-roll with Chris Paul."
Chandler, who joins Brendan Haywood at the center position, is just one example of the incredible depth the Mavs have built.
"I’m the first volunteer to give up my minutes," J-Kidd told HoopsWorld, laughing. "I think you have quite a few guys who have started who probably won’t start, and that makes our bench very strong. We have to go in and think that we have two teams that can start and push one another.
"I think practice will be very spirited and very competitive, which is a good thing, and I think that it can only make us better. When we push each other in practice it will just make the games that much easier. I think that won’t be a problem, and then if somebody gets hurt you have somebody else stepping right in to carry that weight until that player gets back. We’re lucky in that way."
No. 2 is most excited about the different options each player will give the Mavs matchup-wise.
"I think that would be the fun part," he told Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game. "Being able to throw different lineups out. Being able to run. Being able to have a group out there that can stretch the defense when you’ve got Dirk on the post and shooters around the three-point line. I think this is fun for a veteran guy because you can sometimes lose focus somewhere in the 82 games, but with the different lineups, you’ve gotta stay focused on who’s out there on the floor."
STILL A SHOOTER
As a preview of the preseason, the Mavericks held their Fan Jam on Monday night at the American Airlines Center and Jason continued to show his underrated range.
No. 2 scored 10 points and took advantage of the fact that even his teammates slept on him from beyond the arc as Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com documented:
I’ve almost forgotten a time when the ol’ knuckleballer Jason Kidd was something less than a good long-range shooter.
He was superb from the perimeter Monday, and what was so funny about watching him score 10 points (in this mini-game) was how his own teammates defended him.
His passes would force the defense to rotate coverage elsewhere. Then the ball would rotate quickly back to Kidd. He’s be open for the weakside set shot from 3 … no defender respecting him enough to even flash into the eye’s picture … and of course, he’d nail the shot.
It’s as if even the Mavs themselves don’t fully understand that in his late 30’s, Jason Kidd has reinvented himself into a legit 40-percent marksman from the arc.
Jason announced last week that he will be getting married on September 10, 2011 to his fiancé Porschla Coleman.
"We’re doing it on 9/10/11," J-Kidd told DallasBasketball.com. "We were going to do it on 11/11/11, but why wait?"
Jason and Coleman also have an eight-month old son and they all live together in Dallas where Porschla, a former model, has taken the reigns of The Jason Kidd Foundation.
"They’re here in Dallas. Everybody is healthy and happy," Jason said. "[Porschla] is busy running our foundation and being a mom."
No. 2 leads the Mavericks into the 2010-2011 season on Tuesday night with their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards and rookie point guard John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST and the game can be seen regionally on KTXA.
No surprise, defense talk of first day (ESPN Dallas, September 28, 2010)
Kidd values the Dallas Mavericks’ versatility (The Two Man Game, September 29, 2010)
The D in Big D = Depth (Mavs Moneyball, September 27, 2010)
Kidd: Tyson Chandler has his hops (ESPN Dallas, October 2, 2010)
Six things to know about the Mavericks (HoopsWorld, October 2, 2010)
Mavericks have no issues or drama to stop them this season (Dallas Morning News, October 1, 2010)
Mavericks want all rebounders to step forward (Dallas Morning News, October 2, 2010)
You All-Access Pass to Fan Jam Scrimmage (Dallas Basketball, October 5, 2010)
Save the Date: Jason Kidd announces 9/10/11 wedding plans (Dallas Basketball, October 1, 2010)
Jason Kidd profile: Mavs All-Star shows no sign of slippage (Dallas Morning News, September 27, 2010)