Is Jason Kidd the Leader the Knicks Need?


Throughout the Knicks failures over the course of the past couple of seasons, the word leadership has been thrown around an awful lot, most of the time when dissecting whether or not superstar Carmelo Anthony is capable of being a leader.

Mar 10, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd (2) shoots a three against the New York Knicks at American Airlines Center. The Mavs beat the Knicks 127-109. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

While the answer to that question is quite debatable, the common opinion is that leading isn’t Anthony’s strong suit.

We know that Tyson Chandler was probably the closest thing that the Knicks had to a real locker room leader last season, but this year Chandler may have to share that role.

When the Knicks came to terms with Jason Kidd over the summer, it was initially for Kidd to mentor Jeremy Lin, but in reality, they could have signed the leader of their team.

At close to 40 years old, Kidd is far from being the Knicks best player, but he may turn out to be the leader of a team looking to win their first championship since 1973.

Kidd has always shown the ability to lead with the ball in his hands, but through three days of camp, he has stepped up to say all the right things that a leader should.

It started when Kidd was one of the primary influences behind the team getting together much earlier than usual for pre-training camp workouts.

"“When we got together last month, he was one of the spearheads behind that, telling us what he thinks we have to do,”  Anthony said during media day. “When you have a guy like that with that type of knowledge and experience, it helps everything.”"

While Anthony will lead the Knicks this season in most statistical categories, it could end up being Kidd who has the biggest impact on how this team comes together.

He’s never been a backup during his 18-year career, but seems excited about the role and what he can do for starter Raymond Felton.

“There’s no competition,’’ Kidd said to the New York Post’s Marc Berman. “That’s the way Coach is going. My job is to win ballgames and help my teammates to make that easy as possible. Ray can run the show just as well as anybody. For me, it’s to support Ray and when I go in, to keep the lead or get the lead. I’m in the best shape in the last five years. If I had to play a lot of minutes, I can do that.’’

Felton has already gone as far to label Kidd a “father-figure,” and a “role model,” to him.

However while Kidd will be working with Felton closely, his main objective is to turn Anthony into a winner and an MVP candidate, similar to what Kidd did with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.

“That’s the plan,’’ Kidd said. “I hope so. They are very similar; very talented, demand a lot of attention. Hopefully I helped with Dirk and he’s one of the top players in the league and hopefully I can do the same with Melo.”

That’s what leaders do, the sacrifice for the good of the team.

While it’s encouraging to hear ‘Melo talk about sacrifice during camp so far, Kidd has been a guy to let his actions speak louder than his words, especially when it comes to leadership.

When we look back at this season, any success the Knicks have could be linked to Kidd’s presence alone. His impact won’t be measured by anything he does on the stat sheet. That’s what a leader is all about.

Despite his age, Kidd could turn out to be the perfect guy for this Knicks’ locker room.

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