HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Jason Kidd is piling up heavy minutes and it’s only the second week of January.
With injured point guard Raymond Felton sidelined until at least later this month, New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson must find ways to win games — they’re 3-3 without Felton following Monday’s heated home loss to Boston — while not running Kidd into the ground.
In the six games since Felton fractured his right pinkie on Christmas against the Los Angeles Lakers, Kidd’s minutes have actually decreased slightly to 30.7 minutes a game from his rugged December workload of 33.2. That, however, is thanks to a 21-minute outing in a rout of the San Antonio Spurs, the one game in his last 10 that Kidd hasn’t logged between 31 and 35 minutes.
Take away the Spurs game and he’s averaged 32.6 minutes in Felton’s absence, same as his season average during the 2010-11 title run with Dallas. His minutes per game dropped to a career-low 28.7 last season, but he’s averaging 29.8 mpg this season and that figure is rising.
Overall, Kidd’s minutes have skyrocketed since the season’s opening month and it’s certainly worth monitoring as the All-Star break nears.
In 12 November games, Kidd played a very manageable 26.1 mpg and logged 30 minutes or more just three times. In the 18 games he’s played since, Kidd has gone 30-plus minutes 14 times, and 10 times he’s played at least 34 minutes. Last season, Kidd hit the 34-minute mark just 13 times in 48 games as he fought a rare spat of three separate injuries. Those were perhaps more a result of a shortened training camp and rushed start to the season following the lockout than being the league’s oldest starting player (and historically one of its most durable).
Still, as Kidd approaches his 40th birthday on March 23 and is in the midst of his 19th season, it would seem detrimental for him to continue to log such leg-sapping minutes.
So far, it has not affected his shooting. Of Kidd’s 196 shot attempts, 150 are 3-pointers and he’s made 66 of those for 44.0 percent, fifth-best in the league. He’s went 17-for-38 in his last six games, including 8-for-15 in his last two games following a potential red-flag pair of games when he missed 7 of 8 shots.
Woodson will likely have to continue to lean on Kidd. But once Felton and eventually Iman Shumpert return this month, it will be wise for Woodson to ease off the old man and begin planning for the stretch run and the most important Knicks postseason since 2000.
KIDD’S MINUTES BY MONTH
Month Games Avg min. 30+
November 12 26.1 3
December 14 32.9 11
January 4 30.5 3