Avery Johnson – the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks – sat Jason Kidd in the final minute of a nationally televised game against the San Antonio Spurs. Mark Stein – of ESPN.com the Daily Dime – explained the rational for this move as follows:
Johnson explained afterward that he wanted to make sure Nowitzki was surrounded by shooters after catching the ball to discourage San Antonio from double-teaming, leading him to hold Kidd out because he feared Spurs coach Gregg Popovich surely would have ordered Kidd’s defender to immediately double Nowitzki.
Later in the same column, Jalen Rose indicated that Jerry Stackhouse was put in the line-up for Kidd.
Let’s review this decision.
It’s true that Kidd is not a good shooter. His career adjusted field goal percentage is only 45.3%. From three point range, again for his career, he has only hit 33.5% of his shots.
So it might make sense to sit Kidd for a great scorer. The problem with this logic (beyond all the problems that both Stein and Rose noted) is that Stackhouse is not a great scorer. Stackhouse has an adjusted field goal percentage for his career of 44.5%. From beyond the arc Stackhouse only hits on 30.5% of his attempts.
In sum, Johnson sat Kidd – the player they need at the end of the game – because Kidd doesn’t shoot well (which everyone knew before the Mavs traded for Kidd). And the player Johnson put in for Kidd, is an even less efficient scorer. Wow!! Obviously this is not a decision that is making its way into the next coaching textbook.
By the way, for those who want even more on the problems with Stackhouse, see the following posts:
June 15, 2006:Myth and Measurement after Game Three of the NBA Finals
July 20, 2007: Stackhouse vs. Jordan
October 14, 2007: Looking Back at the 1995 Draft or An Antidote for the Potential Drug
November 29, 2007: Re-Hashing Durant, Melo, and Stack