Who is the better player between Jason Kidd and Steve Nash? Despite playing the same position and being recognized as two of the greatest point guards we have ever seen, which player is truly better by taking into account all the main attributes?
Even if both players have coaching roles in today's NBA, they were Hall of Fame talents at the point guard spot. Jason Kidd was the all-around point guard superstar that brought defense and intangibles together while Steve Nash might be the most efficient point guard ever in terms of shooting and passing.
To compare all attributes and settle who is the better player, it is time to compare two dominant point guards to see who comes out on top.
Scoring - Steve Nash
Steve Nash is a special player mainly due to his ability to shoot the ball at a very high level. Steve Nash is widely recognized as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, and his statistics back that up. He shot 49.0% from the field, from 42.8% from three, and 90.4% from the line.
Jason Kidd scored in a different way to Nash. He was strong and was great at post-ups, and could finish at the rim when he had a lane to the basket. As he got older, he slowly became a knockdown shooter from three and that is why he is in 10th place on the all-time list of total 3's made. That is a testament to Kidd's basketball I.Q, which is tremendous. But Kidd was nowhere near the accurate shooter that Nash was, and that makes the difference.
Nash is a better free-throw shooter and can hit shots with ease due to his shooting and touch more so than Jason Kidd. Kidd was a great scorer in his early days with the New Jersey Nets, but Nash is one of the best shooters ever and takes this one.
Athleticism - Jason Kidd
This one is not very close because Jason Kidd has strength to his advantage. Kidd is truly one of the strongest point guards to have ever played, using that to bully defenders in the post and play aggressive defense. Kidd was also a solid leaper in his younger days, although he still wasn't jumping out the building by any means.
Steve Nash is not known for his athleticism, although he was agile and slippery with the ball. Countless times would Nash dribble around defenses and keep his handle despite getting contact, which is a big advantage. But Nash was not as powerful as Kidd and not the athlete he was in his earlier days, which gives the advantage to Jason Kidd.
Defense - Jason Kidd
Another no-brainer, Jason Kidd was a much better defender than Steve Nash. Kidd was known as a ball stopper in defense who could use his strength and awareness to bother opposing ball handlers well. Kidd was also adept at picking the ball for steals, and it was often a big part of his game in clutch moments.
Steve Nash wasn't much of a defensive player and was a liability as he aged. He wasn't too quick and didn't have the defensive mind to impact the game on that end. He was good at getting steals at times, but he wasn't the stopper that Kidd was.
Kidd takes this one easily as he averaged 1.9 SPG and made 9 All-Defensive Teams compared to 0.7 SPG with no All-Defensive Teams for Nash.
Clutch - Even
This is always going to be a debatable topic since Kidd has an NBA title with countless clutch performances to his name while Nash is a deadly shooter in crunch time. Who gets the nod?
Nash has hit a myriad of game-winners in his career but we have also seen moments where he sets up his teammates for shots as well. Steve Nash had incredible offensive awareness and he was a force in crunch time for his shot-making and passing. Jason Kidd, on the other hand, came through in the clutch mainly through his defense and hard-nosed play.
Kidd was known for coming up with big steals, hitting a big shot, or doing whatever it took to get the team a victory. Kidd's leadership and dominance counter Steve Nash and his ability to be an offensive machine. In all fairness, this is even.
Leader - Jason Kidd
This is an extremely close one. Both players are floor generals with exceptional talents at setting up teammates and controlling the pace of play. Steve Nash was one of the greatest assist men of all time and was able to handle the ball all game if he wanted to, while Kidd was the leader on offense and defense.
Nash was the leader and architect of the Phoenix Suns that made countless playoff appearances, and he won 2 straight MVPs as a result. But Jason Kidd did something Steve Nash never did, which was to make the NBA Finals and finally win an NBA title. While making an NBA Finals doesn't automatically make you a better leader, it does in this case because Kidd carried the Nets on his back to the Finals. Nash was great but was never able to take the Suns or Mavericks to the Finals despite playing with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Amar'e Stoudemire among others.
Kidd even won an NBA title with the Mavericks in 2011, with his leadership and experience on both ends coming into play and helping the team extremely on both ends. As a result of Kidd's successful postseason career, he gets the nod over Nash.
Basketball I.Q. - Even
When it comes to basketball I.Q., this one is just too close to differentiate. Jason Kidd was one of the greatest triple-double threats every night because he has the size and aggressiveness to rebound the ball, and could obviously score and pass very well. Kidd was also a two-way superstar in his prime and one of the best leaders in NBA history. He knew where his teammates would be every time and knew how to influence a game to his team's benefit.
Steve Nash was just a Mt.Rushmore type playmaker and scorer. He was money from beyond and always knew when to pass or shoot. Either way, he would hurt the defense because he was an offensive superstar of the highest order. The ability of Nash to completely dominate offense resulted in 2 straight MVP Awards when the likes of Kobe Bryant were in the league, so this one is even.
Impact - Even
Much like the basketball I.Q attribute, this one is too close to call. Steve Nash can carry an offense by himself and make others around him better. Kidd was a great passer and leader, but could not possess the ability to score like Nash. On the other hand, Jason Kidd is the much better defensive player and a better leader considering he can carry a team to the Finals.
Overall, both players have tremendous basketball I.Q. and can completely control the game which makes this even.
1 on 1 - Steve Nash
When looking at one on one ability, shooting and scoring have to be taken into account. There is no question that Steve Nash is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. He shot 49.0% from the field, from 42.8% from three, and 90.4% from the line. When Nash was fouled or left wide open, we all knew the result. He was simply too good on offense, and he couldn't be given an inch of space. Many look towards his playmaking as his best attribute, but the reason he was so deadly was that he was a marksman.
Nash needed constant double teams because he could read the floor and set up teammates, but defenses also began making sure they keep tabs on the other guys as well. This opened the floor for Nash and he was an amazing shooter. Kidd could also score the ball very well, especially in his prime, although he relied on posting up and spit up shooting rather than pure one on one skills. Kidd shot 40.0% from the field, 34.9% from three, and 78.5% from the line for his career.
Kidd is certainly no slouch at scoring in one on one situations, but Steve Nash is on another level thanks to his shooting.
Career - Even
This one is very debatable. Jason Kidd led a team to the Finals and also won an NBA title which would normally settle any career debate. But Steve Nash won 2 straight MVP Awards as a point guard, something so surreal that even Jason Kidd himself could not have done it. Nash was on a different level for 2 straight years and he has the stats to back it up even if Kidd won an NBA title.
Steve Nash averaged 14.3 PPG and 8.5 APG for his career while winning 2 MVP Awards and making 8 All-Star Teams. Nash also made 7 All-NBA Teams and is a 5-time Assists Champion in the NBA. Jason Kidd averaged 12.6 PPG and 8.7 APG while winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1994. Kidd also made 10 All-Star Teams, 6 All-NBA Teams, and 9 All-Defensive Teams. Clearly, when it comes to individual awards, this one is even although 2 MVPs is a massive advantage. Kidd can match that with an NBA title won in 2011, however.
This one is just too close because Nash was so sensational as an offensive player and Jason Kidd had Finals success. This one is even.
This one is closer than we thought because both players are exceptional point guards with unbelievable talents. Jason Kidd is the better overall player, and the comparison shows this. His ability to dominate on both ends of the floor and remain effective from his rookie season until his final season gives him the nod over Nash. His NBA title and the fact that he carried the Nets on his back to the Finals is extraordinary, and he is regarded as a better player than Steve Nash when it comes down to it.
Jason Kidd vs. Steve Nash 3-2