The player Jason Kidd was when he first came into the NBA isn't close to the player he was when he retired in 2012.
Whereas Kidd was known more for his speed and athleticism coming out of college, he developed into one of the most accomplished 3-point shooters in NBA history by the end of his Hall of Fame career. His continuous development helped him stay in the league for 19 seasons, putting him on the same page as Shaquille O'Neal, John Stockton and Moses Malone for the third-most in NBA history.
From his early years with the Mavericks to how he brought the franchise its first championship, here's how Kidd game transformed throughout his career...
Dallas Mavericks - A Future Star
The No. 2 pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Kidd came into the league with the expectations that he'd develop into a superstar. He certainly showcased his potential in his first season, earning co-Rookie of the Year honours with Grant Hill.
Kidd finished his rookie campaign with averages of 11.7 points, 7.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. He did more of the same as a sophomore, posting 16.6 points, 9.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game en route to his first of 10 career All-Star appearances.
As impressive as Kidd was over those two seasons, he did struggle with efficiency. To go along with 3.6 turnovers per game, Kidd combined to make only 38.3 percent of his field goal attempts and 31.1 percent of his 3-point attempts in Dallas. The scouting report on him coming into the NBA was that he couldn't shoot, and he didn't do quite enough in his first Mavericks stint to prove doubters wrong.
It wasn't until he was traded to the Suns in 1996 that Kidd started to put it all together.
Phoenix Suns - The Assist King
Kidd led the NBA in assists per game five times in his career. He was in a Suns uniform for three of those five seasons.
When it was all said and done, Kidd averaged 9.7 assists per game in Phoenix compared to 8.7 in Dallas, 9.1 in New Jersey and 3.3 in New York.
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Kidd's greatest season as a facilitator in Phoenix came in 1998-99, when he averaged a career-high 10.8 assists per game. According to Basketball-Reference, he assisted on roughly 44.0 percent of his teammates' baskets when he was on the floor that year, the second-highest rate of his NBA career. He also turned the ball over only 15.7 times per 100 possessions, the third-lowest rate of his NBA career.
Kidd's finest single game performance that season? When he dished out 19 assists and zero turnovers against a Gary Payton-led Seattle SuperSonics team that had the third-best record in the Western Conference at the time. He had five more 15-plus assist games that shortened season, including a 14-point, 16-assist, 12-rebound triple-double against Mike Bibby's Vancouver Grizzlies on Feb. 25, 1999.
New Jersey Nets - Mr. Triple Double
Kidd made it clear from from Day 1 that he was a walking triple-double, but he began racking triple-doubles up on a regular basis as a member of the Nets.
Of the 107 triple-doubles Kidd recorded in his NBA career, 61 of them came in a Nets uniform between 2001 and 2008, a seven-year stretch in which he averaged an impressive 14.6 points, 9.1 assists, 7.2 rebounds per game.
Kidd was just as dominant in the playoffs, too.
During New Jersey's back-to-back runs to the Finals in 2002 and 2003, Kidd averaged 19.8 points, 8.6 assists and 8.0 rebounds per contest. He finished with a triple-double in the first Finals game of his career, totaling 23 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 1 of the 2002 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kidd also averaged a triple-double in a playoff series twice during his tenure with the Nets, and even averaged one for the entire postseason in 2007. In fact, the only players in NBA history who have recorded more triple-doubles than Kidd (11) in their postseason careers are LeBron James (23) and Magic Johnson (30).
Dallas Mavericks - The 3-Point Assassin
Kidd entered the final phase of his career in his return to Dallas.
With Dirk Nowitzki leading the way for the Mavericks, Kidd saw his usage rate plummet to only 13.0 percent. Gone were the days of him being the primary creator on offense. At the age of 34, Kidd developed into a knockdown shooter to better complement Dirk, who was in the middle of his prime.
In his first full season with the Mavericks, Kidd knocked down 131 triples. He then made a career-best 176 3-pointers the season after at a 42.5 percent clip.
Kidd was a factor during the Mavs' title run in 2011 as well. He only averaged 9.3 points per game throughout the playoffs, but he was good for 2.0 3-pointers per game. He finished that postseason with a league-leading 43 3-pointers.
Having made 1,988 3-pointers in his NBA career, Kidd now ranks behind only eight players on the all-time leaderboard.
Not bad for someone who was once called "Ason" because he didn't have a J, huh?