Thursday , Nov , 17 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

The Showdown: Steve Nash vs. Jason Kidd and Yao Ming vs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas

What’s good, basketball fans?

You know how this goes. For those that don’t, you can find a link to the previous article in the Showdowns series to the right of your screen.

Let’s get right into it.

The Showdown: Steve Nash vs. Jason Kidd and Yao Ming vs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas

 
Jason Kidd vs. Steve Nash
 
The Numbers
 
J-Kidd
YEAR
TEAM
G
GS
MPG
FG%
3P%
FT%
OFF
DEF
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TO
PF
PPG
 04-05
NJN  
66
65
36.9
.398
.360
.740
1.4
6.0
7.4
8.3
1.86
.14
2.53
1.70
14.4
 05-06
NJN  
8
8
36.6
.391
.361
.842
1.3
5.4
6.6
6.9
2.00
.00
1.75
2.00
12.6
 Career
 
794
781
37.5
.402
.329
.778
1.5
4.9
6.5
9.2
2.07
.20
3.30
1.90
14.8
 
Nashty
YEAR
TEAM
G
GS
MPG
FG%
3P%
FT%
OFF
DEF
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TO
PF
PPG
04-05
PHO
75
75
34.3
.502
.431
.887
.8
2.6
3.3
11.5
.99
.08
3.27
1.80
15.5
05-06
PHX
7
7
35.9
.430
.333
1.000
.3
2.4
2.7
11.6
1.71
.29
4.29
2.40
18.1
Career
 
631
472
29.4
.470
.417
.894
.6
2.0
2.6
6.8
.82
.00
2.31
1.90
12.9
 
 
The Intangibles
 
Both have the uncanny ability to deliver pinpoint passes to players who weren’t aware they were open themselves. Both have mastered the art of throwing the alley-oop, and both are 3D (drive, draw and dish) threats the second they set foot on the floor. However, both are also deficient in a key aspect of the game. For Nash, it’s his defence, which is poor enough that, while playing alone, his shadow often beats him to the bucket. For Kidd, it’s the lack of a J that led to his being dubbed “Ason”, an inexcusable weakness in an age when every team has a shooting coach.
 
The Verdict
 
This one is harder than you’d think. For many, Nash would be the reflex answer for the simple fact that he has an MVP trophy to his name, but this ignores that he played for eight seasons before averaging over nine dimes a game, a feat Kidd accomplished in nine consecutive seasons on teams with considerably less talent than the 2004-2005 Suns. Ultimately, this debate comes down to adaptability to circumstances, and it’s clear that Jason is more capable of making a big contribution regardless of the situation. Factor in his talent for triple-doubles and you have what will, on most teams, be the superior point guard.
 
 
Yao Ming vs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
 
 The Numbers
 
Yaowsa
YEAR
TEAM
G
GS
MPG
FG%
3P%
FT%
OFF
DEF
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TO
PF
PPG
04-05
HOU
80
80
30.6
.552
.000
.783
2.6
5.8
8.4
.8
.43
2.00
2.45
3.70
18.3
05-06
HOU
7
7
29.9
.521
.000
.757
2.9
5.9
8.7
1.6
.14
2.00
1.71
4.40
18.3
Career
 
251
241
30.8
.525
.250
.799
2.5
6.1
8.5
1.3
.35
1.90
2.33
3.30
16.4
 
Big Zzzz
YEAR
TEAM
G
GS
MPG
FG%
3P%
FT%
OFF
DEF
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
TO
PF
PPG
04-05
CLE
78
78
33.5
.468
.286
.799
3.8
4.8
8.6
1.3
.68
2.12
2.45
4.00
16.9
05-06
CLE
8
8
28.9
.460
.000
.857
4.3
4.3
8.5
1.0
.50
.63
2.13
3.50
13.0
Career
 
421
381
29.2
.470
.161
.767
3.2
4.6
7.8
1.2
.57
1.80
2.11
3.50
14.8
 
The Intangibles
 
As oversized foreigners, Yao and Z can’t help but stand out and, unfortunately for them, that means that they’re more prone to media scrutiny than the real stiffs. They’re both often accused of not taking advantage of their height, and this doesn’t seem unfair given that neither has averaged over ten boards a night for a season. Their career numbers are fairly similar, although that angle of analysis doesn’t seem particularly fitting given that Yao is still young and that Z’s statistics took a big hit during the years in which his foot injuries most affected him.
 
The Verdict
 
Being two inches taller, five years younger and noticeably more mobile, Yao gets my vote here. Some will point to Z’s reliability as a reason to consider him the better of the pair, but this season we’re likely to see Yao rebut that with his most consistent play yet. While Z may not have missed many games lately, it’s still worth noting that Yao hasn’t sat out a single contest in his career. If he matches his durability with production this year, he’ll claim his spot as the undisputed second-best centre in the league.
 
 
CYE