Kidd is destroying TJ
Most of my first round prognostications are going pretty well, save for one. I took the Nets in 7 against the Raptors, describing it as the most competitive series on the boards for round one. My analysis was wrong. There are many reasons for this but one stands out starkly: Jason Kidd has eaten TJ Ford's lunch and then charged him for it.
One of the arguments made around BucksNation in favor of trading TJ Ford to Toronto for Charlie Villanueva was that TJ would never be a championship point guard. He's a winner in the regular season and a huge liability in the postseason. Last year with the Bucks he was exposed in the playoffs by Detroit, whose bigger guards ate him alive. The same has happened this year. While Ford -- to his credit -- is playing about as well as he can play, he is still helpless against a point guard the size of Jason Kidd. And as a result, Kidd is having field days against him.
Watching the Nets destroy the Raptors last night, the thing that struck me visually was the size difference between Ford and Kidd. Ford looked like a little kid trying to guard a full-sized man. And while Ford clearly has the quickness advantage, Kidd has smartly negated this by playing way off Ford and thus forcing him to be a jumpshooter rather than a penatrator. How many times last night did we see Ford merely dribble to the right wing and start the offense way out there, with Kidd sagging way off? As a result, Ford's penetration has been almost nonexistent throughout the series. Meanwhile, on the other end, Kidd hasn't even been bothered by Ford's defense.
And its shown in the statistics. Kidd is second in the NBA in playoff Eff48 (40.20), just behind Phoenix's Amare Stoudamire (41.66). And Kidd's improvement over his regular season Eff48 (29.11) is much higher than Stoudamire's (34.29), suggesting that Kidd is benefiting greatly from his matchup with TJ Ford.
Thus, what looked like a competitive series has turned into a complete mismatch. The Raptors have been lucky to win one game, and it looks like they will go out in 5. The point guard disparity, as much as anything else, is the reason for this.