It's early, but the honeymoon stage is definitely still in effect for Jason Kidd and the Knicks, as the former Mavs guard is starting on a New York team that's gotten off to an extremely hot 4-0 start.
He only played 15 minutes on Friday, but he was very effective in them, filling up the stat sheet with 6 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 rebound on 2-3 shooting.
"He's a talented player, if not one of the best in the league," Kidd said. "I was with another great one in Dallas, so I feel that he can be just as god as Dirk. He understands the moment. He wants the ball. People don't look at him as a defensive player, but he's a guy that plays defense, and he's been doing it since I've been here, watching him in training camp. He's playing both ends."
Carmelo, a wondrously skilled 6'8 230 forward, has never lacked for talent, but at times, his commitment to passing and defense has.
However, he certainly is capable of taking over a playoff series on the offensive side of the floor, which Mavs fans are very well familiar with after Dallas lost 4-1 to Carmelo's Nuggets in a dramatic second-round playoff series in 2009.
Like Dirk, if enough good defensive players are put around him, Carmelo can be the best player on an elite team. Here's the difference: Dirk is 7'0. Carmelo is 6'8.
LeBron can defend Carmelo 1-in-1 in the late stretch of a playoff game; he couldn't defend Dirk.
I have the feeling that difference will be more than academic, considering that all roads to the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference will go through Miami for some time.