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#pounditThursday, January 26, 2023

Jason Kidd praises Emmanuel Mudiay: ‘He’ll be better’ than me

Emmanuel Mudiay

At the ripe age of just 19 years old, Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has already shown that he has the tools to run an NBA offense. Mudiay posted 16 points, 11 assists, and just one turnover in a 103-102 Denver victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night in a widely lauded performance. One of the admirers was Bucks head coach Jason Kidd.

Kidd, the 10-time All-Star point guard back in his illustrious playing career, showered Mudiay with high praise after the game. “At 19 years old, he’s very talented,” Kidd said of the Congolese guard per Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. “He’s running the team, he’s not afraid to take a big shot…To see a 19-year old being able to run a team with his poise, and then also his skills. He has skills at the age of 19.

“I think he’s doing a really good job,” Kidd continued. “They are a young team, he’s asked to do a lot, and I think he’s standing up. He wants to be in that position, and it’s hard to say at 19-years old there are a lot of guys that can handle that.”

Kidd was finally pressed to draw a comparison between Mudiay and himself back when he first entered the league as a 21-year-old in 1994. “He’ll be better,” replied the five-time NBA assists leader. “He’s better already. Being able to run an NBA team at 19 is not easy. You look at some of the greats — Magic (Johnson) was able to do it. And you’re looking at this kid Mudiay, who has the opportunity to do something special. So, I would encourage him to be better than me, and I think he will be at the end of the day.”

Coming from a future Hall of Famer and one of the ten greatest point guards of all-time, Mudiay should certainly hold his head high after receiving such commendation.

The No. 7 overall pick in last June’s draft may still has a ways to go in terms of matching Kidd’s defensive tenacity, rebounding dexterity for a guard, as well as his ability to dominate tempo and make smart decisions in the open floor (not to mention that Mudiay is plagued by some of the same shooting issues that dogged Kidd early in his career). But the skillset is unquestionably there and with the correct development of his talents, it’s easy to see how Mudiay’s ceiling could project to be higher than Kidd’s was.

For now, it’s clear that Mudiay landed in the right situation in Denver (something he is well-aware of), and his rookie season has been fun to watch as he has already turned NBA head coaches from non-believers to worshippers at the Church of Emmanuel.

H/T NBA Reddit

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