Originally created 05/08/02

Nets: Kidd was robbed of MVP award

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While Jason Kidd was gracious on Tuesday, his coach and New Jersey Nets teammates were disappointed at reports that Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs will win the NBA's MVP award.

"I think it's ridiculous," Nets coach Byron Scott said.

Scott said the Spurs win 50 games every year with Duncan leading the way. Kidd, acquired in an offseason trade with Phoenix, turned one of the league's perennial doormats into the best team in the conference in one season. New Jersey posted a 52-30 record after going 26-56 a year ago, winning its first division title since joining the NBA in 1976.

"I'm not saying Tim doesn't deserve it," Scott said after the Nets finished a shootaround for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with Charlotte. "He's a great player ... but what Jason has done for our team and where we have come from, I don't understand it."

The official announcement is scheduled for Thursday. Kidd was told of the voters' decision Monday night by his agent and Nets general manager Rod Thorn. He said he was happy for Duncan and considers him a friend.

His only negative comment was that the vote by 126 members of the media might be an indication that the Nets still aren't getting any respect despite their best NBA season.

"The record still stands, they can't erase the record," Kidd said. "They can't take away what we have accomplished up to this point. The big thing is, we are not done.

"The individual awards have never been one of my big suits," the four-time All-NBA point guard added. "It has all been a team effort. If it were a team award and we got shortchanged, maybe we would be upset. I'm not upset."

Everyone else associated with the Nets was.

"I feel he should have won and so does everyone on this team," forward Kenyon Martin said. "But I guess we don't count."

Center Todd MacCulloch said there was never a doubt in his mind that Kidd would win.

"When you are here and you see all the things he is doing, you don't expect anyone in this league can match what he has done," MacCulloch said. "Maybe we're a little J-Kidd saturated, but I definitely thought he deserved it."

MacCulloch even joked that the league might surprise everyone and give Kidd the award in Charlotte on Thursday.

"I don't know if I'm a big supporter of co-MVPs," said MacCulloch, a Canadian, alluding to the dual gold medals awarded to the figure skaters from his country in the Winter Olympics. "But Jason at least deserved a share of it."

Duncan led the Spurs to the Midwest Division title for the third time in four years. He was fifth in the NBA in scoring at 25.5 points per game and second in rebounding at 12.7. He also averaged nearly four assists and blocked 2.48 shots (3rd in NBA) while playing about 41 minutes.

Duncan led the league with 67 double-doubles, and was voted to the All-NBA first team for the fifth time in as many seasons. He was also selected for the All-Defensive first team for the fourth straight year.

Kidd, who was also an All-Defensive first team pick, averaged 14.7 points, 9.9 assists and a career-best 7.3 rebounds. The nine-year veteran also led the league in triple-doubles (eight), was second in assists and was third in steals (2.1).

"If there was going to be an MVP it should have been a co-MVP," Nets backup guard Lucious Harris said. "It was a little disappointing."

With all the talent in the league, Kidd said, it's hard to chose an MVP.

"Now there probably will be controversy, but the big thing is we have a bigger plan and a bigger picture, which is tonight's game versus Charlotte. The MVP is secondary," Kidd said.

Scott agreed, to an extent.

"Deep down inside, I think it matters," Scott said. "I think he would have liked to have had it. I don't think it will be the end of his world. I think it matters to him a little bit."


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