Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Perception of the Point Guard

Due to my age, I am unfortunate enough to have never witnessed Magic run the showtime lakers. I have never experienced the sight of Stockton play for the jazz. The only spectacular feat of Zeke I've witnessed is the absolute destruction of the Knicks. I will not be able to participate in the best point guard of all time argument. I can, however, tell you the best point guards playing in the NBA today.

What exactly is the purpose of a Point guard? Is it really such a significant role? An ideal Point guard is designed to take care of the ball, score when necessary, and hit the open man. The point guard determines how the offense plays out, and every possession goes through him. Without a legitimate Point Guard, a team is nothing. Look at last year's playoffs, where the only teams with a point guard issue were the Nuggets, Celtics and Cavaliers. The nuggets were the only team to get swept in the postseason, the celtics team had 3 hall of fame candidates, and the cavs have a player in contention for the greatest of all time. Even the 8th seed Atlanta couldn't make the playoffs until aquiring Mike Bibby. The '08 celtics and Jordan's bulls are probably the only teams in nba history to win a championship without a genuine Point Guard.

I rank the nba's best point guards based on efficiency, value to their team, and ability to win.
#10 Andre Miller
Andre Miller is very underrated. Last season he put up 17 & 7, as well as leading the sixers to 2 playoff wins against the pistons. Whilst he was in Denver he made the playoffs every season, and never had a losing record. 2 years after the AI trade, the nuggets are actually regretting trading Miller for one of the greatest scorers of all time.

#9 Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon put on an All-Star performance last season, averaging 11 points and 8 assists in 30 Minutes per game. As well as that, he shot 52% from the field, 43% from downtown, and led the league in assist to turnover ratio, with an astonishing 5.83 to 1 average. After finally getting rid of T.J. Ford, Calderon is now in the driving seat for the raptors. Much of the raptors success this season depends largely on the performance of Calderon, who's expected to repeat his efficient performance of last year.

#8Baron Davis

3rd of may 2007, Baron Davis finishes with 20, 10 & 6 in the biggest upset in playoff history. 2 years on Baron's left his warriors and the fast paced offense he ran to go play for Los Angeles. Baron's a superb player who is (was) extremely valuable to the warriors, and that amazing upset wouldn't of happened without him, but he does have his weaker attributes, and things such as his defense can let him down. This season the warriors will suffer without him as their triggerman.

#7 Jason Kidd
Once the best in the league, mister triple-double is now aproaching the end of his career. He's not nearly as good as he used to be, but Kidd is still relevent, racking up 9.9 assists per game last season. Rick Carlisle has promised to play more of a Jason Kidd style game in '09, and we can expect Kidd to stay one of the top tier point guards for a few more years at least.
#6 Gilbert Arenas

The definition of a 'pure point guard' can be argued, but one thing we can be certain of is that the term doesn't apply to agent zero. A point guard needs to find the balance on offense, knowing when to score and when to make the pass. Gil most definitely doesn't pass as much as he should, but he's a phenomenal scorer, the reason I place him on this list. In his last 2 healthy season he's averaged over 29 ppg, the only point guard of this era to do so. His selfishness almost defeats the object of a point guard, but his magnificent scoring ability is extraordinary. If he can consistently stay healthy and not be so selfish, I honestly believe in the not to distant future the wizards can make a run at the title.

#5 Tony Parker

Tony Parker is a great slasher, good distributor, and the envy of every man. He exploited Cleveland's lack of a quality PG in the '07 finals, taking home the MVP due to this. The spurs multiple titles can be partially credited to him, and he is an integral piece of the spurs dynasty. Despite this, he's not nearly as important to the team as Ginobli or Duncan, he operates as a 3rd offensive option and wouldn't excel nearly as much on a weaker team as a primary weapon.

#4 Chauncey Billups

Some may disagree with Billups being this high, but I can assure you that he's a top 5 PG. Regularly one of the best in assists per turnovers every year, and the vital captain of the piston's consistently efficient offense. The finals MVP has made a name for himself as a good defensive player, and even a mentor, spending a big majority of last season helping the development of the promising rookie combo guard Rodney Stuckey. Billups has fantastic chemistry with the rest of the pistons and plays a crucial role in their success.

#3 Deron Williams

Deron is everything you want in a Point guard. He can score in a variety of ways, distribute the ball beautifully, play defense, and run the pick and roll immensely. Last season he averaged career highs in points (18.8) and assists (8.8) whilst leading the Jazz to 54 wins. All of this and he's still only 24 years old.

#2 Steve Nash

Steve Nash is a unique point guard. He has remarkable court vision and runs the fast break better than any other player in the league. Since moving to Phoenix he's averaged 11.2 assists and 17.5 points, with over 54 wins each season he's spent in Arizona. Steve knows how to win games, and the last time his team won less than 50 was 8 years ago. A magnificent offensive player, but Steve's found out time and time again that it's defense that wins championships. even without a ring, his career will still be legendary, and will unquestionably go down in the hall of fame.

#1 Chris Paul

Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league. I find it incredible how a 6 foot 23 year old can be such an amazing player. He is a perfect model point guard. He has an endless scoring arsenal, a brilliant leader, plays well under pressure, and always hits the open man. On top of this, CP3 executes the pick and roll to perfection, scoring off it on an amazingly consistent basis. He can get to the rack and score, or draw help and hit Stojakovic for the open 3. If they double the big man, Chris is at the rack getting the and-one, or swishing the mid-range jumper. They double Paul and he hits West at the basket, or if he rolls out for the automatic 15 footer. If the defense switches, he'll cross up a big man, using his combination of handles and speed to exploit the advantage. This is why I feel the lakers may not be returning to the finals this season, as we seen against the celtics, the lakers struggle against pick and roll teams.
Chris excels defensively too. He led the league in steals this season, earning All-defensive team honors. On D, Paul doesn't just gamble and playing the passing lanes, but straight up locks down his man.

Chris is an extremely talented player, he possesses abnormal basketball skill, combined with a ridiculous level of intelligence for his age. Throughout his career Chris will excel and most definitely achieve success.

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