In a free agency where Nash went to the Lakers, Deron re-signed with the Brooklyn Nets and Jeremy Lin’s publicized move to the Rockets, debates seem to arise on if a point guard is actually worth all this hype?
The effect a point guard has on a Basketball game is immense, often unsung. He may not score as many points as the shooting forward, pick up as many rebounds as the center or power forward, but the point guard does influence the game. His steals, assists, turnovers and play calls over the course of 48 minutes or more can prove intensely decisive between a win and a loss.
Here is a look at the 5 best point guards in the league. And don’t blame me if you do not find ‘Linsanity’ or Mr. Ball hog from Oklahoma here!
5. Steve Nash – Los Angeles Lakers
PPG: 12.5, APG: 10.7 and SPG: 0.6
Hadn’t it been for his age, FG% and being the sole driving force behind the Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash wouldn’t have made it to the fifth position. Instead, he would have lost it to Tony Parker with the Frenchman racking up stats of a lifetime – 18 PPG, nearly 8 assists and a steal per game. However, Parker plays in a much better team where the Spurs are eternal contenders to win the league. The same could not have been said about Nash’s previous team, the Suns.
The two-time MVP plays an instrumental role in bringing the best out of his team mates. Just take a look at Amar’e Stoudamire now at the Knicks and his performances at the Suns. Isn’t there significance deterioration in form for the present Madison Square Garden ‘fire extinguisher’? (Wait, who in this world would break their hand during a playoff game by punching a fire extinguisher – utter nonsense, Amar’e!). Having never been to the NBA finals despite posting record numbers, Nash moved to the greener pastures of LA to team up with Kobe Bryant. Staying closer to his kids might also yield in bringing home that NBA title which has evaded him throughout his entire career.
The Canadian is not an athletically equipped player like other point guards in the NBA but his tenacity, vision and wit makes him a nuisance to play against. Known as one of the greatest 3 point shooters of all time, Nash will be a force to contend with the Lakers. Consider this – Nash calls pick and roll with Gasol or Bynum in the line up or fakes it Kobe for a clutch shot, who wouldn’t bet on this Lakers team to win the league. No human is perfect and Steve Nash’s weakness is his defense which might seem not a problem with METTA WORLD PEACE playing small forward at the Staples Center. Don’t be surprised if this NBA veteran puts up another stellar performance this upcoming season.
4. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
PPG: 21.8, APG: 7.9 and SPG: 0.9
Before critics question my reputation after placing this 2011 MVP at the number 4 position, I want to make my case here.
Firstly, the Memphis product is undoubtedly a great dribbler, shooter and clutch specialist. His stardom status in Chicago (which was only last seen during the Jordan days) may not be matched by any other point guard in their respective cities. If the Bulls are strong NBA title contenders today, it is largely thanks to Rose’s sparks.
However, the dependence on Rose is exaggerated. Commentators rage on Rose being the only good shooter in this ‘mediocre’ team. That’s untrue! Bulls are stacked on the arc and paint with C.J. Watson, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, Richard Hamilton and Carlos Boozer. Another valid point to be made is the importance of Tom Thibodeau, who’s coaching during Rose’s absences needs to be lauded. ‘When Rose doesn’t play, Chicago doesn’t stand a chance.’ What does anyone have to say about Chicago securing the number one seed in the East despite Rose being out for the major bit of the season? Clearly, this team can survive without Rose. The Roseless Bulls have stormed over the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks – all playoff teams.
Secondly, Rose’s durability remains a big question coming into this off season. Don’t get me wrong – Rose is just 23 and is incredibly talented to become the best player in the league, but his battles with injury could hinder his progress. Today’s NBA is all about lasting the entire season and the top 3 point guards in my list exemplify that. Thus, as of now, Derrick Martell Rose has to resort to the number 4 position. Sorry, DR!
3. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
PPG: 21.0, APG: 8.7 and SPG: 1.2
Williams, the powerhouse from the University of Illinois, has never played in a championship worthy team throughout his career – unlike the other point guards in this list. Well, that has worked to his benefit. His tandem with Boozer in Utah to his epic ‘Pick and Roll’ with Humphries/Lopez at NJ is always a sight to watch. Deron Williams’ 57 points game against the fading Bobcats was arguably one of the better performances of the year, considering he had no one (maybe, a little of Gerald Wallace) to back him in defense or offense. Earlier this month, the West Virginia native signed a bumper deal for 5 years to keep him in Brooklyn with added incentives. What persuaded Williams was not the money but the ability to bring in stars, which unfortunately, hasn’t happened. This again could work in Williams favor to maintain his elite status of a point guard since the attention will revolve around him.
Deron Williams, however, hit a low in his career when he was accused of a tumultuous relationship with coach, Jerry Sloan. Many blame Williams for Sloan’s resignation since the point guard refused to bow down to Sloan’s disciplinary tactics. Right now, things seem to have been forgotten as the Nets’ superstar itches to re-write the franchise’s history. Maybe, if Dwight Howard does land there, the duo could bring home a NBA title and steal the crown of ‘who is the best in NY’ from the omnipresent Knicks.
2. Rajon Rando, Boston Celtics
Regular season – PPG: 11.9, APG: 11.7 and SPG: 1.8
Post season – PPG: 17.3, APG: 11.9 and SPG: 2.4
Rando is an absolute beast. Take a look at the transition in his numbers from regular to post season, and the guy is all CLUTCH. Earlier, the Celtics would eagerly await the ball to depart from Rando’s hands to Pierce or Allen but now, the fans just can’t get enough of this monster. Danny Ainge should be completely ashamed of himself for entertaining bids for Rando during the trade deadlines. In fact, he should seek to develop the team around this Kentucky sensation. After this post-season run by the Celtics and Rando wagon, few fans in the NBA will doubt Rando’s production. The identity that he holds since taking over Garnett and Pierce in Celtics’ marketing strategies itself signifies how much the team presently banks on Rando.
Speed, strength, drive-in, pick and roll, assists, clutch, playmaking, Rando has improved considerably in every department. He rebounds terrifically for a point guard of his stature and at the same time, is candid enough to set up buckets for his team mates.
Rando’s weakness has been his shooting. Never known to be a good shooter of the ball, Rando has shown signs of improvement but still has a long way to go. His 62% from the free throw line capsizes his ability to remain calm under pressure while at the same time, he is the least favored amongst any point guard (in this list) to make a jump shot. With that being said, Rando, within the next few years, will master this imperfection.
Rajon Rando is a class act himself but only misses out to the former Wake Forest point guard, who in my opinion is the best of his generation.
1. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Regular season – PPG: 19.8, APG: 9.1 and SPG: 2.5
Post season – PPG: 17.6, APG: 7.9 and SPG: 2.7
I admit – Chris Paul’s numbers dropped slightly in the playoffs during this past season. But the only reason the Clippers went that far was due to CP3’s show in the dying minutes of any game. The Clippers experienced their best season in ages after Paul’s arrival. Look at this – a season ago, Clippers finished 32-50 and were consistently in the lottery for years (how do you think they got Blake Griffin?). Chris Paul changed that.
To reach the semi final of the Western Conference is no joke for a franchise that hardly sees fame in a city dominated by the Lakers. If the Lakers have Kobe, Chris Paul is the face of the Clippers. Not only did CP3 finish third in the MVP rankings, he single handedly carried the Clippers (and before, the Hornets) to the playoffs. Ask the fans of his beloved Louisianan franchise how much they miss him (New Orleans’ Hornets secured the last place in the Western Conference in 2012).
Another instinct that Paul resoundingly has is his potential to generate the best out of his teammates. David West, Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin, Nick Young, Caron Butler and counting, Paul has been a selfless motivator in inspiring his teammates to do well. Not only does he put up All-Star numbers year in and out, but Paul is a leader that many teams would die to have. More importantly, he has durability that Nash, Williams and Rose cannot guarantee. If Rando is his closest competitor, Paul’s field goal percentage plus his defense would only hitch a mockery out of the Celtic point guard.
While it is so hard to pick the best shooting guard in the league or the toughest big men, the position of point guard has only one winner – CHRIS PAUL.
(All stats from ESPN.COM)