NBA News, Trade and Free Agency Roundup

Will Leivenberg@@will_leivenbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2012

The cacophony of voices touting rumors and hype about Dwight Howard’s potential move has proven to be inconsequential noise, far too reminiscent of Twitter. This absence of action involving the NBA’s supposed second-best player is only a testament to the fact that not only are terrific big men going extinct, but that there’s more of an emphasis on point guards today.

Derrick Rose. Chris Paul. Deron Williams. Russell Westbrook. These are the players who have become invaluable members of their respective teams. Today’s prototypical point guard is versatile, quick, can score off the dribble or from behind the arc and has remarkable floor vision. 

CP3 has undeniably separated himself from the pack. Alongside his 18 ppg and eight apg, Paul is doing the one thing great players do: He’s making his team better. Paul’s ability to create passing lanes with the likes of Clippers big men, like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler, has transformed their offense into one of the most threatening in the West. When he’s not dishing the ball to the members of “Lob City,” CP3 also has one of the smoothest and most fundamentally-sound jump shots in the league.

Lakers fans may still cringe knowing that he could’ve been donning purple and gold, but there’s no denying Paul’s making a positive impact for the Clippers.


Knicks and Lakers: Similar Problems, PG and Depth

When the Miami Heat picked up Shane Battier just before the NBA season began, it was an investment in the depth of their lineup. That concept of having a variety of players who can contribute on both sides of the court may seem simple, but has evaded certain NBA teams that are now paying the price.

In particular, the Lakers and Knicks have glaring problems directly connected to their lack of role players. Aside from the Lakers’ “Big Three” and Melo and Stoudemire on the Knicks, each team has watched their early-season stock absolutely plummet.

At the root of their problems is the point guard position, or lack thereof. Derek Fisher has no business starting for any NBA team, and the Lakers need to make it a priority to go after a legitimate PG. Perhaps Rondo and D-Will should enter the conversation for a trade involving one of the Lakers’ bigs, Bynum or Gasol.

Similarly, the Knicks are without a reliable and healthy option at the point guard position, which is causing the Melo-Stoudemire tandem to clash because there’s no capable, penetrating PG. Steve Nash hasn’t shown signs quite yet that he’s ready to leave Pheonix, but just imagine if he joined the Knicks and reunited the Stoudemire and D’Antoni.

The Philadelphia 76ers seem to have found the answer.

Seven players on their squad are currently averaging 10 or more ppg. That’s an excellent stat, but more than anything, as a team, they are defying the rule that in an era of basketball all-too concerned with a “Big Three” mentality, small-ball can pay big dividends.

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