Mid Season Ranks: Point Guards Ruling Eastern Confrence

Sean DutraContributor IJanuary 16, 2009

The crop of young point guards in the east is really astonishing.

The year started out with the focus on Chris Paul and Deron Williams out West, but as the season has progressed, the East has brought up some legitimate contenders to the throne of the best in the league.

We all figured Boston, Orlando, and Cleveland would be doing well at this point of the year, but no one could have imagined they would all have less than 10 losses apiece.

The main reason for these teams’ fast starts are the stellar play they have been getting in the point guard position, showing again how important a point guard is to a team in the NBA nowadays.

8) Mike Bibby—The Hawks are turning into a real contender to dominate the second tier of the Eastern Conference. They wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the veteran running the point. Very quietly averaging 16 points a contest, Bibby has brought the Hawks to their best start in a while.

7) Chris Duhon—Duhon is doubling his production of assists and points under new coach Mike D’Antoni. He is averaging 12.3 points per game while dishing out eight assists a game with the feisty Knicks.

Could D'Antoni really have this much affect on his point guard? Even the great Steve Nash's numbers got a real boost under the D'Antoni era in Phoenix having never averaged double digit assists without D’Antoni behind the wheel.

Whatever you wanna say, Duhon is producing at an unexpected level and the Knicks aren't the worst team in the league, so at least it’s an improvement from last year.

6) Rodney Stuckey—Flourishing after gaining the starting spot, Stuckey has lived up to the high expectations he earned from the playoffs last year. He has been a constant scorer for the aging Pistons, and may be the spark they need to make a second half run.

Since the beginning of December, Stuckey has scored in double figures in all but three games and has had outbursts of 40, 38, and 30. Give him a little more time to develop and the Pistons just may have the replacement part for Billups.

5) Mo Williams—Williams has been the most consistent sidekick to LeBron all year. He has done a great job of finding the open spot on the floor after the defense collapses on James. If you’re gonna take shots away from King James, you better make them, and that's just what Mo has done.

4) Derrick Rose—In his second 1st season in two years, Rose has got it down how to make an immediate impression on a league. He just led the Bull's to a possible season-sparking win against Cleveland, and has averaged 17 and six over his first 39 games. He seems to be the unanimous Rookie of the Year at this point and may be making his case for an All-Star berth.

3) Jameer Nelson—The Magic had a lot of questions about the point guard position at the beginning of the year. Nelson answered all of them while leading the Magic to the second best record in the league and being the glue between a very young and talented team.

2) Rajon Rondo—The Celtics absolutely dominated the NBA until Christmas. Rondo made the Celtics offense flow so smooth, and he showed grit on the defensive end. The 19-game winning streak was the best in franchise history, and the Celts also hold the best start in NBA history.

Rondo's quickness is almost impossible to match, and he is becoming more of a scoring threat. Even though his production has slowed as of late, he is having an All-Star year.

1) Devin Harris—It’s safe to say the New Jersey Nets benefited greatly from Mark Cuban's greed. Harris, who has played above and beyond any expectations, is leading all point guards in scoring at 22.7 points a game. He has brought excitement to the Nets for the first time since Vince Carter was trying a few years ago.

Harris is also leading the Nets in assists and is taking the ball away almost twice a game leading them in steals also.


Just Missed the Cut: Jose Calderon, Ray Felton, Mario Chalmers