The crop of point guards for this upcoming season is the best it has been years. It's a terrific blend of young and old, quick and talented, scorers and passers. Let's take a look at the top 10 PG's ranked with an emphasis on leadership, assist to turnover/ atio, and being a floor general for your club.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Brooks, Gilber Arenas, Mike Bibby, Andre Miller, Russel Westbrook
Nelson was averaging just under 17 points per game and 5 and a half assists before his shoulder injury last year. He also upped his free throw and 3 point field goal percentages. I expect him to come back strong from the injury and his assists to rise with the dominant Dwight Howard down low. He reminds a lot of my #9 my pick....
Mr. Big Shot excelled in Denver last season leading the Nuggest to the Western Conference Finals. He finished the regular season with 17.7 ppg 6.4 assists per game and 1.2 steals per game. He raised his stats in all 3 categories come playoff time. Billups is getting older and worn down but he will only be turning 33 in September. He's got at least 2 good seasons left, plus he is really the glue that holds that Nuggets team together.
J Kidd is 36 years old, has been in the league 15 years and yet he still comes close to a triple double nearly every night. The Mavericks gave up a young star in Devin Harris to grab Kidd, but Jason proved his worth in the playoffs last year when he helped Dallas oust the Spurs in the first round. Kidd has become a liability on the defensive end but he can hit open 3's, rebound, and run the fast break as good as anyone. Future Hall of Famer, no doubt.
Calderon is one of the most underrated players in the league. The Spanish native averaged 12.8 ppg and 8.9 apg and 2.1 turnovers per game. He also shot 40 percent from long distance. Perhaps his most outstanding stat however is his free throw shooting. Last year he was 151-154! That's just three misses! Although he missed some time in December due to inury, Calderon had a great season coming off a good 07-08 campaign. At just 27, Jose is coming into his prime and if the Raptors can find a way to keep Chris Bosh, Toronto has a real bright future.
The frenchmen is one of the premier scoring point guards in the league. Averaging 22 points per game last year, he backed that up with nearly 7 assists per game. Although his turnovers are a little high at 2.58 per game, his 3 point shooting is average, and his free throw percentage isnt stellar, he can still get to the pain as good as anyone. With the additions the Spurs made this off season, I expect San Antonio to be right back in the title chase with Parker leading the way.
Rondo had his coming out party in the playoffs, nearly averaging a triple double. His numbers for the playoffs add up like this: 16.9 ppg 9.7 rpg 9.8 apg
He was good in the regular season too with just under 12 points per game 8.2 assists and 5.2 rebounds. He also averaged 1.9 steals per game.
His turnovers were up a little high at 2.6, his free throw shooting was horrendous for a point guard at 64 percent, and his 3 point shooting leaves a lot to be desired. But Rondo can take over a game when need be and remember, he will be entering just his 4th year in the league. He will continue to improve and leave no doubt at being a top 5 point guard in the NBA.
Nash is one of my favorite players in the league to watch. He's getting up there in age with Jason Kidd but he can still produce. Even with last year's rocky season in Phoenix, Nash put together a solid season averaging 15.7 points and 9.7 assists per game. His 3 point shooting and free throw shooting are still excellent and the way he can dribble into the paint and create for his teammates is a joy to watch.
Nash decided to sign an extension with Phoenix this July and will probably finish out his career in the desert. Working with a young and rebuilding Suns squad may bring down his numbers, but without question, he will make the guys around him better.
This may come as a suprise to some, but after what we saw from Derrick Rose in his rookie season, it is only a matter of time before he becomes a full fledged superstar.
As a rook, he helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs averaging 16.8 ppg and 8.3 assists. He also grabbed nearly 4 boards a game and was a consistent playmaker on offense.
He must improve his dreadful 3 point shooting, average free throw shooting, and cut down on the turnovers. However, Rose makes the Bulls a very scary team in the East. He really excelled in the playoffs as his points and rebounds went up in an epic series against the Celtics. Rose doesn't back down from a challenge and I almost made him number 2 on the list. That's good he is and how good he will be in 2009.
Nearly averaging a 20 & 10 last season, Deron Williams is one the premier young players in the league today. He has all the tools a point guard needs- passing, defense, creating, free throws, 3 pointers, leadership. It's all there. Williams had a great performance in game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Lakers. Facing elimination Williams put up 16 points and 17 assists in defeat.
Deron starred on last summer's USA olympic basketball team and is extremely gifted. What is really scary is he's so good now, and yet can still get better.
There is no question who the best point guard in the league is. Chris Paul. He averaged just under 23 ppg and 11 apg last season. He is one of the few players who has it all. He has a great free throw average, solid three point shooting, good rebounder, great stealer- averaging nearly 3 a game, tremendous field goal percentage, and outstanding leader.
Although the Hornets flamed out in the playoffs, Paul epitomizes the phrase "floor general". It's a real treat to watch him control the game and dictate the pace. Not only the top point guard in the league, he is one of the top 5 players in the NBA today. It's only a matter of time before Chris Paul can add NBA MVP to his list of growing accolades.