The (Likely) Top 10 Point Guards for the Upcoming 09-10 NBA Season
The point guard position has been considered the most important in basketball. Point guards have several responsibilities such as distributing the ball, calling the plays, managing touches, among other things.
An increasing number of point guards have also taken scoring into their hands. A few even take pride in their excellent rebounding.
This is a list of these point guards and who is expected to be great in the upcoming 09-10 NBA season. Since team records and playoff positioning can never be correctly predicted, players that play for teams that are expected to be bad are not hindered. Interestingly, when a team has an elite point guard his team usually follows suit.
As always, there will be some debate and controversy; but that is the fun part.
10. Aaron Brooks -- Houston Rockets
This is where the fun begins. The first ranking and I expect it to be the most controversial.
Last year, the Houston Rockets decided to trade their starting point guard in Rafer Alston. The move puzzled everyone except the Houston Rockets' front office. They saw something special in the sophomore and it seemed to have paid off. He finished the season well for the Rockets thanks to his speed and shooting ability.
As many of you know, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are expected to miss major time next year. This dilemma forces Aaron Brooks to become the first option for the Rockets.
There will be a heavy burden on the 24-year old as he will be counted on to do many things. He will be asked to score plenty; maybe more than he is ready for but the Rockets' situation will throw him there. He will also be asked to run the predicted fast-paced offense that many see the Rockets playing next year with young athletes in Carl Landry and Trevor Ariza.
All in all, expect Brooks to increase his scoring and assist total plenty this upcoming year.
9. Jose Calderon -- Toronto Raptors
Jose Calderon might come in ninth on this list but may be first on a "most underrated point guards" list.
The talented Spaniard is perhaps the best playmaker in the East as shown by his 8.9 apg average last year. He also shot 49.7 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from beyond the arc, and an astounding 98.1 percent from the charity stripe.
Calderon also chipped in 12.8 ppg; a number that he will have to improve upon if he looks to move up in future lists.
All of Jose's achievements, unfortunately, were overshadowed by the Toronto Raptor's horrid record of 33-49 in the 08-09 season.
Fortunately, the Raptors have made positive moves in the offseason such as obtaining Hedo Turkoglu and Marco Belinelli. Turkoglu's acquisition, specifically, will help Calderon next year as it will take some of the ball-handling pressure of off him due to Turkoglu's excellent playmaking abilities. Hedo's slashing ability will get Calderon some open jumpers and Calderon will get to the basket easier now that defenders have to stay with the new small forward. These two international players complement each other very well.
8. Andre Miller -- Portland Trailblazers
The 10-year veteran checks in at the eight spot. Despite being 33-years old Miller shows no sign of slowing down as he finished another consistently strong year.
Andre Miller is known as one of the league's most durable players as he has played in a league-leading 501 consecutive games straight. Miller is also tied for the 13th highest assist-per-game average in NBA history with 7.6 which he added on nicely to last year with an average of 6.5. Andre can also rebound the ball particularly well for a point guard as evident by his 4.5 average for last season. All these numbers add up to a well-rounded player and a triple-double threat.
He really has earned his paycheck with Portland worth $21 million over 3 years. With Portland, Miller can expect to be relevant again by playing for a predicted contender. Also, Miller can provide some valued veteran leadership to a exceedingly young squad.
7. Derrick Rose -- Chicago Bulls
Dropping in at number seven in the countdown is the young developing superstar Derrick Rose.
Rose was the first pick of the 2008 NBA draft and he certainly lived up to the honor as he took home the Rookie of the Year award and lead his team to the playoffs despite being only his first year.
Rose finished the 08-09 season with averages of 16.8 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 3.9 rpg. He then raised his level of play in the playoffs with averages of 19.7 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 6.4 rpg showing his excellence in all parts of his game once again despite his age. In his playoff debut, he finished with 36 points, 11 assists, and 4 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field. The 36 points tied him with Kareem Abdul-Jabar as the most points scored by a rookie in his playoff debut.
The Chicago native's blazing speed and freakish athleticism for a 6'3 guard ensures his future is bright. With the departure of Ben Gordon, look for Mr. Rose to increase his shots per game and also take on the leadership role full time in Chicago.
6. Chauncey Billups -- Denver Nuggets
Just outside the top five we find Chauncey Billups; also well-known as "Mr. Big Shot".
During the 08-09 season, Pistons GM Joe Dumars decided to try something new in Detroit after multiple disappointments in the playoffs. He traded his star point guard for Allen Iverson. Jumars wanted a change and decided to take the team chemistry gamble. Turned out, "The Answer" was wrong.
Denver, on the other hand, hit the jackpot. They finally got the point guard they needed after previous failures (Miller, Iverson). Chauncey seemed to have accomplished the impossible last year when he rallied one of most defense-lacking and selfish teams to playing basketball the right way.
This led to the 2nd seed in the West and a Western Conference Finals appearance; the 7th straight for the Denver-native.
Look for Mr. Billups to continue directing the young talent that resides in Denver next year.
5. Steve Nash -- Phoenix Suns
Captain Canada lands at number five. It seems like Nash is falling and falling from among the top point guards as younger talents are stepping up.
Nash's ability should not be questioned though as he is still a much better playmaker than any of those young guns. He is still the best on the fast break along with fellow oldie Jason Kidd. Have no doubt about it, Nash can still be the head of a high-octane offense.
The two-time MVP had a rough 08-09 season as he was forced to go through coaches, trades that sent his friends away, injuries to his pass receivers, and a longer summer than usual for him.
Fortunately, the upcoming season is looking a little brighter for him since he can now take back the reins of the offense that were stolen by him from Shaq. Phoenix can get back to what they did before the 7'1 Diesel arrived. Also, Phoenix can dream about the postseason since Houston seems to be headed to the lottery.
4. Devin Harris -- New Jersey Nets
"The Blur" runs up the ranks to number four on my list.
With the New Jersey Nets trying to rebuild after the failures in the Kidd/Carter/Jefferson era it seems like Harris is the most valuable piece they got back for their big three.
The new all-star worked extremely hard at his game after he was sent to New Jersey from Dallas. Already possessing speed and athleticism naturally, he added skillful ball-handling and a smooth jumper to his game to average 21.3 ppg and 6.9 apg. The lack of scoring in New Jersey at the time no doubt helped as well.
Now, after the last piece of the big three, Vince Carter, was shipped off, Harris clearly becomes the first option on the team. The Nets sorely lack offensive firepower and depth as evident by a sophomore, Brook Lopez, becoming their second-option. While a young developing team, the Nets can probably kiss their postseason hopes goodbye. But for Devin, he will be asked to do a lot for the Nets next year. This rankings says he will deliver.
3. Tony Parker -- San Antonio Spurs
The speedy Frenchman gets the top three party going.
The three-time NBA champion took off last year as Timmy's knees were an issue along with Manu's ankle. Parker finally boosted his points per game over 20 as he finished the 08-09 season averaging 22.0 ppg and dished out 6.9 assists per game to go with it. In the playoffs, he increased his scoring more to 28.6 ppg against J-Kidd and the Mavs. His effort was in vain though because the Spurs ended up with a quick first-round exit.
Parker's unreal speed allows him to consistently get in the paint and gets more points in the paint than many inside players do. Big men try to knock him down and change his shots but he's extremely crafty around the basket and always gets back despite usually being the smallest player on the court. Also, Parker has perfected his mid-range jumper when defenses try to pack up the paint to counter his inside scoring. He truly is a nightmare to guard.
Look for the model marrying point guard to continue his tear on the league in the 09-10 season.
2. Deron Williams -- Utah Jazz
Finally we approach the top 2 and get to the picks you probably already knew. Starting it off is the talented young point that goes by the nickname D-Will.
Williams has rejuvenated Utah after the good ol' days of Stockton and Malone. In fact, most people see Williams and Boozer as the reincarnation of Stockton and Malone. Even though Boozer seems to be on the way out, Jazz fans can rest easy as Williams is there to stay.
Williams started the 08-09 season off slow because of an injury but got back into the flow of the things later. He ended up having a career year with averages of 19.4 ppg and 10.7 apg. If Carlos Boozer really is leaving, expect Williams to have more shot attempts and take full control fo the offense.
The Texas-native's mix of explosive athleticism, powerful strength, and sick crossovers allows him to get to the rack and finish hard. Defenders are forced to leave him space but then he will just knock down the three-ball on you. How do you defend him?
I don't think anyone will figure that out in the 09-10 campaign.
1. Chris Paul -- New Orleans Hornets
Now for the pick that you already knew was going to be here. I kinda wanted to put someone else's name here and see how many jokes I was to be the target of. At the end I decided to protect my reputation and make a respectable list.
Chris Paul, or better known as CP3, takes the number one spot.
Paul's team, the New Orleans Hornets, had a disappointing year last year as they ended the season with the 7th seed in the West and got ousted by the Nuggets in the first-round; a series which included a 58 point-loss.
You can't blame CP3 though because he does absolutely everything for the team. Not only does he average 22.8 ppg and 11.0 apg but also 5.5 rpg. Why don't we also add 2.8 steals per game to his line? He has led the league in assists and steals twice in a row and I doubt he won't for a couple more years.
The 05-06 Rookie of the Year will continue his dominance at the point guard position for several years.
Mo Williams -- Cleveland Cavaliers:
I seriously considered taking out either Brooks or Calderon for Williams but Brooks' potential to break out this year and Calderon's playmaking ability influenced my decision.
Baron Davis -- Los Angeles Clippers:
B-Diddy continues his strong play but he is no longer relevant or elite due to the Clippers' curse. (Good luck Griffin XD)
Jameer Nelson -- Orlando Magic:
Nelson might have made this list if his 08-09 season wasn't ended early by an injury. Nelson will have to prove that his all-star selection wasn't a fluke and that he actually can consistently produce. With more offense on the team now in Carter, Bass, and Barnes; Nelson may have to take a smaller role.
Gilbert Arenas -- Washington Wizards:
Gilbert Arenas, Agent Zero, Hibachi, The Black President, or whatever you want to call him will have to prove to the entire world that he is earning his $111 million contract. Here's a fan living in Virginia hoping he can.