As the first round of the NBA draft came to a close last June and commissioner David Stern was stepping off the stage, I remember one particular thought that ran rampant through my mind; were there really just 12 point guards taken in that round?
I mean, I understand that the position has been the most important one league-wide over the past few seasons, but for 40 percent of the first round picks spent on point guards? I just didn’t see it coming.
Sure, a few of them could be considered combo guards, only running the point on a situational basis, but for the most part, the entire dozen were selected by teams that were looking for them to run the point. Once I got over the initial shock, I realized that is wasn’t very surprising at all. All 12 of those guys were good if not great college or overseas players.
Throughout the duration of the season, I have kept my eye on these 12 guys and their performances. Let’s just say, I wasn’t very disappointed, and when the top three guys in the Rookie of the Year (ROY) chase this year wound up being point guards, I definitely wasn’t shocked.
With that said I have gone ahead and ranked the Dynamic Dozen based on how they played this year, and how I feel they will in the future.
1. Tyreke Evans – Sacramento Kings 20.0 ppg, 5.8 apg, 5.3 rpg
Tyreke Evans is definitely one of the guys that fits into the combo guard category, and rightfully so considering he is by far the biggest physical specimen of the bunch. While Evans has the size of a shooting guard, his game really does fit the bill of a scoring point.
There are very few players in the entire league that are as good in a one-on-one situation as Evans is. He's constantly using his size and strength to bully his way into the paint, and once he gets there it’s usually a safe bet that he is going to finish.
With the Kings trading Kevin Martin at the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him transition to the 2-guard sooner rather than later, but if they decide to keep him at the point, I have a feeling he will stay on the top of this list.
2. Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors 16.9 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.3 rpg
If this were a list ranking my favorite players to watch in the league, this guy would still make the top 12. Seriously though, he might be the best fit for a coaches system of any player on any team in the whole league.
Coming into the draft last year, we all knew he could score; the real question was whether or not he could run an offense at the most elite level. While he still has a long way to go, he has absolutely made leaps and bounds. He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time, finding open shooters, or open shots for himself. If he has the ball past half court, you have to guard him, because he has the best deep range game of any player I’ve seen since Reggie Miller.
If the combo of him and Monta Ellis stays together for a while, I have a feeling head coach Don Nelson is going to put a little cushion on his new record.
3. Brandon Jennings – Milwaukee Bucks 15.4 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.5 rpg
Jennings was probably one of the bigger question marks going into the draft last summer. After being the first American born player to skip college to play overseas, no one had really seen what he had to offer. He did a great job of answering those questions early in the season, and answering them in a big way with a 55 point performance against Golden State in early November.
He was the early favorite to win ROY, but his performance suffered after the game as he was tending to force up shots, often shooting in the 30 percent range from the field. He has been playing well as of late though, allowing the game to come to him and getting his shots in the flow of the offense.
As well as being a phenomenal talent, and an absolute wizard with the ball in his hands, Jennings also sports one of the coolest haircuts in the league with his early '90's-esque Gumby fade, making it nearly impossible to not root for him.
4. Darren Collison – New Orleans Hornets 12.0 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.5 rpg
It had to be a bit of a Catch-22 for Darren Collison when he was drafted by the Hornets No. 21 overall last June. On one hand, you get to play behind a guy who is arguably the best point guard in the game, on the other hand, you're probably going to get about as much playing time as Mark Madsen did on the Lakers.
Well, it didn't work out that way for Collison, as Chris Paul has battled injuries all season long, giving the former UCLA Bruin a chance to break out. The combo of him and fellow rookie Marcus Thornton have really added a great scoring punch to the Hornets along with the steady play of the always consistent former Xavier stand-out, David West.
Collison may not be with the Hornets for long, but he has definitely proven to be a valuable asset to their future, and I have a feeling he will be a starter in this league within the next two seasons.
5. Jonny Flynn – Minnesota Timberwolves 13.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 2.4 apg
Jonny "B. Goode" Flynn has had a pretty solid rookie campaign, the problem is, he plays for the obsolete T-Wolves. He has continued to focus on his dribble drive game which was excellent last year at Syracuse, however, until he develops a better shooting game, he is not going to get any higher on this list. I do expect Flynn to have a strong Sophomore year, making strong improvements with the fear of a certain Spaniard coming State side.