Time for a Replacement: Five NBA Teams Most in Need of a New Point Guard
Any team that wants to be successful needs a quality point guard to run the team. On most teams, the point guard has the ball in his hands more than any other player, and every offense needs a general who can take care of the ball.
However, some teams are held back by their lack of a good point guard. While some teams, like the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks, addressed their void at the point guard positions by adding Darren Collison and Raymond Felton, respectively, others appear stuck without an adequate point guard for the start of the 2011 season.
In this article, I will explore the those teams that are lacking a solid point guard and provide possible solutions to their problems. Enjoy!
5. Memphis Grizzlies
Over his first three seasons, Mike Conley has played relatively well but ultimately failed to live up to his expectations. Drafted fourth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, Conley has averaged 10.9 points and 4.7 assists per game throughout his short career.
These numbers are respectable, but hardly what you would expect from a fourth overall pick. When compared to other players taken fourth overall, like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans, and Chris Bosh, Conley's career seems rather mediocre.
Conley had his best year last season, averaging 12 points and 5.3 assists per game, but didn't seem as comfortable in the Grizzlies' offense as he should have.
Conley is considered the weak link in the Grizzlies' intimidating starting lineup, which features O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.
Conley is a solid player who still has plenty of time to develop into a star. However, the Grizzlies are hungry for a return to the playoffs, and if they feel Conley is holding them back, Memphis may look for other options.
4. Miami Heat
Mario Chalmers had a strong rookie season and displayed fantastic defensive ability, but he may not be the best fit for the Heat. With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade likely starting along with him, Chalmers will not have the ball in his hands as much as a point guard should, and that might not bode well for his production.
Chalmers only shot 32 percent from three-point range last season, and LeBron and Wade will presumably get most of their points off penetration, meaning that Chalmers’ role will be to shoot the three and defend well.
However, with Chalmers being just an average three-point shooter, he may not be what the Heat need at point guard. Chalmers has considerable potential, and will be held back by the dominance of the Heat super friends.
Although Chalmers could thrive off wide open threes off LeBron and Wade's dishes, they may want to trade him for a point guard who can perform better as a complementary shooter, such as Beno Udrih, Mike Conley, or C.J. Watson.
3. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have an abundance of solid wings and big men who are forced to compete for minutes with each other. Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Tayshaun Prince, Tracy McGrady, Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe, and Ben Wallace are all rotation players who will be forced to battle each other for minutes.
What’s surprising is that with such a logjam at the shooting guard through center spots, the Pistons wouldn’t trade for something they are lacking: a true starting point guard.
Rodney Stuckey is an excellent scorer and an above average facilitator, but he has been playing out of position at the point guard spot. At 6’5", Stuckey is a poor shooter but an outstanding scorer, and being forced to be the Pistons’ primary distributor has held him down.
His backup, Will Bynum, is a point guard, but doesn’t seem ready to be the Pistons’ starting floor general.
Detroit suffered through a mediocre and injury-laden season last year, and failed to reach the playoffs. If they want to improve their fortunes, they would be wise to trade for a pure point guard. They have plenty of good players and contracts to work out a deal with, and would be smart to look for a deal that would land them a quality distributor.
Baron Davis, T.J. Ford or Jose Calderon could be good fits, and their respective teams all have holes at positions where the Pistons are stacked.
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Due to Raymond Felton's departure, the Charlotte Bobcats are left without a suitable starting point guard. Although DJ Augustin had a strong rookie season, averaging 12 points and 3.5 assists per game off the bench while emerging as a formidable three-point shooter (44 percent), he faced a horrible sophomore slump.
Augustin’s scoring was cut in half, his strong shooting percentages dropped, and his playoff performances were rather pathetic (he shot 29 percent from the field against the Magic).
If his second season is any indication, Augustin is not ready to become the Bobcats’ starting floor general, and the only other options the Bobcats have at point guard are Shaun Livingston and undrafted rookie Sherron Collins.
The Bobcats’ system would bode well for a defensive minded point guard with some shooting ability. Although the Bobcats should give Augustin a chance to prove himself, if he isn’t able to get it going they may want to trade for a new point guard.
Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, or Kyle Lowry could be good fits.
1. Atlanta Hawks
Mike Bibby is a player whose glory days are fading into the rearview mirror. Bibby can still light it up at times, but he has become inconsistent and his assists and points per game are way down.
Bibby averaged just 9.1 points and 3.9 assists per game last season and was the weak spot in the Hawks' starting lineup.
At only 32, Bibby appears to have nearly run out of gas, and if the Hawks want to be contenders, they are going to need to find a new starting point guard.
Sophomore Jeff Teague claims he wants to compete with Bibby for the Hawks' starting point guard spot, but after a rookie season in which he hardly played and shot poor percentages, it seems unlikely that he could handle the job.
The Hawks have an excellent starting lineup and a good bench of Jamal and Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans, Josh Powell, and Zaza Pachulia, but if they want to stand a chance against the top Eastern Conference teams, they must find a new point guard.
Jamal Crawford has expressed desire to be traded, and they could potentially swap him for a solid young point guard, like Beno Udrih, Louis Williams, or Mo Williams.
Thanks For Reading!
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