2010-11 NBA Preview: Welcome to the Era of the Point Guard

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2010

CHICAGO - MARCH 30: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns drives around Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 30, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Suns defeated the Bulls 111-105. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In 2009, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose won the Rookie of the Year award.  Grizzlies combo guard O.J. Mayo finished second in the voting and Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook finished fourth.

Point guards finished first through fifth in last season's Rookie of the Year voting.  Tyreke Evans took home the award and Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison and Jonny Flynn rounded out the top five.

This year, it looks as though the trend will continue.  One of the early favorites to take the honor of the league's best newcomer, is Washington Wizards point guard, John Wall.

In addition to these players that have already made a name for themselves, here are a few more who play behind veteran point guards that could become impact players once the older players move on or retire: Jerryd Bayless, Goran Dragic, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Rodrigue Beaubois, Toney Douglas and Eric Bledsoe.

There's also Ricky Rubio, who many analysts feel could be a great point guard someday.  That is, if he ever actually comes over here.

Finally, on top of all the young talent, we have the proven veterans.  Guys like Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, Baron Davis, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Aaron Brooks, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Andre Miller and Deron Williams are all critical to their teams overall success.

So, why did I just put you through all of that rambling and name-dropping?  To show just how much talent can be found at this position, and to suggest that the future of the NBA is in the hands of the little guys.

The NBA has been dominated by different positions at different times. 

The early days of the league featured big men like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.  In the '70s and '80s, wings like Pete Maravich, Julius Erving and Larry Bird reigned.  The '90s and early 2000s were again filled with dominant big men (with a pretty good wing sprinkled in that you might have heard of named Michael Jordan).

Jordan ushered in a new era of dynamic wing players that dominated from the mid-2000s until now.  The wings will have their time in the spotlight for a few more years, and of course there are always great players that don't fit in with the trend, but I believe the era of the point guard will be upon us very soon. 

There are several teams in the NBA that would answer with the name of a point guard if they were asked, "Who is the future of your team?"  Chicago, Washington, Boston, Dallas and Golden State would certainly name their young playmakers.

A side effect of this emerging era has been the development of the combo guard and point forward positions.  In the case of the combo guard, these guys are really shooting guards in a point guard's body.  These are players like Monta Ellis, Eric Gordon, Delonte West and probably even Tyreke Evans.

Point forwards are players who have the body of a forward, but have still developed solid point guard skills.  Hedo Turkoglu, Lamar Odom and LeBron James could all be considered point forwards. 

Quickness, speed, shooting and general point guard skills are becoming more valued in the league.  The point guards, combo guards and point forwards who excel in these areas are in the best position to dominate in this upcoming era of the NBA.