Derrick Rose and The Best Ball Handlers For Each NBA Team
The National Basketball Association season has given fans some impressive performances ranging from dominant to awe-inspiring. Players such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and rookie Blake Griffin have kept eyes glued to the hard wood.
Another young gun turning heads has been Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. Not only is Rose scoring at a record clip for his young career (24.5 ppg), but he is giving his teammates something to cheer and shout about. It is clear Chicago's own is helping getting his boys open shots, but it has been more than just the pass. Rose is the best ball handler on the Bulls, and makes more shots possible because of his wizardry with the basketball.
Every team has a premier or top ball boss man. It takes a keen eye, soft hands, and the ability to read defenders one-on-one and in a scheme to make magic with the biscuit. Here is a look at each team's keeper of the rock.
Atlanta Hawks- Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson, the highest paid player in the NBA, has been able to live up to some of the money he is getting paid, despite not being the top guy for the top dollar.
JJ is arguably the most important player on a Hawk team that pretty much stood pat in the off-season, and is still competitive with the best in the beastly east.
His 20 points and 5.5 assists per game have kept Atlanta holding strong with Orlando and Miami in the same division.
The assists numbers may not tell the entire tale of Johnson's handiness, but his consistent scoring show that he is not as susceptible to ridiculous dry spells.
Boston Celtics- Rajon Rondo
Rajon is arguably the best ball handler in the association. He is shooting over 51 percent which is not usual for him, he is giving dimes out like grandparents on Christmas (12.5), and is picking pockets at a 2.5 steal per game rate. If he can cut back on the three turnovers a contest, he could be the best ball keeper in recent history.
Without Rondo, Boston would be a shell of who they are now.
Charlotte Bobcats- D.J. Augustin
Ray Felton's replacement in Charlotte has played awfully well for a less than stellar club.
D.J. Augustin is getting love without Ray-Felt and Larry Brown in town. His 15 points and six assists are his best as a pro, and his turnovers are not very high considering his minutes played a game (1.77/34.5).
Chicago Bulls- Derrick Rose
Despite the blurb earlier, D-Rose still deserves his own slide.
Arguably the first half MVP.
Cleveland Cavaliers- Daniel Gibson
Shocked? Don't be.
Cleveland is bad. Outside of Gibson, there is maybe one other average to above average quarterback on that team, Mo Williams. You would figure he would be the top guy because he could be the best guy in town.
Looking at the Gibson/Williams splits, Williams is only markedly better in two categories—assists and free throws. Free throws mean nothing in this conversation. Mo gets seven dimes a game to Boobie's three. Despite the dishing discrepancy, Gibson averages less turnovers, same points, and shoots better while playing the same minutes as his higher profile teammate.
Dallas Mavericks- Jason Terry
Shocked again? Look at the numbers.
As much as future Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd is still a great player with the ball, Jason Terry, of similar age and minutes played, is putting up similar or better numbers. Kidd gets four more assists a game, but that is the only ball handling category in which he is better than Terry.
Terry is a better driver to the basket, and has a better chance of holding onto the ball (1.7 turnovers/game), than Kidd (2.2).
If this was 2-5 years ago, this would be Kidd's torch to carry.
Denver Nuggets- Carmelo Anthony
This is a coin flip. Chauncey Billups is a great complement to Melo, but considering how often Melo touches the ball in a game, it is tough to shy away from him.
Both can drive and pop a shot, but it is Anthony's ability to score and drive in volumes that gives him the edge.
The numbers for both are almost identical.
Detroit Pistons- Rip Hamilton
A bad team usually has more options to pick from, since it is tough to pick one bad apple out of a bushel of apples.
Despite his benching and (potential) subsequent trade, Rip is still the best man with the ball in his hands, followed closely by Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey.
Hamilton is one of the last guys in Detroit that will turnover the ball (1.4/game), and can dish the ball pretty well even though he is only handing out 2.5 assists a game.
Gordon turns over the ball way too much in pressure situations, and has a tendency to stand around waiting for the open shot.
Stuckey is a solid steal man, but his turnovers double his steal output (2:1).
Golden State Warriors- Stephen Curry
You can make a strong case for Monta Ellis, but he turns over the ball even more than the young Curry does.
Even though Dell Curry's son is a gifted scorer, his ball handling skills have put him on a level that many thought would take multiple years to get to.
Houston Rockets- Aaron Brooks
With all due respect to Kyle Lowry and his great job this season, Aaron Brooks and his return are a beacon of hope for a hurting Rockets team.
The NBA's reigning Most Improved Player is the focal point of the Rockets offense. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola are good players, but are much better with Brooks getting them the ball.
The ailing Brooks most recently put up 16 points and eight dimes against a very good Los Angeles Lakers team, a sign that Brooks could be finally showing signs of good health.
Indiana Pacers- Danny Granger
Another case of the best of the worst.
If Granger is on pretty much any legit team, he would get the credit he deserves for his consistent scoring and solid defense. Without Granger, the Pacers would be even more lost than they are now.
Los Angeles Clippers- Baron Davis
Now that Davis is over his lazy and overweight spell, he has shown his keen, veteran eye while helping lead a young and much improved Clippers team.
Besides his top offensive handling, Davis continues to make other ball generals keep an eye on him as he picks pockets at least once a game.
Los Angeles Lakers- Kobe Bryant
Black Mamba has, and will most likely be the best ball handler in L.A. until he retires.
His defense is still above average, but just like his age, his turnovers are getting up there. It is a small price to pay on the way to the Hall of Fame.
Memphis Grizzlies- Mike Conley
The Griz's point guard is an enigma on an enigmatic team.
Outside of Zach Randolph, no one has seen the best other Memphis players have to offer. Conley, Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo seem to be stuck in neutral.
Conley is trying to produce like his career season last year, but his assist average has dipped, but his steals are very healthy at 1.6 per game.
Miami Heat- LeBron James
LeBron is Miami's point guard. Carlos Arroyo and Mario Chalmers are just decoys.
James is a present day Magic Johnson in that he can do almost everything at an elite level. Once Bron Bron gets a post game, he will be the most complete player in recent history.
Milwaukee Bucks- Brandon Jennings
Jennings is the bast quarterback on a very disappointing Bucks team. If Jennings does not miss as much time as he has, the team should have a better record.
His talent is accentuated by the fact that his back up, Earl Boykins, is not the true point that Luke Ridnour was when the Bucks made noise in the playoffs last season.
Minnesota Timberwolves- Luke Ridnour
Speaking of Ridnour.
Luke is in essence keeping the seat warm for guys like Jonny Flynn, and maybe Ricky Rubio. Flynn has been injured and not progressing at a rate Minnesota would like, and most know by now that Rubio wants nothing to do with the Twin Cities.
Ridnour is doing his part on a bad team, feeding monster forward Kevin Love, and continuing to help the young core get their shots. Averaging six assists a game is respectable, especially with an erratic team.
New Jersey Nets- Devin Harris
It is tough to say that a team's turnover leader is the best ball handler, but Harris, when healthy (fingers crossed), is a top 15 point who can shoot as well as pass.
If New Jersey keeps improving and the talent keeps showing its cards, Harris could easily be a 10 assists per game player (he already averages eight).
New Orleans Hornets- Chris Paul
CP3 is another point that is seen as the best in the association.
Paul is one of the best two way guards in the game, and has kept the Hornets making noise in the Western Conference when no one thought they could. New Orleans is currently 5th in the West thanks in large part to Paul's 9.5 assists per game and good health.
New York Knicks- Raymond Felton
Who would have thought leaving a Larry Brown-lead team would make you better?
If you are a point guard or Raymond Felton.
Getting out of Charlotte and heading to the Big Apple has showcased how good Felton is. It never hurts to have Amare Stoudemire on your team either.
Ray-Felt is having career numbers in every major category except blocks. New York is very fortunate to have a true point guard, and maybe the best in the city since John Starks back in the 1990's.
Oklahoma City Thunder- Kevin Durant
Durant is knocking on the door as the best player in the league. When push comes to shove, Durantula is the man with the ball in his hands in O.K. City.
Russell Westbrook is a great player, but he will always be second fiddle to Durant with or without the ball.
Orlando Magic- Gilbert Arenas
The trade to Orlando has been what the troubled Arenas needed. Orlando is clicking well, and Arenas offers a lot more than another ball general like Jameer Nelson.
Has anyone else heard as much praise for Nelson since Arenas came to town?
Philadelphia 76ers- Andre Iguodala
The other A.I. may not be a true go-to guy compared to other top guys on other teams, but Iggy is solid with the ball and has no problem shooting and passing.
Jrue Holiday, Iguodala's main threat with the ball, is only averaging one more assist per game. Holiday is still growing into his game, but until A.I. is traded or tails off, he is the best with the ball.
Phoenix Suns- Steve Nash
Nash is a true wizard with the rock. Not too many people can have a soft touch with their shot and pass.
It is hard not to see how into the game Nash in. You can almost see the cranks in his head turning while he dissects a play on offense. Nash's mediocre defense has been a glaring issue his entire career, but the numbers he is putting up while playing in his mid-30's is something everyone should be impressed with.
Portland Trailblazers- Brandon Roy
If there is ever a guy you could feel bad for.
Well, Greg Oden, too.
When he is in the lineup, Roy is arguably one of the best three to five shooting guards in the game. He is one of the best two-way guys in the game, and is not susceptible to turnovers like a lot of players who handle the ball more than his teammates (1.6 turnovers while averaging 35 minutes prior to injury).
Sacramento Kings- Beno Udrih
Beno is bueno with the ball. He is the true point on the Kings and handles the ball better than young star Tyreke Evans.
Evans is a shooting and turnover machine (three turnovers), while Udrih (1.7) is much more patient and has been playing exceptionally well since being inserted into the starting lineup. Both play around 35 minutes and are pretty solid defensively.
Sac-Town fans should appreciate having those two playing in the back court together, because they could help lead a nice team in the near future.
San Antonio Spurs- Manu Ginobili
Manu may not get the assists Tony Parker gets, but Ginobili can drive and shoot as well as anyone in the league. Gino's ball control is almost too tough to defend, and when he is on, is pretty much unstoppable.
The 40 win Spurs arguably have the best guard and ball handling combo playing today.
Toronto Raptors- Jose Calderon
Calderon has had an up-and-down few seasons, but once Jarrett Jack was traded to 'Nawlins, Jose got his "Ole!" back.
His 8.5 assists are shades of his 2008-09 season, and he has been one of the lone bright spots for the only team in Canada.
Utah Jazz- Deron Williams
D-Will is another guard who could be the best today. His speed/size/I.Q. are unique for the position today in the NBA.
Like Nash in Phoenix, Williams is the main man with the ball, and much of the offense is based on them. The addition of Al Jefferson after losing Carlos Boozer has given Williams the center that he enjoys to dish to.
There have been rumors that Deron may leave Utah at the end of his deal. Imagine how many teams are licking their chops at the thought of adding a point guard in his prime to a good/great lineup.
Washington Wizards- John Wall
Wall has had a great rookie season for a team that cannot win on the road. With the emergence of Nick Young as his running mate in the back court, the Wiz could be developing something special.
Wall already gets nine assists a game, which shows his vision is well beyond his age.
One thing that may have an effect on Wall's progression is veteran combo guard Kirk Hinrich, who helped keep Bulls dynamo Derrick Rose grounded while in Chicago. Rose may be more mellow than Wall, but Wall is showing that he can do a lot with a little as Rose did for his first few seasons.
Hinrich could be a reason why.