NBA Playoffs 2011: Runnin' the Show, Ranking the Starting PG of Every Team

Yaneek SmithContributor IIIApril 16, 2011

NBA Playoffs 2011: Runnin' the Show, Ranking the Starting PG of Every Team

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    Point guard is arguably the most, if not the second-most important position in the game of basketball.

    A good point guard, like Steve Nash or Chris Paul, can put average players in advantageous situations and make them look better than they truly are.

    In recent years, point guards like Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups have been instrumental in leading their respective teams to NBA championships.

    This year's NBA champion will likely need a great performance from its point guard in the playoffs.

    With a cast of characters that includes Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Paul, among others, it will be interesting to see who rises to the top and leads his team to the championship.

    These rankings are based upon how each player is performing this season and this season alone; it is not a ranking of their career accomplishments.

No. 8: Derek Fisher, L.A. Lakers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11:   Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers sets up on defense against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on January 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 112-57.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 82 GP, 28.0 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 38.9 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 80.6 FT%, 2.7/0.9 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 36; 15th season in the NBA

     

    Fisher is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has still come through in the clutch when the L.A. Lakers have needed him the past two seasons. 

    A five-time NBA champion, Fisher doesn't have to do too much for this team—just limit his turnovers and make his open jumpers.

    Should he do that, the Lakers will have a good chance at claiming their third consecutive championship.

No. 7: Mike Bibby, Miami

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 1: Mike Bibby #0 of Miami Heat drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of a basketball game at Target Center on April 1, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 80 GP, 28.6 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 43.1 FG%, 44.0 3P%, 62.9 FT%, 3.3/1.3 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 32; 13th season in the NBA

     

    Mike Bibby is certainly not the player he used to be, but with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on his team, he has a legitimate shot at finally get to the NBA Finals and winning a championship.

    Bibby won't be asked to do too much, with his job being to help facilitate the offense, make open shots and limit turnovers.

    He could be the X-factor for Miami this year in the playoffs.

No. 6: Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 05:  Kirk Hinrich #6 of the Atlanta Hawks against George Hill #3 of the San Antonio Spurs at Philips Arena on April 5, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using th
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 72 GP, 30.0 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 44.6 FG%, 39.9 3P%, 84.1 FT%, 4.0/1.7 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 30; Eighth season in the NBA

     

    This is why the Atlanta Hawks made the trade for Kirk Hinrich in midseason: To see whether or not he could take them from being a consistent playoff team to that of a legitimate contender.

    As of now, there is little reason to believe that the Hawks are on the cusp on taking that next step and advancing deep into the playoffs. But with a team that has Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and a supporting cast of Jamal Crawford and Marvin Williams, there is no shortage of talent.

    At this point, it comes down to execution, and the difference for Atlanta this year may be Hinrich.

No. 5: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder brings the ball up the floor against the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center on March 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 82 GP, 34.7 MPG, 21.9 PPG, 44.2 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 84.2 FT%, 4.6 RPG, 8.2/3.9 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 22; Third season in the NBA

     

    Russell Westbrook is different from nearly all of the other starting point guards on this list, in that he carries more of a scoring load, but that hasn't diminished his abilities as a point guard, as he's averaged 8.2 assists per game this season.

    Playing with an Oklahoma City team that has one of the best players in the game, in Kevin Durant, and a formidable frontline that includes Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, Westbrook is part of a well-rounded cast that has drastically improved the past two seasons.

    The bottom line is, if Westbrook can continue to be the force he's been this year for the Thunder, then it's reasonable to believe that this could be the year that Oklahoma City breaks through and advances to the NBA Finals.


No. 4: Jason Kidd, Dallas

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 17:  Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Mavericks defeated the Suns 112-106.  NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 80 GP, 33.2 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 36.1 FG%, 34.0 3P%, 87.0 FT%, 4.4 RPG, 8.2/2.2 AST/TO ratio

    2011 Postseason Stats: 6 GP, 34.7 MPG, 11.7 PPG,

    Age: 38; 17th season in the NBA

     

    Jason Kidd averaged just 7.9 points per game and shot a paltry 36.1 percent from the floor this season, but he did help to run the Dallas offense, averaging 8.2 assists per game.

    At this stage in his career, Kidd won't be expected to carry much of the scoring load, like he did in the past—just to get his teammates like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion involved.

    Should he do that well enough, this may finally be the year the Mavericks win a championship.

No. 3: Mike Conley, Jr, Memphis

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies drives to the basket against Derrick Ros #1 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expre
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 81 GP, 35.5 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 36.9 3P%, 73.3 FT%, 6.5/2.2 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 23; Fourth season in the NBA

     

    Now in this fourth year in the NBA, Mike Conley, Jr. has made strides in recent years with his improvement, helping take Memphis back to the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06. 

    Against San Antonio, Conley will have to hold his own against star point guard Tony Parker.

    Should he do so, the Grizzlies, with a frontline of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur, will have a chance to hang with the aging Spurs.

No. 2: Rajon Rondo, Boston

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 02:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics heads for the basket as Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns defends on March 2, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
    Elsa/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 68 GP, 37.2 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 47.5 FG%, 56.8 FT%, 4.4 RPG, 11.2/3.4 AST/TO ratio

    Age: 25; Fifth season in the NBA

     

    Rajon Rondo has done it before.

    In the last three seasons, he's led the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship, the NBA Finals twice and has established himself as one of the game's best point guards.

    With a supporting cast of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Jeff Green, Rondo doesn't have to do too much, just facilitate the offense and continue to play good, scrappy defense.

    That being said, he will, at times, be called upon to perform in the clutch.

No. 1: Derrick Rose, Chicago

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 25: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives against the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center on March 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Grizzlies 99-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010-11 Season Stats: 81 GP, 36.6 MPG, 25.0 PPG, 44.5 FG%, 33.2 3FG%, 85.8 FT%, 4.1 RPG, 7.7/3.4 AST/TO ratio

    2011 Postseason Stats: 5 GP, 37.4 MPG, 27.6 PPG, 37.1% FG, 86.7% 3FG, 4.6 RPG, 6.2/3.8 AST-TO ratio

    Age: 22; Third season in the NBA 

    Derrick Rose is not just the game's best point guard, he is arguably the league's best player. Besides being a great facilitator on offense, he scores 25.0 points per game.

    Rose, who will likely be this year's Most Valuable Player, may be the primary factor in determining whether or not the Bulls return to their glory days and claim another championship.