It’s the summer of 2011 and the CBA is having a collapse of biblical proportions, creating a scenario where every player in the NBA becomes a Free Agent. Who do you go after to run the point for your franchise in the coming years? Sorry Nash, Kidd and Billups but your services are no longer required here. We’re looking into the future to find the best at the point position for years to come.
10) Raymond Felton–Who would have thought Raymond Felton would round out this list a year ago? Apparently Donnie Walsh, Mike D’Antoni and company did when they signed him to a two-year 15.8 million dollar contract over this past summer. Felton leads all point guards in MPG (6th overall) logging an impressive 38.9. What makes it even more impressive is that he’s doing it running D’Antoni’s uptempo, NBA Points Per Game leading offense. Averaging 18.2 and 8.7 to go along with almost 2 steals a game he seems to be a perfect fit in New York and on my fantasy team. However, his inability to finish around the basket and shoot at a high percentage from deep is what separates him from the top of the class.
9) Tyreke Evans–One of only four players in history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his rookie campaign (Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James were the other three). Easy to see why he grabbed rookie of the year honors in the 2009-2010 season. Gets to the rim at will with a quick first step and finishes. The tallest of all the guards on this list at 6’6, he can cause fits on the defensive end, when he wants to. His inability to shoot the basketball consistently hurts him at times. Evans can also tend to lack of effort on the court and maturity off of it, dropping him to the 9 spot.
8) Stephen Curry–Flat out the best shooting point guard in the NBA. Hands down, period. With a quick trigger and money off the dribble he’s deadly from downtown, at 44%, and the line where he’s likely to be a career 90% shooter. But, it’s his under-rated ability to see the floor and play the pick and roll that makes him so special. Where it normally takes years to master, Curry stepped right in like he had been running the pick and roll his whole life. His lack of size and ability to get to the line is the only thing keeping him from rising on this list.
7) Tony Parker–At number 7 on our list is Tony Parker. As long as your name isn’t Eva Longoria or Brent Barry, you would love to have this guy running the show. Three time NBA Champion and 2007 Finals MVP, Parker proved to us he can play the point at a Championship level. He has an extra gear, getting him into the paint, where he can score with the best of them. His shooting ability is a little below average and at 28 years of age he’s the senior citizen of this list.
6) Russell Westbrook–Freakishly athletic with loads of upside. Couple his athleticism with great size and you can see why he’s leading all point guards in rebounding, at a shade under five a game. The only thing holding Westbrook back from being one of the greats in the NBA right now is his jump shot. His shooting percentage,.436, is much too low for someone that gets to the rim as often as Westbrook. That said, we saw glimpses of greatness in the World Championships this past summer. Westbrook took over for periods of time on a team filled with perennial All-Stars.
5) John Wall–Another super-athletic point guard with upside through the roof. At 6’4 with lightning quickness and jump out of the gym ability, Wall should live at the line. These abilities should also turn him into a shut down defender. However, his jump shot is still very raw and he’s been known to turn the ball over at extremely high rates in the past. Even so, Wall should probably be higher on this list with his talent level but we’ll let him prove it to us first.
4) Rajon Rondo–Rondo leads the league with 14 Assists Per Game. That’s three more per game than the next closest player, Steve Nash. He loves to get his teammates involved and is great at finishing around the rim. He’s a great rebounder, making him a triple double threat every time he steps on the court. Rondo’s huge wing span turns him into a disruptive beast on the defensive end. His shot, however, is almost laughable. Defenders dare him to shoot at times. Even with this lack of a jump shot, he was still the MVP of the Celtics championship run last season.
3) Derrick Rose–Another ultra-athletic point guard with great speed and strength. Rose is great at finishing in the paint, using his patented floater to his advantage. He’s been on an offensive tear this year, leading both the Bulls and all point guards scoring around 24 a game. Rose is still a little weak shooting from long range but his mid-range game and athletic ability trump his inability to shoot the long ball.
2) Chris Paul–This guy is a fantasy owners dream. CP3 possesses one of the best handles and passing abilities in the NBA. He runs the pick and roll to perfection and can blow by defenders with lightning quick speed. He’s also a menace on the defensive end, averaging almost 3 steals a game in the 2010 season. It was tough not to put Paul at number one on our list but there is one big concern. He’s coming off surgery for a torn meniscus removing the torn portion entirely. This scares some into thinking microfracture surgery may be coming sometime in the future.
1) Deron Williams–The point guard we covet most of all, Deron Williams. He can do it all; score, pass, rebound and he’s a great leader on the floor. It always seems as if Williams knows exactly what his team needs. He’s a very strong guard with great finishing ability. Just like Paul, Williams runs the pick and roll to perfection. Jerry Sloan couldn’t find a better player to run his offense, and neither could we.