Monday, November 15, 2010

Proven Points

Revival. Emergence. Consistency. Three words you an use to make claims for each of the candidates I believe are the best point guards in the NBA today. So far this season, we've seen 4 guys really step it up to lead their teams. Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Deron Williams have thus far shown what it takes to lead a team up court and give their team the best possible chance to win. Although none of these guys are new to the spotlight, it has never been easy to pick which one is the best at what they do.

At the 4 spot, I've got to place Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard has improved so much since the 2008 championship season, he's been able to make some start referring to
the Celtics core as the "Big Four" (rather than the "Big Three"). The biggest improvements in his game have been his passing ability and defense. Last season, he set Celtics franchise records for assists and steals in a season and he was a first time All Star. Right now, Rondo has been averaging about 15 assists per game which is unheard of. His passing ability is superior to almost every other guard in the league. For a point guard, his rebounding is above average. The only flaw in his game is his shooting. If Rondo is able to developa consistent jump shot, he'll be even more valuable to his team and will probably be considered the best point guard in the league. But until then, I think he's the fourth best PG in the NBA.

Third is where I believe Steve Nash belongs. This guy has been doing it year after year. It's surprising to think that at his age, the guy continues to improve. The two-time MVP has barely any flaws in his game. He can find teammates anywhere on the court and can shoot the lights out on any given night. There have been questions regarding his defense but after watching him for years, I can say his defense is definitely better than the average point guard. Nash faces a
a tough challenge this year. After losing his long time runningmate, Amare' Soudemire, to the Knicks, Steve Nash must make due with Jason Richardson and the new additions of Hakim Warrick and Hedo Turkoglu. Although neither of these guys have the explosiveness of Stoudemire, Nash has already proven this year that he can still propel his team to victory. At 36 years old, he's averaging nearly a double-double in points and assists while shooting a high percentage. The Suns aren't what they were last year but with Nash running the show, they're bound to be a top contender for a playoff spot.

The second place spot is given to Deron Williams. Let's be honest, coming out of Illinois, Deron was the number two guy next to Dee Brown. But, each guy went in completely different directions. Williams is now an NBA All Star and Dee Brown... well, let's just say his pro career hasn't been quite as successful. What makes Williams great is his ability to do essentially everything. He's the leader of the Jazz and really knows
how to win. D-Will averages over 10 assists per game, for the first time in his career he's averaging over 20 points per game and he is one of the best rebounding point guards in the league. His playoff performace also helps his case. Each year he has huge playoff performances, averaging over 20 points and about 10 assists. As another point guard who lost his former running mate (in Carlos Boozer), Deron is now paired up with first year starter, Paul Millsap, and former T-Wolve, Al Jefferson. Although the loss of Boozer hurt the Jazz, with the maturation of Millsap and the signing of Jefferson, they automatically rebounded from the loss. Right now, the Jazz have won 5 in a row and made huge comebacks in each of them. Who led those comebacks? Deron Williams. Although I can't give him the number one spot, he comes awfully close.

Now for the point guard who can take claim as the best in the league. By process of elimination you should be able to figure it out- but if not, here it is. Chris Paul is currently the best point guard in the NBA. He averages close to 20 points and 10 assists for his career. He can score the ball at will, dish out dimes to teammates and play superb defense. After a few very successful

years, the Hornets hit mediocrity last season. Chris Paul went down with ankle and knee injuries that limited him to only 45 games. Before the injuries, he was averaging over 20 points and 11 assists per game while leading the Hornets to a solid record. His team suffered without him but excelled when he returned (but still missed the playoffs for the first time in 2 years). This season, despite all the speculation of his future with the team, a revitalized CP3 has propelled the Hornets to a thus far undefeated record and seems to be back to his old, dominant self. Chris Paul has already made NBA records and is only in his sixth season. He has the most consecutive games with at least one steal and is the only player in league history to lead the NBA in steals and assists in two consecutive seasons. He is competing to break records set by the likes of Magic Johnson and John Stockton, two of the best point guards to ever play the game. He's received a number of honors including All NBA First team and All NBA Defensive team. In addition, he's a three time All Star and helped Team USA win a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. There is no doubt in my mind the Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA today. The numbers don't lie and watching him do work is mesmerizing. I believe that when it is all said and done, CP3 could be considered one of the best point guards of all time and will be in the Hall of Fame. There's a long way for him to go still, but all we can do now is sit and watch history be made.

Other point guards in contention: Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, and Devin Harris

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