As the NBA season draws nearer and nearer, we here at Sportige.com will post our Top 5’s for the upcoming season, beginning with the Point Guards today – Rose, Rondo, Billups, Parker and… guess…
Number 5 – Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Yes, he cheated on his SAT’s, and yes, he’s starting his second season in the NBA, but he’s that good, and he’s already one of the top 5 point guards in the league. Numbers? 16.8 points, 6.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.5% from the field, playing 37 minutes a night. He won Rookie of the year for the 2008-2009 season while leading all rookies in assists.
Rose immediately became the leader and the main player as a rookie for the Chicago Bulls, leading them into the playoffs and has a lot riding on his shoulders this season to get the Bulls even further into the post-season, with his Game 1 performance against the Boston Celtics (36 points, 11 assists) still in mind. Rose still needs to improve his outside shooting and it’ll be interesting how he faces the famous “second year slump”, but all in all, he’s turned himself very quickly into one of the best in the league in his position.
Number 4 – Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rondo kinda snuck up on people the last couple of seasons, but he really arrived last season, during the playoffs. The whole “big-three” hoopla took the spotlight away from the young man from Kentucky but he proved his worth during the 2007-2008 championship season. Last season? During the regular season he continued improving his numbers, especially his passing, dishing out 8.2 assists per game. Without Garnett in the lineup in the playoffs he emerged as a constant triple-double threat, posting 16.9 points, 9.8 assists and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Rondo is an excellent defender and a very tough player, maybe a little too tough or dirty (last year’s Brad Miller incident) and a very good rebounder. Like Rose, he really needs to improve his outside shooting and free throw, but quietly he has matured into one of the top point guards in the league.
Number 3 – Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets
“Mr. Big Shot”, maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration about Billups, but not that much of an exaggeration. It took him some time, but Billups has become one of the premier point guards and players in general in the league, and his trade last season from the Detroit Pistons to the Denver Nuggets affected both teams immensely. Denver finished with their best record since their induction into the NBA while Detroit had their worst season since the 2000-2001 season.
Billups led the Nuggets, along with Carmelo Anthony, to the Western Conference Finals, Anthony’s first time past the first round in the playoffs. Billups averaged 17.9 points with 6.4 assists while shooting over 40% from three point. His numbers all improved during the Nuggets’ playoff run. Billups turned 33 about a week ago, but he isn’t showing signs of slowing down right now, and will be leading the Nuggets to another (hopeful) deep playoff run this season.
Number 2 – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Besides his rookie season in the league, when he was 19, Parker hasn’t scored less than 14.7 points per game and last year raised his gave to another level, averaging a career high in points per game (22.0) and assists (6.9). He has become the main offensive executor for the Spurs as everyone else (that means Duncan and Ginobili) are getting older, and yes, less and less effective.
Parker can burn any guy in the league and has also become a much more dependent clutch time performer, a factor of his game that was highly criticized during his first years in the league. Going into his ninth NBA season and maybe a last attempt to win the title with the Popovic-Duncan-Ginobili group, Tony Parker might be the best scoring point guard in the league and an almost certain 2 points when he slashes into the paint and his guy doesn’t get help (shoots over 50% from the field in three of the last four seasons).
Number 1 – Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Paul is the best point guard in the NBA for the past two seasons, maybe a bit more. There was a bit of contest from Deron Williams after the 2007-2008 season, but last year proved who is the best at the point. Paul can do it all – and he does it all – 22.8 points per game, 11 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. If you’re looking for fantasy worth, he is the best GUARD, yes, better than Kobe and D-Wade for fantasy matters.
But we’re talking real matters, and Paul is an MVP caliber player, and don’t be so sure he won’t be with one when his basketball days are over. Although it doesn’t seem like he has enough talent around him to win a title just yet, things may change in the near future. The best point guard in the league deserves a crew to give him a title shot.