We continue our previewing for the 2009-2010 season, taking a look this time at the best five players at the shooting guard position – Joe Johnson, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy and Michael Redd.
Number 5 – Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Recently featured in our Highest Paid Players post, Redd is also a very good player, despite being a tad overpaid in my opinion. Redd has averaged more than 21 points per game for six straight seasons, and was also a member of the 2008 Olympic Gold “Redeem Team”, if anybody remembers (you don’t get too many minutes with Wade and Kobe on your team). If he was on a less crappy team and/or a city that cares a bit more about it’s basketball team, chances are he’d have more than just 3 playoff appearances in nine seasons.
Number 4 – Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Since his move from the Suns to Atlanta four years ago, Johnson has really become one of the best players in the league in his position, never going below 20 points per game in a season, shooting 37% from beyond the arc, assisting (5.8 per game), defending (1.2 spg) but maybe even more important, was a major part in turning the Atlanta Hawks into a playoff team (at least the last two seasons) and also an all star for the last three years.
Number 3 – Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
He used to share the point guard position, but now that Andre Miller has joined the Blazers, Roy can be a full time shooting guard again. A two time all star and also 9th in the MVP voting last season, Roy will be beginning his fourth season with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2009-2010, this time as a team expected to go deep in the playoffs, after last season’s disappointing early exit against the Houston Rockets.
Roy is the key to the amount of mileage the Blazers get on their travels this season. Roy averaged 22.6 points per game last season while shooting 37.7% from the three and also adding 5.1 assists per game. Look for him this season to shoot and score more, with the weight of the point guard position totally off him.
Number 2 – Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
I thought a lot about maybe putting D-Wade first, but eventually logic or some version of it left me and Wade at number 2. In his comeback season last year after two seasons in which he played a total of 102 league games, Wade was again a full-time Miami’s All-Everything, leading the NBA in scoring with 30.2 points (career high) while posting career highs in Assists (7.5), steals (2.2) and blocks (1.3). Yes, D-Wade does everything, and few do anything better than him. The big question for this season is less about him but more about the Heat’s front office and what pieces will they be able to put around him in order to keep him beyond the 2010 post-season.
Number 1 – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Like I wrote before, it took some consideration and re-consideration in making the decision between Kobe and Wade. After All, Kobe has played 365 games in the last four seasons including playoffs, and don’t forget his summers with the national team, and the fact that he’s 31 and has more than 1100 games on his body. But then again, he’s Kobe Bryant. He averaged 30.2 points per game during the playoffs last season and 26.8 during the regular season, winning the Finals MVP and his first Shaq-less NBA title, and that’s the important fact.
Kobe’s ability to keep the fire burning after he apparently acheived everything will determine if Bryant will remain the cream of the crop of NBA shooting guards or is this the season that we start seeing Bryant’s decline.