NBA’s Best – Part 2 Shooting Guards
Since Michael Jordan came through the NBA and took things over, the shooting guard took over as the glamour position. It use belong to Kareem, and Wilt and the big men, but MJ made it the big guards who could take over a game with not only scoring, but passing, and defense. (included are the players averages for points, rebounds, and assists for the 02-03 season)
TOP OF THE HEAP
He may be the smallest 2-guard around, but Allen Iverson (27.6-4.2-5.5) is also the quickest, and has the most different ways to score on his opponent.Iversons’ defense also continues to shine as he again led the league in steals at 2.7 per game. Celtic pride is now squarely on Paul Pierce (25.9-7.3-4.4). Not only can he basically score at will, he’s also one of the toughest men in the league playing through many ailments, and going through a stabbing a couple summers ago. Tracy McGrady (32.1-6.5-5.5) emerged last year as one the biggest stars in the NBA, with his scoring, and spectacular dunks, McGrady has become one of the ambassadors of the NBA game. He may have his off-the-court problems, but Kobe Bryant (30.0-6.5-5.9), still has 3-rings and is always atop the leaders board in multiple categories.
NEAR THE PEAK
Players who may never reach a elite level but are still stars. Jerry Stackhouse (21.5-3.7-4.5) use to make headlines for scoring, now it’s for assault charges. Stackhouse though can still light up the scoreboard and now with Arenas in D.C., Stack may start living up to that big contract he got. Michael Finley (19.3-5.8-3.0) is not only overlooked as one of the best guards in the league, but also overlooked alot on his own team. Playing alongside Steve Nash, and Dirk Nowitski, Finley just goes out and has his usual 20-5-5 nights. Ray Allen (22.5-5.0-4.4) now doing his sharp shooting in the great northwest, has always been one of the great 3-point shooters in the league, but as his triple-double proved in his first games with the Sonics Allen is now a complete guard.
While all these players above can soar with the best, these players have yet to refine their whole game. 2-time NBA dunk champion Jason Richardson (15.6-4.6-3.0) has shown incredible athleticism on the court but that has yet to translate into serious NBA numbers. Ricky Davis (20.6-4.9-5.5) has burst onto the scene of late in Cleveland, with his very memorable dunk while jumping over Steve Nash, is what many may know Davis for, Ricky has turned up his level of play and has become a consistent 20+(points) a night player. Vince Carter (20.6-4.4-3.3) may be the best showmen in the league. Unfortuanently it’s hard to show anything when your injured all the time. Carter needs a healthy season to get himself and the Raptors back on track.
Players who put up good numbers every game but have not shown the “take over” ability of the upper-echelon. Cuttino Mobley (17.5-4.2-2.9) has helped Houston form a great backcourt, with himself and Francis. Mobley is one of the better 3-point shooters in the league and is cat quick on defense. Latrell Sprewell (16.4-3.9-4.5) may have been one of the best in the league a couple seasons ago, but injuries and age have caught up to Spree. Still a very good player, Latrell hopes he can get Garnett out of the first round of the playoffs. The other half of the Knick backcourt Allan Houston (22.5-2.8-2.7), continues to put up big numbers, but in the bright lights of New York City it takes more then numbers it takes rings, and Houston has barely been able to get the Knicks to the playoffs.
Players that are good but never seem to do enough to be anything other then “that guy”. Eddie Jones (18.5-4.8-3.7) seems to have vanished from the minds of NBA fans since he left L.A. but he’s still battling away in Miami, putting up decent numbers, and has always been a defensive force. Jason Terry (17.2-3.4-7.4) trying the transition from point guard to 2 (ala Allen Iverson) has the quickness and jumper to get it done, but doesn’t have that fearlessness of an Iverson going to the hoop. David Wesley (16.7-2.4-3.4) another undersized 2-guard, has become one of the top marks-men from 3-point range (42%). Have jumpshot will travel is Voshon Lenards’ (14.3-3.4-2.3) motto, playing on his third team, Lenard was one of the top scorers for the injury riddled Raptors. ON
Players with tremendous upside, who are one good season away from breaking out. Dajuan Wagner (13.4-1.7-2.8), limited to 47 games his rookie year (injuries), showed promise early leading the rookies in scoring only to slowly slip away as the season went on. Another rookie made a bigger splash, Emmanuel Ginobilli (7.6-2.3-2.0) helped the Spurs win an NBA title. While Ginobilli exhibited great shooting touch and athleticism, his limited minutes kept him from a great year. Michael Redd (15.1-4.5-1.4) started to show is promise, as a great shooter (43.8 from 3pt.) and under new coach Terry Porter, may finally have his breakout year. A problem for Redd is Desmond Mason (14.3-6.5-2.0) acquired in the Payton trade, Mason is a former slam dunk champion, who continues to grow into a more complete player. The Clippers’ Quentin Richardson (9.4-4.8-0.9), probably wished they has let Corey Maggette go, but they re-signed the 6’7″ swingman. Now with the probably departure of Lamar Odom, Q-Rich may finally get those starting minutes he has earned as one of the better 6th men in the league.
THE KING AND HIS HEIR??
Michael Jordan (20.0-6.1-3.8) is retiring again, and while his overall numbers from this past year, are far from Jorden-esque they are quite good compared to the rest of the league. The most astonishing point I got was that Michael played in all 82 Wizards games, to bad the rest of that team couldn’t get him one more chance in the playoffs. #1 pick Lebron James, has been anointed the next Air Apparent, while he has yet to play and NBA game, many believe he will not only be the top rookie, but also one of the best players in the game. Time will tell if Lebron can carry a pitiful Cavs team to the next level (which for them would be .500) and put himself in the same breath as the NBA legends.