The NBA’s Top Point Guards, 5-1
[Certain of the readers out there – and I use the term "readers" loosely – have emailed me or commented to complain that some of the players listed here are ranked ahead of better point guards. Just to repeat what was stated clearly before, these are not point guard rankings. These are overall player rankings, and the players in question just so happen to be point guards. If Dwight Howard were listed as a one, he’d make the list for the fact that he’s a great player regardless of his abilities as a point. Capiche?]
Those of you who missed the first part of this list should hit that up for an outline of my ranking methodology before reading further. It should save the AOL users amongst you however much time it takes to tape down your Caps Lock key and let loose your stream of pubescent fury.
Anyway, let’s get right into it.
The NBA’s Top Ten Point Guards, Part II
5. Gilbert Arenas
Once again, I open with a pick that many of you will consider as well-reasoned as Stephen Jackson’s decision to play chicken with a truck and lick a few in the air. Still, given that I’ve wiped the injury slate clean for the sake of this list, I can’t imagine anyone being able to make a sensible case for denying Zero Hero a home in the ten. While not one to conform to the traditional expectations of a point guard, Gil solidified his superstar status in ’06-‘07, humiliating defenders the league over with an array of crippling crossovers, meandering dribble-drives and buzzer-beating triples that would look unlikely in a videogame. Although it’s a common criticism that Hibachi has yet to prove his playoff mettle, it’s still tough to overlook the twenty-eight and six dimes he was worth prior to his injury, and those numbers alone were enough to convince me he belonged here. If you could add a little experience and subtract the fact that he’s been the nuttiest S.O.B. on earth since James Brown got (six feet) down, you’d have a player most would consider worthy of a top-three ranking.
4. Baron Davis
What the Warriors did to Dallas last year was downright dirty, and the primary perpetrator of that filth was none other than Boom Dizzle himself. Forever finding new ways to unite leather and nylon, Baron’s unique blend of bulk and bounce means he’s as likely to power through defenders as he is to jump over them. A true 3-D threat, he finds his points on driving dunks, deep threes and everything in between, leaving opponents to pick their poison by either sagging off and watching him hoist the long ball or giving him the lane and exposing their big men to the threat of a facial. While one of the league’s most capable and creative scorers, he’s not scared to share, spreading the love to the tune of eight assists a night. Were it not for the latent menace of the back and knee injuries that have limited his appearances throughout his career, B. Diddy would find himself even further up my rankings.
3. Allen Iverson
What can I say about Allen Iverson that you don’t already know? Only this: At the ripe old age of thirty-two, he’s better than he’s ever been. While most will bring up the names of Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal when discussing the league’s greatest physical anomalies, I’m inclined to mention A.I., a 5’10’’ (don’t believe the listings), 160-pound man who, after eleven years’ experience and enough injuries to retire most players thrice over, remains one of the quickest players on the planet. Although his numbers have dipped a little since joining fellow scorer ‘Melo, he’s still a danger to defences everywhere the second he sets foot on the court, having the ability to drop thirty or dish ten seemingly at will. What’s more, with some of the quickest hands in the league, he’s pesky at both ends of the floor and, though not known as a lock-down defender, still ranks among the league leaders in steals every year.
2. Steve Nash
Oh, how I hate myself already for this one. Still, to make a decision as ostensibly dickwitted as to propose that the two-time league MVP is outclassed at the position he has come to define, I must have a fantastic statistical justification, right? Would that it were, folks. You see, while Nashty’s numbers (17 and 12 on .508 FG%, .459 3P% and .904 FT%) are unparalleled, I’m inclined to look not so much at the Suns as the Mavericks when discussing Canada’s favourite son. While he certainly took Phoenix to new heights as the orchestrator of one of the most efficient run-and-gun offences of the modern era, you can’t forget that the team he left didn’t take long to make it to the finals without him. Although it would be a stretch to say that he’s only worth his salt in the Grand Canyon State, it’s reasonable to suggest that, at thirty years old, his rise from top-tier guard to MVP winner was more to do with a change of scenery than an improvement in his game. Nonetheless, Steve will retire as one of the greatest shooters, passers and team leaders of his generation, and were it not for the once-in-a-lifetime talent ahead of him, he would have been a lock for the top spot this season as in years past.
1. Chris Paul
Why, then, does CP3 take the top spot ahead of the taller, tougher, more experienced, more accomplished Steve Nash? Simple: While Nash’s tenure in Phoenix has seen him benefit from a tailor-made milieu, Chris Paul is balling out of his mind in a mediocre situation. So, while he may be averaging ten assists to Steve’s twelve, you’d better believe Paul would find another pair of dimes a night with the Sun’s three-headed monster of a front line filling the lanes in place of David West, Peja Stojakovic and Tyson Chandler. He’s also found a way to get his while moving the rock, averaging 21.3 on the season, a four-point increase on last year’s production which has been accompanied by improvements in his field-goal, three-point and free-throw percentages. Furthermore, with a league-leading 2.9 thefts per, he’s not exactly dead weight at the other end of the floor, putting his unusual foot speed and cat-quick reflexes to good use. In Paul, the Hornets have a world-class basketball talent whose proven ability to turn nothing into something makes him, to my mind, your best bet at the point guard position.
Questions? Comments? Death threats? Get at me via email ([email protected]), the forum (HoopsVibe.com/forum) or the comment box below. Keep your eyes open for the first half of my countdown of the top ten swingmen, which should be appearing in the next day or two.