Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rank Me Please! 25 Point Guards

It is time once again for me to get entirely too serious about Tony Mejia's positional rankings. This is an annual rite of passage for me, just so you know. You can look at his efforts on CBSSportsline.com: Point Guards, Shooting Guards, Small Forwards, Power Forwards and Centers.

First, let me say that I know it is impossible to do these rankings and satisfy all basketball fans. Inevitably, fans will think that their guy deserves to be higher and Player X that they despise should be lower. I understand and appreciate that fact. However, what I usually take issue with is ranking players under the wrong position -- an issue where Mejia is a habitual offender. If Jason Terry and Devin Harris both start for the Dallas Mavericks, then how can both of them be ranked as point guards? Larry Hughes is undeniably best described as a combo guard, but he starts at SG for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the same position he played on his previous team, the Washington Wizards. So why is the oft-injured Hughes listed among the point guards? For the purposes of my rankings, combo guards get ranked with shooting guards since they are SG's in a PG body. Enough nit-picking though -- let's get to my rankings! Today we'll do Point Guards. I'm following Mejia's system of ranking them for the next 12 months, based on talent/skill level/expectations, regardless of their salary.

Point Guards

  1. Steve Nash - There is competition for this spot, with Nash, Jason Kidd and Tony Parker all viable candidates, but Nash's playmaking and scoring ability make him the best choice.
  2. Tony Parker - Conventional wisdom would have Jason Kidd -- one of the best PG's in NBA history -- in this spot. I think that Parker took a big step forward last season en route to winning the honors of Finals MVP and that he'll continue to progress as the team around him gets older.
  3. Jason Kidd - Slightly slower due to various injuries throughout the years, but still one of the best pure playmakers the game has ever seen. If his scoring ability was more prolific, he'd probably be in the top spot.
  4. Chauncey Billups - As clutch as they come, Billups' decision making rarely ever results in a turnover or a bad shot attempt.
  5. Gilbert Arenas - Agent Zero is one of the most unbelievable scoring machines in the league. If his shot selection and decision making can improve, he could see his name much closer to the top of this list next year.
  6. Deron Williams - His playoff performance vaulted him over CP3. They have almost identical stats, so the fact that Williams played in 17 more regular season games didn't hurt either.
  7. Chris Paul - If he can maintain his health, Springfield will be calling his name in another 10 years. Great playmaker with impressive scoring and rebounding ability.
  8. Allen Iverson - His efficiency improved across the board upon his arrival in Denver. If he can duplicate that this season, perhaps he'll help Melo reach the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time in his career.
  9. Baron Davis - He averaged 20ppg and 8apg, so why is he so low? Because missed 19 games and still cannot accept that he's not a great perimeter shooter. He shoots 30.4% from behind the arc, the same as T.J. Ford. Ford is smart enough to only try 1 per game, though, while BD throws up 4.4 attempts per game. That's gotta change, even in Nellie's free-wheelin' system.
  10. Kirk Hinrich - Captain Kirk is tenacious and smart, displaying no outstanding strengths, but no obvious weaknesses either.
  11. Andre Miller - As consistent as they come, Miller is a true playmaking PG who looks to score as a last result. He's like a mini-Jason Kidd, right down to the non-existent perimeter shot.
  12. T.J. Ford - Despite splitting time with the underrated José Calderón, Ford ranked #6 in assists per game. The players with more assists per game than Ford last season averaged 6.3 mpg more as well.
  13. Raymond Felton - He needs to improve his mid-range game, as well as his overall shooting ability, but he's a very talented playmaker. (Side note: How about the PG's from the 2005 draft?)
  14. Maurice Williams - Forgive me if I want to see Mo duplicate last season's breakout performance before singing his praises. He posted career highs in ever category except 3PT%, so let's see if he maintains that or falls back to Earth.
  15. Mike Bibby - Some choose to see Bibby's performance last year as an aberration, but I think it is a sign of an inevitable decline, as his assist numbers have dropped each of the past two seasons after posting a career high of 6.8 apg in 2004/05.
  16. Devin Harris - He has a lot to prove after signing a sizeable contract in the offseason, having been handed the starting spot with Terry's move to SG last season.
  17. Rajon Rondo - Another classic playmaker with suspect shooting, Rondo will have a lot of pressure on him to step up his game with three All-Stars wanting the ball.
  18. Stephon Marbury - I should rank him higher based on his testimony in Isiah Thomas' trial this summer and for his affordable shoes, but Starbury is a player with good stats on bad teams. He never should have left Minnesota.
  19. Randy Foye - He finished the season strong after a typically inconsistent rookie campaign. That's good, since he'll be the logging the bulk of minutes at the PG spot. Unless of course, Sebastian Telfair rediscovers whatever it was that made him a lottery pick.
  20. José Calderón - He'd start for a lot of teams, but still makes the list because he's that good of a playmaker, even with only 21 mpg on the floor.
  21. Mike Conley Jr. - Couldn't have this list without Mr. I Can Bowl With Either Hand, now could I? I think he'll be the starter by January and will post similar numbers to Chris Paul and Deron Williams in their rookie years. In short, he'll be impressive.
  22. Sam Cassell - If I believed that he was going to be a consumate veteran leader, he'd be in the Top 15. But I don't believe that, so the Alien drops to #22 because I expect him to sulk and complain until the Clippers trade him to Boston, Miami or Cleveland.
  23. Mike James - Surely he'll rebound from the horrific season he had after signing that big contract last offseason.......right?
  24. Jameer Nelson - He's unhappy that he's not the current owner of a Devin Harris-level contract extension, so expect him to elevate his game to show the Magic what he believes he's worth.
  25. Damon Stoudamire - He'll prove that he's healthy, get traded to a playoff contender and resurrect his once-thought-to-be-dead career. His rehab from that knee injury was supposed to take two years anyways, wasn't it?

A few guys who could jump up into the Top 25 this season: Delonte West, Kyle Lowry, Daniel Gibson, Marcus Williams, Sergio Rodriguez, Acie Law IV.

Don't see your team's PG on the list? Then you should probably be worried. Tell your GM to call Houston, Portland or Seattle, since they all have multiple PG's on their roster and are willing to part with one or more of them. Direct all praise or poison to the comments section.

3 comments:

Farfel said...

Really enjoy the blog and it has become a daily read.

With regard to point guard rankings, Chris Paul is considerably better than Deron Williams. Chris Paul is an outstanding player who is the unquestioned leader of that team. He makes Hornets games watchable. I've seen him win several games, seemingly singlehandedly, for that team.

Deron is good, just not CP3 good.

I'd take CP over Billups, by the way. Chauncey is a helluva player but those playoff losses to CLE have been embarassing and his playoff performances miserable.

zack said...

thanks for the kind words about the blog, farfel...

on CP vs Deron...If I'm ranking them based on the last year, Deron has to be higher than CP. Deron had a coming out party in the playoffs, leading his Jazz to the conference finals. So the nod goes to him, in my opinion.

Ryan Schwan said...

I've got to agree with Farfel about Billups. I think he's living on the reputation he gained during their finals run - where he really wasn't anywhere near as good as was suggested when he won the Finals MVP. And since then he's been pretty mediocre. I'd have him ranked right around Andre Miller territory - 10th or 11th.

I won't say anything about CP3, since I'm not exactly unbiased. :)