Dwyer: The 10 Best Point Guards of the Last Decade
Old 09-24-2009, 11:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dwyer: The 10 Best Point Guards of the Last Decade

Agree or disagree with Kelly?

Originally Posted by Kelly Dwyer
OK, we know the first decade of the 21st century doesn't really end until 2011. We think. But we also know there have been 10 full NBA seasons played since the phrase "Y2K" was on all of our lips (1999-2000), and here at Ball Don't Lie we've decided to use this as an offseason excuse to rank some of the best and not-so-brightest of the 10 campaigns in question. The result? Why, top 10 lists!

You didn't invent the position, Bob Cousy, but ... well, yeah, you invented it.

Invented the showmanship. That's, at least, what you're best known for. But you should also be appreciated for inventing the ability to dominate the game in a way that kept others involved, not nearly in a style that reminded of football quarterbacks or pitchers in baseball, but in one that still made the point guard position a step above the rest in terms of on and off-court importance.

It's a damned near-impossible position to run. Run it too accurately, exactingly, and people tire of you. Run it too efficiently, and fans become dubious. They'll call you a product of the system. Shoot too much, and you're a gunner. Try to entertain, and you're a hot dog. You're too street. You're just all wrong. All wrong! All of you!

Every player on this list has had to deal with major, major criticisms of their game along the way. Every one of them. And I've repeated some of them, even in this list. And you know what? They're brilliant! Every one of them. And we still nitpick. Even when Shaq and Dwight Howard(notes) have 4.5 offensive moves, between them.

So it goes. Even Red Auerbach took years to appreciate Cousy's brilliance. Let's not wait as long to learn to love the 10 best point guards of the last decade.

10. Sam Cassell

Any list that would have ended after the 2005-06 season would see Cassell closer to the top, but he didn't play last season, wasn't much of a factor the season before that, and struggled through injury-plagued campaigns in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

When the man was on, though, it was on. His stats from this particular season won't blow you out of the water (though 19.8 points on 49 percent shooting, 7.3 assists, and a 22.8 PER is nothing to sneeze at), but Cassell's turn as Minnesota Timberwolves point man in 2003-04 was about as good as I've ever seen a point guard play. Ever, ever, ever.

9. Baron Davis

Baron could have been an all-timer, but he's battled injuries, weight problems, and an unhealthy obsession with the three-point line. 5.3 per game, on his career, in fact. In spite of shooting just 32.3 percent over the course of 10 seasons. The worst came in 2003-04, when Baron chucked a nonsensical 8.7 three-pointers a game, making just 32.1 percent of them. That kills a team.

When Davis has it going, however, and the weight is under control? When his attitude is in the right place? When he's ignoring the three-point line? Um, these are a lot of qualifiers.

He's still great, when things are going great, by his own design. 17 points, 7.3 assists, four rebounds and about two steals per game on his career (one that started the year this list did), in 35 minutes a contest.

8. Deron Williams

As it stands now, Williams is the second-best point guard we have in this league. But because of an injury-plagued 2008-09 (even as he posted career highs of 19.4 points and 10.7 assists), and the weight issues that dogged his rookie season in 2005-06, he just doesn't have the resume to stand on at this point.

Here's what he does have to step up and be proud of: 16.2 points, career, 47 percent shooting, 8.7 assists in 35 minutes a night. 25 years old. Give this cat a clean bill of health and a pick, and look out.

7. Andre Miller

Miller does have a resume to stand on. We don't care much about total stats, in basketball, but Dre has dished 6020 assists in his career, good for 28th all time.

There's also something about him. I don't want to call the man indifferent, but he often seems it, usually in a cool way. Sometimes, if we're honest, in a way that tells you that he doesn't want to be there. There's a definite confidence to his game, as if he doesn't have time for your nonsense, and I can't help but dig that.

6. Tony Parker

In May of 2001, the Spurs were coming off a 58-win season, a tough playoff loss to a steamrolling Lakers team, and looking forward to next year with Avery Johnson as starting point man. He'd have to re-sign with the Spurs, of course, but there was no reason to believe Avery, David Robinson, and Derek Anderson(notes) wouldn't want to come back to play around Tim Duncan(notes).

By October of 2001, Johnson was in Denver. Anderson was in Portland, Robinson had returned to San Antonio after a contentious (for David) negotiation period, Spurs fans were ticked, and a 19-year old rookie out of France that nobody had heard of back in May was the starter at point guard. The Spurs didn't even sign a replacement. Things worked out.

Three rings later, Parker is a three-time All-Star who is coming off career-high averages of 22 points per game and 6.9 assists per contest.

5. Chris Paul

Rings aside, Chris Paul has had the best first 300 games of any point guard in NBA history. Maybe the best 300 games in NBA point man history. He's that good, that soon.

The slow pace the Hornets have always played at makes it so his stats won't knock you out, but 47 percent shooting, 19.4 points, 9.9 assists, 2.4 steals (high) and 2.6 turnovers (real, real low), with four rebounds a contest are killer. Absolutely killer.

4. Gilbert Arenas

Listen, the Wizards start Arenas at point guard. I don't know if he is a point guard, but he dominates the ball, and acts the part of a point guard, even if he isn't passing much. And he plays damn, damn well when healthy, as the Wizards' point guard. This isn't a case of something like Tim Duncan masquerading at power forward.

I'm not here to argue as to whether or not this is a good thing for the Wizards to have Arenas handling the rock as much as he's done, for as long as he's done it. But for as long as he's done it, he's done it. 22.8 points and 5.8 assists on his career, and despite the injuries, he's only 27.

3. Chauncey Billups

Here's a resume. Six teams, one of them twice, one he never played for. So ... six teams?

One ring, four All-Star teams, and the man didn't even start over 60 games for the second time until his sixth season. This is a long way of telling you that, six years ago, any thought of any impending inclusion of Chauncey Billups on a list of the decade's best point men would be met with confusion and/or derision. And yet, here he is. And some will argue for his presence at the top spot, and I'd have a tough time shouting them down.

Sturdy D, standout offensive efficiency on slow-down teams, lots and lots of wins. He leads, he executes, and sorry for resorting to a cliché, but Chauncey Billups is proof that persistence often pays off.

2. Steve Nash

Ask me, ask anyone else you know who read this list, ask yourself who, exactly, you'd like to play alongside the most on this list, and the answer will invariably be "Steve Nash."

We'd be wrong in that regard, of course. We'd be destroyed on defense, and we may have a little issue with turnovers. But we'd still want to play with him, in spite of a nagging suspicion that the second pick in this particular draft might be a bit better.

We play to win, I guess, but we're also playing because it's fun. Nobody says, "I'm going to go down to the Y later this afternoon to try and contribute to a winning cause." We say, "I'm going to go play basketball," a game, a game that's fun, you've seen this dance before.

So, he'll get burned on D. And at the end of the day, other players will have more points, rebounds, steals, and assists, even. But man, isn't his game something to behold?

1. Jason Kidd

Put it all together - the stifling defense, the pinpoint passing, the burgeoning shooting acumen, the scoring touch in transition, in the paint, or his staunch rebounding abilities - and you nearly have the perfect point guard.

And the best point man of our era.

The off court stuff, you might not like. The trade demands, the contract issues, or the way he was probably pretty overrated during his last few years in New Jersey. Overall, it doesn't matter much. 13.8 points, 9.2 assists, 6.7 rebounds, two steals, three turnovers, and absolutely killer defense for the better part of this decade.
Source - The 10 best point guards of the last decade - Ball Don't Lie - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Paul and Parker over Arenas
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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How he has Arenas ahead of a three time champion in Parker and Paul who he says had the best 300 games in point guard history is beyond me.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah - I'd switch Parker and Arenas at the very least.
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Old 09-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Arenas?! Is this a joke?
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i'd agree with that list for the most part.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:15 PM   #7 (permalink)

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I agree with the list but with a few adjustments:

Arenas should be number 10 Cassell, should be further up the list, Deron should be lower. Other than that I think it's fine.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm quite surprised that Nash isn't ahead of Kidd.

Nash is the only PG on that list thats won a league MVP, and he did it twice. It's not as if Kidd has won a championship.

5. Paul
4. Parker
3. Billups
2. Kidd
1. Nash
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I had a pretty solid high school career, I would say I easily rank in at around 13 or 14.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Pretty decent list. Arenas should be around 10 and Cassell should be about 8.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Arenas definitely deserves to be ahead of Sam, come on now...Parker should be ahead of him but Paul hasn't done enough yet.
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:14 PM   #12 (permalink)

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I'm quite surprised that Nash isn't ahead of Kidd.

Nash is the only PG on that list thats won a league MVP, and he did it twice. It's not as if Kidd has won a championship.
Kidd turned NJ around and took 2 teams to the NBA FINALS. Kidd in his prime was better than Nash in his. And I like Nash more than Kidd.

Originally Posted by Apollo View Post
Arenas definitely deserves to be ahead of Sam, come on now....
No way. Every team Sam I am went to got a LOT better with his veteran leadership and play. He helped the Timberwolves get to that next level and if he didnt get hurt theres a chance that they may have even won the title that year if he was in there healthy instead of Darrick freakin Martin. And then he went to the Clippers and helped them win a round, without him they probably would have been another version of a very talented Clipper team with no leadership heading to the lotto.

Arenas is a better scorer yes, but has he ever helped his team reach that next level? Or made his teammates that much better? I havent seen any proof of this. He talks a good game, Sam played a good game.
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Old 09-24-2009, 10:51 PM   #13 (permalink)

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arenas, but no iverson?

i'd place billups ahead of nash

parker after kidd, billups and nash

williams beside paul. i think williams is the better between the two, but it's close. i don't see how paul could be placed that much ahead of him.

i'd put payton before cassel, cassel in front of davis, and davis in front of miller

so...something like this

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Old 09-25-2009, 01:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Billups is a very good PG. But I wouldn't place him before Nash. Based on individual talent I believe that Nash is ahead of Billups. The only category were Billups beats Nash in is defense. I also wouldn't add Payton to the list because he only played about 2-3 years of good basketball in this decade.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:33 AM   #15 (permalink)

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the fact that Arenas is on that list pretty much crushed the validity of the ranking for me.... and at number 4??? how?
the guy can score.... whoop-dee-do.... has he ever won anything meaningful?
he has won one playoff series.
he's never had more than 6 assists per game.
he doesnt make his teamates better.
his career fg% is 42.
he is not a PG IMO... remove him from that list immediately.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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You ALL know how much I LOVE Agent Zero, but he isn't a good point guard. He's a great scorer, but thats only part of the job. The guy can't be considered a great PG.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:16 PM   #17 (permalink)
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