Monday, November 30, 2009

Surprisingly Good For You

Who is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference? Recent PG all-stars in the East have either (i) been traded to the West (Billups, Kidd), (ii) fallen into semi-retirement because no team wants him (Iverson), or (iii) suffered multiple long-term injuries (Nelson, Arenas). So with those guys out of the picture (though Arenas is back now) several young points have emerged to look bright and fresh.

Gilbert Arenas: The most senior of this bunch, Arenas was felled by a knee injury that cost him almost all of 2007-08 and 2008-09. Now spry once more, Arenas is, as usual, shooting a horrible percentage from the field while leading his team to mediocrity. Few pundits would laud his handle or his court vision, so what exactly does he bring to the PG gunfight?

Jose Calderon: Calderon is perhaps best known for his streak of 87 straight FTs made from February 2008 until January 2009, the second-longest such feat in league history. He is an adequate passer and scorer, but he shepherds a team playing historically awful defense, not at all resembling a squad on which Chris Bosh would want to remain from autumn 2010 going forward. Hard to conceive of why he should get our nod.

Devin Harris: It was once thought that Harris would be known as the guy whom Dallas traded for Jason Kidd, but in 2008-09 he carved a niche as the speediest young'un' in the Tri-State Area. Sadly, thus far in 2009-10 he has led (?) his team to 17 losses and nary a win. A real leader would not allow that. Now in his sixth year, Harris is out of excuses.

Brandon Jennings: As the tenth pick in the 2009 draft, Jennings seemed an oddity, perhaps destined to be remembered more for his awkwardly timed stage entrance that June night than for his eventual court doings. Later in the summer, Jennings got into trouble for an illicit video that leaked to Youtube, involving BJ complaining about his coach and teammates. Jennings has been awesome in the regular season, however, averaging 22.3, 5.5, and 4.1 while leading his team to eight wins in fifteen games despite multiple injuries, as I noted in this earlier post.

Derrick Rose: Rose blasted brains last April in a seven-game playoff series with Boston. This season he has not looked quite so yowzers, slowed by an ankle injury. Putting aside his SAT-related controversy, there is no doubt that Rose can be crafty and calculating. (In fact, perhaps the admission test imbroglio reveals him as more so.) Rose will probably make all-NBA teams starting next season, but right now he appears a mite tentative on the hardwood.

Rajon Rondo: In that same Cs-Bulls series, Rondo seemed redolent of Magic's facility at scoring, passing, and rebounding. And unlike Mr. Earvin Johnson Jr. he can play some ball-hawking defense, too. Through trade rumors and contract disputes, Rondo is a darn good 1 at only 23 years of age. He is also the only guy on this list with a NBA title ring (and the second, after Harris, with a conference championship).

Maurice "Mo" Williams: I believe Williams looks good only by association with his teammate LeBron James. He was named as an injury replacement in last February's All-Star game, but had never really lit up much incandescence in his previous five seasons from 2003-2008 with Utah and Milwaukee. He is not even the primary ball-handler for his team; that duty falls to Mr. James. On the other hand, Williams did hit seven of seven 3-point attempts in Saturday night's victory over Dallas.

Dear readers, I know that only one month has passed in this astounding season, but which PG do you consider worthy of the Eastern Conference All-Star starting nod in Cowboys Stadium? None of these guys are superstars, but I think I would select Rose. In reality, Arenas, who boasts the most name recognition and has already been featured in his own ad campaign with adidas, will probably receive the most votes from fans.

Meanwhile, the Western Conference, boasting Paul, Williams, Parker, Ellis, Billups, Kidd, Westbrook, Nash, and Baron Davis, is full of All-Star caliber 1s. Combined with Ginobili, Roy, Gordon, Bryant, Richardson, Evans, and Kevin Martin (though the latter is injured again) at the "2", it is hard to see how to make enough room for the worthy guards en L'Ouest.


H.O.S.S. said...

I take your point about the lack of good PGs in the East (especially when compared to the awesome 1s in the West). The list is in fact probably even leaner than you suggest, as Gilbert Arenas is arguably less a PG than LeBron or Dwayne Wade.

EarlDaGoat said...

It is time for all of us to realize that agent zero is massively overrated.