Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Point Guard Controversy

On a busy Friday night, the Heat vs. Knicks garnered most of the headlines. Few people probably had their eye on Jazz vs. Hornets. HOSS did. That match-up pitted Deron Williams against Chris Paul, two of the best point guards (if not the best) that they NBA has to offer.

I cannot remember a time when there was such a glut of elite point guards in the NBA. At the beginning of the season, this was my list of the top NBA PGs, but given how well they are all playing, this ranking seems to fluctuate on a daily basis:

1. Chris Paul
2. Steve Nash
3. Deron Williams
4. Rajon Rondo
5. Derrick Rose
6. Tony Parker
7. Russell Westbrook

Why does this make HOSS giddy? Two reasons. First: the sheer aesthetic beauty of watching an elite PG in action. Watching a slasher like Amare, D-Wade, or LeBron slice up defenders and throw down is like watching a skilled boxer deliver a devastating left hook. In contrast, watching a PG set the table on offense is like watching a master artist adorning a canvass -- you may not understand why each stroke was so brilliant until you see the final product (the pinpoint pass for the easy lay-up).

Second: an elite point guard is the surest way to turn a team into a contender. The proof of the pudding is in the taste: Consider all of the teams that appear to be overachieving this season, and virtually all of them have one of the elite PGs leading their offense:

San Antonio (22-3) (Parker)
Boston (21-4) (Rondo)
Oklahoma City (19-8) (Westbrook)
Utah (18-9) (Williams)
Chicago (16-8) (Rose)
New Orleans (16-10) (Paul)

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