MARK COOGAN, Sports Editor
Hey Sports Bro, who is the best point guard in the NBA? Is it Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or someone else?
-Scott Dyke ‘12
As a Bulls fan, this is a very tough question to answer objectively. As a fan of the NBA, this is just a tough question to answer. The NBA is currently blessed with a surplus of talent at the point guard position and there are several guys you could make a legitimate case for as the best point guard in the league. That being said, there are very clear levels of talent that all these players fall into. Here’s the way I see it:
Extremely talented but can’t quite put it all together: Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks; John Wall, Washington Wizards
Both of these guys have some incredible skills but play on awful teams. It’s hard to tell if it’s their fault or if they are just surrounded by a lack of talent, but both Wall and Jennings tend to press offensively and end up doing more harm than good with the ball in their hands.
Torch passers: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns; Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs; Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
These three were the cream of the crop six years ago and can still put together some great games if you need them to. But all three are past their prime and can’t be counted on to be the leaders of their team any more. I really hope that Nash can get traded out of Phoenix to a contending team so that he can make at least one last run at a championship.
Under the radar guys who you should find out about: Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets; Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers; Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Lowry and Holiday would both be all-stars if it weren’t for the overload of talent at the point guard position right now. It may be a while before these guys are household names, but they are definitely going to make an impact in the playoffs this year.
Rookies with bright futures: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ricky Rubio has been the real deal so far this season. He is a great passer, an above average shooter, and a really fun guy to watch play basketball. I am excited for his future in the NBA. Irving has had a bit of a tougher time so far but is playing for a terrible team. I think with the right pieces around him, he could go to multiple all-star games in his career.
Not quite the best in the league: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics; Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
You could definitely make a case for any of these guys being the best point guard in the NBA. You really could. But at the end of the day, they just aren’t as good as Paul and Rose. For some unknown reason, Rondo still hasn’t learned to shoot free throws effectively and can’t shoot at all from the outside. He is a great passer and great at creating offense for his team, but his shooting, which can be described as “streaky” at best, is still his downfall. If he ever decides to really work on his shot, he could potentially win an MVP award. But until then, he will only be a “really great” point guard.
League’s Best: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls; Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
It’s hard to pick one of these guys over the other. I think Paul is a better pure point guard, but I think Rose is a better basketball player. Paul really doesn’t have a weakness in his game. He can shoot, he can pass, he can drive, he can create, and he’s one of the best defenders in the league. But after watching what Rose did last season, leading a team who relied solely on him for offense to 62 wins, I can’t say that he’s not better than Paul. I think if you have some other pieces in place and you are looking for a point guard to lead you to a championship, Paul is your guy. But if you are starting a team from scratch and get to choose any player to be your point guard, how can you not choose Rose?
Hey Sports Bro, how good is Jeremy Lin?
It’s really hard to say. ESPN would have you believe that he’s better than every player I just named in that last e-mail response, but the truth is, he’s played four great games. He could end up being a good player, but I think we have to wait a little while before declaring him the best of all time. It’s a fun story. The guy is currently living on his brother’s couch because he still doesn’t have a real contract, but went out and dropped 38 points on the Lakers a couple nights ago. But let’s wait for a bigger sample size before we crown him as the new king of the NBA. Ask me again in a month and I’ll have a real answer for you.