After putting the world on to Virginia’s Sylven Landesberg, and highlighting two sophomores (UNC’s Ed Davis and UCLA’s Malcolm Lee) ready to lead, avid Dime reader and basketball fanatic, 16-year-old Lucas Shapiro, returns with a look at the Top 10 point guards over the next 10 years.
In the past decade, teams’ focus has switched from big men to point guards thanks to the leadership of Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker. Now as we prepare to move into the next decade, there is a very talented group of PGs poised to takeover the NBA.
Note: This list is not only based on the player’s potential, fundamental skills, ability to make his teammates better and overall talent level, but also his situation, age and style of play.
10. Jonny Flynn (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Bound for success since he’s playing with with two great big men in Kevin Love and Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn is going to be a star. Although his size is a bit of a concern, his developing shot and athleticism make up for the lack of height. Although many doubters questioned David Kahn for drafting two point guards with back-to-back picks, nobody is questioning Flynn’s ability to lead this horrible T-Wolves team to future success.
9. Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
To think that Russell Westbrook was under-recruited in high school is simply amazing. Now he leads one of the youngest and most promising teams in the NBA. The Thunder have great chemistry and this projects well for Westbrook. His takeover-game mentality and lockdown defense is exactly what the Thunder need. He needs to work on his shot and turnover rate to push himself into the elite, but playing with Kevin Durant should help his assists continually increase.
8. Devin Harris (New Jersey Nets)
It’s hard to find a guy with a better combination of speed and shooting ability. Harris has the best combination in the League. That is the reason why he was an All-Star last year. His team has a lot of money to spend in 2010 and their new owner Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to spend it. Becoming less injury-prone and more of a playmaker will be key for Harris. Another nice thing would be if his team could win some more games in order to attract some free agents from the 2010 class.
7. Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
Rondo is the purest point guard on this list. There is only one glaring problem, and that is his jump-shot. Every other facet of his game is nearly perfect, but he’s just not a very good shooter – yet. If he can develop a shot, he’d be in the top three on this list. Another concern: Once the Big 3 go down, can Rondo lead a team or is he simply a super-role player? Some of you older folks may remember a person named Magic and Michael who actually were not great outside shooters early in their career, but they became great shooters later. Could this be Rondo’s case?
6. John Wall (Kentucky Wildcats)
Wall is a great leader. How do we know this? Just check out the buzzer beater he hit in his first college game. He’s been compared to Derrick Rose, yet there seems to be a hint of Rajon Rondo to his game. He has a great deal of potential and already projects to be the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. As you can see, two of John Calipari‘s ex-players are on this list and playing for Coach Cal should help Wall in the long run. The team that he ends up on will determine where he could move up on this list.
5. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)
Evans is the tallest guy on this list, standing a 6-6. His play has been over shadowed by fellow rookie Brandon Jennings, but Evans has been more than impressive. He’s already taken the leader role in Sacramento since Kevin Martin has gone down with an injury and believe it or not, the Kings are winning (with a somewhat modest supporting cast). Although there were many doubters that Evans is a true point guard, he is averaging about four assists per game. This may be low, but he’s only a rookie and he’s capable of much more.
4. Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)
It’s hard not to get excited after that double nickel that Jennings had. Not only that but he’s on pace to win Rookie of the Year, but that he’s on pace to get his Bucks into the playoffs. He has such a well-rounded offensive arsenal for a rookie. His game could either take the Iverson path (a score-first point guard) or the Steve Nash path (a point guard who makes everyone around him better). Either option is good, but I’d prefer he go the way of Nash.
3. Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
It’s hard not to like Rose’s future. He has gained a consistent mid-range shot and is constantly extending his range. His team’s salary cap is flexible, not to mention very good now. Although he’s struggled personally so far this season, he makes players better around him by drawing double teams. Should his team pick up a top-notch free agent in 2010, this could push Rose higher onto the list. He needs to work on his defense along with his playmaking to become the best of the best.
2. Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets)
Sure, Chris Paul puts up great stats and is arguably the best point guard in the NBA right now. He can score at will, he can make his teammates play at higher levels and do you really think that David West would be a two-time All-Star on any other team without Paul? The problem is his situation. New Orleans is not a very good team and seems to be on the downturn. He can still be the best point guard for the next 10 years statistically. The only concern is that Rajon Rondo may have been right, he may not get a ring. If he’s going to get a ring, it is unlikely to be in New Orleans.
1. Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)
Everything is going right for Deron. He’s on pace to be an All-Star this year. His team has the New York Knicks lottery pick next year, which has potential to be the No. 1 pick. He is also playing for a Hall of Fame coach. Deron is one of the only guys on this list (aside from Paul) who will average 10 assists per game. Staying healthy is key for Deron. There is no reason why Deron can’t be the best point guard this upcoming decade. His size and shooting ability project well for him to have a nice, long career.
Honorable Mention: Ty Lawson, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Knight, Mario Chalmers
What do you think?