Every starting point guard in the NBA, from All-World Chris Paul to part-timer Ramon Sessions, has the same phrase almost on auto-pilot: You don’t get a night off. Not in this League, not at their position.
The rise in talent at point guard has been well publicized for the last 4-5 years, and the diversity of styles makes the nightly matchups even more interesting — from the basketball-wizard savvy of Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, to the methodical power game of Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups, to the don’t-blink pure speed of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
Rose and Westbrook are becoming the new model PG for 2010, the super-athletic version who can run the offense effectively while creating just as many YouTube hits and dunk clips as LeBron and Dwight Howard. Following their gold-medal run with USA Basketball at the World Championship, Rose and Westbrook are off to All-Star starts to the new season: Rose dropped 39 points in a big comeback win over the Pistons on Saturday, while Westbrook is averaging 22.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals through Oklahoma City’s first three games. But neither Rose nor Westbrook tops the list as the most athletic point guard in the NBA. Check out the Top 10:
10. RODNEY STUCKEY, Pistons — Breakout alert: Stuckey is averaging 18.7 points, 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in Detroit’s first three games, up against a gauntlet of Devin Harris, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.
9. MARCUS BANKS, Raptors — He’s still in the League for a reason, right? Turnover-prone, not a natural distributor, not a good shooter, but he’s as fast as a struggling fashion model.
8. TY LAWSON, Nuggets — DJ Mbenga made it through last Friday’s Nuggets/Hornets game unscathed. For those five minutes he was on the court, you know DJ had his eyes peeled for Lawson.
7. DARREN COLLISON, Pacers — Son of two track stars is naturally one of the fastest players in the NBA with or without the ball.
6. RAJON RONDO, Celtics — Call it “unique” or “freakish,” but Rondo is built a little different from everybody else on this list.
5. JOHN WALL, Wizards — It wasn’t even like Wall was beating his man off the dribble during his second-half explosion in Atlanta; it was just one step and he was gone.
4. WILL BYNUM, Pistons — Something of a Nate Robinson Lite, but more of a pure point. Still, Bynum was athletic and strong enough to mainly play two-guard in college despite standing just 6-feet tall.
3. DERRICK ROSE, Bulls — And yet Bynum isn’t even the NBA’s most athletic point guard from Chicago. Rose cracked my list of Top 25 dunkers on the planet, and he’s only been in one dunk contest in his life.
2. RUSSELL WESTBROOK, Thunder — Every night it’s another coast-to-coast dunk for Westbrook, who was a game-changer for Team USA over the summer with his defensive playmaking and momentum-changing finishes above the rim.
1. NATE ROBINSON, Celtics — One of the five best athletes in the NBA regardless of position. That overflowing confidence Nate exudes on a nightly basis isn’t just a survival tactic he had to develop at his size; it comes from knowing he can physically perform almost anything on the basketball court.
Who makes your Top 10 list?