Tag:Chris Paul
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:10 am
 

Best NBA Point Guards

The new "must have" position in the NBA right now is the point guard position. In the past it was clearly big men but now the style of NBA basketball has changed. It is more uptempo and fast and relies on teams having capable floor generals. There are many great point guards in the league right now and also some to keep an eye on for the future. I have provided different categories ranking the point guards in the NBA.

Elite (Top 7)

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

Next Class (Future Stars)

1. Kyrie Irving
2. Ty Lawson
3. Ricky Rubio
4. Stephen Curry
5. Mike Conley
6. Brandon Jennings
7. John Wall
8. Jeremy Lin
9. Tyreke Evans
10. Jrue Holiday
11. Darren Collison
12. Kemba Walker

Serviceable Veterans

1. Kyle Lowry
2. Andre Miller
3. Jameer Nelson
4. Raymond Felton
5. Jason Kidd
6. Jose Calderon
7. Mo Williams
8. Ramon Sessions
9. Beno Udrih
10. Earl Watson
11. Baron Davis
12. Kirk Hinrich

The Elite list speaks for itself. Its clear that Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the league and that is a lot to say considering the fact that he is ahead of Chris Paul but he has earned that status, he simply does it all and most of all he is winning lots of games. Steve Nash still makes this list considering the fact that he is still leading the league in assists despite the fact that Phoenix is short on talent and the fact that he is now 38 years old. I have Rondo ahead of Westbrook by a hair and that is because of all the intangibles that Rondo provides. He might be the one of the best all around players in the league and for that he deserves to be ahead of Westbrook, though that may not last long with how good Westbrook is playing. Tony Parker is on the list for good reason, anyone who disagrees, I simply ask you to check his statistics. He is so consistent year after year and gets overshadowed by the more glamorous names on the list (side note on Parker is that he has more championships than any other point guard in the league besides Derek Fisher, that has to count for something).

As for the future stars, I think Kyrie Irving is going to be a very good player in this league, maybe even an all-star. He has been very impressive throughout his rookie campaign and he has a great coach in Byron Scott to groom him. Ricky Rubio may be the most exciting player to watch right now. Many basketball fans have had their eyes on him since he was 15 years old playing pro basketball in Spain. Rubio has exceeded my expectations in his first season. When I watched tape on him before the season, I just wasn't sure he would be effective in the NBA. I knew he was good but I thought he would be more of a project than he actually turned out to be. I love his upside and I think Minnesota as team has a very bright future ahead. Brandon Jennings shows flashes of greatness, when he gets hot he is unstoppable. If Jennings could just show more maturity and consistency, I think he has a chance at being an all-star at some point in his career. I am not a huge fan of John Wall, I though he was over-hyped coming out of college and I still think he has a lot of improving to do before he can be considered amongst the best point guards. It seems like he has a Stephon Marbury-like attitude to me. He does not seem to be very encouraging with his teammates and it seems like he just thinks he is better than he actually is in reality and I hope he puts in the work to take his game to the next level because he does have a lot of skills. Unfortunately, the Wizards are a mess and he lacks a mentor that could help him learn certain aspects of the game.

The veterans are basically guys who are either past their prime or are just good enough to give some quality minutes without being an all-star so to speak. Kyle Lowry is enjoying an excellent season and may have the most upside on this list. Felton and Nelson can also both be dangerous if put in the right situations. Andre Miller just knows the game, he has been underrated for years now, yet, he can still make excellent plays.

Overall, with so many point guards in the league and with the position so high in demand. I think it is important to recognize which players can separate themselves from the rest.

Posted on: December 4, 2011 3:16 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 2:40 pm
 

2011-2012 NBA Season Preview

I am excited for the upcoming season as I'm sure most NBA fans are as well. Now, we can finally talk NBA basketball again instead of lockout updates and players playing with teams overseas. We can actually prepare for NBA basketball. With that being said here are some headlines to follow leading up to the start of the season.  What can we expect from the upcoming season? How could it possibly top last year? Which players will change teams? Which coaches are on the hot seat? How will Miami fare in Year 2 of the "Big 3"? Who will be the surprise team(s)? Who will be crowned 2012 NBA Champions?

This season should shape out to be a very entertaining season for more reasons than one. For starters, it will be another season that will include the "surprise element". What I mean by that is there is no clear cut favorite to win the title this year. The Dallas Mavericks surprised most of us last year after their impressive championship run and there is a strong possiblity that we may be surprised again. Parity amongst teams has increased drastically in the NBA over the past few years, it's hard not to believe that every team has a chance. The Western Conference has been very competitive for years now, sometimes only a few games separated the first seed in playoffs from eighth seed. Now, I think the same will start to happen in the Eastern Conference as some of the teams who have been bottom feeders for years now are ready to contend. Its clear now that any team could lose any given night and that makes every game exciting. 

The offseason and free agency is typically one of the most exciting times of the year. Due to the lockout dragging on as long as it did, it will be a very short free agency period. However, that just might make it even more exciting. Free agency is set to begin on Dec. 9 with the regular season set to start on Christmas. That leaves just a couple weeks of time for teams to pursue free agents as well as securing their own current free agents. Also, in addition to that, the amnesty provision could result in even more players being available than expected, perhaps even big names. Expect things to get very competitive in a hurry. Some notable free agents to track include:

Tyson Chandler                   
Marc Gasol
Nene
Jamal Crawford
David West
Samuel Dalembert
Grant Hill
Tayshaun Prince
Jason Richardson
Jeff Green
Caron Butler
JJ Barea
Shannon Brown
Josh Howard
Michael Redd



Some names rumored to be made available via the amnesty clause include:

Mike Miller
Baron Davis
Brandon Roy
Gilbert Arenas
Rashard Lewis
Vince Carter
Elton Brand
Richard Hamilton
Travis Outlaw

In addition to those names, we can't forget about the uncertain futures of superstars such as Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams who are all in the last year of their contracts and all sorts of doubt surrounding them resigning with their current teams. We will hear rumors all year similar to the chatter that went on with Carmelo Anthony last year. I believe that at least 2 out of those 3 will be moved prior to the start of the season or by the trade deadline. With all the free agents, amnesty casualties, and superstars available; player movement this year should be nothing short of spectacular.

This will be a vital season for many new coaches and current coaches to produce results. Some coaches may not have too long of a leash and others may be subject to very high expectations to meet. Here is a list of coaches to keep an eye on:

Mike Brown (Lakers- Large shoes to fill in LA with a team that expects to win......and Kobe Bryant
Erik Spoelstra (Heat)- Pressure to win with Big 3.....will Riley get impatient?
Mike D'Antoni (Knicks) - Last year of contract, Donnie Walsh gone, pressure to win in NY after acquiring Melo/Amare
Mark Jackson (Warriors) - Last coach was only given one season, Jackson has no coaching experience. Will he impress or fall flat?
Stan Van Gundy (Magic) - Has he lost this team? Doesn't seem like any of his players would mind if he was replaced.
Vinny Del Negro (Clippers) - Clippers have talent now, that leads to expectations. Will those expectations be met?

Everyone's favorite team to hate or love last year was clearly the Miami Heat. After a rocky start the team ended up 2 games shy of winning it all. That would be considered a successful season to many teams, however, it was clearly a disappointment in regards to this team. So what lies ahead? Do we see a similar result? Will they take the next step and win it all? Will they take a step back? To answer those questions adequately, we must see what additions/subtractions the Heat will make to their roster. They do not have any cap room so they will have to be creative in acquiring real talent. One of those ways could be to use the amnesty clause on Mike Miller and create cap room to sign a big man or a point guard, Because of how much Wade and Lebron dominate the ball, the money would be much better spent on a big man who could provide a defensive presence and rebound. The big names out there are out of their budget so they may be looking at the likes of somebody like Dalembert or take a chance on somebody like Eddy Curry. They could also use some more reliable shooters. Redd would be an ideal fit for them from an ability standpoint and a financial standpoint. One question that has to be asked is will the Big 3 all play out their full contracts with the Heat, or is it possible that management will deal one of them for a player who fits the team better? With names like Paul and Howard out there, it would have to be at least a possibility that the Heat throw in the towel on their current Big 3 and choose to include one of them in a deal. The Miami Heat will definitely contend next year, I don't expect them to be crowned champions just yet, but they are still a great team and definitely have a chance. It will be interesting to see how their roster looks coming into the season and what adjustments they make to get to the next level. 

As the teams stand right now (after free agency this picture will be very different), which teams/players will be surprising? Many teams will surprise us with their success and others might surprise us with their lack of success. One team to keep a close eye on will be the Boston Celtics. The window is closing on this team as father time is catching up to their Big 3. Trade rumors have already began to swirl surrounding Rondo which could create a problem. A compact schedule which will include games on three straight nights on several occasions certainly is not a formula for success for this team. They are obviously still a playoff team but I do not expect them to win their division or have home court advantage in the playoffs. The Celtics era with the current Big 3 has seen its best days. On a similar note, the Los Angeles Lakers, may be facing the same problem. They are just a year removed from back-to-back titles and three straight finals appearances, yet they seem to be headed in the wrong direction. A shortened offseason after bringing in a new coach will certainly hinder the team. The point guard position needs to be addressed as Derek Fisher is clearly past his prime and cannot hang with the likes of starting guards in the Western Conference such as Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Barea/Kidd. The Lakers simply lack the necessary youth, toughness and athleticism to compete in the Western Conerence. The fact that they have who I still consider to be the best player in the league, Kobe Bryant, still gives them a chance but they definitely need to improve in many areas. The Portland Trailblazers will be an interesting team to watch. They have an abundance of talent on the roster and some players with health concerns that decisions will need to be made on. The team has great young talent in Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and the newly acquired Raymond Felton. They also have Gerald Wallace, who was acquired at the trade deadline last year, along with Marcus Camby, Brandon Roy (who they may choose to cut via amnesty clause) and also free agent Greg Oden, who they intend on bringing back. This is a loaded roster with no real weaknesses. If they can stay healthy, and thats a big if in Portland, this team is good enough to beat anybody and has a great home crowd to support them. I see them as a top 4 seed in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies, who were last year's surprise team, should also be able to build off their success last season. Lionel Hollins proved to be a very good coach and helped this team gain the confidence they needed to believe that they could compete. With Rudy Gay returning from a season ending injury the team improves on paper, but hopefully he buys into the team's concept when he was out as it proved to be more successful. If he messes up the chemistry the team had late last season, the team may be better off tradind him for a player who fits the team better. Retaining Marc Gasol is their most important task for the time being. If they lose him with nothing in return, the team will suffer dramatically. I see Gasol as the intangible on that team and maybe the most important next to Zach Randolph. Lastly, the New York Knicks will be a team to watch. This is another team that made some big moves last year and seem to be heading in the right direction. The questions surrounding the Knicks will be, who they add in free agency, if they somehow acquire Chris Paul this year, and if D'Antoni is truly the right coach for the team. The Knicks obviously need to be better on defense if they expect to contend for a title. They added Mike Woodson to the coaching staff to address that but it will also take a commitment from their players (especially Melo and Amare) to truly improve in that area. The team also needs to use their cap space wisely to surround their superstars with the right role players. The Knicks lack overall depth, size, and true shooters and if these areas are addressed they could be a legitimate contender. Without knowing what happens in free agency it is hard to pick a favorite to be crowned 2012 NBA Champions, but if I had to pick a few candidates I would say Heat, Bulls, or Knicks from the Eastern Conference and Thunder, Trailblazers, Mavs, or Lakers in the Western Conference. My predictions will be bolder as the season goes on.

These headlines as well as many others will make this season very exciting to follow. Hope you are all as excited as I am!!!

By: Derrick Karim
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com