Bulls

20 in 20: Who are the Top 10 PGs in the league?

20 in 20: Who are the Top 10 PGs in the league?

Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010
10:10 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

A historic summer for the NBA has passed and for the Bulls, while they didn't acquire quite the star power many expected andor hoped for, optimism runs high, both within the organization and throughout the team's fan base. With the offseason coming to an end, the time to fully delve into the upcoming NBA season is here. Instead of a traditional season preview, issues both throughout the league and in Chicago will be probed daily here on CSNChicago.com up until the squad officially convenes for training camp toward the end of September.
4. Who are the top 10 point guards in the league?
1. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets (2009-10 averages: 18.7 points, 10.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 2.5 turnovers, 49.3 field-goal percentage, 40.9 three-point percentage in 45 regular-season games): An injury-riddled season and a summer in which his pristine image took a hit may only serve as motivation for Paul, who, with backup Darren Collison now in Indiana, must realize that he must again pull off amazing feats to make the Hornets relevant -- something the competitor inside the former MVP candidate will relish, disgruntled or not.

2. Deron Williams, Utah Jazz (2009-10 averages: 18.7 points, 10.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.3 turnovers, 46.9 field-goal percentage, 37.1 three-point percentage in 76 regular-season games): More like No. 1a, Williams will face an adjustment process with the departure of partner Carlos Boozer (although new Jazzman Al Jefferson has the ability to do many of the same things, he'll take awhile to fit into Jerry Sloan's system), which may result in better numbers and decreased team success, thus facing similar challenges to his rival Paul.

3. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (2009-10 averages: 20.8 points, 6.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 2.8 turnovers, 48.9 field-goal percentage, 26.7 three-point percentage in 78 regular-season games): As Chicago fans already know and LeBron James mentioned after dispatching the Bulls in the playoffs, Rose is one of the best in the league in his position, and his USA Basketball experience this summer should only add to his development.

4. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics (2009-10 averages: 13.7 points, 9.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, league-leading 2.3 steals, 3.0 turnovers, 50.8 field-goal percentage, 21.3 three-point percentage in 81 regular-season games): Despite not being a shooting threat, Rondo is uniquely capable of impacting a game, something evidenced by his performance in last spring's playoffs, where he was more than often the best Celtic.

5. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns (2009-10 averages: 16.5 points, league-leading 11.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 3.6 turnovers, 50.7 field-goal percentage, 42.6 three-point percentage in regular-season games): Even with longtime running mate Amar'e Stoudemire now in New York, don't expect Nash to slow down just yet; rather, his scoring numbers should see a boost, although it's hard to expect Phoenix to make another deep playoff run with the current roster.
6. Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets (2009-10 averages: 19.5 points, 5.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 2.4 turnovers, 41.8 field-goal percentage, 38.6 three-point percentage in 73 regular-season games): "Mr. Big Shot" put up a career-high in points last season, but with the turmoil within his hometown Nuggets, a long summer with the national team and a drop-off in his shooting percentage, Billups can no longer be considered the cream of the crop anymore.
7. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (2009-10 averages: 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 3.3 turnovers, 41.8 field-goal percentage, 22.1 three-point percentage in 82 regular-season games): While Westbrook isn't a proficient outside shooter and is still a bit out of control at times, not only is he an excellent sidekick to Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant, but the UCLA product's defense is superb and his physical tools may be second to none at his position.
8. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings (2009-10 averages: 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.0 turnovers, 45.8 field-goal percentage, 25.5 three-point percentage in 72 regular-season games): Probably more of a shooting guard by definition, the reigning Rookie of the Year is his team's primary ballhandler and while Evans is a natural scorer, his ability to distribute the ball, attack the basket and take advantage of his size puts him in this category.

9. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs (2009-10 averages: 16.0 points, 5.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 2.7 turnovers, 48.7 field-goal percentage, 29.4 three-point percentage in 56 regular-season games): If healthy, look for Parker to return to his former status as one of the league's best scoring playmakers, especially with all the scuttlebutt that heir-in-waiting George Hill is ready to take his spot.
10. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks (2009-10 averages: 15.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 2.4 turnovers, 37.1 field-goal percentage, 37.4 three-point percentage in 82 regular-season games): Forget the 55-point game: Jennings' playmaking, surprisingly mature basketball I.Q. (remember how many so-called "experts" thought he was a potential bust based on his admittedly disappointing season in Italy a year prior?) and better-than-advertised defense (playing for tough-minded Scott Skiles helped) were some of the primary reasons (outside of Andrew Bogut and John Salmons) his overachieving Bucks made the playoffs -- and almost advanced to the second round.

Next 10 (in alphabetical order):

Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets: Absolutely carried his team in Yao Ming's absence, although he's a bit trigger-happy at times.
Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers: Much has been made of his gaudy stats as Paul's understudy, but he'll get a chance to run his own show after being traded in the summer.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: Didn't make the playoffs like Jennings or quite dominate a la Evans, but a sophomore slump is doubtful.
Baron Davis, Los Angeles Clippers: One of the most talented players at his position when in shape and motivated.
Raymond Felton, New York Knicks: Developed into above-average status under Larry Brown and has the opportunity to further thrive in Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.
Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets: Talent isn't the question, but some of the onus for a league-worst record has to lie with the guy running the show.
Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks: He's slowed down over the years, but not only does he still direct traffic like few can do, but has finally added consistent deep range in the latter stages of his career.
Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic: Not quite an upper-echelon floor general, but earns kudos for directing one of the league's better squads.
Andre Miller, Portland Trailblazers: The veteran is always steady -- yet always underappreciated -- and should have more of an impact in his second season with the Blazers.
John Wall, Washington Wizards: Every rookie struggles at times, but not including him in the top 10 could look foolish by season's end.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

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USA TODAY

NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Workout season could be more important than ever

With Zion Williamson making his NBA regular season debut Wednesday night, we finally got a chance to see what a No. 1 overall draft pick is supposed to look like: an athletic and versatile skill set, with the chance to impact a franchise for years to come. 

2019 No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant also looks like a franchise-changing talent with his speed and playmaking ability, lifting Memphis into playoff contention.

So, which players will have that kind of impact in the 2020 draft?

Well, for now it’s almost impossible to say. James Wiseman, the 7-foot-1 Memphis center, dropped out of school after playing just three games because of an eligibility battle with the NCAA. His size and raw tools are intriguing, but at this point his offensive game is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball’s younger brother, LaMelo is sitting out the rest of the Australian professional league season while he rehabs from a foot injury, another Australian professional, R.J. Hampton, just returned from a hip injury and North Carolina’s combo guard Cole Anthony is getting ready to return from a knee injury to finish his one and done season. 

That’s left NBA talent evaluators scrambling in trying to figure out the top of the draft, with only Georgia’s Anthony Edwards healthy and available among the players projected as the possible No. 1 overall pick. 

So, as we get closer to the end of January, here’s a look at how teams could view the available talent, with the understanding that the draft order will change dramatically as NBA scouts and GMs get a look at how players perform in the most important games of the season still to come.

2020 NBA mock draft 3.0

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

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USA Today

Kemba Walker and Trae Young being named All-Star starters could help Zach LaVine

On Thursday, the NBA revealed the East and West starters for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. Take a look:


Bulls fans will be honed in on the East selections given Zach LaVine's absence, though his realistic chances of starting the game have been slim-to-none since the first month of the season. In the last round of fan voting returns, LaVine was sixth among Eastern Conference backcourt players. He finished there, as well:


LaVine will get a chance to slide into a reserve slot, but the East’s starting backcourt of Kemba Walker and Trae Young leaves a crowded field to contend with. Guards competing for the seven reserve spots include Ben Simmons, Khris Middleton, Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Malcolm Brogdon and Jaylen Brown. And that's without mentioning frontcourt favorites in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum and Domantas Sabonis.

But a modicum of good news did come from this announcement for those stumping for LaVine: Kyrie Irving's omission from the starting lineup. Irving, who has only played 15 games this season, had been second in fan voting at the time of last returns. Had he snuck in with the starters, LaVine would have also had Walker or Young to compete with for a reserve spot, both of whom he matches up with unfavorably. One has to figure Irving's odds of being selected by coaches as a reserve aren't high.

LaVine's chances still aren't necessarily great, but the coaches' picks for reserves will be announced on Jan. 30. If LaVine is shorted there, as well, there remains the possibility of an injury replacement down the road, which commissioner Adam Silver would select (this is probably his best shot).

Once the final pool of players is decided, they'll be drafted by team captains Giannis Antetokoumpo and LeBron James on Feb. 6.

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