Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good point guards are shit, don't draft them

*It's been a long time since I've posted. But in all honesty, I haven't found a whole lot to gripe about. I really hope the Boston Herald/NY Post/SI.com set hasn't had some overhaul where they stop being dumbasses. But here's the first salvo in what will hopefully be a summer filled with bullshit.*

Who's the most important player on a basketball team? The point guard, probably. He handles the ball the most and facilitates the offense. You can easily overcome a shitty one with a great two-guard (see: Kobe, Wade, "I play every position" LeBron), but having a great one is a huge help.

But fuck drafting one high. Chris Paul? Dude's a stiff. Deron Williams? Guy sucks. They aren't winners.

*Gun loading*

DEREK FISHER PROVES TITLES AREN'T WON WITH GREAT POINT GUARDS

This was the teaser that set me off. Fisher has four rings. Three of them with Shaq/Kobe and one with an insane Kobe. Fisher had dick to do with them winning, aside from some "clutch" threes (that one against the Spurs kills me) and not turning the ball over. Awesome great job!

Derrick Rose was Rookie of the Year. Chauncey Billups was a hero in Denver. Jameer Nelson and Mo Williams were difference makers in the East. Aaron Brooks almost changed history. Point guards also are expected to dominate the first 10 or 12 picks in the draft next week.

All those dudes are A) either very good or awesome at basketball B) except for Williams, first round picks and C) teams that made the playoffs. And where's Paul and Deron Williams? They made the playoffs too.

And then there's Derek Fisher. He of the season averages of 10 points and three assists. He of the 40 percent shooting in the playoffs.

And he of the four rings.

Alright, fuck this. I am dubbing this the Ramiro Mendoza corollary: when a dude wins a ton of rings being very lucky or like the tenth best dude (or worse) on his team.

There's your reality check. At one of the great historical intersections in the history of point guards, an unexplainable convergence of circumstances from the 2008-09 season into the June 25 draft into free agency next month, the reminder note being distributed after Lakers-Magic is that it does not take a great talent at the point to win the title. Big men (Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon), yes. Wing players who leave defenders with singed jerseys (Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan), absolutely. But not point guards.

Tony Parker is an awful PG. How the hell did Duncan win the title ... what's that? He won a Finals MVP? He is a two-time all-star who has averaged 18 points or more and 5.5 assists or more over the past four seasons and is only 26 years old? Well shit...

I will cede that the teams Howard-Cooper cherry-picked didn't need awesome PGs to win titles. But of those seven players, two are in the top ten OF ALL-TIME and the four big men are in the top fifty or forty.

Point is, you need awesome players to win.

Fisher is just part of the story. Take a look at the point guards who have won in the Finals the past decade or so, and it's clear teams do not need great point guards to win a championship, and teams where the best player is a point guard do not win.

Already this list is bunk for a few reasons. The Lakers have won four of the past ten titles. The Bulls got one, and the Spurs PG is great. Let's see this thang.

2009 -- Fisher.
2008 -- Rajon Rondo, Celtics. Certainly has All-Star potential, but not there yet.
2007 -- Tony Parker, Spurs. Three All-Star appearances, one Finals MVP.
2006 -- Jason Williams, Heat. With the asterisk that Wade handled the ball a lot.
2005 -- Parker.
2004 -- Chauncey Billups, Pistons. Four All-Star appearances.
2003 -- Parker.
2002 -- Fisher (35 starts in the regular season and all 19 starts in the playoffs) and Lindsey Hunter (47 starts in the regular season, most at the point). With the asterisk that Bryant handled the ball.
2001 -- Fisher. Started only 20 times in the regular season because a foot injury cost him the other 62 games, then started the entire playoffs. Brian Shaw and Ron Harper played the point a lot in the regular season. Plus: the Kobe asterisk.
2000 -- Harper.
1999 -- Avery Johnson, Spurs.
1998 -- Harper, Bulls. Asterisk: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen.

So throwing out Parker and Billups, two first rounders who are really good, what the fuck is the point of this? Answer: some teams with really awesome players won titles over the past ten years. Cool.

To review: Avery Johnson has one ring, Jason Williams has one ring, Steve Nash and Jason Kidd none.

Conclusion: Johnson and Williams are better than two HOFers.

Kidd was in back-to-back finals and lost to awesome teams. What a schlub. Steve Nash has two (ill-gotten) MVPs and is unfortunately running a flawed team that probably could never win a title. They are both great. And yes, they have both never won a crapshoot filled with landmines played underwater, drunk and blindfolded.

Two starting point guards among the last 12 champions have been All-Stars. No Hall of Famer was in the role since Isiah Thomas with the Pistons in 1990.

This is so flawed because of the past 12 title winners, a whooping SEVEN of those were either the Spurs (Parker, who's an awesome PG remember) or Lakers (the land of two top twenty all-time guys). So this list is a whole huge weird mess of randomness.

The draft and free agency alone will alter the league for years. It just may not deliver a title. Because it doesn't take a great point guard to win.

I guarantee Chris Paul will win a title sometime as the best player on his team. Deron Williams is also very, very good and could get there. Jason Kidd has ran into some freight trains and Steve Nash's window is probably closed. Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose look set to battle it out for decades, possibly contending for titles.

This has nothing to do with "title teams don't need point guards!" It's "title teams need really good players and a bunch of other shit to happen" to win. All-time greats help too.

If you are going to "prove" it doesn't take good PGs to win, how about deflating all the lottery PGs that stink now? I am sure that'd be more convincing than "the Spurs/Lakers -- winners of 58% of the last dozen titles -- didn't need one!"

It's good to be back.