One of the first articles I wrote for this site, when it was back in its Blogger infancy, was a story on the abundance of young point guard talent in the NBA today. And that was even before this season tipped off. Now that the 09/10 season is in full swing, the amount of point guard talent in the League is at ridiculous heights. That’s because the 2009 NBA Draft class might have been THE GREATEST POINT GUARD DRAFT CLASS OF ALL-TIME!!!
Is this a ridiculously premature statement dripping in hyperbole? Probably. But sometimes a writer has to make bold proclamations to get his point across (after all, the word “manifesto” is in this site’s title). With all that said, however, this year’s rookie crop of point guards very well could end up being one of the best of all-time. And it is only going to get stronger once that cutie pie Ricky Rubio finishes his apprenticeship overseas and comes to the NBA.
Now I knew this draft class had some good point guards in it, but I’d be kidding if I stated I knew they would all be this good, this fast. Of course it all starts with the NBA’s current “it boy”, Brandon Jennings. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I had no clue Jennings would blow up the way he has. I watched him play quite a bit last season while he was in Spain, and while it was readily apparent that the European style of play wasn’t a good fit for him, it was also clear that he had some talent. Obviously his trials and tribulations abroad did him a world of good – physically, mentally as well as in terms of his basketball fundamentals. He has been nothing short of a revelation this season. He is lightning quick, lefthanded (an often underestimated advantage), can knock down long jumpers or get to the rim, is unselfish in looking to set up teammates, and, perhaps most importantly (and probably the biggest benefit from his season in Spain), he is unflinchingly calm and mature under pressure. But the true measure of his worth isn’t in his insane stats (25-6-5), his 55-point game or the fact that he has scored the most points ever by a rookie in his first nine games. No, the true measure of his greatness is that Milwaukee Bucks basketball matters again. I’m actually going out of my way to watch them play, which is a revelation on its own.
But Jennings isn’t alone in this season’s point guard revolution. Tyreke Evans is undergoing a trial by fire in Sacramento and is putting up a very respectable 17-4-4 stat line every night. Minnesota’s Jonny Flynn is good for 14-3-3 every game, Ty Lawson is getting 10 & 3 as Chauncey Billups’ understudy in Denver and Stephen Curry is knocking down his shots and getting five assists a game. This is a very impressive – and very young – crop of point guard talent. All of them, with the exception of Curry and Lawson, would only be in their sophomore years in college if they hadn’t jumped to the pros. With that being said, most, if not all, of the above mentioned guys will have a dip in their production at some point this season. But assuming none of them fall off too drastically, this year’s rookie point guard crop could someday rank up there with 2005’s (Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, Jarrett Jack, Monta Ellis), 1987’s (Kevin Johnson, Mark Jackson, Muggsy Bogues, Kenny Smith) and 1970’s (Tiny Archibald, Calvin Murphy, Pistol Pete).
And don’t look now but the top pick in next June’s draft should also be another transcendent point guard, Kentucky’s John Wall. At that point we are going to be looking at an unprecedented level of young point guard talent in the NBA. If it wasn’t obvious before it certainly is now – we are in the midst of a point god renaissance.