Friday, July 6, 2012

Point Guard Rodeo

Leading off your NBA coverage today is the fact that point guards are being swapped around like pot luck casserole right now. Steve Nash to the Lakers, Jason Kidd to the Knicks, Jeremy Lin signing an offer sheet for the Rockets, Deron Williams staying with the Nets...

And, well, I get it. Without a good point guard, teams are hard to look at, and with so many flat out studs out there in prime locations -- Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook are your top tier and all went deep in the playoffs -- it seems warranted.

But let's look further. Here are that starting points on the NBA champions in this century

2012: Mario Chalmers
2011: Jason Kidd, drawing Social Security
2009 and 2010: Derek Fisher
2008: Rajon Rondo in his pre-known phase
2007: Tony Parker, also the Finals MVP, in the LeBron meltdown Cavs year
2006: Jason Williams -- no, seriously -- and the last twinges of Gary Payton
2005: Parker again
2004: Chauncey Billups, Finals MVP
2003: Parker
2000, 2001 and 2002: Fisher

So the last four titles are won by teams with caretakers, despite the game and rules changing to make things easier on them. With the exception of Rondo and Billups, all of these guys seem like defensive liabilities. And the guys that put up the big numbers -- I'm thinking Nash, Williams, Paul, and before that Gilbert Arenas, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Sam Cassell, Stephon Marbury -- never, ever win.

So what gives?

Well, it's pretty simple, and on some level, it works like boxing: a good big man beats a good little man. And also this: basketball statistics are just a hard thing on many levels, since the public falls for counting stats, and it's not that hard to accumulate those without really doing too much to make your team win.

So congrats to the guys who got paid. I like to watch beautiful ball, and without good points, your chance of delivering that go way down. Maybe the rule changes eventually take things over, and the degradation of centers keeps pushing point guards to the fore.

But right now, having a good or even great one wins you nothing.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled shopping spree.

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