The greatest point guard league is a week away from training camp. While no one wins the title on paper and in September, to compete in both the regular season and postseason it’s necessary and required to have someone control the action as well as score the ball. Court vision is a must, as is unselfishness with a little bit of selfishness in the 4th quarter mixed in. The (9) best pg for the upcoming season have been traded a collective 7 times. 3 are with the team(s) that drafted them and all but one were lottery picks. Nearly every player on the list is expected to compete in the postseason. But there are inclusion omissions. James Harden (shooting guard with a point guard brain) and John Wall (Achilles injury) and Ben Simmons (power forward with pg handles) and Jamal Murray (assist phobic).
With the absence of Klay Thompson for a few months and the inclusion of D’Angelo Russell, the Warriors will revert back to the old days when it was all about Steph. He is poised to lead the league in scoring but not in usage rate. He’ll knock down his usual threes as he keeps the Warriors afloat in a tough West. Secondarily, keeping D-Lo in the system and pushing him to greater heights will prove how Steph makes players better, something he is rarely given credit for. KD is history so good riddance to moodiness and hello happy Warriors. The brilliance of Curry will be full throttle Steph. He is poised to yank a third MVP away from Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Drafted 7th by Warriors in 2009)
Major flaw: Defense.
Only a talent like Dame could manage to keep the Blazers relevant. A perimeter shotmaking team has no business as a top-4 seed but Dame is fearless, competitive, beloved by his teammates and does it all. He scores. He distributes. He hits game winners. He makes impossible shots. All things come through him and are about him but the Blazers are more than Lillard. He makes sure he gets his and everyone gets theirs. He is the most underappreciated point guard in the league. With a big like Hassan Whiteside, Dame has a target for pick and rolls. Whiteside with his blocks and rebounds will trigger many a Dame rim run fast breaks. (Drafted 6th by Blazers in 2012).
Major flaw: Defense.
The D’Antoni system will challenge Westbrook. Though he’s a terrible 3-point shotmaker, Westbrook has the talent to take D’Antoni’s system to marvelous new heights. He’s a terrific point guard and is willing to make the right pass plus he rebounds like a forward. Westbrook’s weakness is when the game is on the line and he wants to go mano y mano instead of staying in the team construct and letting the game come to him. (Drafted 4th by the Supersonics in 2008)
Major flaw: Selfish late in games.
Replacing Kyrie Irving in Boston isn’t much of a tall order for Kemba. Though he will face media and fan pressure he never had to endure in Charlotte, he’s up for the job. Kemba is gold. He’s a team player, his teammates respect him, he has worked hard to shore up his weaknesses, and he can flat out score. As far as good dude the organization will love, Kemba will do everything to off the court to match his on the court shot making, dishing dimes and winning games. Having Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to the left and right of him won’t hurt either. (Drafted 9th by the Bobcats in 2011)
Major flaw: Small point guard who can get lit up.
This is what he wanted and this is what he is going to get. He’ll Kyrie the Nets like he Kyrie’d the Celtics and the Cavs. Irving is a phenomenal player when his head is into it. The Nets without Kevin Durant will get the full Kyrie experience. He’ll include teammates, make sick three point shots, hit game winners, arrogant his way through games and be the star which is what he desperately needs for happiness. They’ll boo him in Boston in his return and he’ll just shrug it off because selfish doesn’t need friends. He’ll light the Celtics up for 40. (Drafted 1st by the Cavaliers in 2011)
Major Flaw: Megalomania.
He’s an incredible teammate as point guards should be. He took a backseat and let DeMar DeRozan be the center of everything. Then when DeRozan was traded- though he was bitter- he took a back seat and let Kawhi do his thing. A champion, Kyle is back to being Raptor #1 and he has the game to prove it, even if he is a little bit older. He can score on the perimeter, pass the ball, and look for him this year to push Pascal Siakam into an All-Star berth. When Lowry has a chip on his shoulder, he’s dangerous. The Raptors were denied the luxury of defending champions trying to repeat. No one thinks they can get there. The hardcore Philly native will prove everyone wrong. Or, die trying. (Drafted 24th by the Grizzlies in 2006)
Major Flaw: Age. He’ll be 34 when the playoffs start.
He gets zero pub for being gritty, tough and a rough rider. Conley isn’t in it to make friends or even to make you like him. He’s on the court to win games, not trend on SportsCenter. He brings a chip on his shoulder to the Jazz, plus a driven and fierce mentality to his approach. He elevates teammates and has improved his shot over the years. He is disrespected by the idea that he is a system player. No. Conley balls out every single time he’s on the court. He doesn’t cheat the game. He’ll mentor Donovan Mitchell with a flourish. (Drafted 4th by the Grizzlies in 2007)
Major flaw: Injury prone.
He was supposed to be traded before now but if he stays in OKC, at least for the first couple of months, he’ll bring a lot to a team that needs everything CP3 is. First he will make Steven Adams into an almost All-Star serving up a steady diet of pick and rolls. He’ll help Danilo Gallinari. He’ll be back to the All-Star caliber point he is. Yes, his failures are glaring, particularly his mediocrity with James Harden but Paul is a lifer and he’ll bring his competitive fire wherever he goes as he dishes dimes, makes efficient shots, pushes his teammates into excellence, and isn’t down for anyone’s laziness. In 2019-20 Chris Paul is back. (Drafted 4th by the Hornets in 2005)
Major Flaw: Competitive Maniac who doesn’t have a chill button
He will be an All-Star just not in Chicago in 2020. Fox proved in his second season (2018-19) he’s not a fluke. His scoring went way up, his assist numbers remained steady, he showed a lot of arrogance and fire on the court, he trash talked, he scored, he had the Kings at the brink of the playoffs, and in 2019-20 it will be more of the same. He is the leader the Kings have been desperately searching for and he’ll dominate this upcoming season with the ball in his hands. Plus he’s faster than anyone whose job it is to stop him. (Drafted 5th by the KIngs in 2017)
Major Flaw: Still learning how to guard elite point guards.