NBA Guard Bless You




For far too long, we as NBA fans were stuck with the likes of Stephon Marbury, Allen Iverson, Baron Davis, Steve Francis, Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker and Gilbert Arenas as the guys that represented the elite class of point guards. Gone were the memories of set up artists like Gary Payton, Mark Jackson and John Stockton. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the course of the years it’s that the NBA work in cycles.

Although we had been deprived of great floor generals for a while, we eventually were blessed with young talents like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, John Wall (yes he’s already part of the class), Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook that were born to play the position. With Jason Kidd and Steve Nash bridging the last generation to the new one, it seems that the throwback point guard is back. Have a look at their career numbers (listed by scoring average):

Player
PPG
APG
TPG
FG%
Derrick Rose
19.4
6.3
2.7
48.1
Chris Paul
19.2
10.0
2.6
47.3
John Wall
18.0
9.1
3.9
42.7
Stephen Curry
17.9
5.9
3.0
46.3
Deron Williams
16.9
9.1
3.0
46.7
Russel Westbrook
16.5
6.8
3.3
41.3
Rajon Rondo
10.7
7.1
2.4
48.9

The position requires for a player to direct his teammates and only take over the scoring load when necessary. As it stands right now, the players listed above are truly the best at doing so today whereas for a stretch we were stuck with a bunch of shooting guards playing inside the body of an NBA point guard. Have a look at the career numbers of the more seasoned players and pay attention to their field goal percentage (once again listed by scoring average):

Player
PPG
APG
TPG
FG%
Allen Iverson
26.7
6.2
3.6
42.5
Gilbert Arenas
22.6
5.6
3.3
42.5
Stephon Marbury
19.3
7.6
3.0
43.3
Steve Francis
18.1
6.0
3.5
42.9
Baron Davis
16.7
7.3
2.8
40.9
Tony Parker
16.7
5.7
2.5
49.1
Mike Bibby
15.7
5.8
2.3
43.8
Chauncey Billups
15.4
5.6
2.1
41.6

Save for Tony Parker, the field goal percentage is pedestrian at best (but then again, Parker also averages 10 text messages and two photo texts per hour). The above list illustrates the difference between the new guys versus the old. Our younger guards are more concerned with getting their teammates involved and taking quality shots whereas our veterans were for the most part more interested in getting their points by way of quantity of shots as opposed to quality; or as I like to call it, the Wilt Special (let’s be real, you don’t sleep with 20,000 women without at least three quarters of those being ugly).

By the way, not to drool all over John Wall; but you will notice that all the great young point guards I mentioned previously have a few decent options to pass the ball to, which helps with their assist totals. Wall on the other hand is playing with a few young guys who have no business getting heavy minutes in the NBA today. And yet, he’s still found a way to get that team to score points with him directing traffic. In other words, don’t miss the Wall boat.

With that said, the NBA should be in great shape for the next decade with the list of emerging point guards we have today. This new generation of players are throwbacks to the position and probably make guys like Magic Johnson, Bob Cousy and John Stockton proud. Let’s make sure we enjoy the careers of these guys…..may guard bless you.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.


The Heat Is On



Most fans right now will point to the Heat and tell you that the apocalypse is coming for their team because their stars cannot seem to coexist. Although there is some truth to it, it’s not the reason this team is going through some tough times right now. Dwyane Wade has struggled with his shooting and shot selection, but Miami has still managed to stay relatively close in games given the amount of talent they have on their team. Believe or not, their issues lies within their commitment to defense.

If you watched Miami lose in Boston on opening night, you noticed that their rotations were on point and that every player completed their defensive assignment almost flawlessly. However, the rematch on November 11th was a completely different story. Arguably the best shooter in the game, Ray Allen kept getting wide open for uncontested three point shots. Indeed, the team’s attitude towards defense changed drastically after a week and half of basketball. Have a quick look at the Heat’s output from their first seven games this season:

Opponent
Heat Team
Opponent
Forced TOs
Boston
80
88
18
Philadelphia
97
87
16
Orlando
96
70
14
New Jersey
101
78
15
Minnesota
129
97
18
New Orleans
93
96
13
New Jersey
101
89
13
Average
99.6
86.4
15.3

Their defense did an exceptional job early on in the season of getting to the ball and contesting shots as a unit. Through those first seven games, Miami held its opposition to 40.4% field goal shooting.

What’s changed since? The team’s identity. No longer are Miami players focused on attention to detail and doing things the right way. Instead, the Heat are now cruising through games and are taking short cuts in hopes that their talent will eventually win them games late. Indeed, the Heat perimeter players (mostly Wade and James) are now switching a lot on defense instead of chasing their opponents through screens thus giving the opposition some intriguing match ups. It’s not a coincidence that teams keep putting them through a series of screens as of late, it’s because they know it will get them a favorable advantage.  Have a quick look at the Heat’s output in their past 10 games:

Opponent
Heat Team
Opponent
Forced TOs
Utah Jazz
114
116
12
Boston Celtics
107
112
10
Toronto Raptors
109
100
11
Phoenix Suns
123
96
17
Charlotte Bobcats
95
87
14
Memphis Grizzlies
95
97
12
Indiana Pacers
77
93
13
Orlando Magic
95
104
12
Philadelphia 76ers
99
90
14
Dallas Mavericks
95
106
11
Average
100.9
100.1
12.6

For all of Dwyane Wade’s struggles as of late, their offense has still generated points during this stretch. Their defense however has been abysmal as they’ve surrendered a sizzling 47.1% field goal shooting. Seriously, gunners such as Allen Iverson and Steve Francis are mad that no NBA team will sign them right now to play against the Heat. It would most certainly help boost their career field goal percentages (both are just about at 42%).

Word is the Miami players held a players only meeting yesterday after the loss to Dallas and unless the main topic of their collective conversation was to discuss their lack of defense, expect them to keep struggling.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.

SBG Show: NFL Week 12 Game Picks


Former SBG Writer Philly previews the Week 9 NFL games on the SBG Show. If you want to download it of Itunes, you can click here. If not, just click play on the player below to listen to the podcast.


Listen to internet radio with ShyneIV on Blog Talk Radio

Chicago Bulls Star: Officer Rick Rose


Yesterday I was having a talk with my friend Karim and he made the statement that if he could be any NBA player today, he would pick Derrick Rose. I thought the statement was peculiar given how much he loves Kobe Bryant but I left it at that. Later in the evening, with my friend’s words still in mind, I tweeted that I was curious to see how Officer Rick Rose would fare against the Lakers frontline. And that’s when Karim’s statement made total sense.


Please understand, I have seen and admired Rose’s game for a long time; but last night he showed me way more than I had ever seen from him. He literally got to any spot on the floor that he wanted. Whether it was Matt Barnes, Ron Artest or Kobe Bryant guarding him, it really did not affect him. He was able to consistently blow by his defender (he even taught Kobe how to Dougie at one point with his crossover) and get into paint where he finished at the rim. He did this while the Lakers defense game plan was to at all times have four guys helping off the ball to protect the paint.


Rose made a series of tough shots look completely routine. He made contested lay ups (most of which came at the expense of Gasol), incredibly difficult reverse lay ins almost with ease, hit a few floaters and kept the defense honest with a few jump shots. The most glaring hole in offensive game is his jump shot, but he manages to counter that to some effect with his little midrange floater that he’s developed. One thing is for sure though, there is no way one player will be able to stay in front him.


My one concern about Rose showed up last night as he struggled a bit with his decision making. The Bulls star is still adjusting it would seem with being the team’s #1 and arguably #2 scoring option. At times, plays are meant to go to a specific player and if that offensive set breaks down, Rose might still try to force feed his teammate instead of breaking off the play; which results in turnovers.Nonetheless, he still finds ways to deliver the ball to players in a position to score the ball.Within the next few years, it’s quite possible that Derrick Rose might own The Point Guard’s Belt (now being battled for by Chris Paul and Deron Williams while Steve Nash observes like a proud father).


While we’re here, does anyone remember Stephon Marbury? Before becoming the enigma he is today, the former Georgia Tech star was expected to be the next great NBA point guard. Well, don’t look now, but Rose is quite possibly Marbury 2.0.Ludicrous you say? Much like Steph, Rose has the handle to get to point A to point B, the quickness to leave defenders behind, the strength to take hits and still get a quality shot off, and he can score in bunches.The difference between the former Memphis Tiger and the Vaseline eater is that Rose has consistently demonstrated the willingness to get his teammates involved.If we were ready to anoint Marbury, we should have a long list of people waiting for Rose’s coming out party this spring when the playoffs start.But before we get to April, do yourself a favor and watch him play every night, you won’t be disappointed.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.