Friday, October 19, 2012

Busy Offseason for Point Guards Shows NBA Trend

Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo all helped lead their teams in last season's playoffs. (

Now more then ever, there is a need for teams to have a dominate point guard. Three of the final four teams in the playoffs Oklahoma City, Boston and San Antonio had an all-star point guard
(Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker). The Miami Heat don’t have a dominant point guard but they do have LeBron James who is as quick as most point guards and just as good of a ball handler.

The Bulls tied for the best record in the regular season with a lot of help from Derrick Rose. Chris Paul helped the Clippers to their best season ever. The only all-star point guards to not make the playoffs were Deron Williams and Steve Nash who were carrying their respective teams on their shoulders.

This is all indicative of the new style the NBA is moving toward. Teams aren’t walking the ball up the hardwood and playing half court sets anymore. There are very few true centers that can score in the post. Now, the game is all about moving fast and a team can’t do that without a quick, dominant ballhandler. This new style has led to big payoffs for point guards.

Williams was the biggest free agent this year, and he was awarded with a max contract for choosing to hop the Hudson River with the Brooklyn Nets. Jeremy Lin also got a huge payday after meandering through multiple franchises and finally getting significant playing time with the New York Knicks. Despite starting only 25 games and having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in April, the Houston Rockets gave Lin a three-year, $25 million contract that is structured in a way to give him $15 million in the last year. The terms of that final season gave the Knicks enough pause to not match the offer sheet Lin signed (though the other salaries on the NYK books for 2014-15 did not realistically allow such a move). Eventually, the Knicks replaced him with veteran Jason Kidd and their former showrunner, Raymond Felton. 

Nash, too, received a three-year contract worth $27 million in a deal that sent him from the Phoenix Suns to their division rival Los Angeles Lakers, but he could have gotten a better deal from Toronto. Instead, the Raptors find themselves with John Lucas III — a former Bull and Landry Fields, acquired from the Knicks in an attempt to make a feasible offer to draw Nash to Madison Square Garden. With the departure of one of the greatest guard in NBA history, the Suns replaced him with Goran Dragic, who returned to his first franchise and lightened the Rockets' ledger enough for them to win the Lin sweepstakes and even give a three-year deal to undrafted rookie Scott Machado, who led the NCAA in assists last season by racking up 9.9 per game as a senior at Iona. 

Coupled with the fact that three of the last five No. 1 draft picks Rose, the Washington Wizards' John Wall, and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers were point guards, this offseason's rash of point guard transactions shows that GM’s are moving toward a faster paced game.

Alex Skov contributed to this article

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