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Revisiting the point guards of the 2009 NBA Draft

Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague (R) drives to the net on Chicago Bulls’ Omer Asik during Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game in Chicago, May 10, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Jeff Teague’s series performance (17-4-3, 56% shooting) against the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semis got me thinking about all the promising point guards that came out of the 2009 Draft. Take a look:

5. Ricky Rubio, T-Wolves
6. Jonny Flynn, T-Wolves
7. Stephen Curry, Warriors
10. Brandon Jennings, Bucks
17. Jrue Holiday, 76ers
18. Ty Lawson, T-Wolves (traded to Nuggets)
19. Jeff Teague, Hawks
20. Eric Maynor, Jazz (traded to Thunder)
21. Darren Collison, Hornets (traded to Pacers)
25. Rodrigue Beaubois, Thunder (traded to Mavericks)
29. Toney Douglas, Knicks

It’s pretty amazing that with the emergence of Teague in Atlanta, no fewer than six players on that list have developed into starting caliber point guards in the NBA. Four others (Douglas, Beaubois, Maynor and Flynn) are rotation players.

Here are the 2010-11 stats for each player, sorted by Efficiency Per Minute, which is I believe the best way to quickly compare a player’s production.

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How does Ty Lawson compare to Chris Paul?

Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Denver April 9, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Whenever I see Ty Lawson play, I think of Chris Paul. The two players have different games, but physically, they’re similar. Paul stands 6’0″ and weighs 175 pounds. Lawson is 5’11″ and weighs in at 195 pounds, so he’s a little stockier than CP3, but they’re both fairly undersized for the point guard position.

Here are the per 48-minute stats from each player’s rookie and second season. Since Paul played about 16 minutes more per game in his rookie season (and 10+ minutes more in his sophomore season), we need to adjust per minute for an apples-to-apples comparison.

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Ty Lawson breaks three-point record [video]

Ty Lawson broke the record for consecutive three-point makes without a miss when he made 10 straight threes against the Timberwolves. He would have also broken the record for most three-point makes in a game without a miss, but he missed his 11th attempt.

Nuggets looking for a Top 10 pick…

…and they’re willing to part with Ty Lawson to get it, per Chad Ford.

Nuggets GM Mark Warkentein has been calling around trying to gauge interest in teams selling the pick. According to sources Warkentein is offering Ty Lawson for the pick. A Nuggets source said the Nuggets are looking for big man to fill up their front line. Several bigs including Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis, Ekpe Udoh, Patrick Patterson, Daniel Orton and Hassan Whiteside could be there at 10.

If true, this seems like an especially dumb thing to do. In Lawson, the Nuggets have perhaps the fourth or fifth best player from last year’s draft, yet they’re shopping him for a Top 10 pick in a draft that doesn’t appear to be as deep. A top pick is nice, but many players taken in the first 10 picks turn out to be busts. So until they prove themselves in the NBA, a draft pick is an unknown quantity. The Nuggets are try to trade a known quantity (Lawson) for an unknown quantity. Dumb.

Moreover, Chauncey Billups isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 34 when the season starts, and with the importance of point guard play in the NBA, the Nuggets appear to be willing to trade away their floor leader of the future for a pick.

It would make a lot more sense for a team like the Hornets, who have Chris Paul and Darren Collison, to try to move Collison for some immediate (veteran) help, because Paul is still young and is the franchise cornerstone. Still, I don’t think you move Collison for a Top 10 pick, unless you just fall in love with a guy and think he’ll fill a pressing need (that will help keep Paul in town when his contract expires).

The Pacers are interested in both players, per the Indianapolis Star.

The Pacers are interested in Lawson, according to a source.

The Pacers are willing to give up their pick – No. 10 – in next week’s draft to get player that will help them immediately.

The Pacers wouldn’t be searching for a point guard if they had taken Lawson instead of Tyler Hansbrough last year.

If the Pacers can turn the #10 pick into Lawson or Collison, it would be a coup for the organization.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

2009 NBA Draft: Cheers & Jeers

It’s waaaaaaaay too early to start judging the 2009 NBA Draft, but that’s not going to stop me (or anyone else, for that matter) from trying. It takes at least three years before a draft class really shakes out, so there’s no reason to fly off the handle criticizing (or praising) a team for what they did on Thursday night.

That said, as the draft wore on, there were some picks I liked and some that I didn’t. This is by no means the final say on whether or not the pick is good or bad; it’s just a snapshot that’s based on what we know right now.

So let’s jump the gun:

CHEERS TO…

Thunder: #3 James Harden
I don’t know that Russell Westbrook is really a point guard, but Harden projects to be a great fit in OKC.

Sixers: #17 Jrue Holiday
The talented freshman worked out for most of the lottery teams and was reportedly up and down leading up to the draft. With this much PG depth, I figured someone would slip and the Sixers were the beneficiary. In Holiday, they get a lottery talent and their point guard of the future, though Lawson would have been able to come in and help the Sixers more immediately.

Nuggets: #18 Ty Lawson
I thought he’d go to a team in more need of PG help, but the Nuggets swooped in and snatched him up. At the very least, I think he’s going to be a capable starter.

Grizzlies: #36 Sam Young
At 24, Young doesn’t have the upside of many of the players drafted ahead of him, but he’s already a better player than most, as well. If he can improve his handle, he could be a starter-quality small forward.

Spurs: #37 DeJuan Blair
Think this guy played with a chip on his shoulder before? Just wait and see what kind of energy he brings in 15-25 minutes playing for the Spurs. I know his knees are an issue, but I’m shocked that he wasn’t picked earlier in the second round.

Hornets: #43 Marcus Thornton
The Hornets have issues on the wing and they took a point guard with their first pick. They made up for it in the second round by acquiring Thornton, an off guard, from the Heat. He’s a great scorer and can make contested jumpers.

JEERS TO…

Timberwolves: #5 Ricky Rubio / #6 Jonny Flynn
It’s not that I don’t like the individual players or the individual picks; they just don’t make any sense when picked together. I don’t know how a Rubio/Flynn backcourt will be successful. Had the T-Wolves drafted Stephen Curry with one of the picks, it would have made a lot more sense.

Jazz: #20 Eric Maynor
Maynor is a good all-around player, and maybe the best that was available, so let’s not be too hard on the Jazz here. Still, how many minutes is he going to play behind Deron Williams? If he turns out to be a player, they can use him as an asset, so maybe they didn’t feel that way about any of the frontline players that were available.

Hornets: #21 Darren Collison
New Orleans has star/superstar quality players at PG, PF and C, and a good young prospect in Julian Wright at small forward, so off guard seems to be their biggest need. Like Utah, the Hornets went with a point guard to back up their best player. I like Collison, I just don’t like this pick for New Orleans (though they made up for it in the second round).

Blazers: #31 Jeff Pendergraph / #33 Dante Cunningham
I don’t have a problem with the players themselves, but with the fact that Portland passed on DeJuan Blair twice in the second round (where the financial risk is much lower if his health turns out to be a problem). They could have used his toughness and rebounding, but were unwilling to roll the dice on his knees.

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