What kind of point guard WAS he?

My post from a few days ago was relatively well-received at reddit, and one of the readers there said that he’d like to see the same graph for some of the all-time great point guards.

So with a little help from Basketball-Reference.com, I compiled a list of (all?) the Hall of Fame point guards: Oscar Robertson, Lenny Wilkens, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Dennis Johnson, Tiny Archibald, Calvin Murphy, Pete Maravich and Walt Frazier. Unfortunately, the NBA didn’t start keeping track of turnovers until the 1977-78 season, so there’s no assist-to-turnover data for the first four (Robertson, Wilkens, Cousy, West) and the data for Archibald, Murphy, Maravich and Frazier is incomplete, so I could only use their post-1977 numbers.

I also compiled a list of the top non-HOF point guards who are both retired and still active: Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Rod Strickland, Maurice Cheeks, Terry Porter, Tim Hardaway, Andre Miller, Muggsy Bogues, Kevin Johnson, Derek Harper, Stephon Marbury (yes, Stephon Marbury), John Lucas, Norm Nixon, Mookie Blaylock, Sam Cassell, Avery Johnson, Baron Davis, Nick Van Exel, Allen Iverson, Chauncey Billups and Mike Bibby. All of these players have at least 5,400 career assists, which seemed to be the cutoff for players I was interested in using for this study.

Lastly, I added seven of the top current point guards who have yet to break the 5,400-assist barrier: Tony Parker, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams and of course, Chris Paul.

I first tackled this subject two years ago, and settled on the shot-to-assist ratio to determine whether a player is “pass-first” or “shoot-first.” The higher the number, the more of a “shoot-first” player he is. To determine whether or not a player is “turnover-prone,” I calculated each player’s assist-to-turnover ratio. The higher the number, the better the player is at taking care of the ball, relative to what he’s asked to do as a playmaker for his team. The graph takes a gentle downward slope because assists are part of both calculations. (Note: While I do like FGA/A as the criteria for shoot-first/pass-first, I am not completely sold on A/TO as the criteria for turnover-prone. Perhaps (A+FGA)/TO would show shoot-first guards in a better light? Maybe I’ll try that next year.)

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Starbury still thinks he’s the best point guard in the NBA

Hey, at least he’s consistent

Tuesday night, Stephon Marbury jumped on Ustream — a popular video streaming website once hijacked by Eddy Curry poltergeists — to answer a few questions. What started as a simple show marred by technical difficulties quickly turned into an epic two-hour Q&A rant still marred by technical difficulties. (Neither Marbs nor his “IT department,” which consisted of a guy who looked like Hancock, ever got the video working.)

In case you missed it, here’s some Marbury “Starburyisms” from the live broadcast …

“I’m telling you what it is: I know I’m the best point guard in the NBA. I don’t need anybody else to tell me that.”

Gotta love that confidence, even if he is totally delusional. Though, when you think about it, being “the best” at something is sorta subjective.

Celtics’ gamble on Marbury pays off…finally

I missed the start of the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the Celtics/Magic series, but apparently there was a Stephon Marbury sighting. Check out this series from the play-by-play log:

11:22 Stephon Marbury enters the game for Ray Allen
11:04 Stephon Marbury makes 19-foot jumper (Paul Pierce assists)
10:26 Stephon Marbury makes 21-foot jumper (Paul Pierce assists)
8:30 Stephon Marbury makes 24-foot three pointer (Brian Scalabrine assists)
7:56 Stephon Marbury makes 21-foot two point shot
7:16 Glen Davis makes 6-foot hook shot (Stephon Marbury assists)
5:54 Stephon Marbury makes 6-foot two point shot
5:54 Stephon Marbury makes free throw 1 of 1
5:26 Stephon Marbury misses layup
4:54 Rajon Rondo enters the game for Stephon Marbury

That’s 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting, with an assist to Davis. The Celtics didn’t make up any ground during Marbury’s six-and-a-half minute stint — when he entered and exited the game, the C’s were down by the same margin, 10 — but his hot shooting helped Boston avoid disaster. The Magic built a 14-point lead with 8:48 to play, but Marbury’s play helped whittle it down to eight with just under six minutes remaining.

Keep in mind that prior to this hot streak, Marbury had played a total of 138 playoff minutes in 11-and-a-half games, shooting 14 of 55 (25%) from the field and scoring just 36 points. So, yes, his 12-point stint in the fourth quarter was shocking, and the Celtics probably wouldn’t have been able to pull out Game 5 without it.

Marbury solid in Celtics debut

Stephon Marbury played 13 minutes off the bench last night and went 4-6 from the field, posting eight points, two assists, a steal, a rebound and three turnovers. More importantly, he helped the shorthanded Celtics beat the Pacers, 104-99.

I saw his second half stint and he played solid defense and found Ray Allen for an open jumper. It’s going to take him a while to get back into the groove, but there is so much focus on how he fits in with the Celtics that I think he’s going to bend over backwards not to be a headache.

Knicks/Marbury reach buyout agreement

Well, the Stephon Marbury saga is over, at least in New York.

Marbury is now eligible to play in the playoffs for another team because his release from New York comes before the league’s Sunday deadline.

With Marbury expected to sign for a pro-rated share of the league’s veteran minimum, Boston’s financial risk is minimal if the experiment doesn’t work and the Celtics decided to subsequently cut Marbury.

It’s believed that Marbury will be forfeiting in excess of $2 million from his $20.8 million salary this season, which would net the Knicks twice that much because of the luxury-tax savings involved.

The conventional wisdom here is that he’ll soon sign with the Celtics, who have been trying to shore up their bench all season after losing James Posey to free agency and P.J. Brown to retirement last summer.

I’m happy that Marbury and the Knicks have been able to part ways. If he does sign with Boston, it will be interesting to see how he fits in with the defending champs.

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