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Thread: Article on Point Guards

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    Default Article on Point Guards

    This year, several serious prospects have been cursed with the Combo Guard label, a nametag which could send lottery talents to the 20s, first round players to the second. But what the hell does Combo Guard even mean? Could front-office draft analysts even pick a Combo Guard out of a real NBA line-up?

    In NBA analysis, few even care about the classification of players beyond the arcane positional taxonomy or measures of quality. A player is a good point guard, or a crap power forward, or an average swingman. Every metaphor weighs almost solely on final justification (or renouncement) of a player's aptitude at basketball in total, not in the vital aspects of basketball. Why? Few players (LeBron, for one) can excel at everything, so why do we measure players by their ability to do everything?

    Even in deeper consideration of the point guard position, quality assessment lords over assessment. John Hollinger has a metric named Pure Point Rating. By design, it is an improvement on the contemptible assist-to-turnover ratio. In short, Hollinger's PPR discounts assists by a third, and adjusts for minutes and team tempo. In the end, you get a list of good point guards with particular emphasis on the top assistmen. Quality is the central component -- Paul, Calderon and Nash topped the list, in that order.

    But quality is not the same as purity. Hollinger has an affinity for naming his metrics to suggest improvement over the standard fare (True Shooting percentage, for example), so perhaps he means PPR as "a point guard rating freed of the oppressive shackles of overweighted assists and slow teams." But PPR certainly does not measure a point guard's purity. Would anyone argue Paul as a more pure PG than Nash or Calderon, or Jason Kidd? Of course not, by our common definition of purity (one who looks to pass first, score second).

    So how do we aptly measure purity? By taking quality out of the equation. We do not judge here, we only describe. Let's take measureable point guard activities on one side (that'd be assists) and measureable impure PG activities on the other (that'd be shots, which can be boiled into FGAs and FTAs). We'll adjust FTAs to account for the reality of 2-shot fouls ('FTAs x 0.44' is the standard here). We'll find the league average for point guards and adjust accordingly to get a nice round scale. And, of course, we'll stick a catchy name on it and slap it into a shiny graphic. Thus, The Purity Scale.

    Again, this is not a ranking of quality. This tells you only who are the most pure (and impure) PGs in the league. Unsurprisingly, Kidd, Nash, Calderon are quite pure. Monta Ellis? Jason Terry? A.I.? Not so much.

    Based on the groupings we see on our Scale, there are a lot of incredible "combo guards" in our league. Baron Davis. Reigning Finals MVP Tony Parker (who has roughly three shooting possessions for every assist he makes). Chauncey Billups. Of course, some of these can be attributed to the offense system these players use. Famously, San Antonio basketball results in few assists (though I'll note that Avery Johnson averaged 7+ assists in 31 minutes in SA's first title season, playing in the exact same offense, versus 6 assts in 33 minutes for Parker this year; Parker is less pure than AJ, certainly).

    All four teams still competing boast impure PGs, combo guards who shoot at least twice as often as they earn an assist. Two (Billups, Parker) are considered among the best in the league; the others (Rondo, Fisher) are considered solid at worst. Yet we curse every prospect without the vision of Kidd (his team lost in five in the first round) or Nash (ditto), relegating these lepers to the bargain bin.

    Chris Paul stormed the universe this year. Deron Williams was also brilliant. These matters seemingly have the greater Chicago area set on Derrick Rose, lauding THE RISE OF THE PURE POINT GUARD. And while these fellows are more pure than most, they aren't holy angels of unselfishness and good intentions. Paul was a 20 ppg scorer, for goodness sake. And even more, Rose's freshman totals would place him with Marbury on our scale!

    Our perspective on what makes a point guard great is seriously warped, and I blame it all on the false heralding of the assist as a game-changer and of purity as the singular path to point guard greatness. Because we believe assists to be of utmost import, and because pure point guards are more valued than scorers, we consider PGs who get lots of assists to be pure and thus, the best. They supposedly raise the game of their teammates. They make everything offense easier. They lead, muzzled or not, because they pass. It's malarkey (and I offer Jason Kidd as proof).

    This map shows a team's offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) on the x axis and a team's rate of assists per made field goals on the y axis. Good offensive teams to the right, bad ones to the left. High assist teams up top, low assist teams on the bottom. Based on conventional wisdom, you'd expect to see all the good offenses in the top right (with lots of assists) or the bad guys in the bottom left (with few assists), right?

    Wrong.

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    That's a good chart. The only thing wrong with it is that they place the Memphis Grizzlies slightly below the Knicks. It should be the other way around. The Knicks are the worst team in the NBA.

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    Metro whats up with this Ricky Rubio (PG) kid over sea's? I saw him on U-Tube and this kid seems like the real deal! Why are we not persuing him? This kid is amazing you all should check him out (if you haven't seen him already) I'll take Rubio (PG) and McGee (PF/C) in this years draft Thank You (yeah I know we only have 1 pick,hopeing for a trade). Hey abcd stop being so negative, at least were not losing right now LOL! (We'll have to wait for the draft for that hahaha) Come on Donnie Walsh make a better decision with the draft than you made with the Coach (and assistants....no Ewing or Jackson!... dumb!) Maby D'antonie will be a good fit maby not but the Garden and Knick fans would have been plenty happy with Jackson and Ewing back in NY, and it probably would have been a lot cheaper as well (yeah the lone Jew here had to bring up $$$ lol hahaha) Here's to the 2008-2009 season! Go Knicks!
    Last edited by OriginalKnickGrandson; May 29, 2008 at 08:14.

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    Ricky Rubio is the best PG in the ACB league; ACB league is one of the best leagues in Europe and outside the NBA. Young players in Europe don't get playing time, but somehow Rubio plays like a 20 year veteran.

    He's not your typical Europe either, his strength is defense and fast break offense.

    He was born in 1990...he's only 17, he makes me feel like an old man. I didn't want to buy into the Ricky hype because Spain tends to overrate their players a bit; but theres no denying how many good PG's Spain has developed into the NBA(Calderon, Rodriguez, Fernandez, Navarro). Rubio is the best European prospect since Pau Gasol.



    He has some definition, he was really skinny when he was 16, now he has some muscle and can continue to grow.

    He's a 6"4 PG 180 lb PG and still growing.

    Super smart, part of Rubioís game relies on anticipation. He has that knack to foresee whatís going to happen on the court. Thatís why his decision making looks so great, thatís why he finds his teammates so easily, and it particularly explains his ridiculous ability to steal the ball.

    Rubio is a point guard and a point guard only, standing 6-4, with a skinny frame that should fill out decently in time, long arms, and very nice athletic ability. Heís quick, and has excellent body control and ability to change speeds, which helps him get basically everywhere he needs to on the court.

    Offensively, heís primarily a slasher when it comes to his scoring ability. His footwork is a thing of beauty, and this, combined with his terrific ball-handling skills, creativity, and feel for the game, allows him to put constant pressure on the defense in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Steve Nash. Heís sometimes a bit too weak and not quite explosive enough to finish all his drives in traffic, though, which forces him to get a bit cute around the rim. He does know how to draw fouls, actually looking wise beyond his years in his ability to bait a referee into making a call that might otherwise have been borderline.

    Rubio was featured in SLAM Magazine in April 2007. In the piece the author noted that he considered him the best non-NBA player in the world and compared him to Magic Johnson. He also has been compared to Pete Maravich.






    Best case scenario - A 6"4 Chris Paul

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    The Gold Mac MSGKnickz33's Avatar
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    He looks like hes gonna be a lock for top 5 point guards, just needs a haircut. I was kinda feelin that R Kelly song

    I consider chris paul and deron williams to be combo guards. They are pass first but deron averaged 18.8ppg, and cp3 averaged 21.1ppg. To me thats a combo guard, like marbury especially earlier in his career when he had all those years of averaging 20pts and 8 assists. A pass first point guard or a pure point guard would be jason kidd who doesnt score much, but averages over 10 assists a game.

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    So he dosesn't give interviews at all. He can hardly do that in NY. Although I can imagine that to be a sort of trademark (although an expensive one).

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    Next season, keep waiting donchris's Avatar
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    Great thread. But what's the difference between a pass first and a pure point guard? Don't pure pgs pass first? To me that's redundant. Pure pg should be changed to play maker. Or maybe that's what is implied? Many of the combo guards and pass first are also great play makers. (Parker, Davis, Paul) Still a good article.

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    Default Draftable?

    So now that I know he has your respect (Ricky Rubio) is he avalable in the draft? If not this year then when? Dude is sick!

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    Originally Posted by OriginalKnickGrandson
    So now that I know he has your respect (Ricky Rubio) is he avalable in the draft? If not this year then when? Dude is sick!
    He's projected to go top 3 next year. He's still under contract. Its hard to get out of those damn European contracts, they have a lot of restrictions; plus Euros are so use to the Euro lifestyle its hard for them to adjust to the NBA and a new city; thats the main thing that scares the good Euros from coming here.

    Originally Posted by donchris
    Great thread. But what's the difference between a pass first and a pure point guard? Don't pure pgs pass first? To me that's redundant. Pure pg should be changed to play maker. Or maybe that's what is implied? Many of the combo guards and pass first are also great play makers. (Parker, Davis, Paul) Still a good article.
    Paul isn't a combo guard, he can only play one position.

    A pure PG to me is a guy who's attributes and abilities has him stuck in one position. Parker and Davis can play SG in a game if needed. Guys like Nash, Calderon, Paul and Kidd you can't have them @ SG. Paul is 100% PG.

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    Veteran OriginalKnickGrandson's Avatar
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    [quote=metrocard;54874]He's projected to go top 3 next year. He's still under contract. Its hard to get out of those damn European contracts, they have a lot of restrictions; plus Euros are so use to the Euro lifestyle its hard for them to adjust to the NBA and a new city; thats the main thing that scares the good Euros from coming here.



    Thanx for the info Metro. I don't want to go through another season like this next year, but I'd love to have a shot at landing this kid next year!( maby we can be next years bulls!)

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    Member D-Lee42fan's Avatar
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    great thread! i like the graph, of course marbury is in the low assists and bad offense column. god we need to hit it big in the draft, i know we have the 6th pick. hopefully O.J. Mayo or Jerryd Bayless is still there, but knowing us we will probably go for the danilo gallinari (The italian Stallion).

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