NBA fans have to enjoy the point guard match ups playing out in the Western Conference. Chris Paul and his Hornets vs. Tony Parker and the Spurs, Deron Williams and the Jazz vs. Derek Fisher and the Lakers – does it make me Captain Obvious to suggest these guys are the top four at their position?
Chris Paul has been dazzling fans in this his third season in the NBA. The Wake Forest grad averaged over eleven and a half assists per game to go with 21 points. His lithe movements on the court leave opponents back on their heels as they try to figure out what he is going to do next. Hopefully Paul doesn’t have to pay for playing on a team with little if any playoff experience. While the Hornets average age of 27.6 is second only to the Spurs, those players that bring up the average age – Bonzi Wells, Ryan Bowen, Morris Peterson, and Melvin Ely know little about winning a playoff series.
Paul’s agility is matched by Deron Williams’s physicality. Williams is easily able to lower his center of gravity as he drives the lane making it near impossible for defenders to stop the 6’3”, 208lb. point guard’s dribble. Couple that with a nasty step back and finish from behind the arc, and defending Williams is a tough task. It will be interesting to watch Jerry Sloan develop the pick ‘n’ roll with Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Tony Parker has been the oft-overlooked point guard in the West. Don’t know if it’s because he plays with maybe the best power forward the game has known – Tim Duncan, or people want to heap too much credit on to Manu Ginobili. Maybe it’s because Parker gets lost behind those three rings in seven years he has accumulated. This guy gets the job done as evidenced by the way he toyed with the Suns in the opening round.
Derek Fisher is not the ‘sexiest’ of point guards, but he may be the most effective. Playing alongside Kobe, Fisher’s goal is to not screw things up. Sometimes not screwing things up can be a formidable task. Fisher’s nickname should be Elmer because the guy has been glue for the Lakers. While Kobe was doing all his belly-aching last summer, Fisher came to town and settled into to work. While Steve Nash and the Suns couldn’t figure out how to incorporate Shaq into their lineup, Fisher made Pau Gasol right at home in a Laker jersey.
Enjoy the games.