College, High School, NBA, sponsored01 / Jul 21, 2009 / 9:50 am

Top 10 point guards of the ’08-09 season

Derrick Rose (photo. Sasha Nialla)

Derrick Rose (photo. Sasha Nialla)

When the NBA rolled out its Top 10 plays of the ’08-09 season, I thought it’d be cool to do my own list of the Top 10 players of the season. But when that got too bloated — I had like 30 “honorable mentions” — I decided to break it down by position and go beyond just the NBA.

Let’s (hopefully) clear up one thing first: This is NOT a “best players” list. If you see John Wall ahead of Chris Paul here, I’m NOT saying the high schooler is better than the NBA All-Star. Instead, I’m looking at the whole picture: Who had an overall better season? Who made the biggest impact on their level? Who put the biggest stamp on the game of basketball, from high school to college to the pros? Who made this season his own? So with that, here are my Top 10 — not “10 best” — point guards from the ’08-09 season.

10. Devin Harris
Before injuries slowed him down, Harris had a regular spot in the NBA’s top 10 scoring list and had the Nets in position to make a surprising playoff run. In what was still a breakout season, Harris ended up averaging a career-high 21.3 points (14th in the League), 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals. Although N.J. missed the postseason, Harris made the All-Star team and hit the craziest NBA shot of the year.

9. Ty Lawson
Led North Carolina to an NCAA national title, setting a championship-game record with eight steals against Michigan State. The ’09 Bob Cousy award winner (best PG in the country) and ACC Plaayer of the Year averaged 16.6 points, 6.6 dimes and 2.1 steals, then landed on the Nuggets as a first-round pick.

8. Chris Paul
CP’s season was like an Olympic gymnastic routine. As good as he was throughout the bulk of it, he lost major points for an ugly finish that will be the neduring image of his performance. Paul led the NBA in assists (11.0) and steals (2.8), and along the way set a new League record for consecutive games with a steal (108). He also finished fifth in MVP voting, was Dime’s pick for Defensive Player of the Year, and on that Olympic note, picked up a gold medal in Beijing. But in the playoffs, Paul was dominated by Chauncey Billups head-to-head, and the Hornets were dispatched in historically embarrassing fashion by the Nuggets.

7. Tyreke Evans
Everyone expected ‘Reke to be a quick one-and-done at Memphis, but for the first part of his freshman year, it looked like he wasn’t ready to make the leap. Then John Calipari moved Tyreke to point guard around Christmas-time, and the Tigers went on an undefeated run that didn’t stop until the Sweet Sixteen. Tyreke (17.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.1 spg) scored a season-high 33 points in that final game, went pro and was chosen 4th overall by the Kings.

6. Deron Williams
Olympic gold aside, Deron also had a rough start to his season, as an ankle injury kept him grounded pretty much until Thanksgiving. After being snubbed for the All-Star Game (again), Deron was a beast over the second half. He was Utah’s best player in the playoffs (20.2 ppg, 10.8 apg), but couldn’t get them past the Lakers on his own.

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

5. John Wall
The best high school player in America was at the center of a long, high-profile recruiting battle that included everyone from Baylor to Duke to Miami before he finally settled on Kentucky. Wall has been compared to Derrick Rose athletically, with Chris Paul’s ability to control a game and lead a team. He averaged 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C., and is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft if he leaves after his freshman year.

4. Tony Parker
One of these days, Parker is gonna get people to stop saying he’s just a role player without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili by his side. Parker had his best season in ’08-09, averaging 22 points and 6.9 assists, making his third All-Star Game, making the All-NBA third team, and more often than ever before, taking over as the Spurs’ go-to guy in big games. His 55-point, 10-assist show against the Wolves in November was the best all-around performance by any PG all year. In the playoffs, Parker and Duncan basically took on the Mavs by themselves, with Parker putting up 28.6 points and 6.8 dimes in a five-game series loss.

3. Derrick Rose
The Rookie of the Year front-runner from opening night, Rose ran away with the trophy (16.8 ppg, 6.3 apg) while bringing his hometown Bulls back to the playoffs and making himself a staple on the highlight reel. Rose’s first-round series against the Celtics certified his place as one of the best PG’s in the game and set the table for a new era in Chicago.

2. Rajon Rondo
It was all about the postseason for Rondo. His regular-season numbers were solid (11.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 8.2 apg, 2.6 spg), but when it was money time, Rondo went to another level. He won his one-on-one battle with Derrick Rose in the first round, damn near averaging a triple-double (19-9-11), then almost did it again in the second round against Orlando (14-10-8).

1. Chauncey Billups
Chauncey got to come back home to Denver, led his squad to the Western Conference Finals, and proved he wasn’t just a product of Detroit’s system — more like he was Detroit’s system. The methodical destruction of Chris Paul in the first round of the playoffs reminded everybody that Chauncey (17.7 ppg, 6.4 apg) can’t be overlooked in the “Best PG on the Planet” discussion.

THE BOTTOM FIVE
5. Stephon Marbury — The NBA’s definitive pariah of the moment at least got a playoff bonus out of the deal.
4. Patty Mills — Got buckets against NBA guys in the Olympics and probably left school thinking he’d be a first-round lock. Somehow fell to 55th, then broke his foot in his first pro practice.
3. Ronald Steele — Once upon a time, he was an All-American at ‘Bama and future Lottery pick. But a series of foot, ankle and knee injuries forced Steele to basically retire in the middle of his senior year.
2. Monta Ellis — He’s not really a PG, but the Warriors insist on making him one, so he cracks the list. Set to blow up after inking a $66M deal last summer, Monta busted his ankle in a moped accident (that he initially lied about) and had a forgettable 25-game season.
1. Jamaal Tinsley — At least Marbury was able to wriggle out of his situation and draw some interest from a couple teams. Tinsley is being treated like Aunt Rose’s spoiled stuffing that’s sitting in my fridge as we speak. No one wants it at this point, and I’m kind of afraid to touch it and throw it out, so it’s just being ignored until the stink overpowers the kitchen and I don’t have a choice.

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  • Tbone

    Good list! GO CHAUNCEY!!!!! Denver loves ya

  • ToAn

    i like the list…CP3 deserves better ranking even if they got embarassed by the nuggets…during the season he was the best point guard out there, constantly making double doubles and keeping the injury depleted team in playoff contention.

  • bobby stew

    Great Tinsley analogy. I’m suprised Rubio or Jennings wasn’t mentioned.

  • YOUNGFED

    This is the dumbest list of all time. But glad Billups made #1

  • control

    Rondo guys? Seriously?

    The guy is free to do WHATEVER he wants because he plays with 3 hall of famers. He misses layups at a crazy clip, and NO teams respect his shot enough to even guard him outside the paint. Shaq is guarded harder at the 3 point line than Rondo. The guy’s attitude sucks (like almost everyone on Boston), he looks like a heroin addicted alien, and doesn’t really have anything else going for him except he is quick.

    Like, seriously guys? #2?

    The only thing that is crazy is how he can pull some of the shit he does and not get suspended. He’s been punished by his own team more than the league, and with some of the shit he has pulled (Brad Miller, Kirk Hindrich, etc) it’s purely amazing.

  • control

    I guess it would be too late for you guys to go back and move Rondo to CP’s spot, and everyone up one from there eh?

    Come on guys, do the right thing.

  • control

    Hell, I’d put Derek Fisher over Rondo, just cause he hit some brutal shots to win a game. Like, seriously guys?

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    somehow jason hart gets snubbed from the bottom 5 year after year . . . what more does he have to prove? whay more can he do to show that be belongs on that list? he’s a guy who has had his spot in the rotation taken by ronnie price — twice, on different teams! price isn’t even a point guard!

    truly, jason hart is this era’s milt palacio. give respect (or lack of) where it is due, Dime. quit hatin.

  • kirstie

    I love all of these guys but why is CP3 so low? He has to be at least in the top 3. His numbers frome the 2008-2009 season were amazing, despite the playoffs.

  • QQ

    Control: Your hate for rondo is unwarrented.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Patty Mills is only listed in the bottom five to boost the amount of comments you get from Aussies, right?

  • Ian

    QQ
    nope hes right rondo is way to high.

  • f19ure

    @control

    You need to really look at the facts, Rondo in the playoffs was a veritable beast. He’s the sole reason they made it out of that first round (against Chicago), with an absent Garnett, an (equally) absent-minded Paul Pierce, and an (at times) struggling Ray Allen. Rondo sure as hell set the tempo going up against the Rose-lead Bulls, and he won that battle by sweetly setting up his teammates. I’ll agree, he’s a horrible outside shooter, and even has a tendency to go cold when driving to the basket. But, what Rondo did in the playoffs was nothing short of brilliant. He obviously needs to work on his outside shooting, and possibly more so on his leadership skills (which would certainly include improving his on-the-court/off-the-court relationship with team members). But, behind Billups, Rondo really was the second best point guard of the 09 post-season. That number 2 slot is rightfully deserved in my opinion.

  • jason

    where is gilbert on that list, u can be sure he will have a better season than most of they guys listed as long as he stays healthy

  • http://xgarcia.blogspot.com/ Xavier Garcia

    Little late on this, but I heard Kahns plan for Rubios buyout is this: The Wolves are going to pay the 500K for the buyouts of Norel and Rubio, and not do anything with Norel. Essentially, giving Joventut $1 million for Ricky

  • control

    f19ure

    The one thing you need from your PG, is the one thing he doesn’t provide at all: consistency.

    The guy hit 6 for 24 from the 3 point in the play offs, he jacked up over 15 shots a game, and hit 40% of them, he can’t even hit free throws, ending up with like 60%. He is very inefficient, his 16ppg costs the team because it’s so inefficient.

    The ONLY things he does well are penetrate and pass, and rebound good for a guard (which is because no one really covers him, therefore no boxing out). He’ll lose the ability to penetrate and pass once teams play even farther off him and encourage him to jack that ugly team killing shot.

    The only list Rondo should be #2 on is “NBA players who look like aliens”. Sam I am gots him beat on that list, though, if Rondo pumps some more heroin, he’ll be a black horse to take the crown.

    QQ

    Yea it is, even if my hate were unwarrented, I’d still toss it around, it’s what I do son.

  • http://dime sure

    @Amar
    LOL LMAO. Jason Hart why is he in the N.B.A. again.

  • dk

    Avergaing an almost TD vs the Lakers and again in rounds one/ two this year makes you the best PG around.

  • dk

    Oh and how old is he? lol

  • sh!tfaced

    derek fisher?! read the healine, top ten pg’s of the 08-09 SEASON. fisher had a below average season overall, played a few good playoff games and did great in the finals.

    he just did what most vets do at their age, play under the radar most of the season and save their legs then turn it on in the postseason.

  • Robe

    Pretty good topic, not sold on Chaunce being #1… I think Dauntay Jones deserves the a substantial amount of credit for the way Paul played in the playoffs. I don’t think Paul went head-to-head with Billups. Paul expended alot of energy against a guy whose job was to pester him and not worry about scoring on offense. Had Chaunce had to guard Paul straight up, numbers would be different. Nonetheless like the list.

  • control

    sh!tfaced

    So you agree with me then? Rondo is #2 on this list PURELY because of his play off performance, which wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. His season wasn’t something to really bust a nut over.

    I’d give Rafer a spot just because of that head slap to Eddie House…

  • srb

    control, ease up man. must be a bulls fan.

  • control

    srb

    Can a guy hate on the Celts without being a Bulls fan? Fuck the Bulls, they aight and all, but nothing great…it would be hard being a fan of the Bulls anyhow. Watching Joakin Noah in HD night after night would make me puke.

  • nowwhatyo

    russel westbrook will be the PG story of this upcoming season

  • sh!tfaced

    wow, man. i can even smell your hate for the celts up to here. lol.

    for all of his shortcomings, rondo still has a bigger impact on the game than most point guards.

    and oh yeah, there should been a jameer nelson/rafer alston combo ranked somewhere up there.

  • jzsmoove

    Top 3 shouldve have been Rondo, Rose and then Billups. Rondo is Super Rondo right now, its like he picked up a Fireflower and is busting ass and goombas. Rose is solid and spectacular, the quiet assasin. Billups was very effective but made late key mistakes and decisions in their playoff series with the Lakers that sealed their fate.

  • Thadamndude

    No Kalin Lucas from MSU? I think he made a big impact on this his team this year. No one expected State to get to the championship game. Would not have happened without Lucas IMO.

  • MissChick

    LMAO at Rondo at 2

    AB needs to stop picking up the morning paper and reading stat lines and needs to actually watch the games and analyze them.

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Whaaaaaat? Rajon Rondo won a championship with a vet squad as a rookie. You know how hard it is to come in as a rookie and quaterback guys that been in the league 8+ years and have them listen to you? Name the last team that won a chip with a rookie point guard? Go ahead still waiting? Did you say Magic? This year he gets them to the semi’s practically by himeself. By you saying he doesn’t have a jumper that’s just adding to his case he did all of that without being able to hit the ocean with a rock? What you should be saying is if this guy ever develops a jumper it’s gonna get scary for a lot of guards in the league.

  • doc

    I would move switch CP3 and D-Will.And I would put CP3 in the top 3.Chauncey put in work in that series but him and CP3 wasnt head to head all night.They was putting Jones on CP3.

  • Leonard Wilson

    @ #30

    Rondo was not a rookie during the Boston Three Party’s first season together. You used to back up Delonte West. Remember???

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Regardless still Rookie running the team especially in the vets eyes.

  • http://dimemag.com Jay-Are

    yall rondo haters need to hop off…go watch the playoffs again and see how good he was

  • JD

    control,

    your an idiot, plain and simple. You hate Rondo, so instead of recognizing his brilliant performance in the playoffs (the man pretty much averaged 17/10/10 for god sakes!) you try to characterize him through his flaws.
    The fact of the matter is, when Paul Pierce went AWOL and pretty much sucked throughout the playoffs, when Ray Allen was hot and cold (mostly cold), and when KG obviously was not playing, Rondo’s game did not suffer; instead, he played better than ever. He raised the level of his play when his team needed him to, and thats what great players do. And Rondo is quickly turning into a great player. I’ll tell you this, if he just had a passable outside shot, say similar to CP3’s, Rondo would be the best point guard in the league. As it is, he has no jumpshot and he can still put up elite numbers. So stop looking at the bad with Rondo, and start looking at the overwhelming good.

  • JD

    “for all of his shortcomings, rondo still has a bigger impact on the game than most point guards.”

    Thats exactly what I mean, sh!tfaced.

  • Vinny

    Tony Parker had a better season than Rondo so i would put him number 2.
    have to agree with 21 Billups didnt guard Paul- jones did-so it wasnt head to head.
    And if Van Dick Head had left Alston on the floor in the finals- he would be in the top ten-he stepped into a playoff bound team and they didnt ‘skip’ a beat.

  • Diego

    Love the Tinsley comment. (But his bounce off the forehead of Boozer in that Rook/Soph. game will not be forgotten.)

    Don’t know about Parker at 4–bit low I think.

  • Mo

    Except Chris Paul and Chauncey rarely went head to head. Chauncey was Rasual’s assignment.

  • Mo

    doc is right.

  • K Dizzle

    @ dime, what does your comments seem spammy to us mean?

  • K Dizzle

    @ Diego
    I thought that was JRich wit the ‘off the hizzle’

    This a nice list, but as a Laker fan so you know I hate me some Spurs, there is no way Rondo had a better all-around-end to end season than Tony Parker. Which begs the question: Who more valuable to his team? KG or Manu?
    I rep my Wildcats too so you see how puttin Rondo over TP hurts me. Just like John Wall shouldn’t be on this list. He’s a good story, but basketball wise, his “season” wasn’t more than Steph Curry(when they think you can save the Knicks, you on the list) or Jonny Flynn(6 overtimes and you take over and win in in the 6th AUTOMATICALLY puts you on)

    As for the bottom 5, where AI at? If Monta on this list, then AI need to be top dog. Almost everybody was feelin Detroit with AI, then reality set in and dude became the most hated and dissed future HOF in history…

    @ Dime, my comments seem “spammy?” lol

  • MSkittle

    Rondo can’t shoot! Paul should still be number 1

  • GoatDiesel

    WHAT!!! No Jose Calderon? Come on! I know he plays in the Great White North but the guy can ball. Assist to Turnover ratio is bananas and not a bad FG% either…Oh an FT’s, I think he hit a few of those in a row last season?!?!?!

  • seriously?

    like seriously guys? seriously? really guys? ur kiddin me!… Seriously?… Rondo’s good so suck it.

  • bluegrass79

    Lmao just yall wait till next years playoffs! Rondo will be even better. He will have all the guns he needs next year. Id love to be in Rondo’s shoes.

  • bluegrass79

    Dont worry Rondo. Kentucky fans got your back. GO BIG BLUE

  • chief youngblood

    Not a fan of rondo , I like how he looks though , he did get away with murder in regards to kirk and miller.

    with that said , he was pretty much was the celtics in he playoffs big baby had his moments and ray allen was aight.
    but it was mostly rondo.

    plus i think looking like an alien is kinda a good thing ( sam cassel / stackhouse etc. )

  • http://www.werebucked.com/ Justin

    John Wall is not the top HS player in America. Derrick Favors was. Wall was just the most famous because of his recruiting.

  • Zers

    derrick rose ahead of rondo

  • the truth will set you free

    chauncey should be part of the top 3 point guards but not number 1. he did have an immediate impact at denver. but remember how the nuggets were good when they didn’t have A.I. the time before the brawl at NY. i think they were already that good. he did made the team better in terms of veteran leadership. but Melo was already good. along with J.R.Smith… point being… A.I. shouldn’t have been at Denver in the first place. but i still got love for the answer. there’s just not many balls to go around when he’s around. :)

  • the truth will set you free

    and yup, alston should be part of it. and Devin Harris should be at number 5. :) not john wall. he could be placed in the top 10 though… :)

  • M Sasaki

    Shouldn’t this post be about the 09-10 season?

  • Tread61

    This post is about the 08-09 season, you can’t rate a season that hasn’t been played yet…I mean you can attempt to make predictions – but those are based on a players potential to have a good season, which in turn is based on what that player has done in the past. Hence, this list.

  • Tread61

    Move TP to number 2 and I’m feeling you! As a long time Spurs fan (I go back to the Gervin days…yes “true” OLD SCHOOL in the house)…Without TP my beloved Spurs don’t even make the playoffs at all. Other than Rose & CP3 I dare say no other PG was as important to their team!

  • BD fan

    Where is BoomDizzle on the worst list after getting a huge contract from the Clips. I am a hug fan of his and he just had a horrible season. I thought the Clips could have been a 8 seed playoff team, but just could not pull it off. The clips will be good next year, I hope.

  • utahJZZ

    BEEST PG’S ALIVE
    1. Deron Williams
    2. Chris Paul
    3. Tony Parker
    4. Derrick Rose
    5. Chauncey Billups

  • Marcos

    Haha Tony Parker deserves the 2 and cp 4 and rose 3 based on last year performance tp doesn’t deserve 2 but cp deserves 4 or better and billuips and rose were animals

  • Marcos

    And Deron Williams is way overated

  • Mack Brownee

    D-har over J-kidd? by your standards, taking a team to the 2nd round of the playoffs and getting a 3 yr contract in free agency should be worth more than hitting one amazing shot and making the all-star game; but it’s hard not to put d-har up there knowing j-kidd has had his time in the spotlight

  • Mack Brownee

    Absolutely love Rondo at #2; that boy is sick! I can’t believe the c’s were trying to trade him. Rondo is a thief in the passing lanes, has amazing ball skills, superior athleticism and great floor vision. Not to mention he carried the c’s on his back during the playoffs. If he ever develops a consistent jumper, the association better watch out!

  • http://???Unknown ??? Unknown

    This is totaly bullshit. nash is not even on this list and he can own billups. and im not being a racist cuz im black myself

  • Teye

    Good list except D Fisher should be on the list

  • http://ask.com shaz

    Derrick Rose will son rule the NBA he is so amazing its good to see bulls finnally havin an all satr since michael jordan (D.rose.20.3 ppg 5.8 assists 0.8 STPG 3.7 rpg)Will soon get amazing numbers better than right now

  • http://ask.com shaz

    not to say these numbers are bad there good