High School, Latest News, NBA / Jul 24, 2009 / 9:49 am

Top 10 shooting guards of the ’08-09 season

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Some people still don’t get it. So … again … this is NOT a straight “best players” list. I don’t think Blake Griffin is better than Tim Duncan, or that John Wall is better than Chris Paul. I’m looking at the whole picture: Who had an overall better season? Pound-for-pound, who made the biggest impact on their level? Who made the biggest mark on the entire game of basketball? Who made this season his own? Here are my Top 10 — not “10 best” — shooting guards from the ’08-09 season…

10. Lance Stephenson
On the court, he did the two things he came to do at Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, NY): Became the all-time leading scorer in New York state history, and won his fourth straight city championship while averaging 28.9 points and 10.2 boards as a senior. Off the court, it wasn’t so smooth. A sexual assault trial (plea bargain, no jail time) was the lowlight in a series of controversies that turned Lance into a toxic recruit in the eyes of colleges that would usually be all over a kid with his talent. He ended up at Cincinnati.

9. Joe Johnson
Questions about whether J.J. is truly a franchise player surfaced when the Hawks were swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland, but it’s not like Joe was any worse than in years past. He averaged 21.4 points and 5.8 assists and made his third straight All-Star team, while taking the Hawks to a #4 seed in the East and getting them past the first round for the first time since 1999.

8. James Harden
Pac-10 Player of the Year (20.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.2 apg) and first team All-American played his way into the No. 3 Draft slot, where he’s expected to start from Day One in Oklahoma City. Before struggling in the NCAA Tournament, Harden led his conference in scoring and steals (1.6 spg), and drew a ton of Paul Pierce and Brandon Roy comparisons.

7. O.J. Mayo
He didn’t win Rookie of the Year, but “Da Juiceman” led all rookies in scoring (18.5 ppg) and gave the Grizzlies organization at least one reason to be optimistic about the future. Some were worried about O.J. bringing a whole circus to town like at USC, but so far his time in Memphis has been trouble-free.

6. Ben Gordon
Timing is everything in a contract year, and BG did everything right on cue to get his pockets properly laced. During the regular season he averaged 20.7 points (45% FG, 41% 3PA) and helped get the Bulls back to the playoffs. Then he really went off on the postseason stage, scoring 24 a night while hitting countless clutch shots against Boston. Gordon then inked a $50 million contract with the Pistons.

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

5. Ray Allen
He was the Celtics’ best player in the first half of the season, earning an All-Star selection, and Boston wouldn’t have made it past the first round of the playoffs without Sugar Ray (18.2 ppg). Along the way he stuck a few game-winners and iced more than a few W’s at the free throw line. Only one player had a 50-point game in the ’09 playoffs, and it was Ray, who dropped 51 on the Bulls in Game Six of the first round.

4. Stephen Curry
The NCAA’s leading scorer (28.6 ppg, 5.6 apg, 2.5 spg) didn’t get Davidson back to the Big Dance, but still made first team All-America and offered at least a token challenge to Blake Griffin for national P.O.Y. (Steph dropped 44 points in a close loss to Oklahoma in November.) Remember, going into the season a lot of critics still didn’t think Curry was pro material. By the time he was picked 7th in the Draft, nobody was questioning his game.

3. Brandon Roy
In his breakout season, B-Roy (22.6 ppg, 5.1 apg) took his place as one of the game’s top clutch scorers and led Portland to the playoffs, where he bumped his numbers to 26 points a night against the defensive tandem of Ron Artest and Shane Battier. Oh, and he copped his first national magazine cover.

2. Dwyane Wade
Nobody would have protested had D-Wade won MVP. Coming off his Olympic performance where he was arguably Team USA’s best all-around player, Wade stayed healthy and carried Miami on his back to the 5th seed in the East. He led the NBA in scoring at 30.2 points a night, while throwing in 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks. All-Defensive second team and third-place in MVP voting, D-Wade turned in more eye-popping single-game stat lines than anyone in the League, including three 50-point games.

1. Kobe Bryant
Long story short, this was Kobe’s year. Championship, Finals MVP, All-Star co-MVP, All-Defensive first team, third in scoring and second in the League MVP vote. The stats (26.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.9 apg) don’t truly convey how strongly Kobe flexed his status as the best player on the planet.

5. Antoine Wright — In what might’ve been his last chance to prove he’s not a bust, Wright had a starting spot handed to him in Dallas (since Jason Terry prefers coming off the bench) and still didn’t produce. His most memorable ’08-09 moment was when he couldn’t even foul Carmelo Anthony correctly.
4. Allen Iverson — A lot had to go wrong for A.I. to go from the NBA’s 3rd-leading scorer in ’08 to a damn near unwanted free agent in ’09. And a lot did.
3. Tracy McGrady — Not only did T-Mac miss another big chunk of the season with injuries (shoulder, knee), he also had the sting of watching his team finally get past the first round of the playoffs while he was out.
2. DeShawn Stevenson — Before injuries grounded him, D-Steve was half of the League’s worst starting backcourt alongside Mike James. Straight comedy act at this point.
1. Tony Allen — Celtics fans were rightfully terrified to learn TA was supposed to take over for James Posey as the team’s bench sparkplug, and he promptly let them down. At least it didn’t last long. By the time the playoffs came around, Allen was clocking 2-3 minutes a night if he was lucky.

* Top 10 Point Guards
* Top 10 Power Forwards

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  • the_don_mega

    mamba’s year… no contest…

  • sh!tfaced

    no ginobli in the bottom 5? manu had a nightmare ’08-09 season.

  • http://2223 brandon

    allen iverson is the best

  • http://22444 GEORGE

    iverson is be bether then kobe in 2001.hahahahahah 48,40 points a.,,g kobe.E.A IS THE BEST 4 SCORING TITLE

  • Dagger

    Kobe’s the best? News to me.

  • http://www.realgm.com Rare Air

    Well earned – Mitch/Jerry get the deal done and lets prep for repeat – This offseason has been like a full blown arms race.

  • http://www.dimemag.com bullet380


    I’m feeling you with these lists. I get the concept. It’s messed up other people don’t understand it’s a top 10, not THE BEST IN ORDER list.

  • http://22455 IVERSON FAN


  • jzsmoove

    how the hell did deshawn stevenson grace this article?

    how about courtney lee?

  • clerk

    i still dont get how kobe got on the 1st team defensive and wade didnt

  • goonther

    cant wait for the lebron backlash with the SF list – no matter where DIME places him i feel people will say its too high…

    let the hatin commence

  • Ian

    no shitfaced no manu in the bottom 5
    hoping for a healthy 09-10 season to jump back to the top 3-4


    Thank God LBJ is a forward!!! Because I know Dime would have had him at #1 spot on this list.

    Where is Courtney lee or Shannon Brown? They are both upcoming players.

  • Chaos

    @ bullet380
    yea man, most dont understand the concept. why do all the problem recruits go to cincy anyway.
    antione wright shouldnt have had it handed to him, g. green would have been a better fit. and deshawn and mike was the worst backcourt duo in the last 10 years…and i am a wiz fan

  • control

    This list actually ain’t too bad. No undeserving Celts in crazy spots…like #2.

  • dk

    Yeah no Celts to lead the way, what a fucking shock.

    @AB Lets start a web site to rip Tony Allen’s punk motherfuckin ass. He only is coming off his second major knee injury, no big deal…..

  • dk

    @7 Im sure you are ” feeling ” AB, maybe if you remove your lips from his ass you will realize the column is stupid as a concept.

  • dk

    @7 One point, I dont give a fuck what jit ass John Wall did to a bunch off punk ass children, he dont belong on a list with what CP does to proffesionals, its stupid as a concept and pretty muchawaste

  • dk

    Might as well just be like everyone else and do the HS list, Collegiate list and pro list. Maybe a Euro list would be cool to enlighten those not fammiliar with the talent over seas, like whoa…

  • http://deleted Luigi

    bottom 5! haha worst starting backcourt is about to turn into the most scoring backcourt

  • http://deleted Luigi

    bottom 5! haha worst starting backcourt is about to turn into the most scoring backcourt

  • ERIC

    Dont forget Olympic Gold for Kobe too (which you mentioned in your other “Top 10″ lists.

    Also, I cant say Stephen Curry ranks that highly bc he didnt make the Big Dance.

  • dk

    @22 Yeah I agree with the Stephen Curry point, I wonder where Gerald Green should be or was on these crap lists. When he was in elementary school he prolly was placed in front of MJ, either of em’ .

  • nick

    wade was the best 2 guard stats wise but this was kobe’s yr with all the accomplishments on top of incredible numbers.

  • dk

    @24 Imagine Wades numbers on a laker team!

  • Oscarisalakerfan

    Man the celtics should have tony allen more in the 2008 finals…

  • MSkittle

    You’re wrong about Ray Allen! He was “off” again in the playoffs besides that 1 game. No wonder why the Celtics wanted to trade him.

  • QQ

    Yeah wade’s numbers would be lower, I’m not even sure Wade would be successful in the triangle offense.

  • lifep

    @AB, it’s obvious these dudes half read.

    ” Some people still don’t get it. So … again … this is NOT a straight “best players” list.

  • K Dizzle

    Maybe my memory is off but didn’t Joe Johnson suck in the playoffs this past year? Except for the clinch game vs Miami in round 1, dude avg’d like 14-15 ppg on just over 40% shooting as they were SWEPT by the Cavs and he also didn’t get an invite to Team USA like heads thought he should have. I’m a big JJ fan but it was a below average year for him overall

    For the bottom 5, Courtney Lee should get an honourable mention. If he makes that layup, it’s a totally different series and then he’s traded on the first thing smokin from Orlando……to Jersey..Damn, that’s cold

  • http://www.dimemag.com bullet380


    Dude, don’t hate on me just because you don’t understand the concept of the list. You’re probably some gay dude that never played organized sports because it wasn’t in you to do it. Misunderstood, crying in your room everyday writing graphic novels or something. This is a basketball site. Why don’t you go over to the Martha Stewart site and dispense your gay ass comments. Eat a scone and sip some wheat grass tea.

  • Diego

    @ K Dizzle:

    JJ did have a very rough playoffs, but he (not J-Smovve) still led to Hawks to nice, surprise regular season.

    I still say choosing Redd over JJ for that USA team was a joke.

    You’re right that JJ’s year was not that great, but 9 ranking looks okay to me. (And JJ should be able to post better nos. and %s this year.)

  • Mack Brownee

    D-grange must be considred a SF

  • pak-yaw

    bring on the SF list…

  • http://www.nba.com smoove chips

    can’t knock this list.
    hope tmac is at least watchable in this last year of his contract post surgery.if he can’t get up for this then there’s no saving or plausible defence for this cat.Even elton brand ggets up during contract years.

  • doc

    Looks good to me.

  • http://collegehoops.net Blake

    The problem with this list is that you seem to be very opinionated on certain players that may or may not deserve it. Do you honestly believe that pound for pound, Stephen Curry will have a bigger impact on the game of basketball than Joe Johnson, Ben Gordon, OJ Mayo and Ray Allen? What exactly do you expect from Curry this year that will make him impact the game so adversely? You don’t spell it out at all in the article, it’s just a regurgitation of college stats and when he was drafted. Uh, we know all that. You need to be answering the questions you ask. This is an ambitious project because it’s unique. You have to answer the “why” question if you want people to start understanding these lists. Because Stephen Curry in a top 5 shooting guard list in terms of impact, in terms of talent, in terms of effectiveness is just dumb. Explain why he’s there. I don’t care about his college stats.

  • http://collegehoops.net Blake

    I misread the title. I thought this was looking ahead to ’09-’10. My bad.

  • GayforRudy

    The comments section for this article makes me wonder about the intelligence level of some of the posters. The articles rank players seasons that were completed in june of 2009. It isn’t a fucking ranking of the upcoming season you fuckin retarded motherfuckers.

    And FUCK YOU dk

  • elaly

    gayforudy….. calm yourself, its just the internet

    i like the list though… for the sf one i wonder where melo will end up

  • http://smoovefx.com joesmoove

    kobe has a great year…no doubt…but it was clear to me that DWade emerged as the best player in the world…on both sides of the ball….what he did defensively at his size was ridculous….and offensively he was just crazy…not to mention his ball handling skills and his attack mode being UNMATCHED….lebron who?….

  • http://collegehoops.net Blake

    The comments section for this article makes me wonder about the intelligence level of some of the posters. The articles rank players seasons that were completed in june of 2009. It isn’t a fucking ranking of the upcoming season you fuckin retarded motherfuckers.


    You’re so mature.

  • pak-yaw

    wheres the SF list?
    Anyways nothing new.. crab king will be #1 there.

  • Martin

    So you will trade “your” Manu Ginobili to “my” Lance Stephenson mano-a-mano? Where do I sign that trade?

  • BlueBloodtoo

    I’m really surprised not to see Jodie Meeks in this ranking. He definitely was critical to most, if not all of UK’s wins last season. Considering that he was averaging in the mid-20’s in points all season, I don’t see how he could have done any more.

  • spirow

    Your a joke and thats what makes dime magezine look bad dumb ass idiots like u with no professionalism . . . Why the hell do you have two rookies in there? do you have some sord of a crystal ball because if you do, you’ll know your a bad writer for writing a bad article that has no merit!

  • Dee Remi

    You my friend are a damn fool. How dumb can you be. That list is a disgrace, and it’s embarrassing that you actually get paid to write. How on Earth is Vince Carter not on that list. Seriously!!!What’s up with you putting up college and highschool kids. JAMES HARDEN!! Is this the same guy i watched in the NCAA tournament. Is it him? How the hell can he be on your list. He couldn’t even score 10 points! While shooting something like 20%. What a dumb list!