NBA / Aug 31, 2009 / 1:32 pm

5 point guards to watch for 2009-10

Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks

After putting together the modified Top-50 list of players from ’08-09, I had about 50 leftovers who just missed the cut. And from that, there could’ve been a whole sub-category titled “Wait ‘Til Next Year.”

We’ve gone over the centers, two-guards and small forwards. Now here are five point guards who look the most ready to crack the 2010 Top-10 with their performances next season:

Russell Westbrook — Summer league doesn’t mean anything, right? Tell that to the Warriors, who are ready to hand their franchise over to Anthony Randolph after his summer breakout, or Marcus Williams, who earned himself another chance at an NBA paycheck with a strong summer showing in Vegas. Far from that spotlight, Westbrook lit up the lower-profile Orlando Summer League, and is ready to join the NBA’s elite class of PG’s in his second year. Overshadowed last season by fellow rookie PG Derrick Rose and OKC teammate Kevin Durant, Westbrook (15.3 ppg, 5.3 apg) put up numbers not far off R.O.Y. winner Rose. And even when Westbrook hit the wall — after averaging 20 points, six boards and just under six assists in the month of February, in April he averaged 11.9 points on 34% from the field and 18% from three — his assist and steal numbers still improved. Stronger and more prepared for Year 2, Westbrook is about to blow up.

Aaron Brooks — Sans Yao, the Rockets have committed to running, and Brooks is one of the fastest point guards in the world who has been directing up-tempo offenses since high school. Taking over the starting PG job midway through last season after Rafer Alston was traded, Brooks really showed his game in the playoffs (16.8 ppg, 3.4 apg), which included a 34-point outing against the Lakers and two other games of 25-plus points against L.A. and Portland, respectively. Leading a crew that includes new pickup Trevor Ariza, constantly improving Luis Scola, a healthy T-Mac and a crew of hustling bench guys who can run, Brooks will put up numbers, even if the Rockets aren’t that good.

Gilbert Arenas — It’s been two years since we’ve seen the real Gilbert Arenas, but this season he’s (allegedly) back to form. Everybody from Wizards coach Flip Saunders to D.C. reporters to Barry Farms playground ballplayers who have seen Gil say he’s showing no ill effects of the knee injuries that have slowed down his career. And most importantly, he appears to be over the psychological hurdles that go with having a major injury or two. In his brief return to the court last season, Arenas averaged 13 points and a very un-Arenas-like 10 assists per game; if he can still be the scoring threat he once was while also taking on more of a playmaker’s mindset, the already potent Wizards offense (Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Nick Young) becomes highly flammable.

Steve Nash

Steve Nash

Steve Nash — In what was undeniably a down year, Nash still put up 15.7 points and 9.7 assists, respectively eighth and third among NBA point guards in each category. Last year, the Suns were plagued by a controversial coaching/system change (Nash didn’t do Terry Porter any favors by not buying into the system), a change back to the “old style” midway through, constant trade rumors surrounding superstar Ama’re Stoudemire, then Stoudemire’s season-ending eye injury, and an eventual spot in the Lottery. Today, things are more stable in Phoenix, even if they’re not exactly better. Shaq is gone, Amar’e is back, the D’Antonio system (via Alvin Gentry) is back, Grant Hill is back, J-Rich is there for a full season, Leandro Barbosa has been playing well at the FIBA Americas tourney this summer after a down season of his own, and Nash just signed a two-year $22 million extension. If he’s only got one more big season left in him, this will be it.

Kemba Walker — If you only saw the first part and the last part of UConn’s season, you saw what then-freshman PG Kemba Walker has to offer. In the second and third games of his college career, the (generously listed) 6-foot-1 Walker averaged 22 points against Hartford and La Salle; then in the Elite Eight against Missouri, dropped 23 points to help send the Huskies to the Final Four. As a sophomore, the key for Walker will be finding that spark consistently throughout the season. But with former starter A.J. Price gone to the pros, Kemba will at least have the playing time necessary to do it. The Bronx native is one of the quickest players in the country, plus a defensive demon who has all that stereotypical New York heart/swagger the announcers are always talking about. A big season and another deep NCAA Tournament run should propel Kemba into a position where he may enter the 2010 Draft.

(Editor’s note: Because they made last season’s Top 10 list, Chauncey Billups, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, John Wall, Deron Williams, Tyreke Evans, Chris Paul, Ty Lawson and Devin Harris ARE NOT eligible for this list.)

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  • bobsmith

    STOP FUCKING INCLUDING NON-NBA PLAYERS ON THESE LISTS! NOBODY FUCKING CARES ABOUT THEM. THIS IS A PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST. WHY WOULD YOU PUT HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE PLAYERS ON IT WHEN NOBODY FUCKING WATCHES THOSE GAMES

  • runngun22

    I couldn’t agree more with these picks, especially Kemba and Gil.

  • Kobeef

    Johnny Flynn. He’s going to get all the PT he wants since he doesn’t really have a backup..or for that matter another backcourt player on his team.

    Jameer Nelson also has a lot to prove this year and could be very motivated after his shaky comeback.

    Andre Miller should also be motivated to show that he has something in the tank.

    Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams will have a good battle in Philly for PG minutes.

    Apparently Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey are PG’s so I would also add them since I am keen to see what they can show this year.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @bobsmith — Tell CBS and their billion-dollar March Madness contract that nobody watches college ball.

  • George W Kush Sr

    J.Nelson will be big for Orlando this year.
    I thinks Stuckey is gonna have a good year as well, and he better because if he doesn’t do it this year I get the feeling he’s going to be one of those guys that never reaches their potential.
    Flynn will be good but I’m more interested in Jennings.
    But in the end, I think B Diddy is going to have a monster year as well, if they fire Dunleavy.

  • inFamous101

    @bobsmith – while i sorta agree.. lay off the caps lock bro

  • LA`Clipperz

    i think D.J Augistin is gonna be HUGE this year

  • LB

    Steve Nash definitely has the horses to run with him. Earl Clark should be a great fit for their up tempo system (but then, not even Chris Paul was able to bring out the best in Julian Wright, another long, athletic X-factor type, so I guess you never know).

    Kemba Walker is the real deal. Everytime UCONN ran into a wall, Walker provided something for his squad, whether it be an assist or a score. Really stepped up, picking up the slack for his more hyped upperclassmen teammates.

    Another pg with Big East pedigree who should me mentioned is Jonny Flynn. Besides his athleticism, handles and court vision, Flynn has shown outstanding leadership ability. He is always thinking a couple of plays ahead, and he seems to relate well with his teammates. I dont think the Wolves couldnt have gone wrong with either Flynn or Rubio, but looks like they lucked out by getting one of them right!

    As for B-Diddy, I think it’ll be best for him if Mike Dunleavey just lets loose the reins and let em run! The Clips definitely have the horses to do it, with Blake Griffen, Al Thornton, Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan. Dunleavy must think Old Man Sam Cassell is still running the show!

  • doc

    I care about college players.I like Walker game.Where the fuck you think the players you watch come from?

  • Brown

    How can you call yourself a basketball fan if you don’t watch college ball? I can accept not watching regular season games, but March Madness is one of the best sporting events in the entire world.

  • Chris

    DWill is going to tear up the league this year now that he is totally healed from his ankle injury. He toughed it out through last year on only one good wheel and was still a beast. DWill = All-Star (finally!)

  • Jay26th

    Jennings gets no love?

  • Jaytea

    A healthy Tracy McGrady!!!?? GTFOH

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN aka BINO BROWN STR8 UP N DOWN

    I’m with you ALL THE WAY on the first two.

    I’m expectin’ a lot from them.

    Sessions, Ellis, Lou Williams, Minnesota’s situation — }} I wanna see what they’re gonna do too.

    And oh yeah, I think Rondo has a MONSTER year. Maybe not points wise but “jack-of-all-trades” wise.

  • Ashlov

    Mario Chalmers is reported to have vastly improved this summer. I’d put him on this list as well.

  • sh!tfaced

    Wow, man. All the posts about Ricky Rubio and he isn’t even on the guards to watch for list? Damn…

    Though I totally agree about Aaron Brooks, the dude has got the shit and is the most underrated, come from out of nowhere point guard since John Stockton. Maybe not as great as Stockton (yet?) but him slip through the cracks by the depth of today’s scouting is something that amazes the shit out of anyone…

  • sh!tfaced

    Aww, f**k me. Forgot that Rondo came from under the radar too. LOL. Well, him and Brooks… hehehe

  • alldayjaybx

    Yo dime mag

    pay no mind to these fags who are dissing the college game they cant claim that they are fans of the game. They keep on saying that nobody watches it when millions of people do each year. The NBA is good but not at it’s best just ask commish stern about the attendance of this past seasons games at NBA arenas..Done with that subject lets move on to the next

    i think you should of had done a top 10 instead of 5 or a top 5 in each catergory to accomodate everyont because some may think that you are bit biased against some other guards but any ways here’s my top 10

    1. Gilbert arenas
    2. Louis williams
    3. Brandon Jennings
    4. Steve nash- if amare goes b4 the season stars lets see if he can cope w/out him
    5. Johnny Flynn
    6. Arron Brooks
    7. Toney douglas if they decide to let nate go (he can defend his A** off)
    8.Kemba Walker (he worked alot on his shooting to this summer and he has alot of pressure but he good
    9. John Wall- next to CP3 and Ez pass and B. Jennings one of my top 5 favorites of this time so he’s worth the look dude is a beast he aint human
    10. Mario chalmers- he wants D-wade to stay gotta step up big

    others who didn’t make it who are worth to look out for
    sherron collins, Russel westbrook,D. collison J. Holiday
    J. selby Larry drew

  • http://bbs.house100.cn charlie

    oh shit,
    brooks,maybe

  • Mellmeister

    5 point guards to watch for 2009-10

    Rodney Stuckey – with A.I. off the mix, will he be able to keep his position and continue with the “potential” Joe D has been talkin’ about?

    Ramon Sessions – This Fantasy Sleeper would be getting more PT this season, question is, would he still be tearin’ isht up or will he start tankin’ up?

    Monta Ellis – Troy Hudson 2009, after gettin’ payed started showing hizzays… will he take off the funk that’s been botherin’ him or will he shine like diddy shine?

    Aaron Brooks – with Yao gone, Artest boltin’ outta TX and T-Mac uncertain… things just opened up for the young fella, and will he score more? pass more? or just shy outta spotlight?(which i doubt). expect him to pick up where he left off…

    Russell Westbrook – A Prolific Scorer, Good Passer, with Tremendous Athleticism… OKC just got more attention with this youngsta giving Kevin Durant’s “Michael Jordan” with it’s own Scottie Pippen.

  • d24

    This article is ridiculous. How it has omitted Jameer Nelson in beyond me. This guy was an all-star getting better by the game and he will rip it up this year, watch what a difference it will make to Orlando when he’s playing.

  • http://www.wholesale--jordans.com wholesale jordans

    Wow, I can accept not watching regular season games, but March Madness is one of the best sporting events in the entire world.