Todays edition brings me to the top 20 shooting guards from this season.
20. Tony Allen.
I love Tony Allen, he’s all heart. Like he said himself, it’s grit n’ grind, Allen’s defensive work ethic is breathtaking. Pressuring the ball, fighting through screens, closing out shooters, helping in the middle and forcing turnovers. Allen forced the talented Mayo out of a starting spot last year because of his enthusiasm on D. Though he has slowed up a bit this year he still has his athleticism to grab him a couple of points on the other end.
19. Jimmy Butler.
One of the most surprising and exciting breakouts this year Butler earned his hype with his flawless defensive effort against Kobe Bryant, being nicknamed ‘The Kobe stopper’ for his efforts. He came up big throughout the second half of the season when Deng began to tire and was key in the Bulls’ efforts of streak stopping. Having ‘Kobe stopper’ on your head will only entice the Mamba to make mince meat of you, but I assume Jimmy’s up to the challenge.
18. Iman Shumpert.
The last of the defensive stalwarts before we get into the guys that put the ‘shoot’ into shooting guard. Getting back to Shump, some wouldn’t put him on this list but I think the fact that he’s been able to play well after tearing his ACL is a big sign of things to come. He is also aggressive on D using his quick hands and strength to force opposition’s stars into mistakes and turn them into easy scores for New York. Shumpert also improved his jumpshot while injured and has had some 3-point lead scoring outbursts this season. The skies the limit for Tape 2wo 1ne.
17. Tyreke Evans.
A lot of people thought that Tyreke was going to get injured again this season and decline even more but it’s been quite the opposite. It hasn’t been smooth for the combo guard to get back into his old groove his 15.2PPG isn’t astounding by any means but his .479 FG% is a big improvement on his .449 he has for his career. The reassurgence of Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton’s ability to provide a spark off the bench has been good and bad for Evans. It loses him touches on offence but it decreases the need for the offence to flow directly through him and force him into bad shots.
16. Eric Gordon.
If Eric Gordon didn’t continually get injured this year he would be in the top 5. Not much else I can say.
15. Wesley Matthews.
I’m repeating an overused term here by saying Matthews was consistent and stayed healthy this year. But he did? He had a consistent outside stroke, held down his starting spot and was a decent option for the Blazers to go to on offence. He’s far from a star, but the fact that this guy went undrafted I take my hat off to the Blazers for putting their trust in him.
14. Joe Johnson.
One could say this is a low spot for Iso Joe and it is but I think, much like his fellow Net DEron Williams he has been quite lackluster this year, with hints of brilliance. I amn’t going to focus on the negative or his massive contract here, because he had plenty of highlight plays this year not to mention.
13. Dion Waitors.
Before I start I want every reader to quickly watch Waitors’ dunk on the Birdman last night. That was astounding. He has been inconsistent at times this year but overall Waitors is a good compliment to Kyrie Irving. His shooting can be hot or cold but his first step is quite explosive and gives him a handy way to get to the bucket. Plus his aggressiveness at the rim allows him to finish or draw the foul.
12. Brad Beal.
Beal in my opinion, has been the second best rookie this year mostly because he has had to jump into the deepend as Wall was injured at the beginning of the season so the reigns to the offence were handed to the former Florida Gator. It took some adjusting in the beginning but Beal soon broke into his new role, and his unlikely gamewinner against the Thunder was the highlight of a successful season for the three-point assassin.
11. Klay Thompson.
Thompson is the shooting guard Stephen Curry needed in order to show his greatness. Curry is point guard Thompson needed to showcase his offensive ability. The two mirror eachother and are both lethal from beyond the arc, probably the most potent one-two punch in the league in terms of three-point shooting. Most of the reason for Thompson’s high rating is his chemistry with Curry and how he plays off him.
10. OJ Mayo.
Mayo really puzzles me. He works his ass off to prove he’s a good player and then just stops playing well when Dirk returns and lets his critics run amuck on his reputation. Mayo’s a better player than he’s shown down the stretch but his attitude is a major question mark.
9. Kevin Martin.
The unsung hero of the OKC Thunder receives his first bit of praise since the Harden trade on The Ankle Breaker. Martin spaces the floor well for OKC and is a handy option off the bench if KD or more importantly Russell Westbrook are cold or shooting inefficiently. He provides a steady scoring threat and a lot of experience that could help the Thunder if they’re to make a deep Playoff run.
8. Andre Iguodala.
I don’t care what anyone says but Iguodala is the key to the Nuggets’ high octane play. He provides energy on defense, a little star power, athleticism, an outside stroke and stamina to push the break again and again. When Gallo went down Iguodala showed his mettle and stepped up in the mile high city and earning the trust of coach George Karl, something that will benefit the team in the postseason.
7. DeMar DeRozan.
I will be the first to admit that DeMar is way too high on this list but he has impressed me so much he deserves some recognition for his hard work. He didn’t lift the Raptors to new heights but he elevated his offensive game all over the shop, being able to to score inside out and in transition or in the halfcourt game. In no way has his defense drastically improved but neither has any of this top tens so I can’t just rate him on that. The arrival of Rudy Gay hurt his numbers and touches on offence but in another way could make him a much more efficient scorer as he will get better looks when a defense has more threats to worry about. Also, his buzzer beater against the Magic was amazing.
6. Jamal Crawford.
Razzle dazzle. The perfect fit for the Clippers. I think Crawford has provided them with the perfect spark off the bench. His lack of Playoff experience won’t be too much of an issue for the team with vets like Billups and Hill on the team but it could lead to less plays and sets for him in the clutch.
5. JR Smith.
What can I say? Speaking as a Knicks fan, JR is my worst nightmare and dream offensive weapon at the same time. Be it going 0-8 and nailing a game winner, knocking down a contested stepback at the end of the shot clock, throwing down an insane alley-oop or driving the lane, finishing in traffic and drawing the foul, Smith is the most unpredictable, erratic, exciting and explosive player in the NBA. The amount of times he’s bailed the Knicks out when Melo’s been double teamed or out is ridiculous. His gamewinners and clutch shots this season have ended in wins against the Thunder, Celtics, Bobcats and Suns to name a few plus his reverse alley-oop dunk against the Spurs at MSG was ridiculous.
4. Monta Ellis.
The start of the year was a bad one for Ellis. He shot inefficiently and looked like a bad deal for the Bucks. But towards the middle of the season Ellis came alive, leading the Bucks to their eight seed finish and challenging the biggest of foes, he had his Ellis-like highlights like his off-balance gamewinner against the Rockets and his 360-layups. Just like his shot selection his future in Wisconsin is up in the air so it will be intriguing to see where he goes.
3. Dwyane Wade.
Flash was supposedly on the decline at the start of the year. He was. keyword being WAS. He proved his star power during the HEAT’s historic win streak when LeBron struggled, not much else I can say, he was typical Wade otherwise.
2. James Harden.
What a season! No one seen him being this good. His first two games were phenomenal and he kept up his mercurial form all season leading the Rockets to a Playoff berth. He showed his offensive capabilities all season, his handle his shot and his crunch time scoring threat, sinking the Spurs with a free throw line runner. With Kobe out for most of next year, the number one spot is probably his for the taking.
1. Kobe Bryant.
#VINO. Why did his Achilles rupture? It’s unfair to the sport. If anyone deserved some postseason success it was Kobe. He was everywhere, even Twitter. So when I seen him go down against the Warriors I felt a little pain for the NBA. Whether he returns or not some big damage has been done to the association. I don’t care what the stats and haters say Kobe is one of the best. Mamba out.