Friday, October 31, 2008

A point guard lists the NBA's best point guards

Dave D'Alessandro asked Devin Harris (pictured here) to name which NBA point guards were the best in several categories.

Here's an excerpt of their exchange and a couple of quotes from the story:

Who's the best point guard in the NBA nowadays?

"I think you have to give it to Chris Paul," Devin Harris said, almost instantaneously.

The best shooter among point guards?

"Steve Nash."

Best penetrator?

"Tony Parker. Slight edge over CP."

Best passer off the dribble?

"That would be CP."

Best point guard on the break?

"Probably Deron Williams."

Quickest first step?

"Tony. But Rajon Rondo isn't far behind."

Best handle?

"We can include (Allen) Iverson, right? Then it's A.I. (Jose) Calderon never turns it over, but he keeps it real basic. He doesn't take the same chances other guys do."

What is the one quality that a great point guard needs, anyway?

"The most important thing is respect of his peers and coaching staff," Harris said. "If you don't have that, you don't have anything. You have to work for that. Work to get it, and work to keep it."

Who's the best point guard at getting his own shot?

"Dwyane Wade, if we can count him. You can't pick Gilbert (Arenas), because he just launches from 30 sometimes. That's not hard."

Who's the best at keeping his dribble against a blitz and making a play?


Who runs the best screen-roll?

"It depends. On the side, it's Deron. On top, it's CP."

Quickest hands?

"Rondo, hands down. Brevin Knight, too, but Rondo's hands are so big."

Best defender?

"It's really about team defenses now - you don't go into it dreading anybody. But I'll go with Chauncey (Billups). And Baron (Davis) is a major pain when he's motivated."

Best one-on-one point guard?

"That would be Gilbert."

Best catch-and-shoot guy off the ball?

"My pick would be Mo Williams."

Last one: Who's the most underrated point guard?

This time, he paused.

"Devin Harris," Devin Harris said.

[Nets coach Lawrence] Frank likens it to a relationship between a football coach and his quarterback.

"It's an interesting dichotomy. You have to give trust, yet you hold him the most accountable. He has to feel that the coach is behind him, yet feel that he's held to a higher standard because he's responsible for the other four guys. And it doesn't matter if it's fair or unfair.

The tradeoff is that he has the opportunity to be fearless in his approach, and he gets to carry the torch on the court and in the locker room, set the tone and determine how we'll play."

Don't you need an ego to do this job properly?

"Oh, absolutely," Harris said. "You have to have one, because you're going against very tough guys every night, guys who are coming for your throat. You have to have a swagger, and come in thinking, 'I'm running this team, we have to do it my way.' Absolutely, you have to think that way, and think you're the best one out there."