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April 21, 2009, 12:33 AM ET
Is This the Playoffs of the Point Guard?

by Kevin Pelton

With all due respect to LeBron James, Ben Gordon and others, through three days and 10 games, the 2009 NBA Playoffs have been owned by point guards. Already we have seen the following lines posted by point guards around the league:

  • 36 points, 11 assists (Derrick Rose)
  • 29 points, nine rebounds, seven assists (Rajon Rondo)
  • 27 points, seven assists (Aaron Brooks)
  • 16 points, 17 assists (Deron Williams)
  • 36 points, eight assists (Chauncey Billups)
  • 21 points, 11 assists (Chris Paul)
  • 19 points, 16 assists, 12 rebounds (Rondo)
  • 38 points, eight assists (Tony Parker)

Nearly half the league’s teams have had their point guard either record a double-double, score 25 points, or both. Remarkably, five of the seven are still within their first four years in the league. This might be the tipping point in an evolution that began when the league reinterpreted rules restricting hand-checking on the perimeter, opening the floor up for quick guards.

I’ve been thinking about this in the wake of my All-Defensive picks. Fans of the Celtics and Magic, respectively, felt I’d overrated Rondo and Rafer Alston, who made my First and Second Teams, respectively. I think part of the disagreement is they have seen these players beaten time and again–but they haven’t seen the same thing happen to other point guards they aren’t watching as closely. Basically, given the current rules, it’s virtually impossible to defend the league’s best point guards. While it may be frustrating for fans to see their defense get beat, it makes for an open, free-flowing, entertaining game for the rest of us.

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