The Point God: Eastern Conference
This week I will take a look at the point guards in the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference clearly has more notable name point guards, but the East might be more top heavy with true point guards such as Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.
With LeBron no longer in the East, the point guards below have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done in eight years. That’s make the NBA Finals. Once again, the below list is in no particular order.
Team: Boston Celtics
Shooting: A-, His shooting is impressive from all spots on the floor. Kyrie is a clutch shooter as well, hitting one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history to secure Cleveland its first ever title.
Rebounding: C+, Not a primary skill for Irving, but not needed in Boston.
Assists: B+, Kyrie averages modest assists in the NBA, but his assists are usually dimes due to his impressive court vision.
Basketball IQ: B+, On the court, Kyrie is one of the smarter players in the league. Off the court, we all know that his IQ isn’t as high, as seen in his belief that the Earth is flat.
Contribution to team’s success: A, Last season the Celtics did not have experience playing with Kyrie before his injury, but this year they are learning his importance to the team’s success. He will be needed if the Celtics want to have a deep playoff run.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Shooting: F, Can I give a grade lower than an F? Last season, he shot a total of 42 shots outside of the paint. That is about 1 shot every 2 games and he was 12 for 42 on those shots.
Rebounding: A, Simmons is right up there with Westbrook as one of the best rebounding guards, granted Simmons’ height and weight help him in this category.
Assists: A-, Due to his tentativeness to shoot, he creates a lot of shots for his teammates, averaging over eight per game in each of his first two seasons of NBA play.
Basketball IQ: A, I consider Ben’s court vision to be his greatest strength. He sees the game one step ahead of almost everyone on the court. That allows him to impact the game immensely.
Contribution to team’s success: B+, Simmons is the motor that drives the offense, but with Joel Embiid leading the league in 20 point and 10 rebound games, Embiid is establishing himself as the #1 in Philadelphia.
Team: Toronto Raptors
Shooting: B, His shooting is slightly above average for point guards in the league. In the playoffs however, he has seen his fair share of shooting struggles.
Rebounding: C, Lowry doesn’t show much effort for rebounding, but at a generous 6’0″ height, it makes sense.
Assists: A-, This grade is reflective of this season, as he has improved his assists by over three per game and is currently fifth in the NBA, averaging just a shade under 10 per game.
Basketball IQ: B, Kyle is a relatively smart player, but I think his team would have greater success in the postseason if he made better decisions with the ball.
Contribution to team’s success: B, This team goes as Kawhi Leonard goes at the moment. When healthy, he is arguably a top three player in the league. However, with Lowry’s improvement in his passing, he can prove to be valuable for the first seeded Raptors.
Shooting: B, Wall’s greatest strength is his speed and ability to attack and finish at the rim. His shooting is generally not something the Wizards rely on to win games.
Rebounding: B-, Wall’s effort are fans’ main critique. I think this can frequently be seen in his lack of effort on the glass.
Assists: B+, Averaging 9.2 per game prior to his season ending heel injury, Wall sees the court very well and finds his open teammates.
Basketball IQ: A-, Maybe a point of contention for those who think he causes problems on the Wizards due to his on court play, but I believe he is an underrated player who is phenomenal at seeing the game as it develops.
Contribution to team’s success: C+, I feel bad putting the grade this low, but the Wizards seem to play better without Wall. The other players get more shots and have more opportunities to show their growth, such as Bradley Beal and Otto Porter. I think on a different team this grade would change.
Shooting: B+, I would consider Walker’s shooting to be the opposite of Kyle Lowry’s. Walker is a modest shooter, but he seems to shoot best when the lights are brightest, hence his nickname: Cardiac Kemba.
Rebounding: C+, He averages less than four rebounds a game for his career and doesn’t make it a large part of his game.
Assists: B, As a shoot first point guard, assists come second to Walker’s game.
Basketball IQ: B, I think he is an emotional player who sometimes gets caught up in the intensity of the game. It only becomes a negative when he forces bad shots.
Contribution to team’s success: A, The Hornets are a franchise that has struggled in recent seasons, but the one bright spot in the team’s struggles has been Kemba, who the Hornets need to make it a priority to rebuild around.
Honorable Mention: Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe is an intriguing player. He has had an up and down career since he came out of the University of Kentucky. Bledsoe is most well-known for his tweet, “I don’t wanna be here” when he was with the miserable Phoenix Suns that he claims was about a barber shop he was in. However, in regards to his on court play, I believe Bledsoe is underrated and generally gets a bad reputation. Milwaukee seems to have been a much needed change of scenery for Bledsoe, as he can play second fiddle to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is a serviceable point guard who has definitely made the Bucks better and can run an offense very well.
Who is the Point God of the Eastern Conference?
Once again we come to the question of who the Point God is, this time in the Eastern Conference. I’m not sure I have revealed yet that I am a die hard Sixers fan. In expressing that, it may make my opinion seem biased. Now, if I had one season and had to draft a point guard from the above list, I would choose Ben Simmons. I understand his shooting is not just bad, it is horrendous, but there’s a reason he is frequently compared to LeBron James. Simmons’ skill set is incredibly rare. I may be old fashioned with how I like the point guard position to be played, but Simmons’ assists and court vision make him a unique true point guard in this new era of guard play.