The NBA has recently seen the emergence of superstar point guards. Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo are at the head of this class. However, some teams haven't been as lucky in picking up this kind of talent in the draft. Some of the leagues worst at the position don't even understand the concept of what being a point guard even means. Pass first is a moniker that barely exists anymore and the following players exemplify it better than anyone else.
5. Brandon Knight- Let's just get this out of the way, he wasn't worth his draft pick. Just because John Callipari has a point guard on his team, doesn't mean he's any good. Brandon Knight comes from the Russell Westbrook school of point guards except he failed the class where Russell begrudgingly whispers to the class " You have to pass to your teammates...ugh." So without a real talent at passing, what do you have? Well, you have a 41% career field goal percentage. As a point guard this is way to low. This tells you he is addicted to the three point shot and doesn't like to drive as much as he should. If he ever learns to penetrate the paint then the assists per game should sky rocket but until he does so, he'll be an easy read for a defender. Granted he's on a team without much real talent to pass to, but I guarantee it's easier to teach an owl to perform a colonoscopy than to get Knight to run a pick and roll. His one saving grace is his three point shot which is surprisingly at 39 % for his career. The problem with this shot though is that it's not a fluid or quick shooting motion at all, it's more of a set shot that can easily be blocked and unless he can prove he's a threat on the drive, defenders will undoubtedly key in on this tendency.
4 Mario Chalmers- This might be a tad unfair because he's on a team where Lebron James decides who takes the ball up court, who's allowed to go to the bathroom and who's allowed to see him without his hair extensions, but Mario Chalmers is one of the most ineffective point guards in the league. He is a terrific perimeter defender, but when it comes to running an offense, he is obsolete. A career average of 3.6 assists at the point guard position isn't going to cut it. I mean it's not like you have Kobe on your team death staring you. Lebron isn't going to death stare you if you make a bad pass, hell if you punched Lebron in the stomach he'd probably buy you a house if you promised not to tell anyone he showed pain. Where Chalmers used to excel was the three point line and now this season his percent has dropped to an unimpressive 32% and his overall field goal percentage to a terrible 39%. On a team with stars like Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, Chalmers is often going to be unguarded or a the very least saddled with the teams least efficient defender. You would think this would allow for a stellar field goal percentage and the ability to average at least 6 assists per game ( Rondo did it for a few years in Boston before he realized he was good), but Chalmers is incapable of doing this because of the fear of not being invited to Lebron's bowling alley birthday parties if he messes up a pass..
3. Devin Harris- My god, what in the hell happened to this guy. Once one of the up and comers at point guard who really looked like he had a terrific NBA career in front of him, Devin Harris now finds himself as a backup on the Atlanta Hawks. This was the same guy that the Mavericks traded for Jason Kidd. At the time the Mavericks were looked at as giving up one of the best young players in the NBA. After his first year in the NBA, he shot 46%,49% and 48% from the field the next 3 seasons. Those numbers are almost unheard of for a point guard and after he left the Mavs, he seemed to make them look stupid on the Nets for a number of years until the downfall of the last three seasons. On Utah he never looked comfortable and lets face it, nobody is comfortable on Utah because you have to live in Utah and nobody wants that unless you like building totem statues and putting dirt in your cereal ( my view of Utah may be a bit off). Now he's averaging 7 points and 2.6 assists a game and it's frankly sad to watch. After Utah got him from the Nets by trading Deron Williams, they probably thought they were getting a solid return. Instead they got a player who was completely uninspired and likely angered by the sudden upheaval mid season to a team that was in the doldrums and in a coaching and front office crisis. Despite one playoff appearance with Utah, his play has been on a steady decline in the last 3 years and now at the age of 29 he has seen his worth as a starter disappear just 6 years removed from being the starting point guard on the 2006 Western Conference Champion Dallas Mavericks.
2. Kirk Hinrich- You know, Kirk Hinrich was actually a very good player on his first stint with the Chicago Bulls. But now coming back for round two, Hinrich is in the midst of a season uglier than Joakim Noah's face. He's shooting 36% from the field which is just atrocious and his scoring is down 6.7 points per game, but that's not the worst part of it all. His free throw percentage is at 65%. Now this is fine if you are Dwight Howard or Tyson Chandler but when you are a point guard and are shooting this poorly all around, there is a big problem. What's truly mystifying about this stat is that his career field goal percentage is 80%. How can you drop 15 percent points in less than a year? Did he suddenly forget how to shoot? Does peeking at Joakim Noah ready to box out and get a rebound make him automatically throw up in his mouth every time he gets set to take the free throw(viable possibility)? Maybe it's the fact that every Chicago fan hates you because you aren't Derrick Rose. Maybe it's because you are truly just too white for the league now and that burden of whiteness has caused you to lose confidence. Whatever the case may be, Kirk is in serious danger of losing a lot of minutes to Nate Robinson. As a point guard, when you lose minutes to Nate Robinson, you are in the pantheon of uselessness and you stand alone on top of the mouth olympus of garbage.
1. Jameer Nelson- Orlando is just sad. Allowing Dwight Howard to act like a 7 ft baby for two years while single handedly destroying a coaching staff and also signing a man whose nickname is "Big Baby", strange decisions have been made all over the place. One of the strangest is the decision to lock up Jameer Nelson for another 3 years. He's the definition of a serviceable point guard. You know who you don't sign to 3 year deals? Serviceable point guards. The reason is you can find them anywhere. One year deals is the way to go when the player underwhelms and underwhelms and then shocks you by, guess what, underwhelming you. If Jameer was a superhero, he'd be called the underwhelmer, with the power to make you expect greatness and instead evoke the reaction of " mehh" every time you watch him play. Sure he's got talent and many think if he was healthy in the 2009 NBA Finals, the Magic would've upset the Lakers ( read: stupid people.) but the last 4 years he's been averaging around 12 points and 5 assists...seriously are you impressed? Can the Magic really not find anything better than that? Did They not notice a 1000 times better version of Jameer Nelson named Kyle Lowry on the market? It's puzzling really to see the lack of talent the Magic have assembled. Jameer now stands as the under performing leader of a team that has the aspirations that are attainable at the same level of say a pelican that wants to run for congress.