NBA Handicapping: Most Valuable Point Guards
by Trevor Whenham - 3/9/2012
It is incredible how good point guard play is in the NBA right now. There are more good point guards in the league — really good ones — than there have been in a very long time. Maybe ever.
It`s the deepest position in the league right now, and it`s only going to get better as guys like Kyrie Irving and John Wall grow into themselves and get some help around them. It`s really the golden age of the point guard.
With so much talent at the position I thought it would be fun to look at the five most valuable point guards in the league at this point from a NBA handicapping perspective. This totally subjective list includes some obvious picks, and a couple of guys who will surprise you.
While I am comfortable with all five guys, what thinking about this list really pointed out is just how many there are to chose from.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
This is a no-brainer.
The Bulls are my first pick to win the NBA Championship this year, and the reigning MVP is the biggest reason for that. He has made a science of going to the hoop, and he does it like no one else.
The more he plays in the league, the more he matures and evolves into a complete point guard as well. His team isn`t disastrous when he is missing — they are 6-5 ATS in the 11 games he has missed. The obvious fact is, though, that Rose is the singular difference between an irrelevant playoff team and a very strong championship threat. He`s a difference maker in the way that only three or four other guys in the league are.
The Bulls are a very public team and Rose is wildly popular, yet the team is the second-best against the spread in the entire league. They are an incredible 19-12 ATS when he is in the lineup. For a team this popular to treat bettors that well it means that they are doing things the right way, and Rose gets the lion`s share of the credit for that.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
I`ll admit that I had some real doubts about Paul`s acquisition — or at least about the hype that surrounded it. There is no denying his skill, but I questioned whether his knees were up to the challenge or if he had enough to work with on the Clippers. The latter is still a concern, but Paul has exceeded any expectation I could have had for him this year — even the most optimistic.
This team has not convinced me that they are a serious championship contender this year as of yet. Without Paul, though, they would struggle to be a playoff team. He has been spectacular.
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
It`s hard to believe given how he has been playing this year that it looked like Parker could have been traded before the season started. With Tim Duncan getting old and Manu Ginobli battling injuries all year someone needed to step up and lead this team, and Parker has more than done so.
I`m not the only one that thought that the era of the Spurs had come to an end. Thanks to Parker, though, they are comfortably sitting second in the Western Conference, and are the third most profitable team ATS in the league.
He`s playing the best basketball of his career — and that`s saying something for a guy who has won three NBA Championships as a starter. His offense is sharp, his vision is impressive, and he`s emerged as a leader in a way he hadn`t done before.
For the first time in a couple of decades the face of this team — at least on the court — is not a center.
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
This one will raise a few eyebrows. I`m not suggesting for a second that Chalmers is one of the five best point guards in the league. Not even close. The fact is, though, that he would have a very good claim — along with Kyle Lowry — of being the most improved.
Last year he was tentative and played like he knew he didn`t measure up to the Big Three. It was a big issue for the Heat. This year his numbers aren`t dramatically better — though his shooting has taken a big leap forward — but he is playing with far more confidence and authority. He`s no longer a liability for this team, and he can even help them.
It has been tough to trust the all-star team in Miami from a betting perspective because of their public appeal and their lack of depth. With the emergence of Chalmers they still aren`t a great betting team, but it`s easier to consider betting on them now. That`s progress.
Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors
If Chalmers surprised people then Calderon will shock them. I absolutely think he belongs, though.
Toronto is a lousy team with a lot of problems. The fact is, though, that they are the best ATS team in the entire league — and by quite a bit. They are flying way under the radar, but they just keep covering spreads. Calderon is a very big part of the reason for that.
The team is very young and raw, but Calderon is a floor general who commands the team like another coach on the court. He`s patient, and he makes the players around him much better than they might otherwise be.
Both Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan — the two leading scorers on the team — owe a big debt to Calderon for their development. The Raptors are a team you don`t want to spend a lot of time watching — at least not if you like to be entertained by basketball — but thanks to Calderon betting on them has been a very enjoyable undertaking.
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