| 6 years ago||
Top 10 Shooting Guards: Dwade Better than Kobe (according to yahoo.com)
5. Manu Ginobili(notes), San Antonio Spurs (last year: fourth)
At his best and healthiest, Manu is just a step below Kobe Bryant(notes). The problem is that he's not often healthy, doesn't play enough minutes and can't sustain the type of brilliance that we saw last March, when Manu averaged 22.1 points in just 31 minutes on 52 percent shooting, with 9.6 combined rebounds/assists. So, No. 5 sounds about right, with the caveat that, when everything is going smoothly, few can take over a game like Manu.
4. Joe Johnson(notes), Atlanta Hawks (last year: fifth)
I called his contract extension "the worst contract in NBA history," and I meant it. A $120 million contract that will pay Johnson from age 29-35? Terrible.
But for this season and the next, Johnson will be a sound all-around wing player for the Hawks. Yes, he needs the ball and plenty of minutes to drop his (over) 20 points and (nearly) five a.ssists and five rebounds, but he's also a lower-rung All-Star who can be counted on to sop up minutes (and for that yearly January swoon, as the minutes catch up to him), and that's enough for a top-five ranking at this position.
3. Brandon Roy(notes), Portland Trail Blazers (last year: third)
Roy took a bit of a step back in 2009-10, but, if anything, it pointed out that his all-world play in 2008-09 might be a bit of an aberration and last season is more of the norm. But what a norm it is -- 26 other teams would k!ll for that "norm." Roy averaged 21.5 points and 9.1 combined a.ssists/rebounds on a team with the fewest possessions per game. The injuries worry the heck out of me, but let's not get into that until we have to, OK?
2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (last year: second)
You can rant and rail and tell me once again that I'm looking for attention or trying to create waves, but Kobe Bryant is coming off a year that saw him drag an injured leg and back around, and he's still got a bum index finger on his shooting hand. He's played over 45,000 minutes in his career counting the playoffs and he turns 32 on Monday. Dwyane Wade(notes) shot better, turned the ball over fewer times, a.ssisted more despite terrible teammates, picked up more steals and blocks -- and he's four years younger. And he'll have the better season in 2010-11.
The Lakers are still the favorites in my eyes, and Kobe Bryant should be respected more than any other player in this league, but he's part of a great team now. And he passed the torch last season. Really, he passed two seasons ago to those who were playing attention.
1. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat (last year: first)
Nobody wants anything to do with Wade, his teammates and the unseemly mess that produced what will be the 2010-11 Miami Heat, but you can't argue with Wade's production from last season. Constantly double- and triple-teamed, with some defenses sending trap defenders to get the ball out of his hands 30 feet from the hoop, Wade still put up 26.6 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting, with 11.3 combined a.ssists/rebounds. He also averaged 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks. At age 28, this guy is just hitting his prime, too.
I'm no Kobe stan but come on