A Million and One Questions
Let the season begin!
by Quinn Peterson
OK, maybe not a million, but a handful. And it’s a dope song.
The beauty of sports is the camaraderie it fosters and conversations it starts. As the season tips off tonight, here’s a few questions, none of which have definitive answers by any means. But that’s why we play the games, right?
As we watch this season, let’s see if we can draw some conclusions regarding a few things:
Who’s the best PG in the League?
Recently, this has been simplified into a two-man race: Chris Paul or Deron Williams, DWill or CP3. Cases were made for each recently right here on SLAMonline, but coming to a final decision still remains impossible. Sure, Paul can’t stop Deron Williams, who without question wins the physical battle between the two, but, at the same time, nobody in the League can stop Paul. So we’re back to square one.
Honestly, this season will offer the best opportunity to come to some kind of consensus. Two years ago, it was Paul, who had his Hornets in the conference semifinals and came in second in MVP voting. Last year, with Paul battling injury (which has been the case in some fashion every year for him), it was Williams, who put together yet another high-quality season.
Both will be with teams that have had active offseasons, and both, more than ever, will be the central figure in their team’s success.
That being said, former two-time MVP Steve Nash can’t be entirely discounted, though his days are certainly numbered, and neither can Rajon Rondo, who made his case last when it counted most — in the Playoffs. Rondo will have a chance to cement his case further. Much of last season, he went overlooked, but he was the best point guard in the League in the postseason, no doubt. This year will give him a chance to prove it from day one.
Last but not least, could it be Derrick Rose? As Rose enters the brink of his prime, he’s ripe for a premier year, and given his new teammates, he should have the opportunity and platform to do so, making full use of his improved game and incredible athleticism.
Who’s the best scorer in the League (excluding Kobe)?
Before this past season, Melo would have been a near shoo-in. Charles Barkley made the convincing argument that Anthony scores the easiest of anybody in the League. Very true. But now, of course, there’s this guy Kevin Durant who has made a hell of an argument himself. Where Anthony lacks in range, Durant more than makes up. At the same token, he doesn’t have the back-to-the-basket inside game that Anthony possess because of his strength. Flip a coin.
But before you do so, don’t forget about Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson.
This is about wins or winning the “big one,” per se, so Dirk gets full inclusion. He’s 7-feet and hitting consistently from anywhere within 30 feet. In addition, he can do down to the block and operate from the post utilizing his un-blockable fadeaway. Wade has proven himself over the years, namely in ‘08-09 when he averaged a 30-piece. Also in this discussion, in my opinion, belongs Joe Johnson. I simply refuse to blame him for what happened to he and the Hawks last year. “Iso Joe” is one of the best flat-out scorers in the game. I became a confirmed believer after seeing him hang 40 on the Bulls without breaking a sweat. Critics are quick to point out his disappearing act last May, but they also seem to forget that the Hawks seldom, if ever, ran any actual plays!
Who’s the best stat-sheet filler in the League?
This pretty much goes to LeBron by default. But there are two other cases to be made: That of Brandon Roy and that of Tyreke Evans. BRoy got the co-sign from Kobe last week and Ron Artest a year ago, so you know it’s official. He’s arguably the most balanced player in the League. Scoring, facilitating, rebounding, you name it. Evans should not be forgotten about either.
James was just the second player after Oscar Robertson to average 20, 5 and 5 his rookie season. The third? Tyreke Evans. Reke-havoc is, essentially, a point guard version of LeBron. An incredible physical specimen, Evans’ 6-6, 220-pound frame give him a decisive advantage over almost any opponent, and he knows how to exploit it. In his second year, with even better teammates, expect Evans to emerge as one of the League’s top triple-double threats.
Who’s the fastest player in the League?
This question will be of especially fun to see played out on the floor. Immediately, two names come to mind: John Wall and Derrick Rose. Already in the preseason, we’ve gotten a chance to see these two go at it head-to-head, and the jury is still out. End-to-end, Wall may get the edge, but end-to-end, changing directions may be DRose.
One can’t forget about Ty Lawson, however — a wild card in this race. If Wall and Rose are the fastest in their respective ways, Lawson may be the fastest without a ball. He’s an absolute blur. LeBron, of course, the physical specimen that he is, thrusts himself into this debate, as well, and there’s certainly a case to be made for him.
Who’s the best in-game dunker in the League?
Russell Westbrook or Shannon Brown. Not only are these guys capable of doing All-Star weekend-esque dunks in games, but they do it often, separating them from others who occasionally come up with a big poster. Every time these cats put the ball on the floor, you lean toward the edge of your seat. That being said, take your pick:
What do you think? Are there sure-fire answers to any of these questions? Additional candidates to be considered? Or will we have to wait until tonight and the next eight months before drawing any definitive conclusions?
Either way, here’s to the ‘10-11 season, folks. Just Enjoy This Shit.