Friday, January 15, 2010

Top PGs of the 2010 Free Agent Class

I've been keeping tabs on the 2010 free agent class as it has garned a lot of hype over the years, and I'd like to take a look at it in-depth to see if it's worth all the hype it's been getting.

We start with the point guards. There will be at least six starting jobs available this summer (Bobcats, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Pacers, and Wizards). That's a bit problematic given the lack of starting caliber players in this year's free agent class - many teams may look to fill it via the draft (say hello to John Wall), and may get stuck with a veteran stopgap (or worse, overpaying a low-end option)


Raymond Felton (26 years old, 76 rating)
Key Statistics: 12.9 pts, 5.2 ast, 2.0 stl, 33.8 mpg (15.4 PER, .535 TS%)
Felton took the qualifying offer from Charlotte last season because he couldn't work out a long-term deal with them. The Bobcats had justifiable questions about Felton's shooting percentages that drag a team down. Well don't look, but Felton is shooting a career best .465 from the field, drastically better than his career .405. He's also playing the best defense of his career, and currently ranks 4th in the league in STL% (2.9 per 100 possessions). Odds are he re-ups with the Bobcats, who could make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. I don't think Felton will improve much beyond where he's at now, so hopefully both parties can come to reasonable terms. It's possible that someone blows him out of the water given that he's the only legit starting PG in this season's class, but I doubt it.

Nate Robinson (26 years old, 76 rating)
Key Statistics: 12.8 pts, 3.2 ast, 23.3 mpg (16.6 PER, .563 TS%)
We've all heard the story by now. Nate was benched by Knick coach Mike D'Antoni for a month, and exploded for 41 points in his return. He is one of the best scoring points in the league, and could start for more than a few teams in the league. His ability to run a team is actually underrated. Firstly, he can actually do it (unlike other microwave guards like Leandro Barbosa, Monta Ellis, etc). Secondly, it's not like Devin Harris, Gilbert Arenas, or Tony Parker were ever great at getting their teammates involved; they're all-stars because they can drop 20 per night, and that's what Nate can do for a team. The main thing Nate has to work on right now is cutting his turnovers back to it's normal rate (which I think he's somewhat excused him for, given that he hadn't played for a month straight). It's anyone's guess where Nate will end up - much of it hinges on who else the Knicks end up with in free agency. For what it's worth, he wants to be a Knick, but this is the summer he has to look at his long-term security.

Kyle Lowry (24 years old, 75 rating)
Key Statistics: 8.3 pts, 4.6 ast, 4.1 reb, 1.1 stl, 25.8 mpg (15.3 PER, .523 TS%)
Lowry is basically a younger Felton, and actually poses some similarities to Rajon Rondo. Lowry is excellent at drawing fouls (among the best in the league at PG), and has been very aggressive crashing the glass for offensive boards this year (the best PG this season). Like Felton, he's a tenacious defender that has even played the off-guard position this season (something Felton did with Brevin Knight and D.J. Augustin prior to this season). Lowry is a poor shooter however, which is where the Rondo comparison comes into play. Lowry's a restricted free agent, and Houston likely values him as a backup to Aaron Brooks; so don't be surprised if he's not going anywhere.

Luke Ridnour (29 years old, 73 rating)
Key Statistics: 11.3 pts, 4.0 ast, 22.8 mpg (18.4 PER, .588 TS%)
Ridnour's improvement this season has been nothing short of staggering, and you can point right to his shooting numbers.
Inside: 33-71 (.465)
Close: 27-48 (.562)
Mid: 65-115 (.565)
3pt: 34-85 (.400)
Total: 159-319 (.498)
While Ridnour still can't finish inside, his improvement from the mid-range is nothing short of incredible. His TS% is sitting pretty at .588 which far eclipses his previous career high of .509. While it's possible that Ridnour could turn this into a starting job elsewhere, he'd probably be best suited for his super-sub role in Milwaukee going forward. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Will Bynum (27 years old, 73 rating)
Key Statistics: 12.1 pts, 4.3 ast, 27.3 mpg (14.7 PER, .515 TS%)
Bynum is Nate Robinson meets Kyle Lowry; an athletic scoring guard with some PG ability, but a poor shooter. Considering the Pistons have Stuckey, Gordon, and Rip, it's safe to say Bynum is the most likely of the top PGs to be switching teams (although trading Rip between now and then would change things quite a bit).

Other notable PGs
71 – Rafer Alston, Heat (34)
70 – Earl Boykins, Wizards (34)
70 - Keyon Dooling, Nets (30)
69 – Chris Duhon, Knicks (28)
69 – Earl Watson, Pacers (31)
68 – Randy Foye, Wizards (27) (RFA)
68 – Jason Williams, Magic (35)
68 – Carlos Arroyo, Heat (31)
68 – C.J. Watson, Warriors (26)
67 – Jordan Farmar, Lakers (24) (RFA)
67 – Jamaal Tinsley, Grizzlies (32)
66 – Derek Fisher, Lakers (36)
64 – Steve Blake, Blazers (30)

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