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NBA Draft ; Picking a point guard is matter of preference
There will be a plethora of point guards available to NBA teams in need of a floor leader in Tuesday's draft at Madison Square Garden in New York. The question is, which one will go first?
"The point guard position is very deep this year," Charlotte Bobcats director of scouting Kenny Williamson said. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder on what type of point guard you want."
It won't be like 1999 when four point guards -- Baron Davis, Steve Francis, Andre Miller and Jason Terry -- were selected in the top 10, but there's a strong possibility that three point guards will be taken early.
They all bring a different dimension to the game.
Wake Forest's Chris Paul has the complete package, a scorer who can generate shots for himself or teammates. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.6 assists as a sophomore.
Deron Williams, the one-time pudgy point guard who led Illinois to the NCAA Tournament final, has shed 15 pounds to go with good size (6-3), and scouts like his basketball IQ. Williams averaged 12.5 points and 6.8 assists, and teammates identified him as the Illini's MVP.
Raymond Felton, North Carolina's 6-1, 198-pound floor general, might be the quickest player in the draft. Felton averaged 12.9 points and 6.9 assists last season.
"It's not just those three," Indiana Pacers director of scouting Joe Ash said. "You can go beyond those three guys and still find a quality point in this draft. There are plenty of guys, including international ones, that aren't even being talked about as much but can still contribute in the NBA."
While the top two players who could be drafted at shooting guard -- a position the Pacers might look at -- just graduated from high school (Martell Webster and Gerald Green), the point guard position not only has talent but also college experience. Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack is also expected to be taken in the first round.
"Most of the guys in this class are mature kids," Ash said. "They all played in high-profile programs. When you have kids, especially ones that are playing the point, getting college experience under their belt, it helps out so much because the NBA game is so much different."
As deep as it is, there's little question that Paul, Williams and Felton are the leaders of the pack.
"I've seen in some mock drafts where Felton might slip to 10 or 12; I really don't believe that," Pacers president Larry Bird said. "I think he's good enough to be taken in the top seven or eight."
With Felton clearly the third member of the elite group, the question now is: Who goes first, Paul or Williams?
"I think the jury is still out on them," Williamson said. "Some teams like them short, some like them tall. Some like them with a high basketball IQ. They're unique because each does something different."
Williams has fared so well in workouts that there is talk that Atlanta, which has the No. 2 pick, might choose him over North Carolina freshman Marvin Williams.
Deron Williams won't beat his defender with ankle-breaking moves, but he has size, strength, savvy and a pass-first mentality that allows him to excel.
"You look at him in person versus tape or TV and he's quicker and leaner," Ash said. "Deron, in my opinion, doesn't have the speed that Chris Paul has, but he gets it there quick enough. He's a little bit bigger. How fast do you have to be to get it from one end to the other? Some of the best point guards that played weren't speed demons. Magic (Johnson) wasn't fast. John Stockton wasn't a speedy guy, but he got it there.
"Deron's bulk is good from the defensive standpoint because it gives him a little more resistance."
The knock on Paul is his size (6-0, 175 pounds). Opposing guards will likely post him up, but he is a good decision-maker with a solid shooting touch.
"He's got the whole package," Minnesota Timberwolves general manager Jim Stack said. "You really can't go wrong with Paul or Williams. There's really seven or eight point guards out there that can get drafted and have a chance to make an impact. It may not be next season, but down the road."
Rating the guards
Rank Player, school or country Size PPG
1. Chris Paul, Wake Forest 6-0, 175 15.3
Paul's size is questionable, but he's the most well-rounded point guard of the group. Spent two seasons at Wake Forest. Has a slight edge over Deron Williams as the top point guard in the draft. Paul shouldn't fall any lower than No. 4 to New Orleans.
2. Deron Williams, Illinios 6-3, 195 12.5
Isn't the quickest, but has the size and strength to handle the position. His stock has risen to the point where he could overtake Paul and be drafted as high as No. 2 by Atlanta.
3. Raymond Felton, North Carolina 6-1, 198 12.9
Quickest point guard in the draft. Helped lead North Carolina to an NCAA title last season. Outstanding in transition, but his decision-making can be erratic. Has a chance to be drafted in the top 10.
4. Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech 6-3, 202 15.5
Left Georgia Tech after his junior season. Like Williams, has good size and is strong. Will probably be drafted toward the end of the first round.
5. Roko Ukic, Croatia 6-5, 183 18.5
Croatian played well in the European pre-draft camp in Treviso, Italy. Has ability to distribute and score. Some have him rated higher than Jack.
Impact on the Pacers: With three point guards already under contract next season, the Pacers have more important needs than drafting at this position.
Rank Player, school Size PPG
1. Gerald Green, Gulf Shores Academy, Houston 6-8, 200 33.0
Green is being compared to a young Tracy McGrady and is one of the top athletes in the draft. Won the McDonald's All-American slam dunk contest. Definitely a top-10 pick.
2. Martell Webster, Seattle Prep 6-7, 210 27.7
Another high school-to-pro player. One of the top shooters in the draft. Has a mature body despite being just 18. A possible lottery pick.
3. Antoine Wright, Texas A&M 6-7, 210 17.8
Wright didn't play at a college powerhouse, but he led the Big 12 Conference in 3-point shooting (44.7 percent). Some have him rated higher than Webster.
4. Rashad McCants, North Carolina 6-4, 207 16.0
Has the talent to be a lottery pick, but there are concerns about his attitude. Finished tied for second in North Carolina history with 221 career 3-pointers despite playing only three seasons.
5. Francisco Garcia, Louisville 6-7, 195 15.7
Will help any team in need of a good shooter. Made 180 3-pointers in his three years at Louisville. Shot nearly 85 percent from the free throw line in college.
Impact on the Pacers: The Pacers need a 3-point shooter to replace Reggie Miller and to keep opposing teams from double-teaming Jermaine O'Neal. They pick 17th, and like McCants and Garcia.