20 in 20: Who are the Top 10 SGs in the league?

20 in 20: Who are the Top 10 SGs in the league?

Monday, Sept. 12, 2010
7:10 PM

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

A historic summer for the NBA has passed and for the Bulls, while they didn't acquire quite the star power many expected andor hoped for, optimism runs high, both within the organization and throughout the team's fan base. With the offseason coming to an end, the time to fully delve into the upcoming NBA season is here. Instead of a traditional season preview, issues both throughout the league and in Chicago will be probed daily here on CSNChicago.com up until the squad officially convenes for training camp toward the end of September.
6. Who are the top 10 shooting guards in the league?

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (2009-10 averages: 27.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 45.6 field-goal percentage, 32.9 three-point percentage in 73 games): Until somebody dethrones him, Bryant must be considered the best player (some would argue period -- at least when it counts) at his position for the time being, especially as he continues to rack up championships.

2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat (2009-10 averages: 26.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 47.6 field-goal percentage, 30.0 three-point percentage in 77 games): Expect Wade to be much more effective with an almost brand-new Heat roster, but even though they've fallen off considerably since winning the 2006 title, it's not as if Wade hasn't been his spectacular, dominating self -- he just hasn't had the help.
3. Brandon Roy, Portland Trailblazers (2009-10 averages: 21.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 47.3 field-goal percentage, 33.0 three-point percentage in 65 games): Roy battled injury issues and initially struggled for compatibility with new point guard Andre Miller last season, but his polished all-around game and leadership skills are the primary reasons Portland is viewed as an up-and-coming team to be reckoned with in Western Conference.

4. Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks (2009-10 averages: 21.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 45.8 field-goal percentage, 36.9 three-point percentage in 76 games): While his huge contract extension may seem unjustified to most, Johnson's smooth scoring -- honestly, who else on Atlanta's roster would fill that role? -- is the lifeblood of a young Hawks team that he personally led to respectability.

5. Stephen Jackson, Charlotte Bobcats (2009-10 averages: 20.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 42.3 field-goal percentage, 32.8 three-point percentage in 81 games): After being traded from Golden State early in the 2009-10 campaign, Jackson's game blossomed under Larry Brown and while leading the Bobcats to a franchise-first playoff appearance, his leadership skills, diverse offensive game and toughness were put on full display.

6. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers (2009-10 averages: 17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.7 steals, 44.3 field-goal percentage, 31.0 three-point percentage in 82 games): Although Iguodala may never be a true No. 1 scoring option, his versatility and lockdown defense are at the top of the food chain, and under new Sixers coach Doug Collins -- assuming the Evan Turner-Louis Williams-Thaddeus Young-Jrue Holiday conundrum around the perimeter can be figured out -- he should find even more of a niche for himself.

7. Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors (2009-10 averages: 25.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.2 steals, 44.9 field-goal percentage, 33.8 three-point percentage in 64 games): Ellis is often criticized for his less-than-judicious shot selection (playing for Don Nelson's Warriors, it's hard to blame him), but his relentless, attacking style of play and explosiveness off the dribble are the bane of opposing defenders.

8. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs (2009-10 averages: 16.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 44.1 field-goal percentage, 37.7 three-point percentage in 75 games): Ginobili can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season, but his crafty, unorthodox game is still as indefensible as ever and is one of the reasons the Spurs remain among the NBA's elite teams.
9. Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets (2009-10 averages: 20.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 41.7 field-goal percentage, 33.3 three-point percentage in 46 games): One of the league's most underrated players, Martin was forgotten about in the midst of Tyreke Evans fever in Sacramento and a subsequent trade to Houston, but with another year in his new digs and the potential return of Yao Ming, he should once again thrive as a high-energy scoring threat.
10. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards (2009-10 averages: 22.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 41.1 field-goal percentage, 34.8 three-point percentage in 32 games): He's been hurt, he probably makes too much money and he's had off-court issues (don't forget, although he missed the bulk of 2009-10 due to suspension, he seemed to have recovered from his knee problems), but Arenas was productive last season and with the presence of No. 1 pick John Wall, he'll be freed up to do what he does best: score.
Next 10 (in alphabetical order):

Ray Allen, Boston Celtics: Age is nothing but a number for Allen on some nights, but regardless of age, he's still one of the best pure shooters in the game.
Vince Carter, Orlando Magic: Consistency has long been an issue -- the Magic re-signing potential starter J.J. Redick at the same position may not help that cause -- but his talent and ability to occasionally dominate games is undeniable.
Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks: The 2009-10 Sixth Man of the Year is instant offense personified and while other parts of his game leave something to be desired, he can change games in rapid fashion.
Ben Gordon, Detroit Pistons: Hopefully "B.G." will have an injury-free campaign and return to the same high-scoring player Bulls fans were so familiar with.
Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers: The proficient deep shooter's experience with USA Basketball should help add consistency to his underrated all-around game.
Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons: Without former backcourt partner Billups, he's not the same "Rip" of the Pistons contender-era teams, but when healthy, he's still a unique scorer within a structured system.
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies: While he hasn't developed into the player many projected he would be as a ballyhooed high school prospect, Mayo is a more-than-solid secondary scorer as a pro.
Jason Richardson, Phoenix Suns: Since changing his game from one-dimensional athlete to a competent outside shooter and tough defender, Richardson has added years to his career as Steve Nash's running mate.
John Salmons, Milwaukee Bucks: After signing a nice offseason deal to return to the Bucks -- where he seemed to find an immediate comfort zone as a go-to scorer -- the versatile veteran should be able to attain a level of consistency.
Marcus Thornton, New Orleans Hornets: Maybe a bit premature, but after an eye-opening rookie season, expect a breakout campaign alongside a healthy Chris Paul for this efficient instant-offense scorer.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.coms Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

In first game of post-deadline era, Bulls come up with comeback overtime win over Suns

In first game of post-deadline era, Bulls come up with comeback overtime win over Suns

The post-deadline era has begun for the Bulls, with the directives clear on developing their young players and seeing what can be done in the last third of the season.

And while their youth sparked them early, it was the headliners who stepped up late in their 128-121 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at the United Center, as the team was clearly adjusting to life without Taj Gibson, who was traded Thursday.

Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade each had sluggish starts, to say the least. Each looked like he was going through an island-like malaise through the better part of three quarters before waking up.

Butler finally ignored the snooze button at the most opportune time, nearly winning the game in regulation with a tying triple, then a fadeaway 15-footer over Eric Bledsoe to cap off a late comeback that saw the Bulls rebound from an eight-point deficit with a few minutes left in the fourth.

"That's what great players do," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "They step up when you need them the most. Jimmy obviously had a tough night shooting the ball (early). ... What he's been doing all year, taking over the game in the fourth, and tonight was no different."

Then Wade, in one of his few post-halftime mistakes, controversially fouled Suns sharpshooter Devin Booker on a triple with 1.5 seconds left, but Booker missed the last of the three free throws to send the game into overtime.

"I think it was good defense," said Butler before giving a nod to his controversial whistle that went his way a week ago. "We don't wanna go back too far, but a foul's a foul."

Wade and Butler continued the assault into the extra session, with Wade rising for a late flush over Suns center Alex Len and raising his arms in celebration — having put together a 23-point performance after a scoreless first half.

"That dunk he had was unbelievable," Hoiberg said. "I should give him another week off."

In the early stages, Butler wasn't as futile as Wade, but he wasn't much better, scoring just eight before the fourth but being more aggressive and assertive with his moments and jump shots, finishing with 22 to go along with nine assists and four steals.

"Just keep shooting the ball and eventually it'll go in," Butler said. "And they did. Coaches put the ball in my hands, I kept taking the same shots, making the same plays. Then they went in."

The Suns led most of the way, mostly due to their team-wide speed and athleticism, getting out on the break the way they did in the first meeting two weeks ago. Booker scored 27, while Bledsoe, TJ Warren and Marquese Chriss each scored 17. Bledsoe added 10 assists and seven rebounds in 40 minutes.

They dominated the fast-break department at a 27-16 clip, and the Bulls actually countered with 3-point shooting, hitting 12 triples and shooting 46 percent from 3.

Nikola Mirotic was 4-for-7 from deep on the way to a 20-point night, while Denzel Valentine put together his best showing as a pro with 15 points, all coming on five made 3s.

Three straight triples from Valentine pulled the Bulls to within one late in the third quarter. The shots were decisive and confident — perhaps as he knew he wouldn't be removed for anyone at the first mistake.

"I like it, take the shots when you're open. Sometimes when you're not open, still shoot it and we know to get back," Butler said.

There were plenty of mishaps and things to complain about as the Bulls hit a new wave, but at least it started with some positive vibes after a day of uncertainty and confusion.

Chance the Rapper poses with Benny the Bull at United Center

Chance the Rapper poses with Benny the Bull at United Center

Two Chicago legends were spotted courtside before the Bulls tipped off against the Phoenix Suns on Friday. 

Chance the Rapper, recent winner of three Grammy Awards, snapped a photo with Benny the Bull at the United Center.

The south sider is spending a few months back in his hometown before starting a nationwide tour in April. His stop at the Bulls game should come as no surprise, as the "Coloring Book" rapper has become big friends with Jimmy Butler. Tough to name a more talented duo than that. 

Chance was also seen in New Orleans last weekend for the NBA All-Star festivities.

We know he's already a White Sox team ambassador, but are the Bulls next up?