Just because George Karl is no longer around, doesn't mean we can't keep getting a gauge of where the individuals on this Nuggets team rank in terms of their competitors across the league. After all, it was Karl who said the team was trying to get a top-10 player at each position, once upon a time, and it's fun to see if that is holding true.
So, Andrew Feinstein, Colin Neilson, Jeff Morton, and I will be figuring out where the team's projected starters of Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari (yes, he's hurt but we're still ranking him), Kenneth Faried, and JaVale McGee rank. A bench option or two might also make the lists as this is, again, a deep Nuggets team.
We start with the point guard position - perhaps the most talent-rich spot in the NBA. As you'll see below, some players have a number next to them in parenthesis - that's our rankings for them from last season. You won't see Jeff or Colin with rankings at the PG spot for last season, as they joined in later in the game.
Keys: (--) = stayed the same in rankings from last season. (NR) = Not Ranked last season.
|NBA Point Guards|
|1||Chris Paul (--)||Chris Paul||Chris Paul||Tony Parker (5)|
|2||Tony Parker (6)||Russell Westbrook||Tony Parker||Chris Paul (--)|
|3||Kyrie Irving (10)||Stephen Curry||Rajon Rondo||Russell Westbrook (6)|
|4||Russell Westbrook (5)||Tony Parker||Deron Williams||Derrick Rose (1)|
|5||Deron Williams (2)||Kyrie Irving||Derrick Rose||Steph Curry (NR)|
|6||Derrick Rose (3)||Derrick Rose||John Wall||Ty Lawson (8)|
|7||Rajon Rondo (4)||Ty Lawson||Russell Westbrook||Kyrie Irving (10)|
|8||Stephen Curry (--)||Deron Williams||Ty Lawson||Mike Conley (12)|
|9||Damian Lillard (NR)||Rajon Rondo||Mike Conely||Rajon Rondo (4)|
|10||Ty Lawson (9)||John Wall||Damian Lillard||Jrue Holiday (11)|
Andy's Take: I took a lot of heat last season when I wrote that I'd take the then-rookie Damian Lillard over the veteran Ty Lawson and I stand by that statement today, especially in light of Lawson's recent off-the-court troubles. And while Lawson had his best season ever in 2012-13, I'd be hard pressed to take him over any of the names in the top 8 on my list.
Colin's Take: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry are clearly the top 3 points in the NBA, with Tony Parker just behind Stephen Curry. While I love Ty's game, I am a little hesitant to rank him above Kyrie Irving and a Derrick Rose returning from an ACL injury. He's very close to breaking into that top 5 category, but will need to make another leap this season to truly be regarded as one of the five best point guards in the NBA.
Jeff's Take: I think Ty Lawson moved up a bit in the rankings because of his playoff performance and his second half of last season (aside from his late season injury). Hard to deny Paul as the best point guard and Parker is very, very close to being the best. Even though Rondo and Rose are coming off of injury they are still quite amazing and John Wall took a big leap last season.
Nate's Take: I put Parker at the top of the list as he carried the Spurs to the Finals last season and is at the very peak of his game. He always seems to come up big and does just what his team needs; while Paul hasn't really taken his team(s) anywhere. I see Westbrook coming back strong and look forward to Rose getting his groove back. Lawson ranked No. 13 overall in assists last season in the league with 501, while also leading the Nuggets in scoring in the regular season, 16.7 ppg, and in the post-season with 21.3 ppg. Ty is a gamer. I was a bit disappointed that Lawson's free throw percentage dipped a bit last season, but his attempts also went up. The Nuggets will continue to go as Ty goes on offense - and that's a good sign, especially once he figures out what Brian Shaw wants out of him.
The Verdict: Nate has Lawson ranked the highest at No. 6 and Andy has him ranked the lowest at No. 10, ranking him among the elite in the league. Chris Paul got three out of four votes for the top point-man in the league and Deron Williams gets a No. 4 ranking from Jeff, No. 5 from Andy, No. 8 from Colin, and fails to make Nate's cut. Steph Curry gets a No. 3 nod from Colin and then gets left off of Jeff's list. No matter how you cut it, the point guard spot is chock full of talent.
Be sure to follow our rankings on Twitter with the hashtag: #NuggetsRankings and let us know what you think below.
Nate_Timmons on Twitter