Looking at the best point guards in the league at the beginning of the season, I had my top three (in order) as Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Derrick Rose. This seemed rather clear to me. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash get lifetime achievement awards, but are clearly past their prime. Rajon Rondo I think is overrated; he cannot shoot and he has the option of passing (very well, I will admit) to three HOFers. Russell Westbrook is a bit raw, but ever so fun to watch. Tony Parker has a solid all around game, but is more of a product of the system. And I am sure I am forgetting about one or two others.
With all that said, over 50 games into the season, my opinion has not changed much. The top three are the same, but may have swapped positions. That is what was so fascinating about yesterday’s and Saturday’s games. With these two consecutive games you get Rose squaring off against the other two of the three best point guards.
Act One is over, with Rose getting the best of Williams. Last night’s game came after Nicolas Batum said that Rose cannot play defense (after the Bulls dropped a game to Portland). What better challenge for Rose to prove his critics wrong than to go up against possibly the best at his posistion? Rose shutdown his counterpart for nearly the entire game, while putting up 29 himself. Towards the end of the contest Deron Williams started to find his flow and blew past Rose a few times. Yet, when it was closing time, Williams had two costly turnovers (one of which was a beautiful hustle steal from behind by Rose), while Rose knocked down two free throws to put the Bulls up by three with 13 seconds left. It should be noted that Williams is nursing a wrist, but getting nailed time and again in the lane has surely taken its toll on Rose’s body. As Charles Barkley has said (and I am parphrasing): the only time you are 100% healthy is before the season begins. And with that, Rose gets two thumbs up:
Obviously, one game does not prove that Rose is better than Williams, but these match-ups are fun nonetheless. And coming up on Saturday we get another, as the Bulls take on Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. It will be another great test for Rose and an opportunity for the Bulls to end this road trip with a winning record.