Being the best player on the best team means you lead your team to the finals, claim the Larry O B, as well as the Bill Russel trophy. Doing this is the toughest task in basketball, doing so as a guard is even tougher.
When will it be a guard?
It has been a long time since a guard spearheaded a ship in the NBA. In fact it hasn’t been done since Kobe Bean Bryant on the back end of his repeat in 2010. Tony Parker and Chauncey “Big Shot” Billups are the only two true point guards to have done it since 1990.
We saw a back to back, first ever unanimous MVP, fall short of the feat. Steph Curry obviously led that Warriors team throughout the course of their first ring quest. BUT, when push came to shove in the NBA Finals, it was Andre Iguodala who took home Finals MVP. He limited LeBron to 36 points 13 rebounds and 9 assist per game. Wow. As ludicrous as it might sound, the Cavs could have stolen that series if it weren’t for Iggy. LeBron was the real MVP of that series for carrying a depleted Cleveland roster to 6 games, that’s why the man who guarded him won it.
Back to today’s game. There are a couple young guards that stand out as candidates to be able to snatch the crown of the crown in coming years. Shooting guards are favored given their size and increased dynamic abilities.
deserves a mention but doesn’t make the list for these reasons. He is a promising young gun and has a worthy counterpart in Kristaps Prozingis. This duo is certainly capable of Finals runs. It is also true that you’re best off with him being your primary ball handler/play maker. Doncic, however, is 6’7″ and assumes the role of a “point forward”, much like LeBron James. We’re talking about true guards.
Spida Mitchell is one of the most electrifying young talents in today’s game. He has yet to make his first All-Star appearance, but that ain’t no problem, he’s a dunk contest champ. He was the true ROTY and carried his team a lot harder than Ben Simmons. Mitchell has proven he has the clutch gene. Aside from clutch shots, he comes up big with clutch performances. After he willed his team into the playoffs his rookie year, he then willed the Thunder home in six, as a rookie. Outplaying MVP candidate-caliber players Paul George and Russell Westbrook, he averaged 28 7 and 3, as a rookie. While he sometimes shoots himself into being a volume scorer, he has proven he’ll come through when it matters most. The Jazz have a very talented team with the addition of Mike Conley but he’s still the go to guy that makes them so dynamic.
Victor Oladipo might just be the most interesting man in the NBA. Along with R&B singing, there’s nothing he can’t do. Shoot, pass, defend, lead, it’s all in the bag. Dipo was quietly putting together an argument for MVP before his tragic injury in the ’18-’19 season. His back must have been hurting too because he was carrying hard. After his season ended prematurely, his team stepped in his absence and maintained their seeding heading into the playoffs. If he can get that kind of production from his cast, and play at the level he was playing at prior to his injury, the Pacers are a legitimate title threat. In 2018, Oladipo and co. took the Pacers to seven games against the winner of the East, LeBron James. That Cleveland team that he fell a couple points shy of, went to the finals. A more matured Dipo, a better supporting cast, and a finals opponent that doesn’t boast back to back MVPs, could spell F-M-V-P for Victor Oladipo. This is a steals champ and an unstoppable force on offense who is also a great leader, look for big things from Vic.
Dame Dolla has proven he can lead a team. He and his talented off guard counterpart CJ MCollum led the trailblazers to the western conference finals last year without key center piece Jusif Nurkic. Lillard can step up and be that guy in a big moment, he does it time and time again. Dame time. He’s an excellent leader and when he couldn’t get it going in game 7 vs Nuggets in the Western Semis, he differed to the hot hand in CJ. MCollum carried the bulk of the weight and hit the clutch shot when they needed it to close out a very tough Denver team. With the addition of Hassan Whiteside, the Blazers are once again legitimate title contenders. Dame can be that guy that takes them there.
A Splash Bro
Do not sleep on the Warriors big 3 back court. Alongside Draymond Green, these guys could very well get the job done and bring the Larry O B back home. D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson, or Steph Curry could all very well make it to the Finals and step up. Curry is notorious for disappearing in the Finals but I wouldn’t put it beyond a two time MVP to step it up. Klay has always shown killer instinct. We could get game 6 Klay for a whole series you never know. DLo obviously has ice in his veins, he ended the Nets’ playoff drought. Young D’Angelo is more dynamic than either original splash bro on the offensive end, he can be that guy. The Warriors can make their way back to the final gauntlet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Draymond Green could snatch the Bill Russel trophy, he does so much for that team, it’s unbelievable.