Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade

On the first full week of each month this season, I’m going to rank the top 10 NBA players at each position based on how I expect them to perform in the coming month. If a player is injured and is expected to miss most of the month, then they probably won’t make the list regardless of his value when healthy. I’ll rank the point guards on Monday, the shooting guards on Tuesday … you get the picture.  Your feedback is welcome, even if you want to tell me how incredibly, irredeemably clueless I am.

Kobe or Wade… Wade or Kobe… You’ll need to scroll to find out which one finished the season at the top of the two-guard rankings, but I’m personally more excited about the fact that the terminally insane Tony Allen made the cut this month.

10. (9.) James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder — 2010-11 stats: 76 GP, 26.7 MPG, 12.2 PPG, 2.1 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .438 FG%, .355 3P%, .847 FT%, 16.4 PER

No disrespect to Thabo Sefolosha, but it will be pretty hard to justify keeping Harden in his sixth man role beyond this season if his emergence in the second half of this season is legit — he’s scored in double figures in 22 of his past 23 games, and he scored eight points in 15 minutes in the other game. It goes to show that we should let young players like Harden get their NBA feet wet before we judge them.

9. (New entry) Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — 2010-11 stats: 69 GP, 20.3 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 1.4 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG, .515 FG%, .190 3P%, .756 FT%, 19.0 PER

If you’re like most NBA fans and you don’t pay much attention to the Memphis Grizzlies, you might be wondering why a guy who has only averaged 20 minutes per game this season is on a list of the top 10 shooting guards in the league. Well, “Trick-or-Treat Tony” entered the Grizzlies’ starting lineup on February 22 and here are his averages in those 20 starts: 28.6 minutes, 14.1 points, 2.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 55.8 percent shooting. On top of that, he might be the best perimeter defender in the game right now.

8. (7.) Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks — 2010-11 stats: 67 GP, 36.2 MPG, 18.6 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.1 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .445 FG%, .302 3P%, .800 FT%, 16.7 PER

It’s between Joe Johnson and Gilbert Arenas for this season’s M.U.P. award — Most Untradeable Player. Joe’s obviously a much better player but he’s owed $107 million over the next five seasons while Gil will “only” make $62 million over the remaining three years of his contract. We all know that Johnson deal was a bad idea at the time but… yeesh.

7. (5.) Ray Allen, Boston Celtics — 2010-11 stats: 76 GP, 36.1 MPG, 16.8 PPG, 2.7 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .492 FG%, .452 3P%, .889 FT%, 16.7 PER

Hey, Doc Rivers! Maybe you could give your struggling offense a boost if you try to get a few more shots for one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Doc believes that Ray “isn’t feeling relaxed” but Allen responds, “I feel very relaxed. Do you guys think I look relaxed? I think right now, attempt-wise, I am not getting a lot.”

6. (New entry) Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers — 2010-11 stats: 51 GP, 37.6 MPG, 22.9 PPG, 4.3 APG, 2.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .455 FG%, .366 3P%, .822 FT%, 19.2 PER

Gordon claims he’s playing through a lot of pain in his right wrist and that would help explain why he’s only shot over 50 percent in one of his eight games since he returned to the Clippers’ lineup. Regardless, his teammates are happy he’s back — the Clippers have a 23-28 record when he’s played this season and a 7-19 record when he hasn’t.

Tony Allen

5. (4.) Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors — 2010-11 stats: 77 GP, 40.4 MPG, 24.2 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .451 FG%, .358 3P%, .787 FT%, 18.7 PER

Monta Ellis has played 3,114 minutes this season — more than anyone else in the NBA — so it’s no surprise his scoring numbers have declined over the past month. Nevertheless, he continues to play his ass off even though the Warriors are going to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

4. (6.) Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets — 2010-11 stats: 75 GP, 32.2 MPG, 23.4 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .438 FG%, .386 3P%, .894 FT%, 22.1 PER

The Houston Rockets won 42 games last season and missed the playoffs and they’re currently three games behind the eighth seed in the West, sitting at 41 wins with four games to go. So… you’re saying there’s a chance. Anyway, the Rockets have been on a nice run lately with eight wins in their last 10 games and Martin has averaged 27.2 points over that span.

3. (3.) Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs — 2010-11 stats: 76 GP, 30.8 MPG, 17.6 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .428 FG%, .346 3P%, .867 FT%, 21.5 PER

In his ninth NBA season at the tender age of 33, Ginobili has set career highs in minutes played and will set a new personal best in games played if he plays in at least two of the Spurs’ last five games. They’re only a game-and-a-half ahead of Chicago for home court advantage throughout the playoffs, so Ginobili will probably see the floor a couple more times before Coach Pop rests him for the post-season.

2. (1.) Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers — 2010-11 stats: 76 GP, 33.9 MPG, 25.2 PPG, 4.8 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG, .452 FG%, .317 3P%, .827 FT%, 23.9 PER

1. (2.) Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat — 2010-11 stats: 73 GP, 37,2 MPG, 25.7 PPG, 4.5 APG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.1 BPG, .500 FG%, .312 3P%, .750 FT%, 25.6 PER

These two could easily switch spots in someone else’s rankings, but Wade’s had a slightly stronger finish to the season. Sure, the Heat’s embarrassing loss to the Cavs stands out in a bad way, but Miami has still won 11 of their last 13 games and Wade averaged 26.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.9 blocks in those games. That’s a guard averaging almost two blocks a game. In comparison, Kobe has 10 blocks all season. That may not count for much, but it’s something.

Comments (17)

  1. I will boycott this site until Keith Bogans makes the list.

    I can’t type that without laughing.

  2. I believe that DeMar DeRozen is better than Tony Allen. Also good stuff putting James Harden in the list, he is a good player that doesn’t get the credit that he deserves!

  3. You might wanna start a franchise with DeMar over Toney Allen, but on a team that is looking towards defense and winning in the playoffs I’d take Allen in a heart beat.

  4. Dwyane Wade has had a better second half? Excuse me?! 17-2…less points, more assists…um yep…someone needs a brain!

  5. I disagree with the tony allen as best perimeter defender statement. Andre Iguodala, in my opinion, has earned that title. Also, Gilbert is definitely more untradeable. Magic would do Gil for Joe in a heartbeat.

  6. Eric Gordon has had an awful couple of weeks as of late. He single handedly destroyed my fantasy team’s hopes for title contention and when I saw the Clips take on the Suns he was hardly noticed on the court (minus a good first quarter).

  7. Me is right. 17-2??? Come on…I think a certain someone might be a Dwyane Wade nuthugger. If blocks don’t mean nothing for your comparisons in these shooting guard rankings, then why do you mention the fact that Wade blocks more shots than Kobe? Sounds to me like you’re just a Wade fan who’s trying to find any sort of excuse to put him over Kobe. Still, your power rankings are entertaining to read, but when it comes to shooting guard rankings, you’re annoying putting Wade over Kobe the majority of the time. Why can’t you just give credit where credit is due dude?

  8. I agree that #1 and #2 are interchangeable most of the time, but c’mon man, you gotta put Kobe at the top of the list for this week.

  9. Wade tops Kobe in nearly all of the stats listed. That doesn’t necessarily make him the better guard but it at least makes an argument. Someone needs a brain…

  10. Think it does come down to the blocks. Wade is averaging more minutes per game than Kobe and the only real statistical advantage that has gotten him (other than blocks) is in grabbing 1-and-a-half more boards per game. Kobe has also managed to play in a few more games but they’ve both been banged up about equally so credit to Kobe (though it’s a hard thing to judge I’m going by Kobe’s history of playing in nearly every game every year to say he’s just found a way to gut it out and stay on the court). Yeah, D-Wade shoots a lot better from the field but Kobe’s much better at the line so those two things balance out, imo.

    The only reason I would still rank Kobe ahead of Wade, despite Wade’s giant blocks advantage, is that this ranking is based on current performance and factors in how the team is doing as well. Sure, the Heat have been doing fine the last couple of weeks but the Lakers have only lost, what, 2 games since the ASB? The Heat’s, um, hot streak was really back in December-January. The Lakers are rolling now and also have a better record (barely). Can’t quibble much with the way Scott ranked ‘em though, given Wade’s advantage in blocks. Maybe it should be a tie.

  11. i agree if stats mean anything Demar should be on this list or can you just be mediocre on a playoff team or good on a crappy team

  12. god i didn’t realize the sg spot was so thin right now

  13. Agree with Alex on that one. DeRozen is showing a nice development and I would not be surprised if he become a top 10 regular in the future. But Allen has had a serious impact on the playoff run of the Grizzlies.

    Also not sure Harden needs to go in the starting line up. Having a stopper (Thabo) for the best guard on the other team and a scoring machine to get the second unit going is a nice set up.

  14. Harden is to Ginobili as Thabo is to Bruce Bowen. Thabo might be the starter in name, but I’m willing to bet Harden finishes most if not all games for the Thunder.

  15. How is Tony Allen ahead of James Harden? Look at Allen’s 3pt %. Wow it is horrid!

  16. shut up wade is a way better all around player than kobe. whenever kobe struggles and gets more assists people say that he’s sharing the ball with his teammates and that he’s such a team player. and 17-2, yeah, that just says the lakers have a better supporting cast, not they are a beter team. gimme wade over kobe any day

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