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.
There are two new entries on this month’s list, with Raymond Felton falling off because he got too shot-happy (and they stopped falling) and Andre Miller’s age has started to catch up with him so he’s not a particularly good defender anymore.
10. (New entry) D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats — 2010-11 stats: 50 GP, 34.3 MPG, 14.9 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.0 BPG, .435 FG%, .377 3P%, .902 FT%, 17.2 PER
Not that many of you have likely noticed, but D.J. Augustin is one of the most improved players in the league this season, particularly since Paul Silas took over as Bobcats coach in December. I never thought he could be a top-10 NBA point guard — and it’s obviously debatable whether he is — but the fact that it’s even debatable shows how far he’s come.
9. (New entry) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors — 2010-11 stats: 41 GP, 34.0 MPG, 19.1 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG, .480 FG%, .424 3P%, .938 FT%, 20.5 PER
Warriors owner Joe Lacob talked about the possibility of trading Curry on a radio show a couple of weeks ago, but he’s since apologized to Curry and said he’ll be a Warrior “for a very long time”. Whether or not a Curry-Ellis backcourt can be a winning formula going forward is up for debate, but if the Warriors are going to build around one of them, I’d stick with Curry.
8. (9.) Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets — 2010-11 stats: 46 GP, 32.7 MPG, 16.5 PPG, 5.4 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .432 FG%, .444 3P%, .919 FT%, 18.5 PER
Billups isn’t as much of a playmaker as he used to be — his assists per game average is its lowest since his 2002-03 season — but he’s even more of a killer than ever from long range. Check out his three-point shooting numbers from the last four Nuggets wins: six-for-nine against the T-Wolves, four-for-seven against the Blazers, three-for-six against the Cavs and six-for-nine against the Pistons. Chauncey’s clutch reputation has always been disproportionate to reality, but there’s no denying the man is a killer shot.