Last week, Gary Payton had some interesting comments on point guards on SiriusXM NBA radio, about who he considers to be a true point guard in today's NBA:
Right now, there's only three true point guards in the NBA. And people don't understand what true point guards are. True point guards are a person who can take a basketball team and get assists, be a coach, score when he has to, play defense. I think Chris Paul does that very well, and I think Tony Parker does it very well. And people who don't like the kid, Rondo, are crazy. I think his attitude might not be the way people want it to be, but Rondo is a great basketball player and a great point guard. He can do all of them things.
There's a lot to process there, but let's start with our initial reaction at not including John Wall in that list:
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let's break down what Payton said piece by piece and try to figure out where this all went horribly wrong.
True point guards are a person who can take a basketball team and get assists
We couldn't agree more. That's why it's good for the Wizards that John Wall leads the NBA in assists per game. Lest anyone think that's just because Wall plays a lot of minutes, let's not forget that John Wall also leads the NBA in assist percentage. John Wall also leads the NBA in free throw assists per game, he's second in the NBA in secondary assists per game, third in assist opportunities per game and he creates more points per game off of his assists than anyone else in the NBA.
be a coach
Yep, a true point guard should run things like a coach, mercilessly carving up defenses until they beg for mercy. Couldn't agree more.
score when he has to
Again, couldn't agree more. That's probably why it's good that John Wall is averaging more points per game in clutch situations than Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Kyle Lowry, Kyrie Irving, Jamal Crawford, Dwyane Wade, Ty Lawson, Manu Ginobili and Deron Williams, among others.
and play defense
We're really seeing eye to eye with Payton here. That's why Wall's defense has been so valuable to the Wizards this season. He is third in the NBA in steals per game and no point guard is defending the position better than Wall right now. The stats and the tape both show that very clearly. If you don't believe those, just ask Chris Paul himself, he'll tell you.
In hindsight, maybe we read this wrong. Maybe Payton listed Parker, Paul and Rondo and "true" point guards because he thinks Wall is the truest point guard out there right now, and should therefore be referred to using something more fitting of his current status.
Thanks to averagebro for the heads up on Payton's quotes, make sure you read his post on why Wall deserves more attention from local media if you haven't done so already.