Jun 27, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view as NBA commissioner David Stern (right) , deputy commissioner Adam Silver (left) and former NBA player Hakeem Olajuwon speak on stage after the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NBA Draft Jibber-Jabber: The NBA Is Not A Guard League


The closer we get to the 2014 NBA Draft the more we have to deal with it. You know, the misinformation, hyperbolic statements and uneducated opinions from those who want to tell you why Player X is all that and a bag of chips while Player Y is too much of a risk because he prefers boxers to briefs. Really, pushing your opinion via sleight of hand has become America’s new pastime as far as it goes with any sports’ draft.

That is OK. I mean it. If somehow, by some miracle maybe, a person has an opinion and wants to share it, go right ahead. Just please don’t come to us with some picture you are painting that is not only forged by someone else’s thoughts, but was crafted by a brush who has bristles made out of fallacies and lies.

Which paint brush you use will depend on who you think should go No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. If it is Jabari Parker, well, you are painting with the bristles that have Parker as the least risky player in the NBA Draft. One with a low ceiling, but an even higher floor. You do that, however, while ignoring that his build might make him a risk if he can’t control his weight or that his ceiling is actually way higher than you are giving him credit for. Because, you know, being really good right now does not prevent a player from getting better later, I promise.

Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans (40) reacts after signing a painting of himself during the 2013 NBA All-Star slam dunk contest at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans (40) reacts after signing a painting of himself during the 2013 NBA All-Star slam dunk contest at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Then there are those who are in favor of Andrew Wiggins. They aren’t really painting with a brush. Proponents of Wiggins are actually painting with the idea of having a brush in their hand. They ignore the fact that the brush isn’t even in their hand. Still, the excitement of the brush’s possible abilities are too much for them to pass up.

Wiggins, unlike Parker, is billed as having a ceiling higher than any character in any Cheech and Chong movie. That, despite his inability to finish at the basket — which is incredibly alarming for a player of his athleticism, Wiggins should go No. 1 overall because of a bunch of what-ifs and all he needs to-dos. Mind you, the people against him going that high are just as bad.

They choose to ignore his already marvelous defensive prowess, the fact you can’t teach freakish athletic abilities and that Kansas’ offensive scheme is very rigid, schematic, and with very little room for improvisation, all of which are things that could be reasons why Wiggins didn’t excel on the regular for Bill Self.

Finally, kind of, there is Joel Embiid. The best center prospect since Dwight Howard. A guy who is often compared to Hakeem Olajuwon. This brush is great. It has everything you would want in a brush if you were using a picture (not another painted one though) of a historical, successful brush as the idea of what a brush is supposed to act like.

People in favor of Embiid cite the NBA’s longstanding love of big men, franchises’ needs for them, and how, at least historically, having a good-to-great big puts you in a legitimate position to win multiple NBA titles. Oddly enough, though, people against the idea of Embiid going No. 1 use recent history against picking Embiid.

And therein lies the problem, my friends. Not my horrid paint brush analogy either. The fact that people continue to talk about the NBA being a “guards’ league” even though it isn’t — and trust me, it isn’t. At least it isn’t to the degree the people against drafting Embiid are pushing it.

The last two NBA titles were won by the Miami Heat. They do have a really good guard on the team. There is no denying it. They also happen to have one of the greatest all-around players in the history of the game in LeBron James, who isn’t a guard. So, yeah, there’s that. Oh, and before Bron-Bron started to put a stranglehold on NBA crowns, the Dallas Mavericks won a title via a seven-foot German, who also calls a position other than guard home.

Before that, though, I’ll admit. A guard-led team did win a few NBA championships. Jelly Bean Jr. — known to laymen as Kobe Bryant — is a shooting guard who took the Lakers to two straight titles. I mean, he did have a lot of help in the big man department, though. Guys like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom all played more than significant roles in those runs. Not to mention, the team they lost to in the Finals before winning two in a row was led by an aging big in Kevin Garnett and a small forward in Paul Pierce — and that’s the truth.

That is just recent history. The only kind people seem to care about. I’m not even talking about the Lakers teams that did have Jelly Bean Jr., but also had a dominant Shaquille O’Neal, a San Antonio mini-dynasty thing led by Tim Duncan, and the fact the Spurs won’t go away because their franchise’s foundation is built off the back of a 7-footer. I mean, if we were to be honest with each other, because we should, because we are friends, only one of those teams were led by an actual guard and those were the Kobe Bryant teams that had a plethora of bigs on the roster.

Still, somehow, magically even, it has become a guards’ league. Even though the NBA’s widely regarded best point guard, Chris Paul, has never made it past the second-round of the NBA Playoffs. I suppose you can blame that on a lot of different things, but if it is truly a guards’ league, wouldn’t the best point guard in it give his team better runs than Paul has given the Clippers?

How about the fact that the shooting guard position is the weakest it has been in a long time? That it is probably the weakest of all the positions in the NBA. Go ahead, rattle me off the five best 2-guards in the NBA. I’ll wait. Done? Good. How are they treating you? Do all five of those guys seem like players who can lead their teams to NBA glory anytime soon? Alas, maybe I am being unfair doing that, just limiting it to shooting guards. Because, honestly, the talent and depth at the one is insane. So, instead, name the top 10 players in the entire NBA. I’ll wait for that one, too. How many of them are guards, or guards in their prime, or guards — outside of a Bron-Bron dependent Dwyane Wade – who are legit big time players that have led teams to NBA titles or have most played second-fiddle to someone else?

Jan 28, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown reacts in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Yup, a league that is owned by guards. Maybe a league owned by forwards, I can see that. But please don’t use the guard hyperbolic poppycock poopstorm to push an idea that Joel Embiid is a bad fit if he goes No. 1 overall. I guess if you want to cite back issues, because of Greg Oden‘s broken legs — never mind, I got nothing for you. Try watching actual basketball games instead of just saying something to seem smart by using something as lazy as the NBA being a guards’ league.

The NBA is as much a guards’ league as I am as much your father.

Tags: 2014 Nba Draft Guards League

  • Brandon Dee

    Well, we had Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Dr. J., Jerry West, the Detroit Bad Boyz of Thomas and Dumars. Aren’t they good enough samples to prove that guards can win it?

    • Joseph Nardone

      Of course they are, but that wasn’t the point of the article. Context, my friend.