Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat told Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports this, when asked about his place on the NBA’s list of best point guards:
“I’d say top 10. I’m not in the lower part (of the top 10), I’m in the middle part. I just have confidence in myself. I think I can compete with the best of them.’’
I’m a Mario Chalmers fan. After he hit this shot to send the 2008 NCAA title game against Memphis into overtime, I jumped off the sofa and celebrated as if I were wearing a Kansas jersey. The Jawhawks won (and covered) in overtime, and I thought Chalmers would be a nice NBA player.
Playing with LeBron and Wade and Bosh, he’s got a ring, a Finals loss, but modest stats. He’s a dogged defender, but only shoots 41 percent for his career from the field, and 36 percent from three. How does one quantify a Top 10 point guard? Here’s my attempt:
1) Chris Paul
2) Russell Westbrook
3) Kyrie Irving
4) Rajon Rondo
5) Tony Parker
6) Deron Williams
7) Stephen Curry
8 ) Jrue Holiday
[UPDATE: Obviously, Derrick Rose would be on this list if he were healthy. He's not. Why is Rondo on the list? He just played half a season.]
I know, I know – Irving is too high, Rondo could be 1st or 2nd, and Deron Williams is too low. You disagree, I get it.
But I’d say there’s no doubt those are – in some order – the eight best point guards in the NBA. Let’s say you swap Holiday and Chalmers. Is Chalmers going to put up 19-9 and shoot 46 percent? Doubtful.
The next batch are difficult to rank – Mike Conley, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, Ricky Rubio. Can Chalmers crack that group? I might take him over Conley and Jennings, but not Lawson and Rubio.
Another problem – LeBron is the de-facto point guard with the Heat – he leads them with 7.1 assists per game, which is more than several other very good point guards (Lawson, rookie Damian Lillard, Goran Dragic, Jeremy Lin, Jennings).
Bottom line: Mario Chalmers – very nice player, but no, he’s not a Top 10 point guard. Top 15, yes.