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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
History says point guards are safe picks

By Harold Shelton, ESPN Stats & Info

AP Photo/David J. PhillipTrey Burke (right) is 8th on Chad Ford’s Big Board.
If there's a safe bet to be had in the NBA Draft, history suggests it's taking a point guard in the top five.

Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams, Michigan's Trey Burke and Lehigh's C.J. McCollum are currently seven, eight and nine on Chad Ford's Big Board, with Burke projected to go 7th overall to the Sacramento Kings.

But if one of them, or any other available point guard, slides into the top five, history says the team making the selection should have quite the find.

Going back 30 years, there have been 25 point guards selected in the top five. In chronological order, starting in 1990, they are:

Gary Payton, Chris Jackson (later, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), Kenny Anderson, Penny Hardaway, Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Chauncey Billups, Antonio Daniels, Mike Bibby, Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Jay Williams, Shaun Livingston, Devin Harris, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Raymond Felton, Mike Conley, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, John Wall and Kyrie Irving.


And this is what that group has accomplished, by the numbers:

• 15 made at least one All-Star team (Payton, Anderson, Hardaway, Kidd, Iverson, Marbury, Billups, Francis, Davis, Harris, D. Williams, Paul, Rose, Westbrook, Irving)

• 12 made multiple All-Star teams (everyone above except Anderson, Harris and Irving)

• Seven Rookies of the Year (Kidd, Iverson, Francis, Paul, Rose, Evans, Irving)

• Six won an Olympic gold medal (Payton, Hardaway, Kidd, Paul, D. Williams, Westbrook)

• Four won an NBA title (Payton, Kidd, Daniels, Billups)

• Four led the league in assists (Payton, Kidd 3 times, Marbury, Paul twice)

• Three won multiple Olympic gold medals (Payton, Paul, D. Williams)

• Two NBA MVPs (Iverson, Rose)

• One Finals MVP (Billups)

• One Most Improved Player (Jackson)

• One Basketball Hall of Fame inductee this year (Payton)

Of the 12 top-five point guards drafted before 2000, all played at least nine seasons.

And of the 13 top-five point guards drafted this millennium, eight made an All-Star team or won Rookie of the Year.

So what do you get in drafting a point guard in the top five?

History says that even at their worst, you get a serviceable player who will have a long career in the league.

At their best, they're at least an All-Star and could be one of the league’s best.