Jose Calderon is an Elite Point Guard

Many of us haven’t noticed but new Detroit Pistons point guard Jose Calderon is entering an elite class of point guards.  He’s working on his third season of 10 PPG, 7 APG & 60% True Shooting.

Only 4 players in NBA history have had more than three such seasons combining passing and scoring efficiency at this level.

Rk

Player

From

To

Tm

Lg

Count

1

Steve Nash

2001

2013

TOT

NBA

11

2

John Stockton*

1988

2002

UTA

NBA

11

3

Magic Johnson*

1980

1991

LAL

NBA

9

4

Mark Price

1989

1993

CLE

NBA

4

5

Jose Calderon

2008

2013

TOT

NBA

3

6

Kevin Johnson

1991

1997

PHO

NBA

3

7

LeBron James

2010

2013

TOT

NBA

2

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/24/2013.
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3 thoughts on “Jose Calderon is an Elite Point Guard”

  1. The spectre of the handcheck rule change is ever-present, at least when comparing players like Nash and Calderon to historical players like Stockton and Magic. Nash is a good starting point or bellwether: before the rule change he never had a season where he averaged as much as 50% shooting or 9 assists (in fact, he only averaged over 8 one time). His career averages through 2004 were between 6-7 assists per (depending on whether you include the first two years in PHX) and 46.5% shooting. Certainly not an all-time mark. All that changed when he became the face of D’Antoni’s system, which conveniently coincided with the first year of new handcheck rules (hint: softer; much softer).

    Further, 7 assists seems like a rather low threshold, don’t you think?

    1. Agreed about the hand-check rule having a big effect.
      I was surprised that guys like Chris Paul and Tony Parker hadn’t made this list yet. Calderon is very under-rated.

    2. Nash actually hadn’t shot as high as .490 from the field (or averaged as many as 9.0 assists per game) in his first eight seasons in the NBA prior to ’04-’05, but the big change in his statistics occurred because he entered Mike D’Antoni’s spacious offense, not because of the hand-checking prohibition. The hand-checking prohibition helped, but it wasn’t the fundamental cause, especially since the NBA had already cracked down on hand-checking following the 1994 and 1999 seasons. Indeed, the 2004 crackdown merely constituted the third in the span of ten years, almost like the final chapter in a trilogy.

      Also helping Nash and contemporary point guards more than hand-checking was the NBA’s modern, revamped defensive three seconds rule, instituted following the 2001 season. Dovetailing with the proliferation of three-point shooters in D’Antoni-style offenses, the result has been a much more “open” lane and “wider” floor to create bigger driving lanes, sight lanes, and passing lanes than enjoyed by the likes of Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Mark Price, and Kevin Johnson.

      As for Calderon, he’s obviously extremely efficient and the NBA game is essentially about efficiency. But the question is whether he could maintain that efficiency over star-level volume, the kind that can carry a club. For instance, Kevin Johnson also enjoyed three seasons where he averaged at least 10.0 points, 7.0 assists, and a .600 True Shooting percentage, but in his three seasons, K.J. always averaged at least 18.7 points and 9.2 assists, whereas Calderon has never averaged as many as 13.0 points or 9.0 assists in any season.

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