- John Gasaway, ESPN Insider
Last week when I ranked the upcoming season's top 10 frontcourts, my selections were heavily influenced by the high number of elite big men who have chosen to forgo the NBA draft. But when it comes to the nation's top guards, you can make a case that this season looks a lot more "normal." Pretty much everyone who was expected to "go early" did go early. Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker they're all long gone.
Meaning it's time to meet the new breed. To be sure, there are some familiar names here. For example, Jordan Taylor and Tu Holloway were named second- and third-team All-Americans, respectively, last season. Still, many if not most of the players you see below will soon be praised for "stepping up," "maturing" and every other euphemism for "we just started paying attention to you." Here are your top 10 backcourts for 2011-12:
Jordan Taylor might see his kenpom.com efficiency ranking dip this season, now that Jon Leuer no longer is around to draw the attention of opposing defenses. Then again, a pure shooter who carries the responsibilities of a point guard, sprays assists and gets to the line is a rare quantity, to say the very least. Not to mention that Taylor's biggest play of the season (his block on Jacob Pullen's would-be tying shot in the closing moments of the Badgers' win over Kansas State in the NCAA tournament) might have come on defense. Bo Ryan, give this man some help.
John Gasaway of Basketball Prospectus ranks the top projected backcourts of the 2011-12 season. Although Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina look very strong, they're not No. 1.