'04 boasts strong PG class

Updated: June 15, 2004, 3:21 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
After a three-year point guard drought, the 2003 draft flooded the NBA with a plethora of unbelievable prospects. Kirk Hinrich, Dwyane Wade and T.J. Ford have been great. Luke Ridnour, Marcus Banks, Zoran Planinic, Leandro Barbosa, Mo Williams and Steve Blake have shown flashes of promise. Reece Gaines? Uh ... not so much.

It was about time. It had been three pretty long years since the point guard explosion of 1999 brought us Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Andre Miller and Jason Terry in the lottery.

Suddenly it's vogue to be a point guard again.

The amazing thing about the class of 2004 is how much the definition of a point guard gets fuzzier and fuzzier by the day. There are scoring point guards (Ben Gordon, Sasha Vujacic), pass-first point guards (Shaun Livingston, Roko Leni Ukic) and several guys who fall in between (Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson and Sebastian Telfair).

This year you also have your choice of small (Nelson and Telfair), supersized (Livingston, Vujacic and Ukic) and everything in between (Gordon, Harris).

Small points give you the speed to run a high-octane offense. The big points can see over opponents, play multiple positions and create defensive nightmares. The in-betweens tend to be shooting guards in point-guard clothing. But with the success of players like Gilbert Arenas and Chauncey Billups running and gunning, there's now a place for those guys, too.

Generally, GMs believe this is one of the strongest point guard classes on record. Three to four point guards could go in the lottery. Six to eight could go in the first round. Here are Insider's rankings of the Top 10 point guards in the 2004 draft.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

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