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ACC: Top Five Guards Heading Into the 2012-2013 Season

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

With a rich tradition in guard play, the ACC is looking at another season where the little guys will play the biggest of roles in deciding the conference. The top two guards drafted out of the conference last season, Austin Rivers and Kendall Marshall, played for the two top teams, and just so happened to be lottery picks.

We can’t exactly predict where the conference’s guards will wind up going in next year’s draft just yet, but NBADraft.net has one of the guards in our top-five as a projected lottery pick.

Without further ado, here are my top five ACC guards heading into the 2012-13 season (which begins in literally hours!!):

5. Erick Green, Virginia Tech
Take it up while you can, because while Green’s as talented of a guard as there is in the conference, the talent around him is sub-par to say the least. One of three returning Second Team All ACC players from a season ago, Green led the Hokies in points, assists, steals, and minutes, and I’d almost bet my life he’ll do the same this year. With a first year head coach in James Johnson, Green is in all likelihood more familiar with the talent around him than his coach is. Green is more than just a player who fills a stat sheet due to a lack of talent around him, he’s maintained a 2.3/1 assist/turnover ratio since taking over as a starter his sophomore year. Keep your head up Erick, and keep doing your thing.

4. C.J. Harris, Wake Forest
The fourth leading scorer in the ACC last season, Harris is a part of one of the most up-and-coming teams in the conference. More of a scoring threat than a facilitator, Harris will play off of a heady point guard in freshman Codi Miller-McIntyre, and with help in the front court from junior Travis McKie, Harris should get looks he didn’t get his junior year. Most impressive about Harris has been the strides he’s taken to improve, not only improving his field goal percentage by almost 10 percent last season, but being able to get to the free-throw line almost two more times a game as a junior than he did his freshman season. Watch out for Harris, and the Demon Deacons.

3. Seth Curry, Duke
It’s not fair to consider Curry’s Duke tenure a disappointment considering he averaged just over 13 points per game last season, but after his explosive display of scoring as a freshman at Liberty, Curry was expected to have more of an impact on such a competitive level. Curry has come along quite nicely, being able to play both guard positions efficiently and fit Mike Krzyzewski’s three-point shooting strategy well, but playing off the ball more this season should really benefit both him and the Blue Devils. Quinn Cook might be the most complimentary guard Curry’s lined up with at Duke, and with ballhog Rivers gone, Curry should get more than the 9.9 shots per game he took his junior season.

2. Michael Snaer, Florida State
The best player on last years ACC Tournament champs is once again the best player on Florida State, except he won’t have half as much help this season as he’s had the previous two. Playing with point guard Ian Miller (who probably could’ve made this list as well) should help Snaer get looks, and most likely feeling snubbed not being selected as the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, Snaer will play with a chip on his shoulder all season long. He’s as dangerous in the open court as he is from deep (he shot above 40% last season), and has the potential to be a lottery pick in next June’s NBA Draft.

1. Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State 
Speaking of lottery picks, Brown is the one guard projected for the lottery by NBADraft.net for the 2013 draft. Coming off of a season where he led the ACC in steals, and was second in assists, Brown still  managed 12.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The Wolfpack are the ACC favorites this season, and will begin the season as the the number 6 team in the nation thanks to Brown, and the confidence that he’ll be able to get a roster stacked with not just experience, but skill, further than they’ve been in a number of years. Brown played his best in big spots, and with the national spotlight on NC State, expect to be hearing about this dynamic guard a lot over the next several months.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth