With Luke's improved play (particularly on offense) this year, I thought that it might be a good time to look at where he stands and try to project his "best case scenario" as a player. I personally think that Luke has a chance to be an All-Star caliber point guard within the next 2-3 seasons.
Luke has shown early on that he is going to use his midrange game quite a bit more this year. This makes him far more of an offensive scoring threat and it also allows him to be a deadlier passer. His penetration on dribble drives have freed up Ray and Rashard for better looks due to the fact that he's proven to be a scoring threat.
To help illustrate where I'm coming from, I'll shamelessly borrow a concept from ESPN's Rob Neyer (for those who are familiar with his baseball columns):
Player A: 35.8 minutes/game, 15.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.25 steals/game, 6.5 apg, .505 FG%, .500 3 FG %
Player B: 34.1 minutes/game, 15.6, ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.0 steals/games, 7.3 apg, .487 FG%, .406 3 FG %
Sonics fans are likely to recognize that Player A is Luke Ridnour's statline from 2006 (thus far) based on the 50% 3 point FG shooting percentage. What may surprise some folks is that Player B is Steve Nash from the 2000-2001 season in Dallas in his age 26 season.
This isn't to say that I think that Luke Ridnour is going to win back-to-back MVP awards in 4 or 5 seasons. Heck, I wouldn't have even predicted that Nash would do that. But I present this information to illustrate the path that Ridnour is on and to prove that All-Star caliber seasons are not out of the question for Luke.
If we take the Ridnour/Nash comparison a bit further, we'll see that Luke is actually further along in several key categories versus Nash at the same age. For instance, let's look at the age 24 seasons (3rd year in the NBA for both players) of Luke and Nash:
Ridnour: 33.3 minutes/game, 11.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.6 steals/game, 7.0 apg, .418 FG %, .289 3 FG %
Nash: 31.7 minutes/game, 7.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .9 steals/game, 5.5 apg, .363. FG %, .374 3 FG %
The statistical jump that I've laid out that occurred with Luke Ridnour and Steve Nash is not unique to these two players. If you look at other PG's in the league, you'll find a similar learning and improvement curve amongst the more talented players. Gary Payton's statlines from his first two years (where he struggled) to his 3rd and 4th years show a growth pattern that is along the lines of Nash and Ridnour.
So with this in mind, along with your personal observations, what sort of performance do you expect out of Luke in 2 or 3 seasons?