By Chris Lehman
Just to clarify, I have had this list made for several months, meaning I’m not being influenced by recent performances.
In the NBA, for the first time in many years, we are seeing a surplus of quality point guards. A few years back, this was not the case. In fact, it was the exact opposite. The position is so crucial to the success of teams so it’s only right that there is so much available talent.
When I think of a point guard, I envision a player who more than anything, makes the right decisions. While scoring is the ultimate goal of the game, I don’t feel that this is the most important trait of a point guard. I’m not saying that the ability to score is a BAD thing, because you definitely want your captain to score, but it shouldn’t be their main goal. Everyone can score, so you need someone to direct everyone and distribute.
I was going to make a top-5 list, but there’s so much talent, I extended the list to ten. This list isn’t based off achievements, but more of a “what have you done for me recently” list. If I’m building a team, these are the top ten point guards I want.
Those who just missed it:
– John Wall – I love what he does for his team, but his assist/turnover ratio is just not quite what I want to see out of my point guard. I’d still love to have him, but the other options are slightly more promising.
– Kyle Lowry – From what I hear, he’s having a great year. In one of my fantasy basketball leagues, he’s the 2nd ranked PG. I’m unable to put him on my list though because I honestly have never seen him play so I have nothing to go off of.
– Jose Calderon – He has the highest assist/turnover ratio in the league (4.59). As I write this, I am wondering why and how he’s not on the list. Perhaps part of it is that, just like Lowry, I have not seen him play enough and I don’t like basing rankings solely off stats.
– Jrue Holiday – As the 76ers are having a great year, Holiday has been the floor general of their attack. He’s 11th on the list.
Top Ten Point Guards
10. Ricky Rubio – Entering the league, Rubio had more hype around him than any player since LeBron James. Being the skeptic I am, I did not think he’d live up to it, but he somewhat has. He displays tremendous court vision and is a passing innovator. He’s the first person I’ve seen who actually uses spin on bounce passes on a regular basis and uses defensive players’ momentum against them. He makes difficult passes look routine and makes about 5 passes a game that most players would be happy to make in a year. With a little work on his shooting, I expect him to climb this list in the near future.
9. Kyrie Irving – There were so many questions about the kid as he entered the NBA. Any doubts about his talent have been shut down. I remember one time back in 2003, the Cavs had the first pick and they drafted a guy you may have heard about, LeBron James. That pick completely turned the franchise around until last year when he left. I’m not saying Irving is THAT good, but given what he has to work with, he’s definitely made the most of the opportunity. He’s already made himself known as one of the purest shooters in the league. On any other team, he’d be dominant. The sky is the limit for him.
8. Ty Lawson – At the beginning of the year, I picked Lawson to be my breakout player of the year. Through this point, there have been some more impressive breakouts, but Lawson is still near the top of that list. Being arguably the fastest player in the league is his biggest strength. On top of that, he shoots a pretty solid three-ball. He got off to a great start to the season but has slowed down quite a bit. But over the next few years I expect to see him maintain his dominant form.
7. Tony Parker – I find Parker to be the most frustrating player in the league. Being a Lakers fan, I love seeing the Spurs lose, but there have been countless times where Parker bails his team out by somehow getting into the paint and making an acrobatic shot. He also has the tendency to not make a jump shot all game until the one with 2 seconds left on the clock that wins the game. Over the last several years, he’s quietly been one of the best point guards in the league showing off his great balance of scoring and distributing. He’s not flashy, but he always gets the job done.
6. Deron Williams – A few years ago, his name was in the talk for the best point guard in the league. We haven’t seen a decrease in his talent or production, it’s just unfortunate for him that he now plays for the Nets and so many other point guards are outplaying him.
5. Russell Westbrook – Ever since he exploded onto the scene as a rookie he has played at an extremely high level. The only criticism he’s ever gotten is that he needs to be more submissive to fellow superstar Kevin Durant. Westbrook has one of the best all-around skillsets you can imagine. He’s very fast, can jump out of the Chesapeake Energy Arena, he has great handles and he can shoot. He’s making the most of what he has as he is averaging almost 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2 steals a game. He has the ability to score at any time, which unfortunately slightly hurts his team because they do not have a distributor.
4. Steve Nash – The man is still doin’ it. At 38 years old, his production has dropped a little since his MVP seasons, but he is still putting up 14 and 11 a game! Any time you’re dishing 11 dimes a game, you’re alright with me. In fact, if you want to find the last time he didn’t average double digit assists, you have to go back to the 08-09 season where he had 9.7. Then if you want to find the next season, you have to go back to the 03-04 year (AKA when Lebron got drafted). That’s a long time ago. As far as I’m concerned, he could play until he’s 45 and still average a double double.
3. Derrick Rose – If this list was “Who is the best player who plays the point guard position,” Rose would be at the top of it. It’s not though. Unfortunately for Rose, he’s a shooting guard who was placed in a 6’3″ body. I won’t feel sorry for him because he seems to be doing alright for himself. At any given time, he has the ability to beat his defender, as well as any others who decide to get in his way. He’s possibly the best finisher around the rim and with how easily and often he gets there, it’s nearly impossible to stop him from scoring. But with the intention to beat the broken drum, Rose is NOT a pure point guard and that’s why he’s not higher.
2. Chris Paul – Most people have him as their top point guard. And with good reason. There’s nothing NOT to like about his game. He’s a great scorer, around the rim and from deep. He’s one of the three best passers in the game, seeing as he is 4th in the NBA in assists per game (8.4). Also, he’s good on defense. He’s currently 3rd in the NBA in steals (2.2). On top of that, he has the 11th best 3-point percentage at .441. Overall, his game is so well-rounded and he excels in just about everything. As stated earlier, I have no problem with most people calling him the best point guard.
1. Rajon Rondo – I’ll start by saying I used to have my doubts about him. I used to think that he was only good because of how he was defended. When your man is not up close on you, you are able to see the floor better and make better decisions with the ball and because of that, I used to think he was overrated. That has all changed though. Rondo cannot shoot the ball. I realize this. But he still finds a way to score which is what amazes me. This is all because of his passing ability. Defenders are scared that when he’s driving, he’s not looking to score, but he’s actually quite the skilled scorer around the rim and always finds a way to get shots up over bigger players. Rondo’s main strength is that he ALWAYS knows where the other 9 guys are on the floor. If you’re open, he’ll find you and that’s exactly what I want my point guard to do.