Let me start off by saying that Derrick Rose is excluded from this list because he hasn’t played in over a year. While I do believe he’s a top-3 point guard when healthy, it’s just not fair to put him up there until further notice. Now with that being out of the way, let’s dive right into my top-10 point guards in the NBA right now:
10. Mike Conley – The 6-year veteran continues to take on more responsibility every year. The lefty guard has always been a solid player that you can trust, but you’ll never call him a star. Even now he’s not a star, but potentially maybe he could be. Conley had his official coming out party during this past postseason. He was the floor general that led his Memphis Grizzlies team to the Western Conference Finals. It sure does help to have Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in the middle, but that doesn’t completely take away from his individual success on both ends of the floor. Conley averaged 17 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds during the playoffs. He also almost gathered 2 steals a game. He didn’t shoot the ball efficiently enough at 38% but he made up for some of that with his clutch shot making ability he displayed. Conley’s success will forever be in the shadow of Gasol and Randolph unless he ends up being an all-star.
9. John Wall – Mr. Wall is a very interesting prospect. He battled numerous of injuries throughout last season. He was sidelined most of the time due to a knee injury and he suffered a shoulder injury in February. Despite those injuries, Wall managed to play in nearly 50 games. During that span, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 assists and 4 rebounds. Wall is arguably the fastest player with the ball in the world. He gets from point a to point b in a matter of seconds. It’s just been unfortunate that he hasn’t been surrounded by any legit talent. But not it appears things are about to change in D.C. The Wizards have promising talent in Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. to play alongside Wall. Hopefully now we get to see how much better Wall looks on a potential playoff team.
8. Kyrie Irving – You know what’s even more scarier than Kyrie’s crossover? Well, it’s the fact that he’s only 21 years old. The former Rookie of the Year and number one overall pick of the 2011 draft has shown flashes of greatness. The fan fare Irving has been receiving is amazing. Everybody seems to know he’ll eventually be a top-3 point guard or maybe even the best one day, but as of right now the sample size is just too small to put him up there. Irving hasn’t shown the ability to be healthy for a full season. He played majority of the games during his rookie campaign, which was shortened due to the lockout. This past season he only played in 59 games. If he can stay healthy, then there’s no doubt Kyrie will be one of the greats in this league.
7. Jrue Holliday – This kid is probably the most underrated point guard in the NBA. At 6-4, he has great size for the position to go along with elite quickness and length. Holliday appeared in his first NBA All-Star game this year. That will be the first of many. He can pretty much do it all on the floor. He’s able to bother opponents with his long arms and lateral quickness to keep players in front of him defensively. On the offensive end, he can score in a variety of ways. He’s a good outside shooter and he can finish at the rim with his good upper body strength. Now that he’s on a more talented team in New Orleans, expect to hear a lot about him.
6. Deron Williams – Back when Williams was in Utah, there was always a debate between him and Chris Paul for who was the best point guard in the NBA. Things have changed quite a bit over the years. It’s more due to the fact that these younger guards are taking the league over by storm than Williams getting worst. At the same time however, Williams has dipped a bit in performance over the past year or so. Statistically this past season may have been his worst since his rookie campaign, which says a lot about how good he still is. He averaged 19 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds. Those numbers don’t look bad on paper, but it was apparent his injury slowed him down a lot, especially during the first half of the season. Some people speculated that he looked disinterested.
“I heard people say I looked disinterested,” Williams said. “I wasn’t disinterested. I just couldn’t beat anybody off the dribble, couldn’t make shots, couldn’t jump to shoot a lay-up.”
Williams appeared healthier as the season went on. It’ll be interesting to see what he does now with all the new additions in Brooklyn.
5. Rajon Rondo – Rondo was sidelined for majority of the season last year. He tore his ACL in his right knee after only playing in 38 games, but he’s expected to be ready by the start of the season. When healthy Rondo is about as complete of a point guard as you’ll find. He’s a former 2-time NBA All-Defense Second Team awardee and he led the league in steals in 2010. Rondo has also led the league in assists before. The man is a walking triple-double. His ability to get 10 points and 10 assists isn’t surprising, but the fact that he can grab 10 rebounds on occasion is quite impressive. The only thing stopping him from potentially being the best point guard in the world is his lack of shooting. Teams dare him to shoot and he can’t deliver. Now that Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are all gone, that glaring weakness is his game will show even more. He’s a career 24% three-point shooter and a 62% free throw shooter. Those numbers are hideous, especially coming from the point guard position.
4. Tony Parker – It was only a matte of time before the 3-time NBA champion and former Finals MVP appeared. Parker had an MVP type season, he finished sixth in the voting. He shot an incredible 52% from the field during the regular season, that’s remarkable for a guard. He’s arguably the best pick and roll player in the game today. Parker has the ability to find holes in the defense unlike any other. It’s not like he’s the most athletic guy in the world and that’s what makes you admire him more. He just understands the game. Obviously Parker is very fortunate to be playing for the legend Gregg Popovich. Pops always finds a way to get the most out of his players. It’s the Spurs way and they were so close to claiming their 5th championship in franchise history this year. Game 6 will forever haunt them, but who could forget Parker’s game-clinching shot in-game 1 of the finals?
3. Stephen Curry – The former 7th overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft came on to the scene very strongly this year. Curry broke Ray Allen’s record for most three pointers made in a season with 272 (269 was Allen’s old record). Curry wasn’t done rewriting the history books. Curry scored a career-high 54 points in Madison Square Garden and had a 47-point performance in Staples Center. He just has a thing for performing on the biggest of stages. That became even more evident after his ridiculous scoring spree during the playoffs. He can beat you in multiple of ways. If you press up on him, he will take you to the rim. If you give him any space, he’ll splash it on your head and he’s almost deadly coming of the high pick and roll. Another thing is his great passing ability. He can pass equally as good with both hands. Curry averaged over 8 assists during the postseason to go along with his 1.7 steals per game. The main thing for Curry is keeping his ankle healthy. The future is very promising in the Bay Area.
2. Russell Westbrook – Westbrook is knocking on Chris Paul’s door. The 3-time All-Star had proven that he’s a bonafide superstar in this league. He’s a slightly better version of a healthy Derrick Rose because of his defense. They’re both big point guards at 6-3 with unbelievable explosiveness and are deadly in transition, but Westbrook’s defense is far superior. Westbrook averages nearly two steals a game, but that doesn’t even tell half the story. His on-ball pressure frustrates opponents and causes them to turn the ball over or take a bad shot. On the offensive end he is a blur when attacking the rim. Nobody can stay in front of him. If he can just become more efficient offensively and eliminate his bad shot selection, then expect Westbrook to surpass Chris Paul.
1. Chris Paul – CP3 is the most complete point guard in the NBA. He affects the game greatly in just about every way possible. Paul is a great two-way player, he was selected on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team this past season for the third time in his career. Paul was also on the All-NBA First Team. He led the league in steals for the fifth time of his career and he’s led the league in assists two times previously. The 6-time All-Star has done just about everything besides win MVP and hoist up the Larry O’Brien trophy. Now after adding Darren Collison, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley and new head coach Doc Rivers to the mix. Chris Paul and his Clippers have a great shot to represent the west in the NBA Finals.