By Scott Brock-Wilson
After looking over all the point guards in the league, here are my top 20. First, 11-20.
Honorable Mentions: Jrue Holiday, Pat Beverley
20. George Hill
Considering Hill had the 5th highest PER out of any point guard in the league, he is extremely low on this list. I view him as an above average game manager. George averaged 16 and 5 this season and shot over 35% from three and over 47% from the field. He is an above average defender, but he does not do any one thing spectacularly. He is similar to Lowry, but in a little lesser sense.
19. Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah is a pure scorer. He is a good shooter and a surprisingly adept finisher for his 5’9 frame, finishing over 56% of his shots within six feet. His stats did increase after the trade to Boston, where he shined as a scoring sixth man. He improved from 15 points and nearly 4 assists to 19 points and 5 assists per game. He can create off the dribble for himself, but cannot defend many people in the NBA. That’s putting it nicely, he is easily the worst defender on this list.
18. Brandon Knight
Knight was a top 15 point guard last year when he was in Milwaukee, where he was finally able to showcase his talent. Before the trade he was averaging 18 and 5, but afterwards on the Suns, he averaged just 13 and 4. He will be forced to play alongside Bledsoe this year at the two and sparing minutes at point guard as a back up. Knight is still a great guard. He is more of a scoring guard yet holds his own defensively. He improved his three point shot to 39% last year and has a good touch around the basket. Expect more growth from him this year and him to push Bledsoe a little bit.
17. Reggie Jackson
Jackson is a good ball handler, but even better at attacking the basket. He is an above average passer and has great potential. He was able to showcase it near the end of last year with the Pistons, but that was only 27 games. It remains to be seen if he can keep it up, especially with Jennings coming back from injury. But the Pistons have both under contract and will play both side by side. Playing next to Jennings will be difficult for Jackson; He will have to develop his shot more.
16. Kemba Walker
Since Kemba entered the league he has had a little bit of the clutch gene carry over from his days at Uconn, but the Hornets have yet to put him in a situation to show off that skill. He is a middle of the pack ball handler and an above average shooter, even though he had a rough year from three last year (30%). He needs to work on his finishing inside and add some more muscle. His defense is average but can changes depending on how he is playing offensively. He had an impressive stat line of 17 and 5 this year, and I expect a boost in production from him this season with the Hornets getting better.
15. Ty Lawson
Despite the fact that he will be traded before the start of the season, Ty Lawson is still an above average point guard. He is a great passer, as shown by his close to double digit assists, but similar to Teague, it helps that he is surrounded by a lot of average to good players that can score the ball. Along with his ability to create for his teammates, he can create for himself. He led the Nuggets with nearly 15 points per game last year. He has a three point shot that is smooth and quick, and is an elite passer on the drive. I admit I am higher than most on Lawson and believe he can be a suitable point guard on a championship team, assuming he is the third best player. However, even I admit he must get better defensively and improve on his ego and ability to lead. And no more DUI's.
14. Kyle Lowry
Lowry is unlike others on this list in that he does not have all the talent in the world. He is coming off a down season compared to his 2013-14 campaign when he was, without a doubt, a top ten point guard in the league. No one wants this award, but in terms of point guards, Lowry has done the most with the least. He does not have incredible athletic ability or a great shot. He has better stats than his skill shows. However, he is good at everything. He is a well-rounded guard. He averaged nearly 18 points, close to 7 assists, and around 5 rebounds per game. He even threw in two triple double this season. But, he fell off a little bit along with the rest of the raptors towards the end of last season. The Raptors go as he goes, yet he does not have the innate ability to lead. I personally believe he has peaked and cannot see him getting better than he already is, but expect him to continue to put up similar numbers, just a tad lower.
13. Brandon Jennings
Jennings is a scoring guard with a lot of pure talent. He has more talent than several above him on this list, but he has yet to reach it. He creates off the dribble and looks for his shot constantly. He has a three point shot that he continues to work on. Detroit is setup to try to make a run for the 8th seed of the playoffs with Jennings to help lead the way, however, this is a risk putting him at 11. I do it only because of his pure talent. With Reggie Jackson coming back, Jennings’ minutes will dip a little bit and he could even be pushed to play more two guard or even possibly traded depending on whether Jackson can continue the success he experience in the last 27 games. With Jennings at two, his shot will be more prevalent in the offense, and he will hoist up more threes.
12. Derrick Rose
At one point Rose was in the conversation for the best point guard in the league. But Rose has not played more than 51 games in three straight seasons, and even when he is on the floor, he has not been the same type of player. His usage rate is at an absurdly high 32%, which is way too high considering he is no longer the best player on his team. Jimmy Butler has taken over that role. Rose is a great driver and finisher, but we are still waiting to see the improvement in his three point shot. Defensively he is solid, but he has the tools to be a great one. Rose has all of the pieces around him to be great and put up big numbers, and this year he put up a stat line of close to 18 points and 5 assists. But, that does not mean he is on his way back. He was considered the best once, but I do not think he will ever be able to climb back up to the conversation of the best point guard in the league.
11. Tony Parker
Parker is a leader, a team player, and has all of the intangibles. He, 33, is sneaky quick on the floor, and even though he only played 68 games in each of the past two seasons, he is very consistent when on the floor, averaging 14 and 5 last season. He is an underrated defender, and a great creator off the drive. He can go toe to toe with some of the best point guards in the league for a game or two when he turns it on. He also has the unteachable clutch gene along with the aforementioned leadership ability. This year, once again, he will produce, with spurts of greatness on occasion.
Look forward to part II soon. Ranks 1-10.