By Scott Brock-Wilson
Here are my top 10 point guards in the NBA. Feel free to comment with your thoughts.
If you missed part I (20-11) and want to catch up, click here
10. Jeff Teague
Rarely does Teague get mentioned as a top ten point guard. Sure, he benefited from having a well balanced team with a lot of average to good players that can help him stack the assist totals, but seven assists is seven assists no matter who he is passing them to. But Teague was the facilitator and leader for the 1st place Hawks as he lead them into the playoffs. Teague is an athletic, pass first guard that will shoot only if needed. He is a team player, but one that is an underrated scorer. He quietly was the 2nd leading scorer for the hawks, a team that included 3 other all stars, at 16 ppg. Teague will again be the facilitator for an Atlanta team that hopes to be more than just a feel-good regular season story.
9. Mike Conley
There will be many players with far better stats than Conley that are behind him in this list. But there is not a stat for leadership. Gasol is the best player on the team, but Conley is the heart and soul, proven by the playoff series against the Warriors. When he came back from injury, the grizzlies showed life and won the next two games before being overpowered by the much more talented Warriors. He is a defensive stopper, which is a necessary asset versus the talent of all of the west point guards. To go along with his defense, he is a very good shooter but does not get much credit for it. Conley shot in the top 10 in three point percentage out of all point guards this past season. He is a great point guard to have at the helm of both your offense and defense and many teams would love to have that, so expect him to be motivated during his contract year.
8. Eric Bledsoe
Another one of the athletic point guards that can play above the rim, Bledsoe, at only 25 years of age, is one of the premier point guards in the NBA. I believe this will be his breakout year. He has all of the potential necessary and finally a good situation with less competition in the backcourt. Bledsoe is a drive first guard that gets to the line over five times a game. Near the rim, he is as good as anybody. He averaged 17 points, 6 assists, and 5 boards including two triple doubles last season. I expect him to be second in all point guards in triple doubles next year just behind Westbrook. He needs to improve on his shooting this year, and I think he will. Look out for an impressive year for Bledsoe, including possibly an all-star appearance if things fall his way.
7. Damian Lillard
Lillard is the stereotypical scoring point guard, yet he is also one of the more athletic point guards. He was a great scorer at Weber State and it has carried over to the NBA. Lillard is a good shooter, and can knock down the three, though he needs to reduce the amount he shoots from behind the arc. But he has the unteachable skill of being clutch. In just three seasons, he has shown that he has no fear to take and make the last second shot. In all three years, Lillard has yet to miss a game. However, I am reluctant to give him this spot because many people overrate him due to the fact that they like to root for him. He has a lot of work to do defensively. His defense was absolutely atrocious this past year and needs to improve or else he will fall in this list. Word of advice Damian, focus on defense, even though the rap really wasn’t that bad, much better than other player’s failed rap careers.
6. Goran Dragic
This may be one many people disagree with, but going into last year Dragic was a very underrated player. No one ever mentioned him in the names of any of the elite point guards and he certainly didn’t command any attention from the nation hiding in Phoenix with their backcourt mess at the beginning of last season. Despite this, Dragic has quietly become one of the best guards in the league. He creates off the dribble and thinks pass-first. Also, Dragic executes offenses to perfection and has a very underrated jump shot. I know he only averaged 16 points and 4.5 assist last year, but for the first time in his career he will have good players around him in Miami this year. He is a little slower than most on defense but has the basketball IQ to make up for it. Expect big things from him on a good Heat team.
5. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie has the potential to win an MVP one day, however that day is not next year. It was difficult for me to not put Kyrie at four on this list, but his defensive prowess is not on the same level as Wall’s. He has the athletic ability and the talent but needs to work to improve defensively. With that being said, his ball handling may possibly be the best in the league, yes, even better than Curry's. Kyrie is a born scorer and can find his shot anytime he wants it no matter who is guarding him. He can shoot, drive and kick. Kyrie was also 3rd in three point percentage this year among point guards even while shooting 5 per game which is the second most attempts. Offensively he is a guy that any team would love to have lead them.
4. John Wall
I consider Wall to be the most athletic point guard in the NBA with a slight edge over Westbrook. His unparalleled quickness and speed make him a top 5 defender at his position. This led to almost two steals per game for Wall. Along with his defensive abilities, Wall is also one of the best attacking guards in the game and has a great ability to finish with contact. Without a good three point shot, defenders sag off of him daring him to shoot, yet Wall is still able to drive past opposing guards at will. What he does from there makes him elite. His playmaking ability is one of his best assets, especially from the lane where he can finish or dish it to the open man, which is exemplified in his 17 and 10 stat line this year. For Wall to move up in these rankings he will need to develop his shot more.
3. Stephen Curry
Curry is the reigning Most Valuable Player, yet is only third on my list. Yes, he deserved the MVP, but it certainly helped being the best player on the best team, which in many years is how the MVP is decided. Curry is without a doubt the most gifted offensive point guard in the league. He has crazy handles and also may be the best shooter the NBA has ever seen. Not to mention his lightning quick release and infinite range. However, he does lack defensively and that is why he is number three. In the Western Conference, you need to defend your position as a point guard and Curry cannot do so adequately. He lacks lateral movement and cannot stay in front of many of the more athletic guards. Expect his focus this year to be more on defense and to see continued improvement in that area, however another MVP is doubtful.
2. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is an athletic freak of nature. He is part of the NBA’s new breed of point guard: the above the rim, quick, high-flying guard. Westbrook led the league with 11 triple doubles this year, seven more than the next closest (James Harden). Most of these triple doubles came without Durant in the lineup, when Westbrook went into beast mode. He was ferociously attacking everywhere on the court, however that concerned many due to his durability questions. Westbrook only played in 67 games this year, but when he was on the court, he averaged 28 points, nearly 9 assists and over 7 boards. He was unstoppable when healthy with a 29 PER which was good enough for second in the league behind Anthony Davis’ staggering 30.8. Westbrook could potentially overtake Paul, but I do not see it happening this year.
1. Chris Paul
Paul, despite not being the reigning MVP or a triple double machine, is the best all around point guard in the NBA. Cp3, at age 30, is a lockdown defender that also has the talent offensively to pick and choose his spots. He can be a setup up man that can get you 20 assists in a game or a dominant scorer that puts up 35 in a game. This season, Paul played in all 82 games while averaging 19 and 10, proving his consistency and durability. Paul assisted on nearly 50% of his teammates field goals when he was on the floor. He is and has been the best point guard in the league for several years. However this may not last long.