Sunday, February 10, 2013

Best point guards in the NBA, 2013 edition



With the recent trends, it's east to forget that not too long ago centers were sought after as foundations of a franchise. In a sort of NBA revolution, point guards like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook have started to become the desire of every general manager. Although it could be argued that there has been a void of talented big men of late, this trend is definitely at least partially attributable to the aftermath of the Greg Oden saga. The trauma in the organization that passed up one of the league's now-premier scorers is not something that any other team wants to risk. Oden will serve as a reminder that drafting a big men with a high pick is often more of a risk than it is worth.

Even within the point guard position itself there has been a shift in recent years. No longer do teams look for a pass-first traditional point guard, but they often prefer a Kyrie Irving do-it-all type who can create for himself as much as he can create for others. As good as Rajon Rondo is, there is a degree of liability that a team would have if they relied on the Celtic star for scoring. Whether a team prefers a traditional or scoring point guard is often a multi-variable question, but this ranking will show that both types have had success with their style of play.

(Note: all stats updated as of February 9.)

Just missed the top 10

11. Ty Lawson


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
15.2
2.6
7.0
1.6
.433
.742
.355

Although his consistency has been questionable, Lawson runs point for one of the best teams in the NBA, which is why he is on the outside looking in on the top 10 PGs. One game he might be a near no-show and the next he's going off for 21 and 8 but regardless, he is instrumental to the success of the Denver Nuggets. The combination of effort (both on offense and defense) and the wins that he leads Denver to are what gives Lawson the slightest edge over the likes of Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker.

Promising young PGs…and Deron Williams

10. Greivis Vasquez


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
14.0
4.5
9.4
0.7
.434
.769
.369

Who knew that the most impressive player in New Orleans would not be the former No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, but rather their 6'6" point guard from Venezuela? Vasquez has exhibited marked improvement over the three years that he has been in the league and is running the show down by the bayou. ...Only problem is that that show has not been very impressive with the Hornets losing about twice as often as they have won. If he was on a better team, it would be more readily apparent that Vasquez is one of the better PGs in the NBA.

9. Damian Lillard


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
18.4
3.3
6.5
1.0
.425
.848
.361

He might be only a rookie, but Damian Lillard has already earned the right to enter the conversation of best point guards in the NBA. Lillard jumped over some more established guards because of his brilliant performances. After watching his career game to-date in his homecoming against the Golden State Warriors, I was incredibly impressed by his composure and ability to hit big shots. His potential is sky-high and don't be surprised if he's in conversation for top-5 PGs in the next couple of years.

8. Deron Williams


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
16.8
3.3
7.7
0.9
.413
.853
.344

The Brooklyn Nets point guard has been a disappointment by most standards, but that is in large part because of the high standards that he has set. Although his assists have steadily declined over the past four years and his PPG average has dropped dramatically this year, Williams is still shooting 85 percent from the line. And he is turning the ball over less than any of the previous seven years. Deron Williams lands a spot on most top-10 lists by reputation alone but in an updated list of the best overall players in the NBA, I certainly would pull him out of the top 10.

Great playmakers

7. Jrue Holiday


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
19.3
4.2
8.9
1.5
.457
.776
.354

My pick for most improved player of the year, Jrue Holiday has finally made consistent what was previously glimpses of brilliance. Just shy of averaging 20 and 10 a night, Holiday  is right in the middle of the top point guards in the league. If he can help Philadelphia make a push for the playoffs, Holiday might rise even further than the seven spot.

6. Stephen Curry


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
20.9
4.0
6.7
1.6
.434
.907
.449

Injuries have always held Curry back from performing his best, but a relatively healthy season thus far has shed light onto the fact that Curry is one of the best in the league when healthy. His ability to shoot threes off the dribble is unlike anybody in the league; he and Klay Thompson make up what is unquestionably the best shooting backcourt in the NBA. Curry was mentioned as the biggest 2013 All Star snub, but if he stays healthy there will be plenty more opportunities in upcoming seasons.

5. Tony Parker


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
20.6
3.0
7.6
0.9
.534
.821
.389

As inconsistent as other guards like Ty Lawson are this year, Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs exemplify the precise opposite. Every year, the question of age hits the Spurs and so far those questions have been muted quickly. What's even scarier? The Spurs .765 winning percentage is the highest that it's been since 2005-06. Parker's .534 FG percentage is remarkable considering he's also scoring over 20 PPG. He's forcefully reminding the league that Duncan and Ginobili may have seen better years but he is still only 30 years old.

The elite

4. Russell Westbrook


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
22.5
5.3
8.1
2.0
.423
.798
.320

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook make up the most potent scoring duo in the NBA. And although I have been a harsh critic of Westbrook, there is no denying his prowess. At 23 and 8 a game, Westbrook's incredible athleticism has produced results. His FG percentage is reasonable for a prolific scorer, but I still believe that OKC would be even better off with their best shooter (Durant) taking the most shots on his team...novel idea, I know.

3. Kyrie Irving


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
23.9
3.6
5.4
1.7
.476
.847
.429

I seriously considered putting Kyrie in the No. 2 spot...the numbers that he has put up are certainly worth it. He has done his best to quell the pain of LeBron leaving Cleveland, but he just hasn't been able to help his team put together a respectable record. Losing one of the league's best rebounders, Anderson Varejao, was a devastating blow but Kyrie has joined the conversation of not only one of the best point guards in the NBA, but also one of the best players. Perhaps another year could help the chemistry in Cleveland because a Kyrie-Varejao combo could be deadly. Cavs fans can only dream about what success that a LeBron-Kyrie-Varejao trio could yield. (Kyrie and a healthy Varejao might even be better than LeBron's current supporting cast...)

2. Rajon Rondo


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
13.7
5.6
11.1
1.8
.484
.645
.240

Despite the Celtics success without the star point guard on the floor, Rajon Rondo has established himself as a top point guard in the league. Although most (or all) of the other players on this list can score more prolifically than Rondo, the facilitating ability Rondo possesses is second maybe only Chris Paul. Also unlike most of the players on this list, Rondo has a championship ring.

1. Chris Paul


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
16.3
3.5
9.5
2.5
.470
.897
.338

There isn't much to say about Chris Paul that hasn't already been said. His leadership, play-making, and defense are all the best in the NBA or just shy thereof. Ironically, like Rondo, CP3 has battled injury of late but proved against the Knicks on Sunday that he's back. Hopefully soon enough a familiar name return to the floor (and compete with Paul for the No. 1 slot on this list): Derrick Rose. But for now at least, the Clippers have the league's best PG.

6 comments:

  1. Not even mentioning Derrick Rose? If your excuse is that he's injured, then how come Rondo is on that list? Just base it off his past since he hasn't played this season. He's definitely elite.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I talked about it in the section on Chris Paul. As for Rondo, he's played a full season...until now. Rose hasn't played a game and is coming off of a big surgery. I could make an argument for him being 1, 2, top 5, or not even top 10. I opted to leave him out of this discussion (for now).

    ReplyDelete
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  4. knicks for champsMarch 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    what? no derrick rose

    ReplyDelete
  5. Scott commented with the exact same remark. Read my response for your answer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. He has started 78 games over the course of two seasons. Not nearly consistent enough.

    ReplyDelete

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