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Top NBA Point Guards
I'm only ranking the top 5. How I rank my top 5 is quite simple. By impact, basketball IQ, stats, and playoff impact or success. That's how I'm ranking 'em. If I was going by athleticism then I would automatically have to make Rose or Westbrook #1 on this list. If I was going by defense, I would have to rank Rondo #1. The reason I don't care about athleticism is because a PG doesn't need to be athletic. A PG is supposed to be the orchestrator of the offense. The QB. The straw that stirs the drink. Not some athletic freak that can jump high. Although the game has transcended and more and more PGs are score-first point guards. And I don't have a problem with that. I don't care about defense much either, but I won't completely dismiss it like I am with athleticism. PGs frankly don't need to be good or great defenders because defense is a team effort and you need bigs inside the paint who can rotate defensively. Championships have never been lost because of a point guard's defense in the past, and more than likely won't be in the future as well. It's really hard to quantify who or what PGs plays the best defense. So defense holds little weight in my criteria. And with that, here we go.
1. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Was there really any debate? I mean seriously. CP3 is that good. No, Bull fans, it's not Derrick Rose. Sorry if you thought he would be #1 on this list. Just because he has an MVP doesn't mean he's better than CP3. You could make the case that CP3 should have multiple MVPs. To this day, I still feel that he was robbed of MVP in 2008 in favor of Kobe's charity MVP. I believe CP3 was the MVP and by far the best player that season. CP3 wasn't playing with scrubs, but he certainly didn't have the cast Kobe had after the Pau Gasol addition. CP3 had a staggering Player Efficiency Rating(PER) of 28.3. Only one player had a higher PER, and that was LeBron James. CP3 had the most win shares(17.8) by a large margin. The next closest was Lebron James with 15.2. He had a higher eFG% than Kobe, a higher PER, more win shares(offensive and defensive were both higher), more assists a game, less turnovers a game, better shooting percentage, better free-throw percentage, and he averaged nearly 3 steals a game. Kobe's team finished exactly one game ahead of the Hornets. So why did Kobe win MVP again?
Despite not winning an MVP, CP3's impact has been felt in this league. You can't guard him, because he's just too fast. And he's not afraid to go in the paint either. My favorite thing about CP3 is his ball handling skills. He seriously might be the best ball handler in NBA history. You can't get the ball away from him. Can you recall a more brilliant passer that was as careful with the ball as CP3? He has a staggering career assist:turnover ratio of 9.6:2.4. That is unheard of. That is John Stockton-esque. As a matter of fact, only five other players since 1981 in NBA history have had seasons with at least 9.5 assists a game and 2.5 turnovers a game or less, and that is Mookie Blaylock, Muggsy Bogues, Johnny Moore, Avery Johnson, and John Lucas. Muggsy and Johnny did it twice. CP3 has done it three times! And keep in mind, CP3 has done that while being the main focus of the opposing defense.
It is absolutely amazing how great of a floor general CP3 is. It is almost unreal. Not only that, he has a wet jump shot, he's a great FT shooter, a great three-point shooter, great at getting to the basket and finishing, his basketball IQ is through the roof, and he's an absolute thief. My criteria doesn't call for you to be a great defender, and CP3 certainly isn't great by any means. But he's disruptive on the ball handler and plays the passing lanes as well as anybody. He's the complete package. He has the best stats not only at PG, but he's up there with LeBron in career PER. He has the third highest active career PER in the NBA. He has had outstanding playoff runs, and the Hornets nor Clippers would have went anywhere in the playoffs without him.
His impact is similar, and in some ways larger than that of Steve Nash's in his sequel with the Phoenix Suns. He simply makes everyone around him better. Seemingly players that aren't that great by NBA standards, he can make them look above-average. He made the New Orleans Hornets into contenders almost right away. He made the Los Angeles Clippers a contender right away. His impact on the floor and leadership is second to none. In my humble opinion, there is absolutely no case you can make for another point guard being better than Chris Paul in the NBA.
2. Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics
This may come as a surprise to most people, but it really shouldn't. The bottom line is, Rondo is an absolute stat stuffer, he makes the players around him better(yeah, and that included The Big 3), and his basketball IQ is comparable to CP3's. Aside from CP3, there may not be a smarter point guard than Rondo. He does all the little things. He makes the big plays. As The Big 3 got older, they got slower and less athletic. Rondo has assuaged their age to the point where they don't have to do much to get their shots. Rondo-to-KG might be the best pick and pop punch in the NBA. It's not just his basketball IQ, or his elite play making ability that puts him #2 on this list, it's his playoff pedigree. Rondo is easily the best playoff performer on this list. Even more so than CP3. He constantly puts up historic playoff numbers. And not many playoff performances are better than the one he put up in Miami. An astounding 44 pts, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds in the losing effort. It wasn't just the fact that he had those numbers, but how he put them up and when he put them up. He made big basket after big basket. He literally did everything he could to will Boston to that victory. But it just wasn't enough to defeat the eventual NBA champions.
If that wasn't enough, he's had other great playoff runs. In 2009, in particular, when he nearly averaged a triple double in 14 games with 16.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg, and 9.8 apg. He's led the Celtics in win shares in the playoffs in three of the last four years. Rondo has 10 playoff triple doubles which is tied for 3rd all-time with Larry Bird. That is crazy. And I'm afraid that Rondo is just scratching the surface. He's still only 26 and with the departure of Ray Allen, he has to take on even more of the scoring load which could lead to more ridiculous numbers and spectacular playoff performances.
Rondo's 44-point playoff masterpiece
3. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose is one of the most gifted talents in the league. He has taken the league by storm in just four seasons here in the league. He made his presence felt in his very first playoff game when he scored 36 points and dished 11 assists in Boston in a Game 1 victory in a series that would eventually become one of the best first round series in NBA history. He also nabbed Rookie of the Year honors, by the way. Derrick Rose can impact the game like few PGs in the NBA can. He can slice and dice through a defense with such incredible speed and strength that it is just unbelievable for that of a point guard. He has one of the best crossovers in the game. He's become not a great, but a good play maker while also being the best scoring PG in the NBA. That is ultimately what puts Rose #3 on this list. His ability to score the basketball. I believe that he is the best scoring PG in the NBA. He can score in a variety of ways. He has a nice pull up jumper, a nice floater, the three-point shot, and he can finish in the paint simply better than any other PG. He can make shots with a high level of difficulty. He is just a supreme scorer. These attributes are what vaulted him to an MVP award. The only MVP winner on this list. He is the Bulls' offense. Without him, they can't score. You can make the case that had Derrick Rose not tore his ACL against the 76ers, he would have led the Bulls to a second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance, and if Bosh's injury played out the same way, the Bulls had a legitimate shot to make the Finals. Anything lower than #3 on a top-5 PG list just isn't fair to Derrick Rose.
4. Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets
Probably wondering why DWill is so low? Well, frankly, Rose and Rondo have just surpassed him, in my opinion. It's not really DWill's fault. But being #4 is nothing to be ashamed of. DWill is still one of the most explosive PGs in the NBA. His passing skills rival that of Rondo's and CP3's, and his shooting, while not great last year, is the 2nd best on this list behind Paul. DWill can explode for 30 and 10 any given night, and you have to respect him in every aspect of the game. I don't think I can ever forget his 57-point performance. Yes, it was against the Bobcats, but it was still a brilliant performance. Elite ball handling along with elite play making ability and his ability to make people around him better is what makes Deron one of the top-5 PGs on the planet. He sports one of the sickest crossover in the game, too. It also doesn't hurt that he's a great playoff performer. Averaging a nice 21 pts and just under 10 assists with 45% shooting in 44 playoff games. Without that MVP, Rose might not be ahead of DWill on this list. For years he was considered either the best or second best PG in the game, but he cracks #4 here, and that is not to slight him in the least.
DWill's 57-point explosion
5. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
A term that is far often used in baseball, Russell Westbrook has managed to do it in the National Basketball Association. He has mastered being "wildly effective." Of all the PGs on this list, he's by far the most eccentric, and he seems to relish in it. I can't recall a more wild PG that was also so great and talented than Westbrook. He can make the easiest lay ups look so difficult, and he can make the hardest dunks look so easy. Through it all, Westbrook is a great player, and he's one of the toughest players in the league to guard despite his shooting limitations and proneness to turnovers. He really makes you scratch your head on an abundant amount of plays, but he can also wow you and completely take over a game. Only Rose on this list rivals him in scoring ability, but unlike Rose, Westbrook can be a great play maker for others. If Westbrook can find a nice balance between scoring, and being a play maker while also limiting his boneheaded mistakes, he could vault into a top-3 PG on this list.
Do you agree with this Top-5 list?
This wasn't the easiest list to make after CP3. It really took some thinking and research, but here you have it. Many will argue that Deron should be higher on this list, and they could probably make a convincing argument why. I'm certain also that many will wonder why in the heck Rondo is #2 on this list. It might be just me, but Rondo just has such a great impact on the game, and he can take over a basketball game in a number of ways. And the most important thing is, he's clutch. He does it on the biggest stages. Many have held the The Big 3 argument against him, but it just doesn't fly with me. In the twilight of their careers, Rondo kept The Big 3 relevant, and made the game a lot easier for the aging Hall of Famers. So to me, it's really not a tough decision. He is the second best point guard.
Some will argue that Tony Parker deserves to be on this list. And he does. But he's just simply not better than anyone on this list. Tony Parker is a great player, and I have mad respect for his game, but he just missed my list. He does deserve an honorable mention so there you have it.