Chris Paul's arrival to Los Angeles has reminded everyone how good of a point guard he is. It has also reminded everyone what the luxury of having a good point guard is like.
We are now in the golden age of point guards. Picking the top five point guards in the NBA is almost as hard as trying to decide what the top five movies ever made are. There are the old guys: Jason Kidd, Steve Nash. The veterans: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker. And the young guys: Westbrook, Rondo, Irving.
Some point guards fit best in their current systems. For example, the past couple of years, Rajon Rondo has been the best point guard for what the Celtics need. A guy who is fast, plays defense, and sets up shooters like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Some teams have the luxury of having a point guard like Paul, a floor general who is the unquestioned leader on the court.
Without further ado, here is a list of the top five point guards in the NBA:
Despite Rajon Rondo's historic triple double against the New York Knicks, he's been inconsistent throughout the season. If Rondo was a top five point guard at the moment, then he would not be involved in any trade rumors, and the Celtics would feel comfortable building their future around him.
All indications say that both of those are true.
Tony Parker on the other hand has been enjoying one of his best seasons ever. He's the San Antonio Spurs best player, averaging 19.5 points and 7.9 assists per game. The Spurs have the second-best record in the western conference.
Of course, Parker doesn't get enough credit for his production. What's crazy to think about is the fact that Parker is probably going to be a Hall of Famer after he retires. He's played in the All-Star game four times, he's a three time NBA champion and has won a Finals MVP. Has a future Hall of Fame player ever flown this far under the radar in one of his best seasons?
If you don't think Parker deserves to be No. 5 on this list, I urge you to watch the next televised Spurs game.
Serious question — Going forward, which player combination would you rather have: Dwayne Wade and LeBron James? Or Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?
It may sound crazy, but Durant and Westbrook might be the smart pick. Both players are only 23 years old.
The only reason this is even a topic worth discussing, is because Westbrook has turned himself into one of the premiere point guards in the NBA. He's always a threat to score and this season he's done a better job getting his teammates more involved.
Westbrook is an athletic freak. His potential is immeasurable because every season he gets significantly better. Westbrook's next step is to realize he's a point guard all of the time, not just some of the time. He can become trigger happy, which at times can be an issue.
The longer Westbrook and Durant play together, the better both will get. Every season there's been significant progress with their coalition.
Free agent-to-be Deron Williams is the complete point guard.
Williams can score, he's a deadly three-point shooter, he makes his teammates better and he's a solid defender.
The reason Williams is No. 3 is because he may be better suited as a second fiddle. The Nets don't have a lot of talent, but the best players in the league rise above that. In Cleveland, LeBron James never had elite teammates, yet the Cavaliers were always contenders.
Playing with Dwight Howard may give Williams the opportunity to finally take the throne as the best point guard in the NBA. Someday soon, it's going to be fun to watch him in the playoffs again.
The No. 1 goal for point guards is to make their teammates better. When it comes to making their teammates better, Chris Paul is the best. Early in games he gives all of his teammates opportunities to make plays so come the fourth quarter, everyone is in the flow of the game.
Paul has revolutionized the Los Angeles Clippers. A season ago they were a young up-and-coming team with a franchise player who can dunk really hard. Now the Clippers are a legitimate playoff contender with one of the best young forwards and the smartest point guard in the NBA.
The reason Chris Paul isn't the best point guard in the NBA anymore is because he picks his spots now. It's too hard for him to play all out every minute of the game. Paul is one of the smartest players in the league so when the Clippers need him to step up, he does.
Derrick Rose has the killer instinct that LeBron James lacks.
He's the reigning MVP and the best young player in the NBA not named "Kevin Durant."
Rose is the only elite player on the Chicago Bulls roster. Luol Deng is a nice, but he's no Dwayne Wade or Russell Westbrook. Of all the legitimate NBA title contenders, Rose has arguably the weakest individual teammates.
But Rose's teammates are never an issue because he never makes them an issue. They play great under coach Tom Thibodeau's system and Rose does his best to make them look good. You also have to appreciate that Rose never throws his teammates under the bus. He's a great teammate and he refuses to trash any of them by demanding for a trade to bring in more help.
Rose doesn't get enough credit for how good he is. He's the same age as Kevin Durant and Westbrook, yet he's already won his first MVP award. Wade has never won a regular season MVP. Kobe Bryant has only won one.
Considering how young he is, and how much he's already accomplished, Rose has a chance to go down as the best point guard ever. That's something no other point guard in the league can say.