While the days of Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas are long gone, having a solid point guard like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd or Rajon Rondo to run your offense is still very important to having a successful franchise.
In the spirit of this, here are the 15 best point guards of the last 12 years.
First in a series.
Yes, John Stockton played into the 21st century. One of the greatest point guards in the history of the game was in the twilight of his career by 2000, though he did make the 2000 All-Star Game, finish 15th in 2001 MVP voting, and finish in the top five in total dishes each of his last three seasons.
Bibby is sixth among active players in assists and in the top 35 among active players in win shares. He has also taken teams he's played on to the playoffs in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
Davis is fourth among active players in assists and third in steals. He's also in the top 50 among active players in win shares. Though he's never taken a team to the NBA Finals, or even to the Conference Finals, he's been in the top 10 in assists in six different seasons and made two NBA All-Star Games and one All-NBA Third Team.
Russell Westbrook has been solid these last two seasons, with two All-Star appearances and two All-NBA Second Team appearances.
So why isn't he higher? Well, he's in only his fourth NBA season but has twice led the league in turnovers. He's also not in the top 50 among active players in either win shares or assists.
Gilbert Arenas' career obviously went south after a series of bone-headed events, culminating in pulling a gun on a teammate. But from 2004 to 2007, he was one of the premier points in the NBA, with three straight All-Star appearances, an All-NBA Second Team, and two All-NBA Third Teams.
It's kind of feast or famine with Arenas...if you drop his three best seasons (13.6, 11.5 and 10.8), Arenas only has a paltry 15.5 win shares in his remaining seasons. He's also never taken a team far into the playoffs; winning only a single playoff series.
True, Derrick Rose won an MVP and made the last three All-Star Games. However, like Westbrook, he suffers from only having played four active seasons, and only having a single season with 10 or more win shares.
The list of point guards with five NBA titles and eight NBA Finals appearances is short. Derek Fisher is on it.
He is also in the top 25 among active players in assists, and just out of the top 50 in win shares.
If I told you Andre Miller was third among active players in dishes, eighth in steals and 19th (fourth among active point guards) in win shares, would you believe me?
Though Miller has never made an All-Star team, an All-NBA Team or guided a team out of the first round of the playoffs, he still has an impressive resume. Miller led the league in dishes in the 2001-02 season, and also had a 632-game consecutive games streak.
Rondo is one of a handful of active points who is wearing a ring. He's finished in the top three in assists each of the last three seasons. lead the league in steals in one season, played in the last three All-Star Games, made four All-Defensive Teams, and this year's All-NBA Third Team.
Deron Williams is 13th among active players in dishes, after finishing in the top five in each of the last six seasons. He's also played in the last three All-Star Games and made two All-NBA Second Teams.
The now-retired Payton was still one of the best point guards in the NBA at the beginning of the decade...he was All-NBA First Team back in 2000, and made three more All-Star Games and the All-NBA Second Team by 2003. Late in his career, he won a ring with the Miami Heat.
Payton is eighth all-time in assists and fourth all-time in steals. He is also in the top 25 all-time in win shares. But, to be fair, much of his success came in the 1990s and not the 2000s.
Parker has the second-most rings of any active point guard. He's also been a four-time All-Star, made this year's All-NBA Second Team and finished in the top 10 of NBA MVP voting three times.
That being said, Parker has never finished in the top five in assists, and is only 28th among active players in win shares.
The journeyman Billups is 10th among active players in win shares, and won a title with the Detroit Pistons.
He played in five straight All-Star Games from 2006 to 2010, and made the All-NBA Team three times during that span.
Billups is fifth among active players and 38th all-time in assists.
Paul is ninth in assists among active players and has led the league in that stat twice. He has made the last five All-Star Games and has two each appearances on the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team.
Jason Kidd is first among active players and second all-time in both assists and steals. He's made eight All-Star Games this millennium, as well as four All-NBA First Teams, an All-NBA Second Team and three All-Defensive First Teams.
He's 11th among active players in MVP shares and seventh in win shares. Last season, Kidd won a title with the Dallas Mavericks.
Steve Nash is one of only two point guards in the history of the NBA to win multiple MVP awards, and the only one of them who won them in the 21st century.
He has led the league in assists six different times, and is fifth all-time in the stat. Nash is also ninth among active players in win shares. This millennium, he has played in eight All-Star Games and made the All-NBA First Team thrice.