Point guard is arguably the most important position on the basketball court. He must act as the leader and the commander and be both selfish and selfless.
Over the past few seasons, the point guard position has experienced a shift, seeing a dramatic rise in young talent while keeping the balance of the still prominent faces of the so-called past generation.
Every team needs one, but not every team has one. A dominant point guard can often make the difference between a team consistently ranking in the bottom or the top.
So as the 2011-2012 NBA season draws to a close, Bleacher Report looks back and ranks each point guard’s season performance.
Replacing Chris Paul is tough, and New Orleans' point guard Jarrett Jack found that out first-hand. Although he experienced his highest career PPG, Jack was overshadowed by Paul's departure and lack of support around him.
Despite his future potential, Thomas's youth and size will plague him. The average height of a NBA point guard is well beyond the 5'9" Thomas.
Lack of production from his teammates also did not help the young point guard. However, as he continues to gain more experience and the Kings put a better supporting cast around him, his stock could slowly rise.
The lack of fluidity between the point guard and team's system also caused the team to stumble, missing the playoffs a year after they nearly eliminated the eventual-champion Mavericks.
If Felton and the Trail Blazers can find a solution, then performances by both player and team will return to normal.
It was another disappointing season for Jose Calderon and the Toronto Raptors.
The young team was plagued with inconsistent play and key injuries, while Calderon has seen his game decline over the past few seasons in Toronto.
Since his breakout season in 2008-2009 when he shot 98 percent from the free throw line and averaged nearly 13 points per game, he has struggled, shooting just 46 percent from the field this past year.
Brandon Knight came in this offseason and beat out former starter Rodney Stuckey. As a result, Knight's lack of experience plagued the Pistons at some points.
However, the former Kentucky Wildcat did post decent numbers for a rookie.
If Detroit begins its rebuilding process with Knight at the point, look for the Pistons to once again become contenders.
If there was a bright spot in the Bobcats's 7-59 season, it was the slight emergence of rookie point guard Kemba Walker.
The former NCAA Tournament MVP showed moments of great potential, but these were quickly overshadowed by the turmoil brewing in Charlotte.
Walker is raw and very talented, but he will not be able to fully maximize his talent and potential until the franchise stabilizes.
As a result, several players underachieved their usual production, including 6-foot point guard Jameer Nelson. His season averages vastly declined, and there were consistent attitude problems.
He should be lucky he is Howard's best friend, or like Van Gundy, he could be gone, too.
Harris often gets into shooting slumps, averaging about 44 percent from the field. His PPG average was down, assists were down, and rebounds were down.
Despite reaching the postseason, the Jazz were swept out of the first round. This shows that the inconsistent and underachieving play of Harris has a major impact on the rest of the team.
Mario Chalmers arguably has one of the easiest point guard jobs in the league. All he has to do is dribble it up the court every once in a while, pass it to either LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, and hit an occasional three.
His lack of presence and leadership makes him one of the least valuable PGs. He averages less than double figures per game and averages significantly less than 50 percent from the floor.
While he is the point guard of one of the most dominant teams in the league, as an individual player Chalmers has a lot to be desired.
Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings has yet to find a shot he doesn't like in the NBA.
The 21-year-old floor general who chose Europe over college basketball averaged nearly 42 percent from the floor. Outside of shooting, however, Jennings leaves a little to be desired.
If he improves the other parts of his game, Jennings can easily be one of the top point guards in the league.
Ramon Sessions should arguably be ranked higher. He shoots about 47 percent from the field and averages about 13 points per game.
There is one problem Sessions faces. He plays alongside Kobe Bryant, said to be one of the most selfish players in the NBA.
Therefore, he does not have the type of impact or leadership role that he should have. If he gets this, he will certainly see his rank climb.
After an impressive season last year, Collison was a slight disappointment this season.
His numbers in every category fell. Despite the Pacers making a playoff run, Collison did not even average double figures.
If Collison can limit his turnovers and improve his outside shot, he has the athleticism and potential to be great.
After setting career highs the year before, Lowry followed it up with similar numbers. He is very solid, not too flashy, and gets the job done.
However, with the Rockets as a whole in a slump, Lowry has expressed his continued desire to part with Houston.
Despite his dissatisfaction, Lowry will continue to be in the middle of the pack of point guards no matter where he goes thanks to his solid numbers and consistent play.
Holiday posted great numbers last year for the Sixers, leading them to the playoffs. As his encore, his numbers slightly dropped, but he still led his team to a dramatic postseason run.
He has gained valuable experience that, coupled with his youth, will only help him continue to grow and develop.
He is already showing signs of being a great young leader, which is what a team like the Sixers need.
Despite a torn ACL midway through the season and continued frustration around the struggling team, Ricky Rubio proved himself to be well worth the wait for the Timberwolves.
Rubio nearly averaged a double-double and helped make teammate Kevin Love an MVP discussion. When Rubio went down, so did Love's production, and the team continued its woes.
He is a vital member to his team's potential success, so he must recover quickly and continue his great play.
Statistically, Jason Kidd ranks towards the bottom of the pack in nearly every point guard category.
Despite his low production for the Mavericks this past season, his veteran leadership and valuable playoff experience are intangibles that make an incredible impact.
It is these characteristics, along with an outstanding work ethic and passion for the game, that cause the 38-year-old to be consistently ranked near the top of point guards.
Curry has been plagued by injuries, resulting in him slipping in rank.
He still shoots nearly 50 percent from the floor and averages about 15 points per game. He also is very good at getting his teammates involved, dishing nearly half a dozen assists each game.
He is still young and has room to improve. If he can remain healthy, Curry can easily become one of the top point guards in the league.
While the record reflects poorly, he has posted pretty impressive numbers, averaging about 16 points and eight assists per game.
His value and importance to the team and complementing it with outstanding figures is what makes him one of the best in the league.
Wall has so much more potential that, if this is what he is doing now, imagine how he will be performing in the future.
Mike Conley has proven to be a very consistent player.
He helped lead the Grizzlies to back-to-back playoff appearances. His leadership and skills have helped to create a confidence that has spread throughout the entire team.
Despite a slight drop in his numbers, he improved his free throw percentage by over 10 percent. With his continued consistent play, things can only go up for Conley.
Jeff Teague's first season as a starter for the Hawks was a breakout one. He averaged about 13 points per game and shot about 47 percent from the floor.
He led Atlanta to the playoffs, where the Hawks held their own against the veteran Celtics. Teague is by far one of the most improved point guards in the league.
Teague and his young team have great potential to improve and make an even deeper run into the playoffs in the future.
Easily the most talked about story in the NBA this past season was Jeremy Lin.
His unbelievable performance when he came off the bench for an injured Carmelo Anthony stunned everyone.
Despite hitting a cold streak and later suffering an injury of his own that would end his season, Lin was by far one of the biggest fan favorites.
According to ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling, Lin's jersey was ranked second for most jerseys sold this past NBA season.
When Lin recovers and returns to the court, look for "Linsanity" to gain its resurgence.
Ty Lawson had one of the biggest breakout years in the 2011-2012 season.
After taking over the starting point guard role from Andre Miller, Lawson injected youth into Denver, sparking the Nuggets all the way to the postseason.
Lawson and Miller create a strong one-two punch in the backcourt for Denver. Lawson averaged over 16 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field.
Lawson is still young, and if he continues to perform, he be a dominant force.
There were many questions surrounding Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers after they selected him No. 1 overall.
Irving played in only 11 games for Duke, and people debated whether he could play at a high level consistently in the NBA and help the rebuilding franchise.
The 20-year-old silenced the non-believers. Averaging over 18 points per game, Irving shot nearly 47 percent from the floor and brought tenacity to the Cavs.
Irving has tremendous potential, more so than any other young point guard.
This wily veteran continues to be a staple in the NBA and a model of what the ideal point guard should be. Averaging a double-double this season, Nash shot over 50 percent.
Factor in his age and consistent play over the course of the newly structured schedule, and it is not hard to see why Nash is one of the best to ever play the point guard position.
Tony Parker is still one of the league's most gifted and unique point guards.
The Spurs' point guard's individual talents are often overlooked, however, because of the team's consistent success. Parker can get to the rim and finish better than almost anyone.
He averaged over 18 points per game this season and led his team to the Western Conference Finals.
Parker and the Spurs continue to be savvy, showing that age does not mean anything, and that it is all about skills.
Williams controls the pace of the game and is one of the best scoring point guards in the league.
He nearly averaged a double-double, with 21 points and 9 assists. Despite the rumors of his departure from the Nets, Williams did not let it distract him from his impressive season.
No matter where he ends up next season, Williams will always be a top-five point guard in the NBA because of his great skills as both a player and leader.
Russell Westbrook is one of the most intense players in the game.
Oklahoma City's hard-headed point guard has enough athleticism to get by any defender, but sometimes he forgets to finish. Though he plays more like a shooting guard than a point guard, he is still young and has time to develop his passing skills.
However, young Russell has gained enough experience to begin to develop as a leader, guiding his team to their second straight Western Conference Finals.
With his ferocious and fearless play on the court, Westbrook will always be one of the top rated point guards throughout his career.
Rajon Rondo can literally do it all. Boston's point guard averaged 12 points and 12 assists per game.
His consistent play and great leadership ability helped lead the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals. Even though he stands 6'1, he has a 6'10 wingspan and big hands that both help and hurt him.
It allows him to be a great defender, snatch rebounds, and pass the ball with ease. It hurts his shooting percentage, particularly from beyond the arc. He's at 45 percent overall but just 23 percent from long-range.
However, Rondo is still young, and he has yet to reach his maximum potential.
No player means more to his team than Derrick Rose. This was clearly shown in the first round of the 2012 playoffs when Rose went down with an ACL injury, leading to an early exit for the No. 1 seed in the East.
Chicago's high-flying and fearless point guard has put his body through more than probably any other player. He is tough, averaging about 37 minutes per game.
While he is not always a consistent knock-down shooter, Rose won the 2011 MVP and rightfully so. He is clearly one of the most talented point guards in the league.
Even with all the hype surrounding his trade, Chris Paul more than delivered in Los Angeles. He led the Clippers to their first playoff birth since 2006.
He is arguably the most efficient point guard in the league. Despite his limited size, Paul has excellent court vision and a strong ability to score the ball.
He scored nearly 20 points and had 9 assists per game. His navigation through defenders and eye to see the open player makes him selfless.
He exhibits great leadership skills and is a great mentor for the young players on the Clippers. There are a lot of great point guards in the NBA, but some may say that Chris Paul is in a league of his own.