Back in the day, big men ruled the NBA. In 2012, the league is now run by smaller players that go by the name of point guard.
These five players are extremely important to their teams. They take shots at crunch time, make players around them better and lead their respective teams to either the playoffs and, in some cases, the NBA Finals.
These five players are the top five point guards for the 2012-2013 NBA season.
*Derrick Rose not listed due to injury**
Who knows what they really mean by "age is just a number", but Steve Nash is a living example of that adage.
At a time when other players his age are either retiring or in noticeable decline, he continues to produce. He now is on the Lakers, which is arguably the best team he has ever played for.
While his defense is not top-notch, Nash is one of the better passers we have ever seen on an NBA floor. He is also one of the best shooters of all time and his basketball IQ is higher than the average point guard.
Teaming up Nash with players like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol means that the savvy vet will have his best chance ever to win that elusive NBA title.
Many fans and analysts like to bash Russell Westbrook.
He might not be too smart with the ball sometimes with his decisions, but Westbrook is one of the best young point guards in the league. He looks to be a player that you could build a team around as his NBA game matures.
Westbrook has unlimited potential. Once his jump shot improves and he matures, he will be higher up on this list, and his name will be one to remember for a long time.
Not to mention, he could also be one of the best dressed players in the league.
Like Westbrook, Rondo could be higher on this list with a better jump shot. Even without it, he is one of the best point guards the league has to offer.
He is smart, quick and knows how to win games. Most impressively, Rondo has transformed from the worst starter on the Celtics a few years back to now being the cornerstone of the franchise.
Rondo puts up monster numbers, and his unselfish play and ability to distribute the ball has helped aging teammates like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett stay in the league longer.
This triple-double machine is also a player to consider for your fantasy team.
There are many nights when Chris Paul is the absolute best point guard in the league.
Paul is clutch, is a stout defender and is arguably the NBA's best passer. Most importantly, Paul has helped turn the Clippers from an NBA joke to a solid playoff team.
With additional help from other teammates this year, Paul should help the Clippers become a force in the Western Conference while also accelerating the development of Blake Griffin into a premier NBA big man, similar to what he did with Tyson Chandler in New Orleans.
2012-2013 will be Deron Williams' season.
With the addition of Joe Johnson, the re-signing of Gerald Wallace and the return of a healthy Brook Lopez, the Nets now boast a supporting cast that will allow Williams to really showcase his great point guard skills.
Williams practically had no one on the team last season to help him make the Nets a solid team. Still, he helped mold MarShon Brooks into a promising player.
When Williams plays with full effort, he is almost impossible to stop. He has flown under the radar the past couple of seasons, but with the new additions to a healthy Nets roster—and even the move to a new city—be certain that D-Will will be ready to play hard every night.
Expect him to be the best point guard during the 2012-2013 NBA season.