Worst Starting PG in the NBA

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

Worst Starting PG in the NBA

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    When the NBA decided to remove the center position from the All-Star Game voting ballots, the assumption was that this would free up space for the hybrid bigs that have permeated throughout the NBA.

    Truth be told, these vacated roster spots could actually have been created to free up more room for the star-studded point guard position. This is the position's golden era, with a wide variety of play types changing our perceptions of the position.

    Slashers, like the Bulls' Derrick Rose or the Thunder's Russell Westbrook, have captured the fans' attention with astonishing scoring lines and equally impressive highlight reels. Traditional point guards, like the Clippers' Chris Paul or the Celtics' Rajon Rondo, have continued to raise the level of the teammates around them.

    Some point guards have separated themselves from their peers for the wrong reasons. Despite the influx of talent at this position, franchise point guards have continued to elude some organizations.

    But who's the worst of the worst? It's definitely a question that bears asking. For argument's sake, injury replacement starters have been removed from consideration.

    All stats in this article accurate as of 11/18/2012.

5. George Hill (IND)

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    By the numbers: 13.5 points, 5.0 assists, 41.0 field-goal percentage, 2.2 turnovers

    Making the argument: There may not be a more disappointing team in the 2012-13 season than the Indiana Pacers. A year removed from being the third overall seed in the Eastern Conference, coach Frank Vogel's team has limped to a 5-7 mark (10th in the conference).

    And Vogel's point guard, George Hill, has been more problem than solution.

    While he's on pace for a career high in scoring, he's amassed those numbers as a volume scorer (12.2 field-goal attempts per game). His turnover percentage is up (14.0, a career worst) and his shooting is down to its lowest mark since his rookie season.

    Granted, Hill's drawn some increased defensive attention with Danny Granger sidelined with a knee injury. But he's far from being Vogel's go-to option as evidenced by his 20.2 usage rate (seventh on the team).

4. Jeremy Lin (HOU)

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    By the numbers: 10.3 points, 7.0 assists, 34.3 field-goal percentage, 2.6 turnovers

    Making the argument: Jeremy Lin deserves a little slack here. He spent the offseason learning a new offensive system and a new group of teammates when he signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Rockets, then repeated the process when the team traded for James Harden days before the season started.

    But he's the starting point guard on an NBA team. So that bit of slack he was given probably expired midway through Houston's first game.

    He's exercised better care of the basketball this season (he averaged 3.6 turnovers last year), but his shooting percentage has plunged from last year's 44.6 percent. Houston needs even a flash of Linsanity to draw attention away from Harden.

3. Brandon Knight (DET)

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    By the numbers: 10.8 points, 6.5 assists, 38.0 field-goal percentage, 3.3 turnovers

    Making the argument: Brandon Knight's clearly still learning the point guard position. He's a scorer first who's been tasked with creating offensive chances for his teammates.

    The results have been about what you'd expect.

    He has the ability to take over games in stretches with his scoring and managed a respectable 12.8 points per game as a rookie last season. But he's yet to show any consistency, and his shooting percentages have suffered across the board.

    Perhaps having a more talented roster around him would help his transition, but Detroit's cupboard isn't barren. There probably weren't any playoff hopes entering the season, and there won't be until Knight shows some development.

2. Mario Chalmers (MIA)

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    By the numbers: 6.7 points, 4.8 assists, 41.2 field-goal percentage, 1.5 turnovers

    Making the argument: Mario Chalmers is a point guard by title only. His situation in Miami is perhaps unlike anything experienced by any other NBA point guard.

    He doesn't initiate the offense and rarely contributes offensively outside of being a perimeter threat. But one would assume that if Erik Spoelstra had more faith in Chalmers' ability to run a team, he would increase his offensive responsibilities.

    Chalmers shared the floor with many of these same teammates last season and found more ways to be effective with nearly the same minutes. His field-goal shooting is down three-and-a-half percentage points, and his three-point percentage has dropped by five.

1. Isaiah Thomas (SAC)

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    By the numbers: 9.7 points, 2.1 assists, 42.7 field-goal percentage, 1.8 turnovers

    Making the argument: The final pick of the 2011 NBA draft, Isaiah Thomas was an unexpected bonus for the Sacramento Kings last season when he managed 11.5 points (44.8 percent from the field) and 4.1 assists in 65 games (including 37 starts).

    But if Sacramento's first nine games are any indication, the organization's annual search for a point guard will be on in full force at the conclusion of the year. Point guard turned small forward turned shooting guard Tyreke Evans leads the team in assists at 3.0. In other words, Thomas hasn't lost out chances to any playmaking teammates.

    Thomas' skill set may be more apt for a scoring guard role, but his numbers this season instill little confidence in his ability to handle even that role.