25. Steve Blake: 14.89
Fifteen players who were traded in 2013-14 made the cutoff for these rankings, but only two actually worked their way into the top 30—D.J. Augustin and Steve Blake. Yes, that means the man who was dealt from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Golden State Warriors is the top-ranked traded player.
Unfortunately, Blake was not a good fit with the Dubs, as he struggled his way to a single-digit passer rating in a system that didn't work too well for him. That said, he flat-out thrived with the Lakers, earning a 20.0 passer rating that would have left him ranked No. 10 overall had he maintained that pace and stayed in one location throughout the year.
24. Damian Lillard: 15.1
Are we saying that Damian Lillard is not a top-20 point guard in the NBA? Absolutely not. He's just a score-first floor general who excels in that aspect of the game, even if he's failed to thrive as a distributor during his young career.
Lillard recorded only 11.8 pace-adjusted assist opportunities per game this past season, which is far fewer than you'd expect from a 1-guard who spends this much time with the ball in his hands. He also didn't record many secondary assists, and he often turned the ball over on bad passes, giving him a pretty uninspiring ratio between points generated and those crucial bad-pass turnovers.
23. Trey Burke: 15.5
While he was playing at Michigan, Trey Burke often reminded me of a poor man's version of Chris Paul. Well, that wasn't so readily apparent during his 2013-14 campaign with the Utah Jazz, though his knack for limiting bad-pass turnovers did aid the comparison rather significantly.
For a point guard, scoring prowess and passing ability can often go hand in hand, as the former demands so much attention from defenses, drawing them away from the teammates who help the player in question earn dimes. Such was the case for Burke, who struggled with his shot throughout the year and never found too many open teammates around him, even if he got them the ball in situations that led to contested shots.
22. Raymond Felton: 15.56
Make fun of him all you want, but don't look the other way when it comes to Raymond Felton's passing. Sure, the 2013-14 season was largely disastrous for the man who has since been traded from the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks, but he still fared well in many passing categories.
For example, the Knicks—other than him, of course—shot 46.7 percent from the field when he was on the floor. But when receiving one of his passes in a situation that would lead to an assist if the shot were made, that percentage rose all the way up to 52.8, which is a huge jump for anyone, much less such an oft-criticized player on a dysfunctional team.
21. Isaiah Thomas: 15.59
If the Phoenix Suns get this past year's version of Isaiah Thomas, even if he doesn't develop any further, they'll have landed a remarkable steal, at least contractually speaking. While topping 20 points most nights, Thomas still managed to generate 13.1 pace-adjusted assists opportunities per game, which is the highest number we'll get until the No. 15 player is revealed.
Thomas' passes weren't always crisp, and he had a tough time raising the performance level of his teammates. He also struggled with passing turnovers, and the all-important ratio was pretty low throughout the season. However, his involvement just managed to trump everything else...for the most part, at least.