Is Rajon Rondo the best point guard in the league?
If you're talking about guys still playing right now, I'd think so. His competition is Nate Robinson, Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar. To me, that's no competition.
However, asking if he's the best point guard in the league doesn't leave us confined to just the NBA Finals. Indeed, that question requires a look at an entire body of work.
While Darrell Horwitz recently looked at career numbers to tell a story, I'd like to rank the top five starting point guards based on the 2009-2010 Regular Season.
Jason Kidd rounds out the top five because of his all-around play.
While known for his rebounding and defense, Kidd's past season has also been one of high durability and dependability. Playing 80 games during the regular season, Kidd's age doesn't seem to matter.
He also has a positive impact on his team while he's on the floor, coming in with the fourth-highest plus-minus for the guards I've evaluated in this article.
This Wake Forest product has been a consistent play-maker since joining the league.
Some people will automatically dismiss this entire article due to the fact that he's only the fourth-best. Please, don't. While it may seem like a knock, the fact that he's on this list after only playing 45 games this season is an extraordinary accomplishment.
Paul, like Kidd, is an all-around player. He is the most efficient point guard in the league per 48 minutes and his defense is stellar.
The only reason Paul's not coming out on top is because of the shortened season which questions his durability, and the performances of the next three players on my list.
Deron Williams is strong, efficient, focused and very, very talented.
He is a capable scorer, a solid defender and a very intelligent player.
He is especially dominant when he has the ball in his hands; he resurrected Carlos Boozer with each and every pass sent his way. He may be the hardest worker among these five point guards.
His impact on the league cannot be overstated, between him and Chris Paul, the "Era of the Guards" was officially ushered in.
Despite how great Williams is, he still is third behind the next two players.
Rajon Rondo has had a phenomenal year. Despite living under the shadows of Boston's "Big Three," Rondo has stepped up his game, accepted his role, and provided Boston with a reliable, tenacious point guard.
Rondo is fabulous on the offensive end, but it was his defensive abilities that placed him as the second-best point guard in the league. Leading the league in steals is no small task, yet Rondo did it with ease.
If you question his playing abilities, ask Cleveland or Orlando, and quite possibly the Lakers, what impact he has on the game.
Of all the players on this list, he is the only one still playing, competing for his second title in three years with the Celtics. If Boston should happen to win this year's championship, Rondo will be a major reason why.
He may be the future of the league if he provides the same energy and determination next year. The drawback, of course, is his free-throw shooting. But if that's the only fault, he'll probably take it. Hell, he can outrun most players who try to foul him any way.
What can be said about Steve Nash that hasn't already been said?
Amar'e Stoudemire calls Nash "Two-Time" thanks to his back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards. While there is a fair amount of subjectivity in choosing the league's MVP, Steve Nash is no slouch on the floor.
This year, one in which Nash should have been on the decline, the Phoenix Suns found themselves facing off with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. After surviving a terrible stretch in the middle of the season, a damaged eye in the second round, and a broken nose in the conference finals, Nash failed to survive his own words' powers in Game Six. This, however, doesn't stop Nash from claiming his place on top of the game.
His shooting, passing, efficiency, leadership and effect on his team's performance is beyond debate. This year's Skills Challenge allowed Nash to show the world exactly what he's working with.
The problem with Nash, though, is his dedication to defense. As flawed as either his defense or his motivation to commit to defense may be, he more than compensates with his offensive abilities in a Phoenix system tailor-made for him.
This man, folks, is the best point guard in the NBA.
Rounding out the top-ten point guards in the league:
6. Tyreke Evans
7. Chauncey Billups
8. Aaron Brooks
9. Monta Ellis
10. Derrick Rose
I realize that this debate is one that will never satisfy everyone. When we think about who is the best at anything, we support statistics when they support our guys and we ignore them when they don't. The only way we could know who really is best is if they all competed for the same spot on a roster, but, even then, you'd have to take the team philosophy into account.
I tried to be as fair as possible in this evaluation, but I did choose the stats I would use and how to score them to get the final results. If you disagree, feel free to visit this article to see the methodology used to create this list. I welcome your feedback.
Thanks for reading.