So here is the first of six articles I will be writing on power ranking the top ten players from each position and the top ten benches.
I also list an honorable mention and a few of the young players to look out for in the future.
We will start with the leaders of the team, the point guards. These are the ones who are in charge of carrying this team and running the team's offense. Point guards are there to set up their teammates, as well as being looked upon to be the team's secondary scorers.
These players play a pivotal role when it comes to winning games. If your team doesn't have a great point guard, you are in some trouble, unless of course you have Dwyane Wade and LeBron James on your team. Point guards carry the burden of making decisions under extreme pressure, and are always under ridicule if they do not succeed.
Overall, the point guard is the one on whom everyone relies to make that game-changing decision, whether to pass the ball to the hot hand, or take it to the hole themselves. So here is a list compiling the top 10 point guards in the NBA.
Let the debates begin!
Ones to Watch For Next Season
Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors
Curry has only just concluded his rookie season and, boy, was it ever a great rookie season!
We all knew about his great three-point stroke, but he showed us his ability to be a true point guard, which was a question coming into the NBA for Curry. He proved everyone wrong, not only when he was able to take over the starting point guard position, but rather how quickly and vastly he was able to flourish.
Curry along with Ellis created a dynamic backcourt, and with a year under his belt, Curry could make a push for an All-Star bid come next season.
Brandon Jennings: Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings is extremely quick, as quick as it gets.
We also all saw his scoring abilities and what he can do on the offensive side when he put up 55 points early in his rookie season. Jennings has a killer crossover that he uses to get by a lot of defenders.
But then he gets crushed at the rim, which is his downfall due to the lack of bulk on his body.
That said, Jennings' speed in the open floor and transition is so effective that no one can stop him. He will need to improve his point guard skills, add a consistent shot, and put on some weight before he is able to become a top 10 point guard.
Darren Collison: Indiana Pacers
John Wall: Washington Wizards (Rookie)
This kid has all the athletic traits you could possibly want. Wall has explosive speed and athleticism and he has great size for a point guard, at 6'4".
Wall excels in the open court and on fast breaks; he is just simply electric running up and down the floor. He plays hard on both ends of the floor, and Wall along with Arenas could make a deadly backcourt combination.
John Wall's major problems involve his shooting. His stroke can be horrendous, he is a bad free-throw shooter, and his turnover ratio is extremely high. But if he is able to fix those key things, he will be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year next season.
The Top 10
10. Aaron Brooks: Houston Rockets
Brooks had a breakout season last year even in the absence of Yao, a true inside presence who can take pressure off the young point guard.
Brooks is an extremely quick player, and at the same time is very strong despite his size. He is not afraid to take it to the hole with bigger defenders in the way. Brooks has also shown his ability to be a playmaker and set up his teammates, though it could be something he needs to improve on.
Of course, Brooks is a terrific three-point shooter, and he can take set shots or even pull up from three, trigger away and hit a majority of his shots.
With Yao back next season, he should be able to improve that much more, with opponents focusing more on Yao again.
9. Tyreke Evans: Sacramento Kings
The reigning Rookie of the Year, Evans had a terrific rookie season indeed. Evans averaged 20 points, six assists, and five rebounds a game.
Evans does need to work on his true point guard skills and learn to set up his teammates rather than driving to the hole himself all the time. He did some great things last season. He is a gifted and tremendous playmaker when it comes to driving to the rim.
Evans uses an array of one-on-one moves to blow past defenders using his quickness and upper body strength. He does need to improve his shot, and three-point abilities, but with what he has already in his driving repertoire, the shot is bound to come along.
8. Russell Westbrook: Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook has terrific quickness and extraordinary leaping abilities for someone his height and position. He can penetrate with the best in the league, and when he is able to trickle his way into the paint, he can finish over bigger and stronger defenders.
Westbrook also excels on the defensive side of the ball. He is a great asset for the Thunder on defense; his hands are always active, and he consistently creates turnover after turnover.
His ball-handling abilities are phenomenal; he has broken a few ankles in his first two seasons in the league. Though, with all of Westbrook's positive qualities, he does possess some negative ones as well—but not many.
He is not the greatest of shooters, and needs to obtain a consistent shooting stroke to be a next-level player in this league on the offensive side of things.
Westbrook also needs to work on the true point guard skills, and setting up others as well as toning down the turnovers, even though his sophomore season was a great improvement in that category.
7. Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls
Rose uses his great frame and fantastic speed to blow past defenders with ease. Then, once he is able to blow by the defenders, he uses his explosive leaping abilities to either dunk on defenders or just elevate over them.
He possesses great one-on-one skills that he uses to his advantage when driving to the basket. He is a good combo guard right now, but needs to learn to be a half-court type point guard where he is able to come in and make moves to set up teammates, rather than doing so in the open court/transition game that he is ever so good at already.
Lastly, Rose is another player that falls under the "must improve shooting stroke" in order to enhance his skills that much more.
6. Rajon Rondo: Boston Celtics
Rondo, arguably, is the fastest player in the NBA—perhaps on this planet!
He pushes the ball non-stop and it seems as if his motor just never stops. He uses his speed to break down defenders, and then once he gets into the lane, he uses the same old fake behind-the-back pass, then goes up for the easy two.
Rondo is a pass-first point guard, and when you have a weak jump shot and penetrate extremely well, it does help to have Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on your team to pass to. He rebounds well for his size and position, and also racks up the steals. This helps Rondo excel in the transition game.
Rondo, all and all, is going to be a top-flight point guard in this league. But until he is able to get over the hump, he needs to improve his shooting touch, create fewer turnovers and become the leader that most point guards are in this league.
5. Jason Kidd: Dallas Mavericks
Kidd is one of the NBA's greatest pure point guards, and one of the best pure passers that we have ever seen.
He has ultra-ray vision and instincts on the floor. He is always able to find the open player, no matter how small of a hole there is to fire the pass. Kidd is known for always making his teammates around him better. Kidd is the perfect pass-first point guard that every team would love to have on their roster.
Kidd is also a good three-point shooter, and has hit big three after big three over his 16 NBA seasons thus far.
Kidd is a lock down defender who uses his height and strength over smaller and weaker point guards. His hands are always active, and he is among the league's best in the steals department, even at his older age. Lastly, Kidd is one of the game's all-time greatest rebounding guards.
4. Deron Williams: Utah Jazz
D-Will is not a player who has an attribute that will just skyrocket out of the roof. Williams is more of an "overall package" type of point guard. He penetrates, shoots the three, and possesses one of the craziest and deadliest crossovers in the game.
He uses his large frame and quickness to get around defenders and finish with contact around the rim.
Williams does force the issue sometimes, which creates more turnovers.
He is also a below-average defender who does not have the best lateral quickness to guard top point guards in the league.
3. Chauncey Billups: Denver Nuggets
Mr. Clutch had a great season last year, one of his career-bests. Billups is an exceptional point guard, meaning he knows what to do and when to do it. He will always look to set up his teammates and try to make them better.
Billups is very quick, and excels in the open court, especially when he is able to spot open teammates from a mile away.
Billups is one of the best clutch performers in the NBA, hence the name "Mr. Clutch." He loves the pressure of a game coming down to his hands and his decision-making.
He will either blow past the defender for the easy two, dish to the open teammate, or pull up for the game-winning three. Billups is a great free-throw shooter, barely ever missing.
He is also tough defender, using his big body frame to outmuscle the smaller opponents.
Lastly, Billups is a natural born leader, the perfect trait for a perfect point guard.
2. Steve Nash: Phoenix Suns
Nash, two-time league MVP, is one of the greatest point guards and on-court leaders we have ever seen.
A sure Hall of Famer, Nash simply makes everyone around him better. Just ask Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, and man, the list just keeps going!
Nash has amazing vision, especially in midair where he will always find the open Stoudemire for the easy flush. Nash is the perfect point guard to have on your team; if you're open he will find you, which is why you must always have your hands ready when playing alongside him.
Nash is one of the leagues' most accurate free-throw shooters as well as one of the most accurate three-point shooters.
He has a very high basketball IQ, knowing when and where he has to be at all times, if has to pass or if he has to take the game into his own hands.
In closing about Nash, he simply is the perfect point guard to have on your team, because he is one of the best passing and assists players we have seen.
But, all that said, Nash can be a huge liability on defense, because he is not the fastest of the top point guards, nor is he the biggest. So he does get posted up a lot, and therefore is scored upon a lot when the top point guards come to play.
1. Chris Paul: New Orleans Hornets
At last, the best point guard in the league: Chris Paul.
It was only two seasons ago when the talks of MVP were heating up and Paul along with James were the two players with the best chance at winning the prestigious award. James ended up winning, but Paul got all the accolades for being the best point guard in the league, hands down.
Then he got injured last season, and everything just went downhill. Critics were now placing him behind Rose, Rondo, Williams and other point guards.
No disrespect to them, but Paul is by far the better player. If healthy, he is easily better than all those players, which is why everyone must keep their eye on Paul next season.
Paul is an elite point guard who is not afraid to go into the paint and battle with the big power forwards or centers (the main reason he gets hurt).
Paul is a excellent ball distributor, and at the same time, he is very creative when making those sweet dimes.
He is lightning quick, which benefits him in the transition game when he is able to blow by defenders for the easy two, or dish out an alley-oop. Paul is a great defensive player; at one point, he had a 108-game streak of getting at least one steal, an NBA record.
Although Paul does have some great attributes, he needs to improve his consistency in his shot, as well as know when not to go into the paint and receive contact, since he is starting to rack up injuries.
But, overall, if Paul is healthy, he is hands down the best point guard in the league. No questions asked.
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