Fresh into the NBA season, some teams are asserting themselves as early contenders. The bigger emergence, however, has been out of the good young crop of point guards the league has to offer.
Paul, Rondo, Westbrook, Wall, Rose, Williams, the list goes on and on. This group of ball handlers is steadily taking over the NBA stat sheets. It's not just that these point guards are great passers and ball handlers, but many of them can rebound and play stellar defense.
But, among these young point guards, which one sits alone atop the mountain so far this season? Here are the top five point guards in the NBA as it stands right now.
After a fantastic rookie campaign and an improved sophomore season, Derrick Rose is ready to assert himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA. Rose was the No. 1 pick back in 2008 and has not disappointed.
His first two season saw solid, improved production with some highlights of greatness. Now, he seems ready to step into his role as a superstar player. His numbers through the first few games demonstrate why Rose is finally ready for the limelight. He's scoring at 25 points per game with just under 10 assists per game.
The most improved thing about Rose's game has got to be his vision. When he came into the league, it seemed like he would try to make the difficult pass too often. Now, he sees the floor much better and it has resulted in a boost in statistics.
Rose is one of the most athletic players in the league and can throw it down with the best of them, which makes him a threat around the basket as well. If Rose continues to improve and can find a complementary piece in Carlos Boozer, there's no reason he can't be at the top of this list in a few months.
Formerly the consensus No. 1 point guard in the league, injuries have slowed Paul down the last couple of years, but Chris is making it clear that he is still one of the best point men in the game.
Just 25, it seems like this former Wake Forest Demon Deacon has been around for much longer. Injuries have cut short a couple of his seasons, and his most recent injury even had the Hornets pondering trading the young All-Star.
The way things worked out, at least so far, it looks like the Hornets made the right decision. Paul is the flashiest guard in the game with his array of dribble moves and impossible bounce passes. Add a very good mid-range jumper and solid moves around the basket, and you've got a great all around point guard.
Paul's most impressive stat may be on defense where he averages over two steals per game for his career.
Formerly looked at as the weak link on a championship team, Rondo has emerged as the brightest star in all in Boston. Rondo is the key that starts the engine running for last year's Eastern Conference Champions. His quickness on both sides of the ball allow for big time plays in transitions that can swing momentum in the Celtics' favor quickly.
He already has a 24 assist game under his belt and two 17 assist games. It's tough to see the Celtics scoring a basket this season that doesn't come off a pass from this Kentucky standout.
His defensive intensity goes right along with what Kevin Garnett has instilled in this team. Rondo also has a flash and a swagger that you need to compete with the best players in the world.
Should Rondo ever find a jump shot, he could one day be atop this list, but as it stands right now whatever he is doing when he pulls up and fires is far from a jump shot.
Williams is one of the strongest point guards in the NBA. He uses his size to create space off the ball, allowing him to make easier passes and open jumpers.
Deron may not have the flash of a Chris Paul or a Rajon Rondo, but what he lacks in style, he more than makes up for in substance.
He has racked up double digit assists in each of the past three seasons and it is clear he intends to make it four. He is also one of the best defenders out there, and while he may not accumulate the steals that other guards do, he shuts down almost everyone he guards.
It will be interesting how playing with Al Jefferson, instead of Carlos Boozer, will impact him numbers this season.
Deron is one huge reason that the Jazz are contenders in the West.
Westbrook is set to replace Jason Kidd as the most complete point guard in the NBA, only better. His speed, jumping ability, strength, and agility are best almost every player in the game pound-for-pound. He takes advantage of all these attributes and uses them to create the most all-around player out there.
Playing alongside Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, most expect Russell to accumulate big assist numbers, and he has, but what is astounding is the rate at which he is scoring and rebounding.
Despite playing with one of the league's best young scorers, Westbrook always seems to get his as well. He's putting up 22 points per game this season and his PPG have increased in each of his first two seasons.
Another huge thing Russell brings to the table is rebounding. He just has a nose for the basketball. And when your point guard can rebound and get out into the break quickly, good things happen. Russell is bringing in seven per game up to this point.
The most impressive thing about Westbrook has to be how far he has come with his shot. Coming into the league, it was the big knock on him. So, teams made him shoot. That's not going to work for much longer as Russell is shooting at an improved percentage from both his first two seasons and it looks a lot better as well.
Russell's emergence as the league's best point guard early in the year has been quite the surprise. Let's see if he can keep up this level of play and continue to improve throughout the year.