NBA Playoffs 2011: Runnin' the Show, Ranking the Starting PG of Every Team
Point guard is arguably the most, if not the second-most important position in the game of basketball.
A good point guard, like Steve Nash or Chris Paul, can put average players in advantageous situations and make them look better than they truly are.
In recent years, point guards like Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups have been instrumental in leading their respective teams to NBA championships.
This year's NBA champion will likely need a great performance from its point guard in the playoffs.
With a cast of characters that includes Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Paul, among others, it will be interesting to see who rises to the top and leads his team to the championship.
These rankings are based upon how each player is performing this season and this season alone; it is not a ranking of their career accomplishments.
No. 8: Derek Fisher, L.A. Lakers
2010-11 Season Stats: 82 GP, 28.0 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 38.9 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 80.6 FT%, 2.7/0.9 AST/TO ratio
Age: 36; 15th season in the NBA
Fisher is certainly not the player he used to be, but he has still come through in the clutch when the L.A. Lakers have needed him the past two seasons.
A five-time NBA champion, Fisher doesn't have to do too much for this team—just limit his turnovers and make his open jumpers.
Should he do that, the Lakers will have a good chance at claiming their third consecutive championship.
No. 7: Mike Bibby, Miami
2010-11 Season Stats: 80 GP, 28.6 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 43.1 FG%, 44.0 3P%, 62.9 FT%, 3.3/1.3 AST/TO ratio
Age: 32; 13th season in the NBA
Mike Bibby is certainly not the player he used to be, but with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on his team, he has a legitimate shot at finally get to the NBA Finals and winning a championship.
Bibby won't be asked to do too much, with his job being to help facilitate the offense, make open shots and limit turnovers.
He could be the X-factor for Miami this year in the playoffs.
No. 6: Kirk Hinrich, Atlanta
2010-11 Season Stats: 72 GP, 30.0 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 44.6 FG%, 39.9 3P%, 84.1 FT%, 4.0/1.7 AST/TO ratio
Age: 30; Eighth season in the NBA
This is why the Atlanta Hawks made the trade for Kirk Hinrich in midseason: To see whether or not he could take them from being a consistent playoff team to that of a legitimate contender.
As of now, there is little reason to believe that the Hawks are on the cusp on taking that next step and advancing deep into the playoffs. But with a team that has Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and a supporting cast of Jamal Crawford and Marvin Williams, there is no shortage of talent.
At this point, it comes down to execution, and the difference for Atlanta this year may be Hinrich.
No. 5: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
2010-11 Season Stats: 82 GP, 34.7 MPG, 21.9 PPG, 44.2 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 84.2 FT%, 4.6 RPG, 8.2/3.9 AST/TO ratio
Age: 22; Third season in the NBA
Russell Westbrook is different from nearly all of the other starting point guards on this list, in that he carries more of a scoring load, but that hasn't diminished his abilities as a point guard, as he's averaged 8.2 assists per game this season.
Playing with an Oklahoma City team that has one of the best players in the game, in Kevin Durant, and a formidable frontline that includes Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, Westbrook is part of a well-rounded cast that has drastically improved the past two seasons.
The bottom line is, if Westbrook can continue to be the force he's been this year for the Thunder, then it's reasonable to believe that this could be the year that Oklahoma City breaks through and advances to the NBA Finals.
No. 4: Jason Kidd, Dallas
2010-11 Season Stats: 80 GP, 33.2 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 36.1 FG%, 34.0 3P%, 87.0 FT%, 4.4 RPG, 8.2/2.2 AST/TO ratio
2011 Postseason Stats: 6 GP, 34.7 MPG, 11.7 PPG,
Age: 38; 17th season in the NBA
Jason Kidd averaged just 7.9 points per game and shot a paltry 36.1 percent from the floor this season, but he did help to run the Dallas offense, averaging 8.2 assists per game.
At this stage in his career, Kidd won't be expected to carry much of the scoring load, like he did in the past—just to get his teammates like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion involved.
Should he do that well enough, this may finally be the year the Mavericks win a championship.
No. 3: Mike Conley, Jr, Memphis
2010-11 Season Stats: 81 GP, 35.5 MPG, 13.7 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 36.9 3P%, 73.3 FT%, 6.5/2.2 AST/TO ratio
Age: 23; Fourth season in the NBA
Now in this fourth year in the NBA, Mike Conley, Jr. has made strides in recent years with his improvement, helping take Memphis back to the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06.
Against San Antonio, Conley will have to hold his own against star point guard Tony Parker.
No. 2: Rajon Rondo, Boston
2010-11 Season Stats: 68 GP, 37.2 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 47.5 FG%, 56.8 FT%, 4.4 RPG, 11.2/3.4 AST/TO ratio
Age: 25; Fifth season in the NBA
Rajon Rondo has done it before.
In the last three seasons, he's led the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship, the NBA Finals twice and has established himself as one of the game's best point guards.
With a supporting cast of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Jeff Green, Rondo doesn't have to do too much, just facilitate the offense and continue to play good, scrappy defense.
That being said, he will, at times, be called upon to perform in the clutch.
No. 1: Derrick Rose, Chicago
2010-11 Season Stats: 81 GP, 36.6 MPG, 25.0 PPG, 44.5 FG%, 33.2 3FG%, 85.8 FT%, 4.1 RPG, 7.7/3.4 AST/TO ratio
2011 Postseason Stats: 5 GP, 37.4 MPG, 27.6 PPG, 37.1% FG, 86.7% 3FG, 4.6 RPG, 6.2/3.8 AST-TO ratio
Age: 22; Third season in the NBA
Derrick Rose is not just the game's best point guard, he is arguably the league's best player. Besides being a great facilitator on offense, he scores 25.0 points per game.
Rose, who will likely be this year's Most Valuable Player, may be the primary factor in determining whether or not the Bulls return to their glory days and claim another championship.