After another long NBA regular season, we've learned a lot about our favorite professional league and its stars.
Most people consider the point guard to be the NBA's most important position, and for good reason. Point guards handle the ball more than anyone else and are the key to working an efficient offense.
Without a solid point guard, a team's season can be absolutely disastrous (see: Minnesota Timberwolves).
So, here's the first in my series of the top five at every position, along with a few more that are close.
The last few years have seemed to be a high-water mark for great point guards. Not in recent memory have there been so many who can really dominate a game.
However, it has created a bit of a talent gap between the upper-echelon guys and the less fortunate, so I couldn't in good conscience leave these guys off the list to be associated with the rest of the scrubs.
Kidd did something remarkable by reinventing himself as a great three-point shooter late in his career to make him a viable scoring threat, but clearly his best years are behind him.
Felton broke out this year, becoming one of the Knicks' best players not named Amar'e. And that was made clear when his inclusion almost put a halt on the Carmelo Anthony deal.
After an impressive rookie season, I'm very excited to see what Wall can do as the talent around him (hopefully) continues to improve.
Two years ago Parker easily would have cracked the top five, and his game hasn't really changed much. It just goes to show how much the league has grown at this position recently.
Putting him out of the top five really represents a changing of the guard (no pun intended) at this position. It actually pains me not to put him up there, but the fact is he's getting up there in age while other young stars are exploding.
If he's ever able to return to his pre-surgery self, Paul could easily top this list, but his explosiveness and scoring ability have slowed a bit ever since he hurt his knee.
The proof: This season his scoring is down almost three points per game from his career average, which is clearly due to the loss of his lightning-fast first step and fewer fast-break opportunities.
Perhaps Paul is just easing his way back into it, because he still shows the occasional blow-by speed that made him unstoppable.
Hopefully it won't be long before he unleashes himself once again.
Westbrook has really emerged as one of the best all-around guards in the NBA this year.
His scoring, assists and steals numbers have all steadily risen since he entered the league, and he's only in his third season:
2008-2009: 15.3 PPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 STL
2009-2010: 16.1 PPG, 8.0 APG, 1.3 STL
2010-2011: 21.9 PPG, 8.2 APG, 1.9 STL
With so many weapons around him the transition from two-guard to point guard has been a little easier, and Westbrook is one of the best triple-double threats in the game today.
Williams has been one of the best scoring point guards in the league for the last few years, and is probably the best penetrator out of this bunch.
It's yet to be seen whether or not his change of scenery will help him or not, but no matter where he plays he will be one of the best players on the court.
Williams' vision in the half-court game and ability to post smaller guards up also separate him from the pack.
Now, I know I'll probably catch some flack because he is without a doubt the 2011 NBA MVP, and I'm not arguing that point, but I still don't think Rose is the best point guard in the league.
Yes, he is the single most valuable player to his respective team, but that also forces him to do some things you don't necessarily want in a point guard.
Because of how much he is relied upon to score, Rose is often reluctant to make the right pass. His turnovers are a bit high. His defense isn't superb.
On the other hand, he can get you the big shot at the end of a game, and he can completely take over. But if you have a team with other scorers, he would not be my first pick at point guard.
This just goes to show how many great guards the league is now home to.
This guy has everything you want in a point guard.
If you try telling me that someone in the NBA not named Steve Nash has better court vision than Rajon Rondo, you're lying. Rondo will thread the needle through the tightest passing lane from half-court or drop the perfect bounce pass for a dunk.
Not to mention he's the best rebounding guard in the NBA and the best defensive guard in the NBA.
Sure, people may think anyone could put up double-digit assists playing with four Hall of Famers, and that would have been a valid argument in 2008. But Rondo has really developed into an amazing player the last two years.
His only real flaw is his inconsistent jump shot, which isn't a huge problem with his current team.