Chris Paul and the Top 10 Most Exciting Point Guards in the NBA
As we begin the next decade, it's become apparent that a new era has arrived in the NBA.
In an age where speed is becoming a hotter commodity than height, and the success of teams constantly depends on superior backcourt play, point guards will come to the forefront as superstars.
The characteristics that make a great point guard seem simple enough: great quickness, playmaking ability, a knockdown jump shot and the leadership ability.
Yet truly great point guards are hard to find, and for that reason, having a great point guard can be the difference between an average team and a championship contender.
Without further ado, the following is a list of the point guards that I believe will lead the NBA at their position for the next decade, with some of their signature highlights.
10. Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
This 5'10" dynamo out of North Carolina has had to wait several years to get his turn in the spotlight, but Ty Lawson has made his opportunities count. With Raymond Felton getting traded to the Blazers this offseason, Lawson might finally get to take over as the full time starter this season.
He is as quick from end-to-end as any guard in the league and attacks the rim aggressively despite his small stature.
Lawson's not a bad three-point shooter either; just check out one of last season's best individual single-game performances in the video for reference.
And also notice how Luke Ridnour is on the receiving end of most of his 10 straight threes. They don't call him "The Matador" for nothing.
9. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
Blessed with great size for a point guard, Holiday boasts a solid all-around game and outstanding potential for growth.
He can shoot the three, distribute and will one day be a consistent triple-double threat.
Also, the kid's got some serious ups, which he doesn't showcase often enough. This one's a preseason dunk from last year despite a pretty decent block attempt by Anthony Randolph.
8. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Hampered by plantar fasciitis in his sophomore campaign, Evans production and effectiveness dipped in comparison to remarkable rookie season.
Evans is similar LeBron James when driving to the hoop. He's so fast and so strong that he often finishes spectacular and-one plays despite being hacked.
Plus, that perpetually sleepy look he has probably makes defenders underrate him all the time, until he blows by them for an easy deuce.
This clip from the Rookie Sophomore challenge evokes memories of Dr. J's incredible wraparound reverse.
7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors were fortunate that Curry dropped all the way to seventh in the 2009 draft. One of the best long-range snipers at any position in the NBA, Curry is adept at creating his own shot despite a lack of elite physical tools.
What he lacks in athleticism he compensates with what I call "sneaky quickness" and crafty ball-handling.
Watch as Curry sends would-be blocker Chris Andersen right out of bounds with a nasty ball fake. I know how ya feel, Ronny.
6. John Wall, Washington Wizards
Aside from being a talented dancer (YouTube John Wall dougie for reference), Wall proved himself to be as good as advertised in his rookie year.
A spectacular combination of quickness, handles and great vertical ability, John Wall is yet another huge success story for John Calipari in the NBA. The Wizards are heading in a good direction as long as they keep building around Wall.
He is an absolute terror in the open court, with the ability to go end-to-end as fast as any guard in the league, as evidenced by this video.
I guess the best way for me to describe his speed is to use the words of Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch. How fast is John Wall? Well, he's "stupid fast."
5. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
You get the sense that Russell Westbrook is still figuring out the point guard position, like he hasn't figured out yet how to harness his tremendous athleticism. Which is a scary thing for the rest of the teams in the NBA.
A first-time All-Star in 2010-11 and the Robin to Kevin Durant's Batman, Westbrook has emerged as one of the more electrifying guards in the league with his explosive first step and above-the-rim game.
Not a whole lot of point guards can see the game at his level, literally.
Point guards just aren't supposed to be able to do some of the things that he can do on the court. Yet Russell Westbrook continues to defy conventional wisdom. This clip demonstrates a few things.
1. Russell Westbrook is a very good offensive rebounder for a guard.
2. If you go up with Russell Westbrook, watch your head.
4. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo is the perfect blend of style and substance. He has his trademark wrap-around fake that opponents still can't figure out, brilliant no-look passes and spectacular finishing ability. Yet he also produces elite point guard numbers, with 11.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game last year.
This amazing sequence of plays by Rondo sums up his brilliance as a point guard. Omnipresent and quick as a cat, Rondo dives on the ground to grab the ball by his fingertips, leaps up and fakes out a stunned Jason Williams for an easy layup.
All of this before anyone can blink an eye.
That's why many of the league's best, including LeBron James, consider Rondo to be the most important player on Boston's roster.
3. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose's star is rising faster than anyone's in the NBA, and for good reason. From Rookie of the Year to MVP in just three years, Rose is the proclaimed savior of the post-Jordan Bulls and one of the league's best guards.
An argument could be made that Rose is the most naturally athletic player in the league. With that 40-inch vertical and his open-court speed, I wouldn't bet against it.
Did I mention that he is also one of the NBA's best at using the glass and also added a deadly jumper to his arsenal?
D. Rose seems to climb some kind of invisible ladder before throwing down an unbelievably nasty stuff on poor Goran Dragic's head. Dragic is a pretty decent athlete in his own right, but I don't know why he even bothered trying here.
Even the usually straight-faced Rose had to get pumped up after this one.
2. Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets
If some guy named Chris Paul didn't play basketball, then Deron Williams would be undoubtedly the best point guard in the NBA. The debate of who's better, CP3 or D-Will, is a good one, as both lead guards bring different things to the table.
Anything that you would want in an ideal point guard, Williams has it. He's big, he's fast, he can shoot the rock, and he has tremendous court vision.
Everything about his game screams "superstar." The crazy thing is, I think he's still getting better every year.
D-Will seems to mesmerize the entire Bulls defense, putting Kirk Hinrich on skates in the process, before dropping off a brilliant assist to a former teammate on the Utah Jazz.
Too bad he chose to hand it off to Jarron "Butterfingers" Collins, who was probably too busy watching Williams himself to actually catch the ball.
1. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
He's not the tallest guy on the court, or even the most athletic. Chris Paul stands only 6'1" and can't throw down like some of the other guys on this list. So what makes him the NBA's best point guard, in my opinion?
Paul simply knows how to play the game, on a level that very few NBA players could even dream of attaining.
Armed with a fearless mentality, unrivaled basketball IQ and best pure point guard skills in the league, Paul can be counted on to win games single-handedly on occasion. Just ask the Lakers.
I can't even count how many types CP3 crosses up Bynum in this one play, but it's impressive anytime you can completely spin your defender around. Another example of why centers should avoid switching onto Paul or face utter humiliation.