NBA Power Rankings: Ranking All 30 Starting Point Guards Heading into 2011-2012

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 29, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Ranking All 30 Starting Point Guards Heading into 2011-2012

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    The NBA has seen a dramatic rise in point guard play over the past few seasons with the emergence of young talent like Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Boston's Rajon Rondo.

    This next generation of gifted floor generals has combined with the already prominent faces of players such as Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups to make the shift of point guard power that much smoother.

    Every team needs one, but not every team has one. A dominant point guard can often make the difference between being a consistent lottery team, or winning 60+ plus games and earning a conference finals berth despite lacking any other superstar talent (Derrick Rose).

    Join Bleacher Report as we break down every potential starting point guard next season and rank all 30 heading into the 2011-2012 season.

No. 30: Jimmer Fredette (Sacramento Kings)

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    Arguably one of college basketball's best scoring point guards, Jimmer Fredette will likely get the starting nod on opening night for the Sacramento Kings.

    The Kings traded Beno Udrih to Milwaukee on draft night and will likely switch former point guard Tyreke Evans over to shooting guard, where he can score comfortably.

    Fredette was one of the most dynamic point guards in college basketball last year, but no NBA shot-caller will have more to prove next season than the "Jimmer."

No. 29: Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

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    Minnesota will finally get to see its first 2009 lottery pick in action this season, unless there is a lockout of course.

    Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio has signed on to join the team that drafted him two years ago and is the favorite to start for Minnesota in 2011-2012.

    Veteran point guard Luke Ridnour was far from explosive for the Timberwolves last season, averaging 11.8 PPG and 5.4 APG while averaging more than 30 minutes per game.

    The 20-year-old Rubio has struggled in the Euroleague over the past few seasons, failing to produce impressive numbers, but he will get his shot to prove himself next season in the NBA.

No. 28: Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers)

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    Derek Fisher will be 37 years old at the start of the 2011-2012 season, but retirement doesn't seem in Fisher's plans just yet.

    The Lakers have been rumored to be searching for a replacement at point guard, but have yet to make any significant moves, instead acquiring veteran Steve Blake in free agency last offseason and opting to bring him and Shannon Brown off the bench as back ups.

    As of right now Derek Fisher would be the starter at point guard for L.A., which is rather concerning considering Fisher shot better from 3-point range than he did from the field in 2010-2011.

No. 27: Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons)

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    Former Kentucky Wildcat Brandon Knight will be competing against current Pistons' starter Rodney Stuckey for minutes in 2011-2012.

    Detroit stole Knight with the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and will likely look to Knight to begin the rebuilding period in the Motor City.

    The 6'4" point guard showed superb late-game composure last spring, leading the Wildcats to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament despite only being a freshman.

    Knight should beat out Stuckey for the starting spot this offseason, but if not he will get his chance at some point next season, you can be sure.

No. 26: Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks)

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    Atlanta traded for Washington's Kirk Hinrich mid-season last year and was hoping he would be the difference for them in the postseason, but it was the same old story for the Hawks who lost in the conference semi-finals.

    Hinrich will likely be competing with Jeff Teague, who showed lots of promise playing in the injured Hinrich's place during the playoffs.

    Hinrich only averaged 10.2 points per game last season to go along with 4.0 APG, but does a number of things well on the defensive side of the ball.

No. 25: Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat)

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    To Mario Chalmers' credit, he played on a team that featured arguably three of the league's top 10 players.

    Also, let it be known that Chalmers did improve some of his disappointing regular season numbers during Miami's deep playoff run, but facts are facts.

    Chalmers shot slightly less than 40 percent from the field in 2010-2011, while averaging just 6.4 points per game as Miami's No. 1 option at point guard.

    Chalmers' assist numbers dipped just a little in the postseason and without his half court buzzer-beating efforts during the 2011 NBA Finals, perhaps Chalmers is ranked even lower.

No. 24: Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors)

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    Jose Calderon has seen his game decline over the past few seasons in Toronto.

    The 29-year-old Spanish point guard had a breakout season in 2008-2009 when he shot a ridiculous 98 percent from the free throw line while averaging nearly 13 points and nine assists per game, but has since struggled, shooting just 44 percent from the field in 2010-2011, his worst in five seasons.

    Calderon averaged close to 31 minutes per contest with the Raptors last season and looks to be the starter come 2011-2012.

No. 23: D.J. Augustin (Charlotte Bobcats)

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    Charlotte's D.J. Augustin went from being a rotation player to the Bobcats starting point guard in 2010-2011.

    Augustin managed only two starts in 2009-2010 after starting 11 games his rookie season (2008-2009).

    Surprisingly, the former Texas Longhorn started all 82 games for the Bobcats last season, averaging better than 14 points per game and assisting on more than six baskets per contest in the process.

    The Bobcats have a bright future at point guard as Augustin is just 23 years old and values possessions, turning it over a total of just 155 times in 2010-2011.

No. 22: Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)

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    Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings has yet to find a shot he doesn't like in the NBA.

    The 21-year-old floor general who chose Europe over college basketball three years ago averaged nearly 15 field goal attempts per game last season with the Bucks.

    Because of injury, Jennings only played in 63 games in 2010-2011, but still managed to average 16.2 points per game for the lottery-bound Bucks.

    A 39 percent shooter from the field last season, Jennings' team game failed to live up to 2009-2010, as his season assist average dropped by nearly one dime per game.

No. 21: Mo Williams (Los Angeles Clippers)

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    LeBron James former sidekick in Cleveland, Mo Williams, was traded from the lowly Cavaliers last season in exchange for an injured Baron Davis and a lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

    Williams, like Davis, struggled with injury last season, playing in only 58 games while averaging numbers we're used to seeing from L.A.'s No. 25, 14.0 PPG and 6.6 APG.

    Unfortunately, the 28-year-old had to play without the two-time league MVP LeBron James in 2010-2011, and shot poorly from just about everywhere on the court besides the free throw line.

No. 20: Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers)

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    Darren Collison fit right in during his first season with the Indiana Pacers, starting and playing in 79 games for the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed while averaging nearly 30 minutes per game.

    Collison made an immediate impact in New Orleans in 2009-2010 playing for the injured Chris Paul, but more than held his own as a starting NBA point guard last season, shooting almost 46 percent from the field while averaging more than 13 points and five assists per game for the Pacers.

    If Collison can limit his turnovers and improve his outside shot he has the athleticism and potential to be great in 2011-2012.

No. 19: Kyle Lowry (Houston Rockets)

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    It took four seasons, but Kyle Lowry finally got the chance to be a starter in the NBA last season with the Houston Rockets.

    Lowry averaged a career-high 34.2 minutes per game with Houston while leading the Rockets to a winning season, finishing 43-39 in 2010-2011.

    The 6'0" 205 pound point guard muscled his way to career-highs in scoring and assisting (13.5 PPG & 6.7 APG), and shot a career-best 37.6 percent from beyond the arc.

No. 18: Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    Like Indiana's Darren Collison, the 76ers' Jrue Holiday is another 2-year point guard out of UCLA.

    In just his second season with Philadelphia, Holiday has 133 career starts and 17 double-doubles.

    Holiday was a catalyst for the 76ers in 2010-2011, starting all 82 regular season games and leading the team to the Eastern Conference's No. 7 seed.

    Holiday stepped his game up even more during the playoffs, shooting better than 52 percent from 3-point distance in helping Philadelphia push Miami to five hard-fought games in the postseason's first round.

No. 17: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers got what seemed to be the best player available in the 2011 NBA Draft.

    The LeBron James-less Cavaliers took Duke point guard Kyrie Irving No. 1 overall, with hopes that the 19-year-old can help turn around the recently-devastated franchise.

    Irving played in just 11 games for the Blue Devils last season, which raises several questions about whether he can play at a high level consistently in the NBA.

    Still, in Irving's limited college basketball action, he excelled, averaging more than 17 points and five assists per game.

No. 16: Andre Miller (Denver Nuggets)

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    The same draft night trade that sent Raymond Felton to the Trail Blazers also brought veteran Andre Miller back to the Denver Nuggets.

    The 35-year-old Miller is coming off of an efficient two seasons with Portland, which featured two consecutive postseason appearances.

    Miller averaged over 13 points per game and more than six assists per game for the Trail Blazers, while missing just one regular season game in the past four seasons with both Portland and Philadelphia.

No. 15: Raymond Felton (Portland Trail Blazers)

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    Raymond Felton has been traded twice in a period of just four months.

    The National Champion Tar Heel was traded from New York to Denver last February in a deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple and helped Denver earn yet another playoff appearance.

    Felton was then traded again on draft night to Portland in exchange for the Trail Blazers' veteran point guard Andre Miller.

    Felton played well last season, averaging more than 15 points per game and over 8 assists per contest while playing more than 36 minutes per game on average in 2010-2011.

No. 14: Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)

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    Memphis' Mike Conley had a breakout season with the Grizzlies in 2010-2011, helping lead the franchise to its first ever playoff win—and series win—in memorable fashion over the No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs.

    Conley averaged just under 14 points per game and over six assists per game during 81 regular season games.

    The 23-year-old shot 44 percent from the field and improved his season averages for the fourth consecutive season in a row.

    Conley should be even better next season playing with a confident Grizzlies team.

No. 13: John Wall (Washington Wizards)

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    The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, John Wall, was thrown directly into the fire with the Wizards last season.

    Despite being a rookie, Wall averaged a Rookie of the Year worthy (though L.A.'s Blake Griffin won the award) 16.4 PPG and 8.3 APG.

    Unfortunately Wall's impressive numbers were padded because of his dismal shooting percentages.

    Wall shot just 41 percent from the field in 2010-2011, as well as just 29.6 percent from beyond the arc.

No. 12: Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks)

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    Statistically, Jason Kidd ranks towards the bottom of the pack in nearly every important point guard category.

    Despite Kidd's low scoring production for the Mavericks last season, his veteran leadership and invaluable playoff experience was critical for Dallas in winning the 2011 NBA Championship.

    The 38-year-old will likely be back next season with the team that first drafted him way back in 1994, attempting to defend the title he's finally earned, "NBA champion."

No. 11: Jameer Nelson (Orlando Magic)

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    Orlando's 6-foot point guard, Jameer Nelson, has been a major factor in the Magic's recent postseason success.

    Nelson is also one of the league's better 3-point shooting point guards, shooting better than 40 percent from long-range in 2010-2011.

    Nelson also averaged a career-high six assists per game for the Magic last season, while playing in the most regular season games he has played in since 2006-2007.

No. 10: Devin Harris (Utah Jazz)

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    Devin Harris was a forgotten talent playing for the New Jersey Nets the past few seasons, but has since found new life playing for the Utah Jazz.

    Harris, just 28 years old, surpassed his career averages in 2010-2011 while averaging 15.2 points per game and over seven assists per game.

    The only downside to Harris' game are his shooting struggles, only 42 percent from the field last season, but still he remains one of the 10 best point guards in today's NBA.

No. 9: Chauncey Billups (New York Knicks)

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    Regardless of where he goes, Chauncey Billups' game never goes.

    The 34-year-old Denver native's production didn't skip a beat last season, playing for both his hometown Nuggets and the New York Knicks, Billups averaged nearly 17 points per game while shooting better than 40 percent from behind the arc.

    Arguably Billups' greatest strength, other than making big shots late in games, is his efficiency from the free throw line. Billups shot almost 92 percent from the foul line in 2010-2011, second behind only Stephen Curry for league-best.

No. 8: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

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    Golden State's Stephen Curry was the third highest-scoring point guard during the 2010-2011 regular season, averaging 18.6 points per game for the Warriors.

    Curry also did an excellent job of getting his teammates involved on most nights, dropping nearly six dimes per game in 74 appearances.

    Surprisingly, Curry has played just two full seasons in the NBA, and is already averaging 18.0 PPG and 5.9 APG for his career.

No. 7: Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs)

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    Spurs' point guard Tony Parker's many talents are often overlooked because of his team's constant success.

    Even at age 29 Parker is still one of the league's most gifted and unique guards.

    Parker can get to the rim and finish at the rim better than 99 percent of players in the league.

    The Frenchman averaged 17.5 points per game last season in 78 regular season games with San Antonio.

    Parker stayed true to his position as well, averaging nearly seven assists per contest in 2010-2011.

No. 6: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

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    Oklahoma City's hard-headed point guard has enough athleticism to get by any defender but sometimes falls in love with it so much he forgets to finish.

    Though at this point it seems as if Westbrook is more of a shooting guard than a point guard, he is still young and has time to develop his passing skills.

    Westbrook managed to average 8.2 assists per game last season, which is somewhat surprising considering he turned the ball over more than any player on this list (316 turnovers).

    Young Russell's scoring output seemed to blanket his facilitating struggles last season though, as he averaged nearly 22 points per contest, second among point guards in 2010-2011.

No. 5: Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets)

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    Despite being traded mid-season in 2010-2011 and playing in only four of the Nets last 15 games of the regular season, Deron Williams remains a top five point guard in today's NBA.

    Williams controls the pace of the game as well as any point guard out there, and averaged 10.3 assists per game last season while playing for both the Utah Jazz and New Jersey Nets.

    Williams is also one of the best scoring point guards in the league, he averaged over 20 points per game last season even while struggling from beyond the arc (33 percent 3PT%).

    The 26-year-old should be healthy next season and make waves in his first full season with the Nets.

No. 4: Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)

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    Rajon Rondo joined Steve Nash and Deron Williams as one of only three point guards to average a double-double for the season in 2010-2011.

    Rondo finished second behind only Steve Nash for the regular season assist title, averaging a whopping 11.2 assists per game.

    Rondo had a slightly better assist to turnover ration than Nash (3.25 and 3.23 respectively), while only playing in 68 games for the Celtics last season.

    Boston's do-it-all floor general also reeled in over four rebounds per game and shot better than 47 percent from the field on the way to averaging 10.6 points per game.

    Rondo's struggles from beyond the arc and at the free throw line have held him back from reaching his full potential, however. The All-Star point guard shot just 23 percent from distance in 2010-2011 and nearly 57 percent from the foul line.

    But if you still doubt Rondo at No. 4 on this list, just go watch Game 3 of Boston's 2011 Eastern Conference Semi-Final series against the Miami Heat.

No. 3: Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets)

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    Chris Paul is arguably one of the most efficient point guards in the league.

    Paul led all NBA point guards in assist to turnover ratio (4.42), on his way to dropping nearly 10 dimes per contest with the New Orleans Hornets.

    Paul's 177 turnovers in 80 games played in 2010-2011 stand out as one of the best arguments one can make for him cracking the top four on this list.

    Despite his limited size, Paul has excellent court vision and a strong ability to score the ball, averaging a shade under 16 points per game in 2010-2011 while shooting 46 percent from the field.

    Paul's 2.4 steals per game led all point guards last season and he had 188 total during the regular season.

No. 2: Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)

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    The 37-year-old Steve Nash led the NBA in assists (11.4 APG) for the second consecutive season in 2010-2011.

    Nash also led all point guards in most double-doubles for the second season in as many years, racking up 41 in only 75 games played.

    Deron Williams was the closest point guard to Nash in double-doubles last season, with just 34.

    The Canadian point guard also averaged 14.7 PPG and shot better than 49 percent from the field, the fourth highest field goal percentage of any point guard in 2010-2011.

    Nash ranked tenth in 3-point percentage among all point guards and third behind only Stephen Curry and Chauncey Billups at the free throw line.

    Factor in Nash's age and his consistent play over the course of an 82-game season, and you quickly discover that Nash is one of the best to ever do it at the point guard position.

    As far as pure point guards are concerned, Nash is still the blueprint heading into 2011-2012.

No. 1: Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)

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    Chicago's own, Derrick Rose, won 2010-2011 Most Valuable Player honors—and rightfully so.

    The No. 1 overall pick in 2008 delivered all season long, scoring and facilitating for the league-leading Bulls en route to the team's first Eastern Conference Finals berth since 1998.

    Rose led all point guards in scoring (25.0 PPG) while playing a superb amount of minutes (37.4 MPG).

    Rose is as tough as they come as well, playing in a total of 81 of Chicago's 82 regular season games.

    The biggest weakness in Rose's game, however, is that he isn't a consistent knock-down shooter.

    Rose only made 33 percent of his 3-point shots last season, and shot only 44.5 percent from the field during the regular season.

    Still, an MVP award speaks for itself and Rose's accomplishments in such a short time in the league cannot be denied.

    Patrick Clarke is a Featured Columnist for the Phoenix Suns and a student at Towson University. Follow on Twitter @_Pat_Clarke