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At the end of the season, I might've still told you that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. Even in the time of making this slideshow, I might've change my mind a few times. However, I think this is the year that Derrick Rose takes over the top spot for point guards. If I needed a player to run the offense and dish it out to an all star lineup while still averaging around 19 PPG, I would pick Paul in a heartbeat. However, if I needed a true leader and a player to truly score while still being unselfish on offensive I would pick Rose in a heartbeat. These are two completely different players and they have two completely different roles for their team, which made it incredibly hard to pick the best. With that said, this was a close battle, but it is one I think Rose will win next year for the following reasons.
First, Rose is coming off his best season yet, averaging 25 PPG and 7.7 APG. Paul on the other hand averaged 16.4 PPG and 9.8 APG during one of his worst seasons in the NBA. I agree that Paul played a lot better in the playoffs, but he was also going up against Derek Fisher. Here are the stats from every time the two have played each other. You can see for yourself, that other than the first meeting, when Rose was in his Rookie season, they have been competitive with each other until this season when Rose held Paul to a 30% FG% and outscored him 23 to 15 while holding the same assists as him.
The head to head stats can be seen at http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=paulch01&p2=rosede01
The head to head stats for Derrick Rose against the top point guards are shown here
My second reason for placing him higher than Paul is that he harder to guard defensively. Derrick Rose is double-teamed far more often than Chris Paul because he is faster, stronger, and bigger. Derrick is simply more athletic than Paul.
My 3rd reason is that even though Paul is one of the league's most clutch players, Derrick Rose averaged more points in the clutch than any other player in the entire NBA by averaging 47.8 points per 48 minutes of clutch time. In a last play scenario, I would much rather have the ball in Rose's hands because I think he can get to the whole faster, and when they double him he has the court vision that is able to pass it off to an open player.
Derrick Rose most do these 3 things to prove my point this season:
1. He must improve his 3-point jumper. If he wants to be simply unguardable, he needs his 3-point % to be around 38% like Paul's.
2. He must improve his assist totals, which I think is very possible. Derrick Rose has the unselfishness and passing ability to average 10 APG, which I think he will due to the fact that teams will double him constantly forcing him to give the ball up to an open player for "free" points.
3. He must become a better individual defender. He needs to average more SPG than 1 if he wants to be considered more than a tool in Thibodeau's defensive scheme.
At this point in time I think Rose and Paul could be the best point guard on a given night. However, I'm giving the nod to Rose here because he's simply a better scorer than Paul and is coming off a better year than Paul, and I think that Rose will improve more next year widening the gap between the two.