Ranking Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and the NBA's Top 15 Point Guards
In today's NBA, point guard is a position overwhelming with great players. Many would say that it is currently the position with the highest quality of play and highest level of production.
The debate as to ranking the league's best at this position is ongoing and constantly changing as the players are constantly improving.
The best part is that many of the elite point guards are still very young and have a great deal of development left. These players will certainly be a lot of fun to watch for years to come.
Apologies to many great players who didn't make my list of the top 15 point guards in the league today. We'll start at number 15.
15. Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
He may not be quite enough to keep Dwight Howard in town for the long term, but Nelson is still a pretty good scorer.
Consistency and shot selection seem to be his biggest problems, but Jameer has shown flashes of explosiveness where he can put a team on his back for stretches. Unfortunately, he also has games where he seems to vanish.
He is a pretty good 3-point shooter as well at 40% for this past season. Nelson barely earns a spot on my list.
14. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Well, the Kings may not quite use him as a point guard as much as they should. His size allows him to get by as a shooting guard, but it's clear that he is most effective running the point.
His shooting percentage took a significant dip from his rookie year, which is a primary reason he is this low on the list. That being said, he still averaged 18 points and 6 assists as well as 5 rebounds.
If the Kings play him at point guard along with Marcus Thorton/Jimmer Fredette at shooting guard, look out. Tyreke needs to learn to be a little more efficient, and when he does, he will be higher on my list.
13. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Conley is part of a great core the Grizzlies have locked up for the next few years.
He knows his role, and unlike some players, doesn't try to do too much. He is a good scorer, and efficient shooter. Also, Conley is among the league leaders in steals.
Conley may not do anything particularly great, but he is very good at everything a point guard needs to execute.
He slightly edges out Evans, but only because of the tough season Evans had.
12. Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers
Along with being one of the fastest players around, Darren Collison is a rising player entering only his third season.
Similar to Conley, Collison is very good at a lot of things, but doesn't try to do too much. As the rest of his young team develops, expect Collison to take the next step.
11. Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Lawson's stats were victimized by the fact that the new-look Nuggets share the ball so much.
In only 26 minutes per game, the North Carolina standout averaged 12 points, 5 assists and a steal. And he did so while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from three.
The Nuggets know that Lawson is their future, and were content in letting go of Chauncey Billups for that reason.
He may be a bit undersized, but he certainly makes up for it with his explosiveness and his breakaway speed.
Expect big things from Ty Lawson this season in his first full year as the starting point guard for the Nuggets.
10. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
We crack the top ten with Jrue Holiday, one of the league's best young players at only 21 years old.
At 6'4", Holiday has great size for a point guard. In only his second season, he averaged 14 points, 7 assists and 1.5 steals. Although he has shown the ability to use his size and speed to score, it seems as if Holiday is also content with primarily being a facilitator.
Mark my words—Holiday will be considered an elite point guard in just a few years.
9. John Wall, Washington Wizards
The Wizards have a good thing going for them in John Wall. Most people agree that he was a very safe number one overall pick and will be an elite player in the league for a while. I am one of those people.
In his rookie year, he proved that he has what it takes to play with the big boys. Even on a bad team, he still stood out and rose some eyebrows.
His efficiency seems to be what needs to be worked on, as he only shot 41% from the field this year. Part of that can be attributed to his lack of experience, and part can be blamed on his lack of quality offensive teammates,
Nonetheless, he showed why he was the number one pick. He can get to the rim, pass and steal with the best of them.
Give him another year or two to truly be the elite player we're all expecting.
8. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Having Curry this high on my list above Wall may surprise some people.
For someone who was supposed to struggle playing in the NBA, Curry has done quite well for himself. He averaged 19 points and 6 assists this season while shooting 48% from the field, 44% from three and 93% from the free throw line. But we all know he can shoot.
His ability to distribute and step aside to scorers such as Monta Ellis has been very impressive, despite having been thought of as only a shooter in college.
He responded to the critics and has made a name for himself in the league. Could he score a lot more if Ellis is traded? Definitely.
7. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
I wanted to put Westbrook higher on this list, I really did. But I can't do that until he proves that he can step aside and pass the ball to Kevin Durant in crunch time.
Basketball is a team sport, of course, but Westbrook shot the Thunder out of the Dallas series. For every bad shot he takes, he is potentially taking a shot away from one of the league's best scorers. 36% in the Conference Finals won't cut it.
All that being said, Westbrook is a great player when he plays within himself. Him and Durant could be something special for years to come and definitely have championship potential.
But please, Russell, pass the ball!
6. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Unlike Westbrook, Tony Parker knows his place on his team and does a great job at playing his role.
He understands that he is a facilitator first and makes sure to always look to find Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. As the youngest player out of the trio, however, Parker has proved over the years that he can get to the rim and score when his team needs it.
I understand he may not be the flashiest or the best scorer, but Parker does everything very well and has been playing at an elite level for the past few years.
Tony Parker deserves more credit than he gets. Well, I'm giving him credit as the number 6 point guard on my list.
5. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Ah, we crack the top five with Steve Nash, who I hated leaving off my list of the top 15 players in the NBA.
Nash has been a spectacular player for a long time, but is certainly on the decline of his career. Well, on his decline, he averaged 15 points, 11 assists and managed to pretty much keep the Suns competitive by himself. That's how good he is.
Even at 37, he still has that sweet pull up three-point shot and the ability to turn heads with his passing.
Hopefully the Suns trade him to a contender where he can show the world that he is still an elite player and can ball with the best of them.
4. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo has the edge over Nash here because of his defensive contributions. Another player that I had a tough time leaving off my other list. Of course, Rondo is much younger, and has the benefit of playing with much better players than Nash.
Rondo can do pretty much everything. He can get to the rim, he can run the break, he can rebound and he has no fear of guarding the other team's best player. If only he could shoot a jump shot...
But he is certainly a fan favorite in Boston and a huge part of how the Celtics manage to compete for a championship with an aging core. Rondo will hold his spot on this list for a while.
3. Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets
The Nets gave up a lot to get Deron Williams, and for good reason.
Before this season, many people believed that D-Will was the best point guard in the league. A very respectable opinion.
In time with both the Jazz and Nets this season, Williams averaged 20 points and 10 assists. He certainly struggled shooting once he joined the Nets, but there is definitely an adjustment period that has to occur when joining a new team.
D-Will is a franchise player, whether he's in the United states or in Turkey.
2. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
This year's MVP is without a doubt a special player, but he isn't the league's best point guard in my books. Not yet, anyway.
25 points per game and 8 assists are great stats, that's for sure. To say the least, he is explosive.
I still want to see more out of Rose. He improved his jump shot coming into this season, which obviously paid dividends.
His playoff performances are what worry me.
He shot only 37% against the Pacers in the first round. The Pacers! Yes, he put up good point totals in that series, but on a lot of shots.
I want to see Rose step up and fight against players like LeBron and Wade in the playoffs the way Chris Paul did with Kobe Bryant.
I want to see D-Rose attack and not settle for contested three-point shots.
Until he shows me that, he is number two on my list of top point guards.
1. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Here's the guy I mentioned in the previous slide. The best point guard in the NBA: Chris Paul.
It seemed like only a little while ago that it was quite clear to most people that he was the league's best point guard.
And he gave the Lakers all they could handle in the first round of this year's playoffs. He averaged 22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in against Kobe Bryant's Lakers, which consists of two great perimeter defenders in Bryant and Ron Artest. Oh yeah, and he did it all without David West.
Give me Chris Paul any day of the week.
Then again, there are a lot of point guards that I would love to have on my team. That's what made this list so hard to make.