The NBA has transitioned from a big-man's game, to the league of the little guy. Point guards have been taken first overall in three of the last four drafts, and have quickly become the game's most important position.
Who is the best? Here are the top ten.
Key Stats: 7.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
Jason Kidd is 38 years old, but still cannot be left off a list of the best point guards. With little pressure to produce offensively, Kidd orchestrated the Dallas Mavericks’ offense all the way to the NBA Championship.
Kidd reinvented his game late in his career, and become the Mavs’ go-to defender in the playoffs, taking on everyone from Kobe Bryant to LeBron James. Offensively, Kidd became a deadeye three-point shooter in the clutch.
Not bad for a player who used to referred to as ‘Ason,’ because he had no J.
Key Stats: 18.6 points, 5.8 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game
Stephen Curry entered the NBA as something of a question mark. He was a deep-shooting guard at Davidson, but his slight frame (185 pounds) would mean a position switch. Curry has improved as a passer, but it is his all-around game that has impressed, as he is a great rebounder for his size.
Curry’s offense transitioned to the NBA level (there was little doubt of that), but he has made a fine point guard as well.
If the Warriors ever move Monta Ellis, an undersized combo guard himself, for a true shooting guard Curry’s assist numbers will grow to match his impressive scoring average.
Key Stats: 17.5 points and 6.6 assists
The 2010-11 season was something of a renaissance season for Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs.
The team had the best record in the Western Conference, and Parker played in his most games since 2005-06.Then the top-seeded Spurs were upset by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Still, another solid season from the Spurs’ point guard cannot be ignored.
Key Stats: 16.4 points, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game
John Wall may have only been a rookie, but he produced like a veteran and earned a spot on this list. It only took Wall six games to drop the first triple-double of his career.
Wall has two aspects of his game to concentrate on: Shooting/shot selection (41 percent from the field), and staying on the court (he played in only 69 games).
Key Stats: 21.9 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds
Russell Westbrook has the most ability of any point guard aside from Derrick Rose.
At times he believes too much in that ability, and forgets he plays with the best scorer in the game, Kevin Durant. This is a season in the crossroads for Westbrook: Will he be D. Rose West, or will he be the second-coming of Stephon Marbury?
He has a hell of an offseason workout partner in Rose, but Rose's ability is not in question. A season of 20 points, 10 assists, and 50 percent shooting would go a long way towards silencing the critics.
Key Stats: 14.7 points, 11.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds
His old running mates may keep leaving town but at 37 years old, Steve Nash keeps producing. In a season where he lost Amar'e Stoudemire, Nash still led the league in assists.
The former two-time MVP kept an otherwise sorry roster hanging around .500 all season long. At 37 years old, it is time for the Suns to move Nash to a team with a contender while he still has a couple of championship runs left in him.
The ideal team would have a strong team defense to cover his defensive deficiencies.
Key Stats: 10.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game
Rondo may be the game’s best distributor, and is a fierce defender to boot. He played through a dislocated elbow against the Miami Heat, and led the Boston Celtics to their lone win in the series.
He is rapidly stepping in for Kevin Garnett as the Celtics’ heart and soul. As the only core member of the team under 30, Rondo represents the future of the franchise.
Key Stats: 20 points, 10 assists, four rebounds per game
Deron Williams only played in 65 games last season, but when he was on the court, he was in prime form for both the New Jersey Nets and Utah Jazz. Williams is the new face of the Nets, and represents the chances for Mikhail Prokhorov to back up his claim to build a dynasty.
A story to watch moving forward: Most analysts believe the Nets’ chances of re-signing D-Will rely on their 2011-12 performance. If there is not a season, as David Stern claims, did the Nets just sell their future for 12 games with the All-star?
Key Stats: 15.9 points, 9.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game.
Chronic knee problems may rob fans of a generation’s worth of the CP3 we saw in ’08-09. The season-long averages may be diminished, but Paul can still turn into CP3 in a heartbeat when his team needs him most.
Paul averaged 22/11.5/7/2 in a series against the Lakers that had no business going six games. His 30 points, 14.5 assists, and 10 rebounds in the team’s two wins prove Paul is still capable of being the best in the business on any given night.
Key Stats: 25 points, 7.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds per game
Derrick Rose was the league’s youngest MVP, and took the Chicago Bulls all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. When the Bulls needed a basket, everyone in the building knew it was going to come from Derrick Rose.
It was not until he ran into Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, playing their best basketball of the season, that someone could stop him.
The scary thing is Rose is still only 22 years old—he will be 23 in a week. Rose’s blend of power, quickness and explosive athletic ability is something the league has never seen before, and he continues to work to improve his game.
If the Bulls ever get him that complementary wing player, his assist numbers and efficiency will skyrocket.
The last two summers have been all about his jump shot, which made him a respectable outside shooter. We can all anticipate more work on that part of his game, but this summer’s primary dedication will be to improve his post game.
His workout buddies? Russell Westbrook, the only point guard that can match him in strength and athleticism, and Kevin Love. Yeah, the 20/20 Kevin Love.
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