It is very important when making any kind of ranking that you specify the criteria you're judging by.
So what constitutes being a good point guard?
It is the point guard's job to run the show—to distribute the ball to his teammates in a way that is most beneficial to scoring the basketball.
This distribution should be typically even, but should also allow for alteration due to the flow of the game. While it is important to get everyone involved, it is equally important to get the ball into the hands of whoever is hot.
Secondly, the best point guards have the ability to sense when their team is struggling and become a scorer. For this cause it is imperative for a good point guard to be able to find his rhythm quickly.
This list describes the point guards in the NBA who are the best at giving their teammates the ball in a good scoring position. The best are the most consistent and a few have that rare ability to turn it on and take over a game whenever they need to.
1. Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)
Wow! Where to start? Steve Nash is hands down the best in the league. He has averaged double digit assists the last four years and currently leads the league at 11.8 per game which paces the best offense in the league.
When he's not busy picking apart defenses with his deadly accurate passes, he scores almost at will. His deadly jumper is basically guaranteed if he's left alone (which is often the case because defenses overcompensate to defend his passing). He finishes in the paint with the best of them. His fadeaway 15-footer is unguardable. He shoots over 47 percent from three, 51 percent from the field, and 90 percent from the line.
Simply put, he is the most efficient offensive player in the league. The only beef anybody has with his game is his defense. His lateral quickness isn't exactly stellar. But this list is about offensive productivity, so Nash is without question my No. 1, despite the massive game of the next guard on my list.
2. Jason Kidd (New Jersey Nets)
Jason Kidd's career has been unbelievable. He is second all time in triple-doubles. This speaks of longevity and consistent all-around play on his part. This year he is two boards a game away from averaging a triple-double!
His age doesn't seem to have slowed him down. His inspired play on the court shows great professionalism despite his vocal desire for a trade. His long consistent career propelled him slightly ahead of the next guard on my list.
3. Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets)
Chris Paul is everything you could want in a point guard—smart, efficient, flashy, and skilled. He is an excellent passer, ball-handler, scorer, and is even one of the best rebounding point guards in the league (4.0 RPG), trailing only Baron Davis and Jason Kidd.
Perhaps even more important than his skills, which are many, is his youth. He is only in his third year. It will be fun to watch the development of his career and his rivalry with the next young guard on this list.
4. Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)
Another great young point guard, Williams' efficiency in the pick and roll with his favorite target, Carlos Boozer, has received high praise and has been compared to another great Jazz duo: Stockton and Malone.
His size allows him to post up smaller guards such as Steve Nash or Tony Parker, which draws double teams and opens up teammates. His clutch play in last year's playoffs, only his second season, led the Jazz all the way to the conference finals where they lost in six games to the eventual champions (Spurs).
5. Baron Davis (Golden State Warriors)
Baron Davis is one of the most underrated guards in the NBA, single-handedly leading the Warriors. His clutch shooting, great transitional game, post moves, and exquisite passing make the Warriors a playoff team in a tough Western Conference.
Last year, his dominance of the smaller Dallas guards, Terry and Harris, helped Golden State upset the top-seeded Mavs in six games. The Warriors would eventually lose to a Jazz team led by the aforementioned Deron Williams, but not before they greatly exceeded their season's goals thanks to the clutch play of Baron Davis.
6. Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs)
It isn't a fluke that Parker is the starting point guard on the best team in the league over the last seven to eight years. His lightning speed, consistent penetration, and uncanny finishing ability have him leading the league in points in the paint over the last two seasons.
His three-pt shooting is questionable, but his interior game and mid-range jumper easily compensate. His consistent ability to feed Duncan the ball in situations favorable to scoring makes the Spurs the most balanced team in the league. His clutch play and wise decision-making made him the MVP of last year's championship team. His consistency has earned the respect of the entire league, including my No. 7 guard.
7. Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons)
Chaunce Billups is a great all-around guard. He is an excellent defender, a clutch shooter, a crafty ball-handler, and an opportunistic passer. Not enough can be said about Billups' clutch shooting. His elevated play has had the Pistons atop the Eastern Conference for several years. He anchors what is arguably the best starting five in the league.
8. Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
The entire offseason was filled with speculation about how good the Big Three of Boston—Garnett, Allen, and Peirce—could be. Three unselfish stars with immense skills. What nobody talked about was how difficult it would be for a point guard to come in and distribute the ball evenly among the three without completely neglecting himself and the center.
Rajon Rondo has filled that roll unbelievably. He has stepped up to the plate and been the on-court leader that Boston needed to bring it all together. He is as much to thank for Boston's NBA leading record as are the Big Three.
9. Andre Miller (Philadelphia 76ers)
Philadelphia fans are tough. Anybody who has watched Donavon McNabb play knows that. So I thought it would be nearly impossible for somebody to come in and try to replace Allen Iverson and not get booed off the floor. Despite my fears, Miller has come to Philadelphia and actually improved the team. He runs the break with the best of them and has been the point guard Philadelphia has badly needed for a while.
10. Allen Iverson (Denver Nuggets)
My scepticism in putting Iverson on this list, and my reason for putting him so low on it, is in no way a shot at his skill. Iverson is a great player—maybe the best penetrator in the league. Pound-for-pound, he is probably the best player in the NBA.
However, Iverson's skill set is more suited to a 2-guard.
The reason he has played as a point guard for most of his career is he hasn't been on a team with a true point guard since he had Eric Snow with Philadelphia. The fact that he is on this list speaks of his versatility. Having him No. 10 isn't an insult, it's a compliment.
As is true with all sports-related articles, this is strictly my opinion. I tried to keep it free of bias, but I am only human, and I'm sure that some bias is implemented. Feel free to comment on my list. I'm open to anything from criticism on the order these players are in, to names of players I've left out.
Let me know what you think.