B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Point Guards of 2014-15 Season

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistMay 6, 2015

B/R NBA 200: Ranking the Top Point Guards of 2014-15 Season

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    Is this finally the year that Chris Paul relinquishes his grip on the top spot of the league's most glamorous position? 

    The 2014-15 season was brimming over with point guards challenging for supremacy. Early in the year, Kyle Lowry and Damian Lillard were shining, while Stephen Curry submitted his name for MVP during the campaign's infancy and kept thriving through the end of the regular season. Russell Westbrook even went on a triple-double tear, posting numbers that hadn't been seen since Oscar Robertson was patrolling NBA courts decades ago. 

    And the Association, ever a point guard-driven league, showcased quite a bit of depth at the position as well. With young up-and-comers making their marks and plenty of floor generals strutting their stuff during fringe All-Star seasons, this spot in the lineup is just overflowing with talent.

    Now, we have to put them in a definitive order.

    The NBA 200 metric identifies the players who performed best during the 2014-15 season. Potential doesn't matter, and neither does reputation. It's all about what happened this season and this season only. All positions are graded using the same criteria (though rim protection was added into the equation for bigger positions), but the categories are weighted differently to reflect changing roles, with max scores in parentheses: 

    • Scoring (20)
    • Non-Scoring Offense: Facilitating (20) and Off-Ball Offense (5)
    • Defense: On-Ball (20) and Off-Ball (20)
    • Rebounding (5)
    • Intangibles: Conduct (5) and Durability (5)

    For a full explanation of how these scores were determined, go here. And do note these aren't your father's classification schemes for each position. Players' spots were determined by how much time they spent at each position throughout the season, largely based on data from 82games.com and Basketball-Reference.com, and we're expanding the traditional five to include four combo positions.

    In the case of ties, the order is determined in subjective fashion by ranking the more coveted player in the higher spot. That was done by a voting committee comprised of myself, two National NBA Featured Columnists (Grant Hughes and Dan Favale), two Associate NBA Editors (Ethan Norof and Joel Cordes) and an NBA Quality Editor (Jacob Bourne).

    Note: All statistics come from Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated. In order to qualify for the rankings, players must have suited up in 20 games through March 10, the date of data collection.

34. C.J. Watson, Indiana Pacers

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    Scoring

    11/20

    Running the show for the defensively oriented Indiana Pacers basically means that you're guaranteed not to sparkle as an individual scorer, and C.J. Watson fully embodied that truism. Though he's quite adept at creating small amounts of space and can connect from beyond the arc with impressive accuracy, he's just not involved enough to post double-digit outputs on a regular basis. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/25

    Watson can drain shots from three-point territory, but he doesn't often function as a floor-spacing threat off the ball in catch-and-shoot situations. Instead, the main source of his score here comes from his passing, which saw him average more assists than he has since leaving the Chicago Bulls after the 2011-12 campaign.

    Defense

    32/40

    If you play for the Pacers and aren't one of the top scoring threats, you have to be able to prevent points. Watson is by no means a standout defender, but he spent the year holding his own both on and off the ball while thriving as a pick-and-roll defender who could stay glued to his man's hip as he worked around screens.

    Rebounding

    1/5

    Watson may have set a career high in rebounds per game this year (2.9), but it's not like his previous best (2.6 in 2009-10 with the Golden State Warriors) was particularly impressive. He's basically a non-factor on the glass, only collecting boards that bounce into open space with no one else around.

    Intangibles

    8/10

    The cradle of basketball seemed to be cursed this season, and Watson was no exception. A bruised right foot knocked him out of the lineup at the beginning of the year, preventing him from stepping onto the court without a limp until his team's 16th game of the season.

    Overall

    64/100

    Watson held his own for much of the year, running the show for the Pacers until George Hill was able to take the reins. But he was rarely anything more than a placeholder, remaining steady in most areas without standing out in either a positive or negative manner. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is that he knows exactly what he's capable of and rarely tries to do too much.

33. Jeremy Lin, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Scoring

    12/20

    While scoring at the lowest rate since his breakout burst of Linsanity with the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin has struggled to rekindle nearly any of his scoring magic. The creative finishes around the basket didn't fall nearly as often this year, and he was unable to showcase the same explosion around screens that allowed him to thrive as a space-creating point guard in the past. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/25

    Lin isn't much of a spot-up or cutting threat, but he remains a capable passer who can find open teammates. Most impressively, he's continued to grow as a careful distributor, no longer recording the gaudy turnover figures that plagued him during his time with the Knicks.

    Defense

    28/40

    Though he held his own when left in isolation, Lin struggled mightily working off the ball. He often cheated over far too much, leaving himself with uncoverable ground to make up before his assignment swished in the inevitably open jumper. If you paid attention to him when he was working on the weak side of the defense, you'd never guess he went to Harvard. 

    Rebounding

    2/5

    As is often the case for point guards with lackluster rebounding skills, Lin struggled when there was another player in his vicinity. The vast majority of his converted opportunities came when he was the only one within shouting distance of the ball, and there weren't even too many of those moments.

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Going back and forth with head coach Byron Scott about his role in the Lakers rotation wasn't exactly a positive, but at least he kept a clean bill of health throughout the season, giving us no reason to dock him any points for durability.

    Overall

    65/100

    We're a long way removed from Linsanity. Lin is still a capable pick-and-roll ball-handler, but it's abundantly clear that he needs to be in the perfect situation in order to look like anything other than a decent backup or bottom-tier starter. He just doesn't bring enough to the table when his shots around the hoop aren't falling with unsustainable frequency.

32. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

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    Scoring

    9/20

    Marcus Smart still hasn't figured out who he's going to be as an NBA scorer. After using his size advantageously while at Oklahoma State, bowling over opponents en route to plays around the rim, he seemed to avoid contact with the Boston Celtics, instead settling in as a spot-up shooter. Spoiler alert: It didn't always work.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/25

    Fortunately, Smart was able to maintain some sort of threatening presence off the ball, even if his scoring numbers are still largely atrocious. For a first-year player, he displayed a strong knack for picking and choosing his cutting opportunities wisely. But until he gets more involved as a distributor, he's going to struggle in this category, even in a league where 1-guards can be primary scorers.

    Defense

    32/40

    On the ball, Smart was a fairly strong defender during his rookie season. However, when his man was operating without possession, we saw a different story emerge. Though he navigated off-ball screens properly, he was atrocious when cheating off his man and trying to recover or catching up after a quick handoff.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Apparently, it helps to be 6'4" with 220 pounds on your frame. Not only does Smart generate quite a few rebounding chances whenever he steps onto the floor, simply by virtue of attacking the glass, but he's adept at pulling down boards in traffic as well. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Though plays like his dirty move against Matt Bonner certainly haven't allowed him to completely rebuild his reputation, especially when they lead to one-game suspensions, Smart has partially shown that his ill-advised shove of a fan while with the Cowboys was an aberration. He's also losing points here due to injuries, as a severely sprained ankle plagued him at the beginning of his rookie season.

    Overall

    65/100

    The potential is there, and it isn't particularly hard to see. But especially as a scorer and when working against more nuanced offensive sets from the opposition, Smart's inexperience shows up even more clearly. The C's should have confidence they've found a high-quality point guard for the future, but there will be plenty of growing pains as he continues transitioning to the style of play in the Association.

31. Elfrid Payton, Orlando Magic

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    Scoring

    9/20

    There's not much to see here, as it's been rather difficult for Elfrid Payton to overcome the dearth of a working jumper and excel as an NBA scorer. As a result, he's been both inefficient and largely uninvolved in the points column during his rookie season, doing the vast majority of his limited damage right around the basket.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    14/25

    When Payton is standing on a wing without the ball, it's almost as if he doesn't exist. Defenses can cheat off him by egregious amounts, (rightfully) displaying a lack of fear that he'll make them pay for their negligence. The saving grace here is Payton's work as a distributor, since he already shows a knack for hitting teammates in the proper spots during all portions of a contest.

    Defense

    28/40

    Payton's defense was legendary during his college basketball days, and he'll likely be one of the better defensive 1-guards down the road. But he's not there yet, as the subtleties of professional point guards were largely lost on him throughout the year. In particular, he was absolutely brutalized in isolation sets, which teams capitalized on even more often than normal when he was on the floor.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Though he generated plenty of rebounding opportunities—enough that he could one day qualify with a 5-of-5 in this category—Payton struggled hauling in boards. Relatively, of course, as he was still a huge asset on the glass coming out of the Orlando backcourt. Once he starts picking his spots more wisely, he'll be a truly elite rebounder at his position.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    No conduct issues? Check. No significant health issues? Check. Remarkable hair that had to inspire his teammates' follicular game? Check.

    Overall

    65/100

    Payton definitely progressed as the season did the same, developing as a mediocre scorer and impressive distributor. He likely won't be remembered down the road as having one of the NBA's better rookie seasons, but when his defense comes around—and it will—that won't matter. 

30. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz

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    Scoring

    12/20

    Until Trey Burke's jumper improves dramatically, defenses won't have many reasons to respect his scoring ability. He shot 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie, and he actually regressed in both areas during his sophomore season. And all the while, he's refused to take better shots, failing to realize that defenders at this level are much more capable of shutting him down than they were in Ann Arbor.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/25

    When not asked to create shots for himself, Burke is capable of stretching out a defense and providing some impact as a spot-up marksman. But passing is still his forte, and he's been particularly adept at minimizing his mistakes. Averaging just 1.6 turnovers while playing hefty minutes and serving as a primary distributor is always going to be impressive.

    Defense

    28/40

    Burke is lucky he plays with such stellar defensive bigs behind him because it allows him to gamble more and still see many of his mistakes cleaned up. Even still, the Utah Jazz are significantly better at preventing points when he's spending time on the pine, as the opposition can no longer exploit his remarkably porous defense off the ball.

    Rebounding

    1/5

    Though the former Wolverine actually grabs a somewhat respectable number of rebounds on a nightly basis, that's partly because he spends a lot of time on the court. Rebounds will eventually just fall into his lap, which is often—and I'm not exaggerating—the only way he can stockpile them during any given game. Word is that he sends nightly offerings to the god of caroms.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Burke has enjoyed a remarkably clean bill of health throughout his sophomore go-round. He missed one Jan. 5 game against the Indiana Pacers due to illness, but he even rebounded from that rather quickly before spending the rest of the season as a lineup mainstay. 

    Overall

    66/100

    At this point, it's safe to say that the Jazz have to be feeling a bit disappointed with what they've gotten from the No. 9 pick of the 2013 NBA draft, especially now that he's been moved into a bench role. Burke has progressed to the point that he's a quality distributor who can hold his own in on-ball defensive situations, but the predraft comparisons to a poor man's Chris Paul—from yours truly, no less—are looking far from clairvoyant. 

29. Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks

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    Scoring

    10/20

    Dennis Schroder isn't typically relied on for scoring, but he's proved himself increasingly capable of taking on a point-producing role for the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout his sophomore season, his jumper improved—both from mid-range zones and beyond the arc—but the beginning of the campaign prevents him from earning a score that's indicative of just how great that rise was.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/25

    Even though he receives a stronger score here than he does for his scoring, this is the major area in which the German floor general needs the most work. He shines as a passer in pick-and-roll scenarios, but he often tries to do too much, allowing turnovers to pile up at the expense of assists. Tightening up his handles and becoming more of a spot-up threat would do wonders for his overall development. 

    Defense

    32/40

    A pesky defender, Schroder is still developing off the ball, where he can get caught looking at the action and losing track of his man a bit too often. When he's able to settle down into his stance, however, he's awfully hard to get around. Having a combination of a stopper's mentality and nitrous-boosted jets is a tough one to beat in that situation.

    Rebounding

    1/5

    Schroder isn't a strong rebounder, but he's also disadvantaged by the Hawks' system. He's asked to get back quickly after a shot goes up rather than pursue any offensive boards, and guards rarely go crashing in on the defensive glass either. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Though the German point guard has received a few days off here and there, he's remained durable enough throughout the season to earn a perfect score in the category. Plus, he's been on his best behavior all year long, fitting in perfectly with his teammates and valuing the chemistry that makes the Hawks soar. 

    Overall

    66/100

    It's not hard to look at Schroder and see a developing star. The Rajon Rondo comparisons he drew so early on in his professional career aren't necessarily accurate, but only because the rapid development of a jumper this season is lifting Schroder's ceiling even higher—amazing as that may be. Still, he struggled a bit at the beginning of the year and has some enduring notable flaws. He's by no means a polished product as a second-year player, though he appears to function as such for some lengthy stretches.

28. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

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    Scoring

    15/20

    Scoring is unquestionably the biggest strength of this diminutive point guard. Isaiah Thomas not only has the confidence of a No. 1 option, but he's also uniquely able to use his body to create extra space for his crafty shots in the lane—sticking his rear end out, for example, so that he prevents lankier defenders from reaching over the top and swatting his attempt. Shot creation certainly isn't an issue here, though Thomas could stand to get a bit more efficient from inside the arc.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/25

    A dangerous spot-up threat who doesn't spend much time cutting to the hoop, Thomas is always looking to score. And that includes when he's handling the ball, as he's never been much of a pass-first—or pass-second—player. To be fair, Thomas' assists trended in the right direction when he joined the Boston Celtics, but the same wasn't true of his cough-ups.

    Defense

    26/40

    Yikes. Thomas is adept at navigating through screens, but he's a nightmare in isolation (for his team, not the opposition). And since he's even worse when guarding players who don't have the ball, that's an issue. Last year, Thomas was a water bug on the defensive end for the Sacramento Kings, attempting to make up for his physical disadvantages by inserting himself in every play possible. That mentality has apparently gone away as he increasingly fancies himself an offensive star.

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Pound-for-pound, Thomas is actually a strong rebounder. Problem is, he doesn't have many of them on his frame (5'9", 185 lbs), and that prevents him from earning too many opportunities when he ventures in among the trees. At least he has strong hands when he's able to elevate high enough to get his hands on the rock.

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Thomas doesn't always get along with his teammates, which may explain why the Phoenix Suns traded him less than a season after the Kings let him get away in free agency. The self-promoting histrionics after making shots rub some the wrong way, and it's no secret that he feels no compunction about worming his way out of the desert before the trade deadline.

    Overall

    66/100

    Certainly an adept scorer, Thomas is more of a specialist than anything else at this stage of his career. He'd probably be best-served in a Nate Robinson/Jamal Crawford role off the pine—serving as an offensive spark in the right situation. Asking him to play "defense" for more than 30 minutes per game is a recipe for disaster without the right tools around him to pick up the slack.

27. Shaun Livingston, Golden State Warriors

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    Scoring

    9/20

    Shaun Livingston certainly doesn't spend a lot of time looking for his shot. Instead, he takes what's given to him and maintains high levels of efficiency at all times. Even for a point guard who seldom calls his own number and has a remarkably high release, making more shots from the field than you miss is rather difficult. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    12/25

    Though there's absolutely no threat of Livingston spacing out the floor with a triple, as he's literally only made one three during the regular season since his 2011-12 campaign with the Milwaukee Bucks, he's still worth monitoring off the ball. The veteran is a savvy cutter with a lanky body and the athleticism to play above the rim, and that means losing track of him for even a split second can result in a quick two points for the Golden State Warriors. 

    Defense

    33/40

    For much of his career, Livingston was a lackluster defender. But in the right system, he's proved that he can be an asset on the less glamorous end. Much as was the case with the Brooklyn Nets last year, the Dubs have proved to be a nice fit. Though the big 1-guard doesn't excel when trapped in isolation, he's always active and quite good at diagnosing plays before they develop.

    Rebounding

    3/5

    At 6'7", this point guard should make even more of an impact on the glass. Nonetheless, he's still posted more rebounds per 36 minutes (4.5, which beats last year's seemingly identical mark by mere thousandths) than he has since the brutal knee injury with the Los Angeles Clippers sapped so much of his springiness. The rebounding opportunities are limited, but few players at the position are better at maximizing them. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There's simply nothing to complain about here. No negative headlines popped up during Golden State's dream regular season, and Livingston was heavily involved all year. The 29-year-old missed two games in the middle of January, but that's hardly enough to merit losing a durability point here.

    Overall

    67/100

    Backup point guard has been a bit of a revolving door for the Warriors in recent years, but they seem to have found a keeper. Livingston doesn't excel in too many areas at this stage of his career, but he's a valuable commodity because he's solid all around and intimately familiar with the positives and negatives of his own game. Plus, though he didn't spend enough time at the 2 to qualify as a combo guard, he's quite capable of thriving in a dual-PG set next to Stephen Curry.

26. Cory Joseph, San Antonio Spurs

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    Scoring

    10/20

    Scoring certainly isn't a forte for this backup point guard on the San Antonio Spurs. In his meager opportunities, he's proved himself an efficient shooter from all areas of the court, often working off the bounce when he's letting fly from inside the arc. But he's still not exactly heavily involved, letting the vaunted Spurs system do the work and often passing up on less than ideal looks.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    10/25

    OK, maybe offense in general isn't his forte. Joseph is capable of knocking down some spot-up looks, but he's more likely to keep swinging the ball around the horn until one of the wing players has an open shot from the corner. And as a distributor, he's failed to improve since leaving the University of Texas in 2011, posting eerily similar per-minute stats for the fourth season in a row. 

    Defense

    35/40

    This is quite clearly Joseph's calling card, as he's been a force for the Spurs both on and off the ball. Slightly better at the latter, he's still comfortable with the most common NBA sets. Trying to run a pick-and-roll against Joseph? He's going to navigate the screen properly and smother his man. Isolating him? Good luck, as few floor generals have been better defenders in one-on-one situations. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    A strong per-minute rebounder, Joseph darts around enough that he racks up plenty of opportunities during his relatively minimal time on the floor. Though he could stand to get back in transition a bit more often rather than fight for boards with taller players and wind up empty, he's one of the NBA's better point guards when it comes to ripping the rock away from frontcourt members. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    A sprained left ankle kept Joseph out of the lineup back in November, but he's enjoyed nothing but health ever since. There are no durability or conduct issues for this 23-year-old point guard.

    Overall

    68/100

    Joseph still has plenty of work to do on the offensive end of the court, but he's become a severely underrated defender who thrives in the San Antonio system. With Tony Parker's age climbing ever higher, the Spurs have to be evaluating what happens at point guard a few years down the road, and this season should give them confidence that Joseph can stick around—maybe not as a star, but as a rotation player with plenty of two-way responsibility. 

25. Mo Williams, Charlotte Hornets

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    Scoring

    14/20

    It isn't easy to score more than 50 points in an NBA game, but that's exactly what Mo Williams did for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. The 32-year-old dropped a 52-spot against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 13, which is particularly notable since he only made it past the 30-point barrier on one other occasion. Williams doesn't have the ability to explode past defenders, but he's a great jump-shooter who's never afraid to call his own number. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    20/25

    Neglecting to cover Williams is a bad idea, as he'll consistently make defenses pay by raining spot-up jumpers. The veteran 1-guard is similarly impressive as a distributor, as his lackluster offensive teammates—both in Minnesota and with the Charlotte Hornets—have shot quite well when on the receiving end of one of his assist opportunities. 

    Defense

    24/40

    Williams was an absolutely atrocious defender throughout the season, receiving one of the very worst scores of any qualified player at one of the nine positions. He's never been particularly impressive on the less glamorous end, but he's taken that to an extreme this season, especially during those horrifying moments when he's asked to navigate a pick-and-roll. 

    Rebounding

    1/5

    This is nothing new for the veteran, but averaging only 3.2 rebounds per 36 minutes is not a good thing, even for a point guard with plenty of other responsibilities. At times this season, it felt as if this 6'1" floor general had gone weeks at a time without recording even a single contested board. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Few injuries have kept Williams out of the lineup for an extended period of time, but his aging body betrayed him a bit too often in 2014-15. Between illness, back spasms (the most serious malady of the bunch), a sprained right ankle and a hip injury, he bounced in and out of the lineup all season before the Timberwolves sent him to the Eastern Conference.

    Overall

    68/100

    Williams gave the Hornets more than they possibly could have hoped for, but he was still quite limited during the second half of his campaign. While shining on offense and making the Hornets just about forget Kemba Walker existed at times, he was still far too porous on the defensive end of the floor. And that was also true in Minnesota, just without as much offensive firepower.

24. D.J. Augustin, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Scoring

    12/20

    Though he rebounded after joining the Oklahoma City Thunder in media res, D.J. Augustin wasn't able to rekindle his magical 2013-14 season from beyond the arc. Hitting only 33.7 percent of his three-point attempts throughout the season, Augustin's overall scoring prowess was far less impressive, even if he rarely ever relies on passes from teammates in order to put up points.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/25

    Though he doesn't work without the ball very often, Augustin can hold his own as a spot-up shooter, and the other team usually knows it. It's rare to see him floating around with no one in his general vicinity, and that's valuable in and of itself, though his shooting—much like his passing—is more good than great.

    Defense

    29/40

    Across the board, Augustin is merely mediocre on the defensive end of the floor. Whether he's working in isolation, covering a pick-and-roll or playing off the ball and navigating screens, handoffs and spot-up opportunities, he's good but not great. Sensing a theme yet?

    Rebounding

    1/5

    The theme ends here, as Augustin rarely finds himself in position to grab a board. He's quite good at converting when he gets the opportunity to do so—largely because most stem from long caroms that end up out on the perimeter—but putting yourself in position to grab no more than 2.8 rebounds per game is hardly something to brag about.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There are no negatives to be found. Augustin is always healthy and accepts any role he's given without a fuss, whether he's displaced from the starting lineup or transitioning to new digs during the middle of the season.

    Overall

    69/100

    It may be hard for fans to get excited about steady point guards without much upside, but it's far less difficult for those players to make an impact. Such is the case with Augustin, who has been a consistent—albeit limited—presence no matter where he's played. Adjusting to the Thunder was a bit tough, but he managed that as well.

23. Jarrett Jack, Brooklyn Nets

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    Scoring

    13/20

    It should say something that the Brooklyn Nets have gone to Jarrett Jack for crunch-time buckets, and I'm not just implying that the Nets desperately need more potent offensive options. The longtime sixth man has nothing but confidence with the ball in his hands, but it's sometimes misplaced. Sure, he can score adeptly, but the Nets would surely love if he became more capable of connecting from the outside. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    15/25

    Jack is capable of serving as a spot-up threat and a savvy cutter, but he's getting the majority of his points in this category by setting up his teammates nicely. Though turnovers were occasionally an issue for this Brooklyn point guard, his assist totals are misleadingly low. Throughout the season, Jack was quite good at finding fellow Nets with passes that led to free throws, and his secondary assists (or hockey assists) were solid as well. 

    Defense

    31/40

    When he's covering a ball-handler in a pick-and-roll set, Jack is at his best. He knows when to duck under screens and when to fight over them, and it's pretty difficult for whomever he's guarding to successfully convert an ill-advised shot attempt. But in every other area? He's mediocre or worse.

    Rebounding

    2/5

    This was one of Jack's best rebounding seasons since leaving Georgia Tech all the way back in 2005, but it still wasn't a particularly impressive one. He spends an awful lot of time around the perimeter rather than venturing into the paint when a shot goes up, and the majority of his successful boards are of the uncontested variety. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Only a balky hamstring in January is of note here. Jack avoided negative headlines, conduct mishaps and injuries like the plague throughout the 2014-15 season.

    Overall

    71/100

    Jack probably has too large a role for his lingering skill set, but he's more than willing to try to prove otherwise. Every once in awhile, he can explode for a vintage performance and spark his team to victory, but the Nets simply have to live with the negatives—poor shooting nights, turnovers and shoddy defense—between those outbursts. 

22. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets

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    Scoring

    12/20

    Not only did Deron Williams score fewer points per game (13.0) than he has since his rookie season out of Illinois (10.8), but he was remarkably inefficient all the while. Though he made his fair share of triples, Williams couldn't create space and finish plays inside the arc, struggling to make even 40 percent of his two-point looks during any given portion of the season.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    19/25

    If there's one area of Williams' game that has withstood the test of time—and injury—it would be his passing. Though he's no longer threatening to post 20/10 games with remarkable frequency, he's more than capable of racking up assists in efficient fashion, and his teammates tend to shoot quite well after receiving one of his feeds.

    Defense

    31/40

    Gone are the days when Williams was a terrifying defensive presence. He's still a great pick-and-roll defender who knows how to move his body quickly, but his mental game has suffered over the years. He's been helpless off the ball far too often to earn anything more than a lackluster grade here.

    Rebounding

    2/5

    For a player with so much size working to his advantage, it's pretty shocking that Williams can't grab more contested rebounds. He's listed at 6'3", 210 pounds, but you wouldn't know it if you only looked at the fact that he's struggled to grab even one contested board every other game. Yes, not even every outing. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    We're not going to dock Williams for being massively overpaid here, as he's made every effort to remain a valuable player, valiantly rehabbing from an endless stream of injuries in order to help out his Nets. But the injuries are still problematic. During the 2014-15 season alone, he dealt with a strained right calf, a balky back and a prolonged rib issue. 

    Overall

    72/100

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It's impossible to look at this version of Williams and not sadly think back to the dominant point guard who patrolled courts not too long ago. It may pain Brooklyn fans to reminisce, but again, context matters so much and leaves us with the uneasy feeling that this 1-guard is only a mere shell of his old All-Star self. 

21. Brandon Jennings, Detroit Pistons

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    Scoring

    14/20

    Brandon Jennings has always been a gunner, and that didn't change during the healthy portion of his 2014-15 campaign. He shot a lot, struggled to remain above basketball's version of the Mendoza Line (40 percent shooting from the field) and loved lofting up triples. To his credit, he was more adept at hitting long-range attempts and converting at the charity stripe while continuing to create the vast majority of his shots for himself. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    20/25

    In 2010-11, Jennings' assist percentage was only 25.9 percent. It's gone up every year since then, and it skyrocketed this season, jumping from 34.4 to 39.9. While completely minimizing his turnovers, he was always involved in the passing game, this go-round with the Detroit Pistons more so than ever before. 

    Defense

    30/40

    As he's gained more experience in the Association, Jennings has gradually improved as a defensive player. He's no longer a nightly liability on the less glamorous end, but he's still not really an asset either. Jennings can navigate screens both on and off the ball, and he generally tries to involve himself in the proceedings. However, that's where the positives end.

    Rebounding

    2/5

    Only twice did Jennings appear in a game and fail to record even a single rebound. But on the flip side, he never grabbed more than five boards in a contest and only reached that arbitrary number on four occasions. He's thoroughly average on the glass.

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Jennings' season ended quite abruptly, allowing him to play in only half of Detroit's games. Late in a Jan. 24 contest against the Milwaukee Bucks—his old team, interestingly enough—the lefty ended up in a heap, and it was soon revealed that he'd ruptured his Achilles. That ended his season, one that saw him keep a clean conduct slate, save one fine in late November for making an obscene gesture. 

    Overall

    73/100

    The southpaw was trending in the right direction before his season-ending Achilles injury, and receiving a perfect durability score would have lifted him past at least the next four point guards in the rankings—perhaps more if the tiebreakers had fallen in his favor. Nonetheless, the Pistons should be pleased with his developments, particularly those that came on the defensive end and when he was functioning as a pass-first floor general. 

20. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    It's pretty tough to differentiate between 2013-14 and 2014-15 when looking at Kemba Walker's scoring line. Now a Charlotte Hornet rather than a Bobcat, he still failed to hit even 40 percent of his shots from the field, struggled from beyond the arc and put up 17.3 points on an average night. He's a prototypical volume shooter, lifted straight out of the early 2000s, and his saving grace is his ability to work crossovers and step-back jumpers to his advantage on a regular basis. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/25

    Walker did an incredible job minimizing his mistakes this year—especially the turnovers that were classified as bad passes—but he was also less involved as a distributor. Posting a career low in assist percentage (27.1), he rarely helped the Charlotte offense get out of the dumps with his passing. But at least he continued to serve as a dangerous off-ball threat, one who had to be monitored at all times for fear of giving him too much space. 

    Defense

    30/40

    Head coach Steve Clifford may throw some impressive schemes at the opposition, but he's doing so without a shutdown defender at the point setting the tone. Walker, despite his size disadvantages, can hold his own, but he's hardly a defensive asset at this stage of his young career. If he's not guarding a pick-and-roll, he's going to be merely mediocre. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    At 6'1" with a relatively slight frame, Walker shouldn't be hauling in too many missed shots. However, displaying the same type of grit that once helped him carry Connecticut to an NCAA championship, he's always willing to sacrifice his body and work in among the trees. Sometimes a bit too aggressive, which leads to a failure to get back in transition, he's quite good at going for those contested boards.

    Intangibles

    8/10

    You'd never knock Walker for his winner's mentality, as his true intangibles are often off the charts (in a good way). But durability falls into this category as well, and that's not a good thing for the floor general who missed 18 games in 2015 while recovering from surgery to repair his left meniscus. 

    Overall

    73/100

    Walker is a valuable commodity at the point, but he hasn't developed into a superstar. There's still a chance he does one day, but that will require magical improvements to his shooting form, as he remains incapable of hitting even 40 percent of his looks from the field. Coming in the 30s each of the last two seasons makes it rather tough for him to be much more than an inefficient source of offense with a decent amount of irrational confidence. 

19. Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    11/20

    Let's just say that Patrick Beverley isn't the top option in the Houston Rockets backcourt. More than anything else, he's a complementary piece willing to exert his energy elsewhere, spending the majority of his time flitting around the perimeter and waiting for open threes. It shouldn't be surprising that well over half of his attempts this season came from beyond the arc. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    13/25

    Though he's by no means a huge scoring threat, Beverley has consistently worked on his spot-up shooting and improved to the point that he's now rather deadly when given space. His three-point percentage (35.6) may not be elite, but it's at least respectable and sees him drop shots through the twine often enough that defenses have to pay attention to him. 

    Defense

    39/40

    Throughout this NBA 200 series, no player received a perfect 40-of-40 score on defense. Beverley, however, was one of just six players to fall a single point shy of perfection, and he was the only point guard to earn such a score. Where does he lose ground? Well, he can be slightly too aggressive off the ball, which allows for easy spot-up looks. 

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Beverley's tenacious play extends to the glass. Not only does he haul in quite a few rebounds for someone who suits up at the point (4.2 per game), but he pulls down a ridiculous number of contested ones, fighting for a top spot on that leaderboard all season.

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Though his style of play can be infuriating for the opposition, that's hardly going to detract from his grade here. Surely, the Rockets aren't annoyed with his penchant for aggressive play. Instead, he's being docked for his durability. Balky hamstrings forced him to miss a few too many games this season, and a torn wrist ligament during the stretch run only compounded his health issues.

    Overall

    74/100

    Beverley is very much a defensive specialist, but he's also continued to hone his shooting stroke and crash the boards with ferocity. While it's his point-preventing ability that stands out in a big way, it's now easier to view him as a well-rounded point guard who's usually quite beneficial to Houston's efforts. 

18. Darren Collison, Sacramento Kings

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    16/20

    For the first time in years, Darren Collison was handed the keys to an offense, and he didn't let the Sacramento Kings down. Using his blazing speed to burst around screens and create space for pull-up jumpers, he averaged a career-high 16.1 points per game. Better yet, his attacking mentality led to plenty of free-throw trips, which only pushed his already surging efficiency in the right direction.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/25

    Collison isn't a terrifying off-ball presence—he'd move into that realm if his timing on cuts improved—but he can hold his own as a spot-up shooter, which forces defenders to mark him all around the court. Still, he's getting the majority of his points in this category for his work as a facilitator, which he deserves after showing an uncanny knack for avoiding ill-advised passes all season long.

    Defense

    31/40

    At the beginning of the season, Collison was thriving on the defensive end, to the point that he was receiving unprompted compliments from his teammates. Sadly, that didn't last for long, as Collison suffered a brutal regression to his career mean and looked completely overmatched in on-ball situations.

    Rebounding

    2/5

    Speed allows Collison to jet over to some lengthy, uncontested caroms—usually ones that end possessions for the opposition rather than extend them for the Kings. But that's about all this UCLA product brings to the table on the glass. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    Injuries took their toll on Collison this year. Blows to his shoulder and quadriceps caused him trouble early in the season, but it was a hip flexor injury suffered on Feb. 7 that ultimately knocked him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season, limiting him to just 45 games played in his first go-round with Sac-Town.

    Overall

    74/100

    Replacing Isaiah Thomas with Collison was an interesting decision for the Kings this past offseason, but it seemed to work out nicely when the speedy floor general was healthy. Not only did he give more effort on the defensive end, but he thrived as a scoring point guard with a heavy dose of offensive responsibility. Collison, now 27 years old, is still squarely in the midst of his athletic prime, and further improvements would not be all that shocking. 

17. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    There's no doubt that Derrick Rose can still put up points in bunches, but his lack of efficiency is problematic. Not only did he struggle to keep his field-goal percentage above 40 percent all year, but he was completely inept from beyond the arc and didn't get to the stripe enough to compensate. Without as much of his trademark explosiveness, he's a good scorer—not a special one. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/25

    Rose's passing has become a bit underrated, simply because he does so much that doesn't actually result in a dime. He piled up secondary assists in some games—which speaks both to the Chicago Bulls' overall unselfishness and Rose's willingness to initiate the offense in ways that won't lead to him getting the bucket—and he also generated a decent amount of passes that led to shots from the charity stripe.

    Defense

    33/40

    Though he's been one of the better stoppers at his position in recent years, he didn't move quite so well in 2014-15. That prevented him from shining off the ball as much as he has in the past, and that's keeping him from earning an elite defensive score right now. Here's hoping he can get back to being a two-way terror after completing yet another rehab. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Rose recorded fewer rebounds per game than he ever has (3.2), but his per-minute numbers were right in line with where they normally sit. Once he regains full confidence in his body, it's likely he'll get even better. After all, he's more than capable of recording additional contested boards, given those impressive hops.

    Intangibles

    7/10

    At this point, is it safe to call Rose a porcelain point guard? Racking up a sprained left ankle, a strained left hamstring, a right hip injury and a spat with illness that kept him out of the lineup was bad enough. Adding in surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee just reinforced his ever-fragile nature. 

    Overall

    74/100

    Talking about Rose's career now almost has to be done while a tissue box is within arm's reach. He's worked so hard to rebound from multiple knee injuries, and they won't stop coming. Unfortunately, Rose didn't look like his old self even when healthy, taking a step back on the defensive end and failing to showcase his trademark explosiveness nearly as often. His form at the end of the regular season was terrifyingly far below where he was during his MVP days, though it's worth noting that he's shown off some of the palpable upside during Chicago's playoff run. That doesn't help his grade here, but it might help soothe Bulls fans fearing for the future.

16. Michael Carter-Williams, Milwaukee Bucks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    13/20

    Michael Carter-Williams' jumper still hasn't progressed much since he left Syracuse two years ago, and that ultimately limits what he can do as a scorer. Still dangerous in transition and quite good at penetrating into the teeth of the defense, this tall and lanky floor general is disadvantaged by having to play against defenders who are constantly sagging off him. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    17/25

    Though he's not even close to qualifying as a threatening spot-up shooter, Carter-Williams does have the size and athleticism to successfully convert some backdoor cuts. He just doesn't use them too often. As for his passing, it's quite good for a second-year player. His height (6'6") allows him to see over defenses, and though turnovers often plague him, he can fit the ball into nearly any nook or cranny. 

    Defense

    34/40

    Remarkably porous during his first season, Carter-Williams now has something to play for on the defensive end. No longer is he expending all his energy running a breakneck pace and trying to generate some sort of offense for the Philadelphia 76ers, and he's now learning from Jason Kidd, who can turn him into a defensive asset for the Milwaukee Bucks. Frankly, that's already happening, as this former Syracuse standout has shown some serious smarts off the ball.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    A constant triple-double threat due to his impressive rebounding skills, Carter-Williams is no stranger to gaudy rebound totals. Few are better at using their length to pull in contested boards, though the second-year 1-guard still lags behind two floor generals having historic seasons on the glass. 

    Intangibles

    8/10

    A torn right labrum plagued Carter-Williams at the start of the season, but it was far from the only malady he suffered through. At various points throughout the campaign, this second-year guard dealt with illness, a sore right foot and a sprained ankle, all of which kept him out of the lineup.

    Overall

    76/100

    Carter-Williams may have won Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, but that's largely because he played in a pace-inflated system, chased stats and faced a dearth of strong competition. But now he's shedding the "overrated" tag and becoming a quality point guard, still thriving on the glass but improving dramatically on the defensive end. With Kidd tutoring him for the Milwaukee Bucks, the sky is the limit, especially if he reworks his broken jumper.

15. Rajon Rondo, Dallas Mavericks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    9/20

    Rajon Rondo still can't shoot from anywhere on the court, and he uncharacteristically struggled to finish his looks around the basket this year, whether he was playing for the Boston Celtics or Dallas Mavericks. Throw in one of the worst performances from the charity stripe in NBA history (39.7 percent), and it's not hard to see why the formerly elite point guard struggled so much in this category.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    19/25

    Despite years of working on it, Rondo's jumper is still broken. But he can pass the ball as well as anyone, squeezing it into tight spaces and always trying to make his teammates better. Still an assist maestro, Rondo thrives as a "pure" point guard, even if that's an increasingly outdated position in the modern NBA that places such heavy import on spacing.

    Defense

    37/40

    Why did the Mavericks part with so much of their depth to acquire Rondo midway through the season? Not because he was going to help their league-best offense, but because his wonderful defense was going to shore up an otherwise weak point-preventing unit. And it did, as his ability—when motivated, mind you—to lock down his man was quite valuable.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Had Rondo's season ended when he was traded away from Beantown, his average of 7.5 rebounds per game would easily have earned him a perfect score in the category. But his historic season dried up a bit in Dallas, where he spent more time on the perimeter and couldn't steal away easy rebounds from the bigs. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Getting in a verbal spat with your head coach and refusing to listen to his plays is not exactly a good thing. Nor is acting surly and clearly giving less than 100 percent when the games are less important. On the right team, Rondo can be an asset in the locker room, but it's hard to give him credit as such for his work in 2014-15.

    Overall

    76/100

    Ever since suffering an ACL tear in 2012-13, Rondo simply hasn't been able to get back to an elite level. Though the court vision and lockdown defensive abilities are still there, he's lost so much of his explosiveness with the ball, and his shooting confidence is about as low as it gets. Sad as it may be for a 29-year-old point guard, we may have prematurely seen the last of elite Rondo, even when he's playing on a national stage.

14. George Hill, Indiana Pacers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    14/20

    Though George Hill struggled with his perimeter shot, a combination of aggressiveness and previously unseen shot-creating abilities made 2014-15 arguably his best season yet as a scorer. The Indiana Pacers desperately needed someone to step up in the points column, and Hill took it on himself to be that guy as soon as he was fully healthy.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    16/25

    Hill created far more of his shots than ever before, but he was still at his best when working without the ball. Despite his low overall percentages, he fared quite well spotting up and waiting for a pass to hit him between the numbers, and he was similarly adept with his well-timed cuts to the hoop. 

    Defense

    37/40

    On the ball, Hill is an absolute force. Whether he's shadowing a player over, around or under a screen or trying to lock him down in isolation, it's generally quite difficult to score against this big-shouldered point guard. His only major weakness comes off the ball, where he can get caught watching the action unfold around him before he realizes that he's out of position. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Hill is one of the best at converting the opportunities he receives, but many of them are of the uncontested variety. Plus, he doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time wandering into the painted area, so those opportunities are already limited. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Durability isn't helping Hill's case here. Problems with his left knee kept him from making his season debut until Dec. 23, and he missed extended time shortly thereafter with a left groin injury, possibly due to overcompensating for the problematic knee. The combination isn't a good one.

    Overall

    77/100

    Hill has morphed into one of the more underrated 1-guards in basketball. He doesn't play a glamorous game, but he's quite effective on both ends of the court, doing all the little things necessary to help his team. He's best-served in a non-starring role, but it says something that he's willing to try taking on that extra responsibility when his team needs it most. 

13. Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    Ty Lawson knows that he's quicker than virtually anyone who ever guards him, and this year he really started taking advantage of that. Defenders are aware that he loves to get by them and pull up for a mid-range jumper, so he expanded his arsenal by head-faking and then continuing to drive for an uncontested look. Lawson, now 27 years old, did score in less volume than he has since he was 23, but that should change in a system he's more comfortable running. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    23/25

    Few players in the NBA are better at distributing, as Lawson routinely challenges double-digit assist totals while keeping his turnovers under control. Though he doesn't get too many secondary dimes, he records more assist opportunities than anyone else in the Association. Now, he just needs to get some of those passes a bit more on target so that his teammates have a better chance of converting each time he feeds them. 

    Defense

    29/40

    Size works against Lawson (5'11"). He can be a pest off the ball, darting around to get his hands in on the action before recovering to his man, but he's overmatched in isolation and doesn't handle screens particularly well. Far too often, he goes under picks against great shooters or tries to use his speed to trail a ball-handler before finding himself boxed out. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Speed matters here, just as it always does for Lawson. He's able to dash his way to long caroms quite well, and he shows good vision for bounces. Just don't expect him to do much damage among the trees, as that's where his diminutive frame works against him most. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Lawson had some minor conduct issues this season. He was arrested on suspicion of a DUI (note: this is a huge deal in real life, especially as it's not Lawson's first brush with the law, but it has a minimal impact on his basketball prowess) and failed to return on time from a Las Vegas trip during All-Star Weekend, leading to a benching by then-head coach Brian Shaw.

    Overall

    77/100

    Perhaps Lawson will look even better when he's playing in an uptempo system that caters to him. He rebelled against Shaw on and off the court throughout the season—or so it seemed at times—and he was less involved as a scorer than he should have been. Still, if for no reason other than his heavy involvement as a distributor, he remained a high-quality point guard. 

12. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    14/20

    Tony Parker may have had his best season ever from downtown, but he doesn't fire away from long range enough for that to matter. Without his trademark mid-range jumpers falling for much of the season and with an inability to work his way to the line very often, Parker was less impressive as a scorer than he's ever been since entering into the realm of stars back in 2005. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    18/25

    Though he's not a deadly shooter from the outside, Parker is so smart that he still receives a perfect grade in off-ball offense. He's a master of using multiple screens to free himself for an elbow jumper, and his cuts to the hoop are always perfectly timed. If only his passing hadn't fallen off a bit...

    Defense

    35/40

    Parker doesn't necessarily have the physical tools many top-notch defenders possess, but he's an absolute master of the San Antonio system. He knows when to force his man in a certain direction, and he rarely finds himself out of position when his mark doesn't have the rock. A bit vulnerable in isolation, Parker has remained one of the league's better defensive point guards for yet another year. 

    Rebounding

    1/5

    Never a particularly strong crasher of the boards, Parker had more trouble than ever before hauling in rebounds. It was rare to see him post gaudy totals in that particular column, and most nights he was essentially serving as a non-factor when a shot went up from either team. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Only health concerns come into play here, which shouldn't be all that surprising for a point guard who will turn 33 in mid-May. Hamstring issues were the main problem in 2014-15, and even when they weren't keeping him in street clothes, they certainly sapped a bit of his quickness. 

    Overall

    77/100

    It's worth noting that this French point guard is one of the players most affected by the timing of our data collection, which took place with a March 10 cutoff date. Shortly after it occurred, he went on quite the tear, asserting himself as a dominant individual and boosting the Spurs back up the standings. It won't help Parker in these rankings, but do realize that we're well-aware that we're selling this 1-guard a bit short. 

11. Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    16/20

    Brandon Knight finally figured out how to make himself into an elite floor-spacing point guard, firing away 5.1 times per game and flirting with 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc all season before finishing at 38.9 percent. He wasn't particularly effective after being traded to the Phoenix Suns in mid-February, but his scoring wasn't anything to scoff at before he left the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    18/25

    Perhaps because he creates so much offense for himself, Knight can still struggle at times as a spot-up shooter. He's quite good in that role, but defenses could sometimes get away with sagging off to prevent a fellow guard's penetration. More consistency and fewer turnovers in the passing game would do him wonders.

    Defense

    32/40

    Knight has the physical tools necessary to be a lockdown defender, but he's still too undisciplined. He flits around the court and wreaks havoc off the ball, but he gambles a bit much when his man has the rock, leading to a decent amount of steals but lackluster on-ball numbers. Knight simply shouldn't struggle in isolation nearly as much as he does. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Just on the verge of earning four of five points as a rebounder, Knight is held back by a relative lack of opportunities on the glass. When he does go after a loose ball, he's quite good at successfully converting the rebound, regardless of who else is in the vicinity, but he's passive a bit too often. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Before he was forced to have arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, there wasn't much to complain about here, as Knight was quite durable throughout most of the season—a sprained ankle in the early days of March notwithstanding. Prior to his season-ending injury in early April, he played heavy minutes and fought his way through minor aches and pains all year. 

    Overall

    78/100

    It's not particularly difficult to see why the Suns are investing in Brandon Knight. Though he struggles more than he should in some basic defensive situations, he has the tools necessary to be a two-way floor general, especially now that his shot is finding itself on target increasingly often. Knight should have received strong All-Star consideration while he was with the Bucks, and it wouldn't be surprising for that to be true in Phoenix down the road. 

10. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    Jrue Holiday hasn't been the same since he was traded away from the Philadelphia 76ers after the 2012-13 season. Though he's becoming a better floor-spacing option, he struggles inside the arc and doesn't attack the basket with nearly the same ferocity. Finding it hard to earn even two free throws per game isn't a recipe for efficiency when you're normally a player who struggles to make anything close to half of your shots from the field.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    19/25

    When Holiday is on the floor, teammates have to keep their heads on a swivel. He's more than capable of finding open men through traffic, whether he's running the break or operating in one of Monty Williams' half-court sets for the New Orleans Pelicans. Though shot selection is occasionally an issue, passing selection typically isn't. 

    Defense

    36/40

    Few players are better at defending than Holiday while simultaneously failing to get much widespread credit. Though this point guard is quite adept at shutting down his man and equally strong working off the ball, his work often seems to get overlooked. Probably not by the Pellies themselves, though, as having him on the court leaves the bigs free to patrol more territory.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Holiday doesn't get too many rebounding opportunities, but he sure makes the most of them. Not only is he good at reading where the ball will end up, but he has strong hands that allow him to make sure it looks like he's wearing sticky gloves in traffic. 

    Intangibles

    7/10

    Is Holiday ever going to stay healthy? After playing just 34 games during his first season by the bayou, the point guard was similarly limited this year. A stress reaction in his lower right leg kept him out for a huge chunk of the season, forcing the Pelicans to fight for a playoff spot without his services. 

    Overall

    81/100

    Let's pretend that Holiday had stayed healthy, played a full season and still managed to keep the rest of his numbers right where they are now. If that were the case, he'd receive an 84 grade, which would leave him in a tiebreaker for the No. 5 spot at his position. Holiday is that good when he's healthy, even if that's a huge conditional for this fragile floor general. 

9. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    Mike Conley's shooting just keeps getting better. For the first time since gaining heavy involvement in the Memphis Grizzlies' scoring column, he flirted with 40 percent from long range before finishing at 38.6 percent. Similarly, he made more shots per game from the charity stripe than he ever had (3.1, which ties his 2013-14 mark for a career high) by virtue of attacking the basket and converting at an impressive clip (85.9 percent). Now, he just needs to get more accurate from inside the arc.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    19/25

    That improved shooting has made Conley into a dangerous off-ball threat who demands constant defensive attention. However, the same improvements didn't apply to his passing, as the southpaw stopped recording assists as often as he did last year and struggled with turnovers more than ever before. Time to tighten up those handles. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Conley wasn't quite as dominant as we're used to seeing him on the less glamorous end this year. Not only did he struggle in isolation, but he fared poorly in pick-and-roll sets. For whatever reason, he was far less special in that area during the 2014-15 campaign, sometimes getting blindsided by screens and not recovering to his man in time to make a play. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    About as average as it gets on the glass for a point guard, the lefty generally contributes with a few boards but rarely posts big rebounding numbers. He tends to earn a healthy mix of the uncontested and contested varieties.

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Though an ankle injury kept him out for a few games in March, Conley nearly spent enough time on the court—as a heavily featured, two-way player, no less—throughout the season to remain perfect in this category. A right foot strain was his undoing in that quest.

    Overall

    81/100

    If Conley is trying to shake the "underrated" tag once and for all, this was not the season with which he'll do so. Though he improved his shooting stroke—and his confidence in the motion—the rest of his game was filled with slight regressions that just kept him from joining the class of truly elite floor generals. 

8. Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Scoring

    15/20

    Jeff Teague's floater game is often immaculate, as he's able to turn a little bit of space into a successful conversion after using his speed to gain that small piece of separation. He's also able to create his own shot shockingly often, given that he plays in a Mike Budenholzer system that prioritizes assists. But one enduring weakness remains—an inconsistent perimeter stroke. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    21/25

    Even though his overall perimeter shooting is weak, Teague excels as a spot-up marksman when he's allowed to do so, and his off-ball cuts seem eerily reminiscent of the work done by a certain point guard Budenholzer coached while he was an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs. Nonetheless, it's passing that helps Teague stand out most, as he's the primary reason Atlanta's ball-movement-heavy system hums to such a strong degree.

    Defense

    34/40

    Good but not great—that sums up just about every aspect of Teague's defense, save one. It's impossible to post him up successfully. Twenty-one players tried throughout the season, and they scored only 0.29 points per possession

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Partially because the Hawks always get back in transition rather than crash the offensive glass, Teague doesn't get many rebounding opportunities. But he tends to convert a large percentage of them, even when other players are within an arm's reach and fighting for the missed shot. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There's no reason to complain about Teague's conduct or durability. A hamstring injury briefly kept him out of action in December, but he's been healthy and fought through the minor maladies during the rest of the season. 

    Overall

    83/100

    If you're looking for one of the biggest reasons for the Hawks' flight to the top of the Eastern Conference, you've found him. Though depth, the system and the rest of the starters all had massive impacts, Teague's improvement—developing from a solid starter into a star who could carry the team in crunch-time situations—was unbelievably crucial. 

7. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    After carrying the Toronto Raptors early in the season, Kyle Lowry cooled down a bit and never quite regained that magic. He was still a valuable volume scorer for the Canadian representatives, but with waning efficiency and an inconsistent stroke from the perimeter, he's not as close to a perfect score as he could've been earlier. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    20/25

    While Lowry is on the court, the Raptors don't often score when he's not involved. He's the unquestioned offensive maestro—except for when DeMar DeRozan is launching mid-range jumpers off the bounce—and his passes help everything go in Toronto. Given that heavy involvement, his ability to minimize bad-pass turnovers is pretty darn impressive. 

    Defense

    35/40

    Lowry's bulldog mentality shows up on this end of the floor quite often, as he's always willing to put his body on the line while stepping over to take a charge. The Raptors are noticeably better at preventing points when he's on the floor, and there aren't many areas of the defensive game that Lowry struggles in. You can throw him off course by setting an off-ball screen, but that's one of the few major weaknesses. And it's not like this point guard typically finds himself covering players like Kyle Korver.

    Rebounding

    4/5

    That tough mentality pops up again here. Not only is Lowry a strong triple-double threat because he constantly crashes the glass and tries to create extra possessions, but he's also one of the better point guards at hauling in rebounds in traffic. He knows how to use that derriere to create space. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Remember when there were maturity concerns about Lowry in non-contract years? So much for that, as he's developed into a strong leader north of the border, one who's always willing to hold himself accountable and attempt to inspire his teammates. 

    Overall

    84/100

    Lowry began the year as a fringe MVP candidate, and though he wasn't able to remain in that upper echelon throughout the year, he still enjoyed a fine season. He's matured tremendously, both mentally and on the court, allowing him to become one of the league's better two-way players. 

6. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    18/20

    Few players have ever possessed such marvelous control over the ball, as Kyrie Irving can weave his way through packs of defenders with the rock on a string. He's capable of flat-out exploding, as he did during his 57-point performance in a comeback victory over the San Antonio Spurs—and he's developed into one of the league's most dangerous single-game scorers. There's really nothing to complain about here, as Irving actually has the No. 3 scorer rating among all point guards.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    20/25

    Don't leave Irving open beyond the arc when he's working without the ball. Seriously, just don't. Unfortunately, that accounts for just five of the possible 25 points, and the Duke product is by no means a perfect distributor.

    Defense

    33/40

    For Irving, shoddy defense was always more a product of lackluster effort levels than an absence of pure physical talent. Now that he's playing on a competitive team which demands a stronger point-preventing mentality, that's more obvious than ever. Irving is still becoming a consistently beneficial defender, but he's certainly held his own throughout the year. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    A mediocre rebounder, Irving is closer to earning a 2-of-5 than a 4-of-5 in this category. His saving grace, despite a lack of volume, is that he plays in a system that doesn't afford him many rebounding opportunities, allowing his conversion percentage to look more impressive. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    There were no spats with teammates this year. There hasn't been any pouting or lackluster showings in meaningless games. Irving has been motivated, and he's stayed healthier than he has during any season of his career in the spotlight, whether at the collegiate or professional level.

    Overall

    84/100

    Irving is becoming the point guard he was supposed to be when the Cavs made him the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NBA draft. He's unstoppable with the ball in his hands, bursting his way into the paint with dribbles that look like he's controlling a yo-yo, and his jumper is undeniably smooth. But now, he's more consistent than ever and exerting himself on defense as well. His rise is only beginning. 

5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    18/20

    Even though Damian Lillard's three-point shot abandoned him at times this year, you don't really want to pick against his scoring prowess. The former Weber State star has every trick in the book, whether he's pulling up off the dribble for a deep jumper or driving into the teeth of a defense and still finding a way to finish the play. Had his shot fallen from the perimeter more often, he'd earn a score even closer to perfection. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    21/25

    Lillard keeps getting better and better as a distributor. His sophomore season saw him cut down on the turnovers but also become a bit less involved in the passing game. Now, he's still avoiding those pesky cough-ups but reasserting himself as a dominant assist-man. It also helps that he's quite good at swinging the ball around the horn quickly, which allows for more secondary dimes.

    Defense

    31/40

    This is still rather easily the biggest hole in Lillard's game. He's making strides as an off-ball defender, rarely finding himself too out of position, but screens can still act like brick walls when he runs into them. In that regard, he's only improved slightly since entering the league. 

    Rebounding

    4/5

    On March 4, in a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, Lillard managed to pull down a remarkable 18 boards, which shattered his previous career high of 10. In fact, each of Lillard's three best single-game rebounding performances have come this year, which has seen him crash the glass with much more intensity than ever before. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    If only we could give bonus points for stepping up in close games, as Lillard was nearly perfect during the first half of the season, refusing to turn the ball over in crunch time and consistently knocking down big shots. We can't, but he still gets a perfect score, with no conduct mishaps or serious injuries to speak of. 

    Overall

    84/100

    Lillard is by no means a perfect player—he really needs to keep working on his defense above all else—but he's a cold-blooded killer who won't ever shy away from the big moment. That game-winner he hit to advance past the Houston Rockets in last year's playoffs was more a sign of things to come than a fluke, and he seems intent on proving that every night he steps onto the floor for Rip City. 

4. John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    15/20

    Until John Wall develops a working jumper, he's never going to be one of the very best scorers at his position. Unfortunately, it seems like last year's development from beyond the arc was a tad fluky, as Wall spent the follow-up campaign firing away less frequently and seeing his percentages regress to less respectable levels. He remains unstoppable in transition, but sagging off him in the half-court set is still a bit too easy. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    21/25

    How do you not get excited about Wall's work as a distributor? He's a true master of keeping his head up while he drives and finding an open teammate for a corner three, and no one uses eye fakes better than this former Kentucky Wildcat. Some players make fancy passes for the sake of highlights, but Wall's fakes are akin to a quarterback looking off a safety for an easier feed. 

    Defense

    38/40

    Wall's defensive style is quite unorthodox. He constantly plays more upright than you typically see from NBA defenders, but he's able to recover and swat away plenty of shots from behind. He's become a fearsome presence, picking his spots wisely and wreaking havoc all over the court without allowing his original assignment to do much damage. He's not as consistent as someone like Patrick Beverley, but at his best, he's just as impactful. 

    Rebounding

    3/5

    Given his size (6'4", 195 lbs), speed, athleticism and willingness to sacrifice his body for the betterment of the Washington Wizards, it's a little surprising that Wall isn't an elite rebounder. He does end up getting plenty of boards on a nightly basis (4.6), but so few are of the contested variety that he still doesn't grade out in elite fashion. 

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Though Wall seemed to slow down midway through the season, he recovered nicely after the Washington schedule allowed for a few days of rest. Outside of a fine he received just after Christmas for an extracurricular shove, he was a model of good behavior and always seemed to fight off exhaustion and minor injuries. 

    Overall

    87/100

    Wall keeps trending in the right direction, even if his jumper is frustratingly undeveloped. That's really the last remaining piece of the puzzle now that he's begun to assert himself as one of the league's premier defensive players while maintaining his ability to challenge for a 20/10 on a nightly basis. He's going to be gunning for the positional crown before too long, hopefully while, well, gunning from beyond the arc. 

3. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    20/20

    Sure, Russell Westbrook can post low field-goal percentages while calling his own number far too often and settling for ill-advised mid-range jumpers with plenty of time left on the shot clock. He still more than makes up for that with his ability to post monstrous scoring numbers and work his way to the stripe so often that his overall efficiency numbers remain strong. Few in the NBA are truly unstoppable, but Westbrook may qualify as such when he turns on the jets with only one man between himself and the rim.

    Non-Scoring Offense

    22/25

    Even though he's merely a decent spot-up shooter, Westbrook's cutting and athleticism make him a dangerous off-ball threat who can't ever be ignored. His passing is also fantastic, especially because so many of his turnovers come from him losing the handle or trying to do too much as a scorer, not because he's throwing the ball away. 

    Defense

    36/40

    It's understandable that Westbrook's defensive intensity slipped a bit in 2014-15. He was asked to expend ridiculous amounts of energy while carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder offense, and the team couldn't afford for him to join what seemed like everyone else on the injured list during the stretch run. He's still great both on and off the ball, though he needed to take the occasional possession off. 

    Rebounding

    5/5

    This is pretty obvious, as Westbrook was rather easily the best rebounding 1-guard in the game. You don't post so many triple-doubles without constantly seeking out boards and actually winding up with the ball in your hands. 

    Intangibles

    9/10

    Westbrook's competitive spirit has to be inspiring to his teammates, even if his decision-making can sometimes be rather questionable. He's only losing points for his durability here, as a fractured right hand kept him out for an extended portion of the early season. 

    Overall

    92/100

    A force to be reckoned with in February and March, Westbrook was a history-making wrecking ball who couldn't help but throw up triple-doubles with remarkable frequency. He's by no means a flawless player, falling in love with his shot too often and commandeering the OKC offense at the expense of his teammates, but you have to respect the heart he showed throughout the season. We've never really seen anyone like this point guard. 

2. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    17/20

    There were a few signs that age was catching up—by a bit, not entirely—to the scorer known as Chris Paul. He settled for threes rather than using his quick first step on his patented pull-up jumpers from the elbows, as he couldn't afford to tax his body with the latter play all that often. Additionally, he didn't attack the basket quite as often, taking fewer shots per game from the charity stripe than he has since leaving Wake Forest (3.9). And still, he was quite the threat in the points column night in and night out. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    24/25

    Paul was the only point guard to receive a perfect score for his facilitating, as he's a master of racking up assists without coughing up the ball. No one displays this type of command over an offense, using every bit of motion to open up opportunities for his teammates. He's only losing a single point for his work off the ball, as he's not quite deadly enough as a spot-up shooter to earn perfection, nor does he spend enough time cutting to make up for it.

    Defense

    37/40

    Thanks to his smarts and undying intensity, Paul remains one of the very best defenders at his position. Going up against him in an isolation setting is a terrible idea, but it's not like it's much easier to confuse him in a pick-and-roll situation. Paul has seen all the tricks, and he knows how to control a game while his team is on defense as well as anyone, even if his off-ball work was a bit more undisciplined than normal this year. 

    Rebounding

    4/5

    Paul has always been a phenomenal pound-for-pound rebounder, and this year was no exception. Though he doesn't post an inordinate number of opportunities, he makes the most of them and isn't afraid to weasel away the ball from an unsuspecting frontcourt player who doesn't realize this pesky rebounder is waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    Does Paul's constant berating of officials, complaining and doing everything possible to gain an advantage annoy members of other teams and some fans? Absolutely, but it also helps his team out. He may not be warm and cuddly on the court, but his teammates certainly have to respect his willingness to do what it takes—and then some. 

    Overall

    92/100

    Paul remains the NBA's resident point god, even if his positional crown was taken away from him in 2014-15. He still plays like a reincarnation of Isiah Thomas, though it often looks as if he can do even more with the ball in his hand. Though this LAC standout may not have the highest grade at his position, he's still the one you want to watch if looking for a textbook example of how to thrive at the 1. 

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Scoring

    20/20

    Did you really expect anything else? Stephen Curry's ability to create his own shot off the bounce, score more than 20 points seemingly every night and still remain one of the league's more efficient players makes him a completely unique commodity. He puts on shows with his scoring ability and often seems like the NBA's most flammable star, capable of lighting it up whenever his three-point stroke is honed in. Oh, and that happens more often than not. Curry didn't just have the top scorer rating among point guards; he had the No. 4 mark in the league. 

    Non-Scoring Offense

    23/25

    Few players require as much defensive attention as Curry. Anyone who leaves him alone on the perimeter should pretty much pack his bags, because he shouldn't last long with his current team. But this Splash Brother has also gotten his turnovers under control and continued developing into an assist maestro, one who remains arguably the league's best at throwing one-handed passes off the dribble and finding his target through traffic. 

    Defense

    36/40

    This was a huge weakness of Curry's last year, but he's put in the work necessary to become a plus defender. Though he's far better off the ball than on it, he now holds his own by understanding the system he's operating in. Curry is quite adept at pushing his man into traps and ensuring that a help defender is in place to aid the cause. 

    Rebounding

    4/5

    No guard in the NBA is better at anticipating caroms, and that allows the otherwise slight Curry to rack up rebounds on the defensive end. Other players will be running after a loose ball, only to watch as Curry cooly collects it with no one around him, appearing there so quickly it almost seems as if he's learned how to teleport.

    Intangibles

    10/10

    You couldn't find something negative about Curry's conduct if you spent 100 hours going through his tape with a fine-tooth comb and also stalked him away from Oracle Arena. So during a season in which only a minor sprained ankle has kept him out of the lineup, he's not getting anything less than a perfect score. 

    Overall

    93/100

    Curry was a one-man show at times for the Golden State Warriors, lighting up the scoreboard with his remarkable shooting and dazzling crowds with his crafty handles. But he was also so much more than that during his MVP-worthy campaign. He constantly set up his teammates, and his effort on the less glamorous end helped set the tone for one of the NBA's most suffocating units. This may as well have been the year of Curry, and not just because he broke his own single-season three-point record.