Boston Celtics: Where Does Rajon Rondo Rank Among The NBA's Best Point Guards?
With another All-Star performance on Wednesday night, Rajon Rondo has set the NBA record for most assists through the first five games of a season. He racked up 15 assists in the Boston Celtics' 105-102 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, bringing his season total of assists to 82. With numbers like that, one could argue that Rondo is the best point guard in the game.
But, there are several other elite point guards in the NBA. Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and even Derrick Rose all could have a legitimate beef with labeling Rondo No. 1.
So, which point guard will take home the honors of being the best in the NBA, and which will carry the burden of being the worst? Let's find out in my NBA Point Guard Power Rankings.
30. Carlos Arroyo, Miami Heat
Fortunately for Carlos Arroyo, being the worst point guard in the NBA doesn't hurt his team at all. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh sharing the court, Arroyo doesn't need to do anything to help the Heat win.
In fact, his backup, Mario Chalmers, is probably the best point guard on the team. Unfortunately for Chalmers though, he shoots too much to be a starter on this team.
When James, Wade and Bosh are on the court, the other two guys need to pass the ball, rebound and generally stay out of the way. Arroyo does an adequate job of that, but he would be an extreme liability on any other team.
29. Jarrett Jack, Toronto Raptors
This year's Toronto Raptors team doesn't have much going for them. That affects their point guard, Jarrett Jack.
Jack wouldn't be in the top half of the league's point guards even if he had better players around him, but this current star-less roster in Toronto isn't helping his assist numbers at all.
28. Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves
Where is Ricky Rubio? Is he ever going to come over from Spain to take over the Timberwolves' point guard position?
Right now, it doesn't look like it. It also doesn't look like a tandem of Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn is going to get the job done in Minnesota.
27. Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks
Mike Bibby has never been an assist-oriented guy, and he's getting too old to score consistently.
Therefore, he either needs to reinvent himself as a passer (unlikely) or retire.
For the good of the Atlanta Hawks, he probably needs to do the latter.
26. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
Jrue Holiday is still young, so it's more than possible he could one day turn into a good point guard.
But, until his team gets better and he has a couple more NBA seasons under his belt, he won't be jumping up this list very quickly.
Holiday has proven himself to be an adequate scorer, but still needs some work in the passing game in order to become a well-rounded point guard.
25. Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers
When LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat, Mo Williams said he would finally get to play "his game." He felt he had to alter his game with LeBron around.
Well, "his game" got him shipped out of Milwaukee, and it certainly isn't going to carry the Cavs to the playoffs this year.
Note to Mo Williams: you need to play alongside a superstar in order to be a difference-maker.
24. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons
Rodney Stuckey is capable of great games, like his 24-point, nine-assist effort against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But, he's equally capable of playing poorly and being benched after 14 minutes of a five-point, three-assist effort against the Atlanta Hawks.
Pistons coach John Kuester sat him for apparently disagreeing with him on how the offense should be run. Not a good sign for a winless team.
23. D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats
D.J. Augustin took over the starting point guard role for the Charlotte Bobcats by default when Raymond Felton left for the New York Knicks.
He's had his problems with coach Larry Brown in the past, but now that Brown has no option but to start Augustin, look for him to start showcasing his skills more.
22. Andre Miller, Portland Trail Blazers
Andre Miller knows his role on the Blazers. He's supposed to take the ball up the court early in the game to save some wear-and-tear on Brandon Roy.
But, when it's crunch time, Miller knows he's supposed to yield to Roy and let him do his thing.
21. Raymond Felton, New York Knicks
Raymond Felton will definitely see an increase in his production this year, but it will be due more to a change in offensive systems than an improvement in Felton's overall skills.
Felton has averaged 17 points and 6.8 assists per game this season, but that could even be considered disappointing in Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun system.
He'll need to post more 20/10 games like he did against the Chicago Bulls, if he is going to stick in D'Antoni's system.
20. Darren Collison, Indiana Pacers
When Chris Paul was lost for the season due to injury last year for the New Orleans Hornets, Darren Collison stepped up and filled Paul's shoes admirably.
Then, he was traded to the Pacers. It was a good move for the Hornets, because Paul is the obvious choice at point guard for New Orleans, but Collison was too good to keep on the bench.
As a starter last season, Collison averaged 18.8 points and 9.1 assists per game. So far for the Pacers, he's only averaged 13 points and five assists. He'll need to step up his game in order to make this trade worthwhile for Indiana.
19. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Conley is averaging 15.8 points and 9.2 assists per game so far this season, great numbers for a young point guard.
But he's still really overpaid. The Grizzlies recently signed him to a five-year, $45 million contract extension. Is Conley really worth $9 million a year? I guess we'll see.
18. Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets
Aaron Brooks isn't playing as well as he did last year, and it's hurting the Houston Rockets right now. Houston has started the season 0-5, which isn't entirely Brooks' fault.
The schedule will get easier for the Rockets, which means Brooks should be able to get back on track and start producing at a higher level.
17. Baron Davis, Los Angeles Clippers
This is a pretty low spot for a guy with the talent that Baron Davis has. But, if things don't change soon, Davis will find himself even lower at the end of the year.
He admitted he didn't start his offseason conditioning until August, unacceptable for a veteran NBA player.
Also, he doesn't handle adversity well. If the Clippers don't start winning soon, he'll stop producing altogether.
16. Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets
Devin Harris is a speedy young point guard. He should develop into one of the better point guards in the league.
Hopefully, the horrible year he suffered through last year with the Nets hasn't hurt him too much. Sometimes, players develop losing habits, and it's important that Harris doesn't let last year affect his future.
15. Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
When healthy, Jameer Nelson is one of the best scoring point guards in the league.
Though he's never been a passing wizard, he can carry a team offensively with his scoring ability.
The problem has been his health. The Magic are hoping he can stay healthy and carry this team deep into the playoffs.
14. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
Brandon Jennings probably has the most potential to move up several spots on this list.
He's already shown he can be a star, posting 55 points in one game last year, and he's already engineered a triple-double this season.
Now, he just needs to play with more consistency. Last season, Bucks coach Scott Skiles would bench Jennings at times for not playing hard.
If Jennings has put those times behind him, he's got nowhere to go but up.
13. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is a veteran who knows how to win. He's won championships with the San Antonio Spurs in the past, and he's adjusted his game in the present to give his team the best chance to win.
He knows he can't play the way he did in the past, but he's adjusted his game. As long as he can keep away the injury bug, he can keep producing at a high level for another three or four years.
12. Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets
Chauncey Billups is another wily veteran who knows how to win.
However, he hasn't won anything important since his days as a Detroit Piston.
His nickname of "Mr. Big Shot" doesn't really apply anymore, but that doesn't stop him from taking every big shot for the Nuggets, despite being a teammate of Carmelo Anthony.
11. John Wall, Washington Wizards
The Wizards are horrible, and there's nothing John Wall can do about that.
The Gilbert Arenas situation is just destroying this franchise, and until they cut ties with the former "Agent 0," Washington fans will be disappointed by their team.
Though Wall will put up plenty of 20-10 games this year, it won't be enough to pull the Wizards out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
10. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
Tyreke Evans probably won't be a point guard for his entire career. He's a natural shooting guard, but the Sacramento Kings don't have any other options at point guard, so it's Evans' job for now.
Having the ball in his hands makes it easier for him to score, but he's not quite as good of a passer to be considered a "true" point guard.
However, any time he has the ball in his hands, you don't want to turn away, lest you miss something amazing.
9. Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers
Derek Fisher understands his role very well. He is supposed to feed Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, while not making mistakes.
The results: five championships over his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
To add icing to the cake, Fisher is one of the best clutch shooters in the NBA. He recently hit a couple of big shots against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.
While his career is certainly on the decline, he's still someone who must be counted on in crunch time.
8. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is thriving in his role as point guard in the Warriors' run-and-gun, fast-paced offense.
In addition to averaging over 20 points per game, he's been averaging just under eight assists per game.
It really makes you wonder how the Minnesota Timberwolves could take Jonny Flynn ahead of Curry.
7. Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
Jason Kidd is one of the top 10 best point guards in the history of the NBA. He used to be able to do everything on a basketball court, routinely posting triple-doubles.
He is probably the best rebounding point guard in NBA history, and his court vision was unparalleled in his prime.
He's still a very good point guard today, but he's another wily veteran whose career is in its twilight.
6. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are the key pieces to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is one of the best teams in the NBA.
With Durant and Westbrook both under the age of 25, they still have room to improve, a scary thought for opponents like the Los Angeles Lakers.
Westbrook is already averaging 22 points per game to go with over six assists, and he's still improving his game.
Plus, his dunks are fun to watch.
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose is averaging a 25-10 this year. That's right, 25 points and 10 assists per game. What more could you ask for from a point guard in his third year in the NBA?
Rose is the perfect point guard for the Chicago Bulls. He can facilitate his teammates early in games, but when it comes to crunch time, he can take over the game for the offense.
Right now, with Carlos Boozer out with an injury, Rose doesn't have much help offensively. But, Boozer will be back soon, and that will take Rose's game to an even higher level.
4. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash is having to score more this year (19.2 ppg) and assist less (7.7 apg). That's what happens when you lose a player like Amar'e Stoudemire.
While Nash has been hurt by the loss of his favorite big man, it will end up hurting Stoudemire more. Raymond Felton does not equal Steve Nash, and Stoudemire's stats will suffer accordingly.
Nash has spent his entire career turning average players into All-Stars, and one day he'll be honored with a spot in the NBA Hall of Fame.
3. Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
Deron Williams is a leader. The Utah Jazz keep cutting payroll around him, but he keeps leading them to the playoffs.
No Carlos Boozer? No problem for Williams, who is still averaging nine assists per game to go with 20 points.
Once he finds his rhythm with new big man Al Jefferson, the Jazz will take off. They will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
2. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Chris Paul is an electric player. Though this will almost certainly be his last season in New Orleans due to a fued with management, he is the ultimate professional.
He hasn't let his problems with the front office affect his play on the court, as he is averaging almost 19 points, 10 assists and two steals per game.
Paul's presence alone is enough to make the Hornets contenders for a lower seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
He's the difference between a playoff contender and a lottery team.
1. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA right now. Period.
There are at least three plays he's involved in per game that make you shake your head in disbelief. And he does it with a mixture of passing, scoring, stealing and hustle.
One of the defining Rondo plays came in last year's Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic when he poked the ball away from the Magic ball-handler, dove to the floor to gain possession, got up and made a layup.
Plays like that are what separates him from anyone else in the league.
Plus, he's averaging nearly 16 assists per game, and nearly three steals per game, unbelievable numbers. He's everything a team could possibly want in a point guard, and he'll continue to be a star for years to come.