The Top 10 Point Guards In The NBA
Ranking The 10 Best Point Guards In The NBA For 2012-2013
There are two types of point guards in the NBA one is shoot first and the other is pass first. Regardless they are the most important player on the roster for any team because of the ability to facilitate, handle the basketball, defend perimeter players and provide leadership.
During the 2011-2012 season a struggling New York Knicks team inserted seldom used Jeremy Lin into the starting lineup and he helped start a playoff run before his season ended prematurely due to a knee injury.
In 25 starts he averaged 18.2 points per game, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 2 steals on 44.5 percent shooting, 34.3 percent from beyond the arc and 79.6 percent from the free throw line.
After the season ended he became a restricted free agent and signed an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets that was not matched by the Knicks.
On the opposite end of the spectrum last year was the Golden State Warriors who lost Stephen Curry to repeatedly re-injuring a sprained right ankle that he originally hurt in the preseason. It forced him to sit out the last 40 games. When he was in the lineup the Warriors were 13-13 and without him 10-30.
Here’s a look at the top 10 point guards in the NBA.
Note that there are two names not on the list who are recovering from injuries.
No.10 Steve Nash
Even at the age of 38 Steve Nash is still one of the best point guards in the NBA and on offense he becomes scarier now that he has joined the Los Angeles Lakers. His weapons now include Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
There are also question marks with the addition because Nash does not play particularly well at a slow tempo; he is well below average defensively, can only play a certain amount of minutes each night and Bryant will get the ball most of the time.
If he can get comfortable at a slower pace in 2012-2013 expect his scoring to go down below double digits and his assist numbers to go up.
No.9 Damian Lillard
Last season the Portland Trail Blazers believed Raymond Felton would replace the departed Andre Miller at point guard. That move didn’t work out and in the 2012 NBA Draft point guard Damian Lillard got taken with the sixth pick.
He played his college ball at Weber State and in 2011-2012 averaged 24.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals on 46.7 percent shooting, 40.9 percent from beyond the arc and 88.7 percent from the free throw line.
What sets him apart was his ability to get to the free throw line he averaged eight attempts per game.
For the Trail Blazers in four preseason games he’s averaged 16 points, 5.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds on 46 percent shooting, 34.8 percent from three and 100 percent from the free throw line.
Strengths include his ability to score, penetrate and hit from the three-point line. Weaknesses include defense and his a consistent mid-range jumper.
Expect a season of 16-18 points, 6-7 assists, 3-4 rebounds, on 44-46 percent shooting, 37-39 percent from three and 86-88 percent from the free throw line.
No.8 Goran Dragic
The Houston Rockets made a head scratching decision by signing Jeremy Lin and letting Goran Dragic go. It allowed for the Phoenix Suns to find a replacement for the departed Steve Nash.
While Lin was getting all the attention for helping lead the New York Knicks to the playoffs after starting 25 games, Dragic started 28 games of his own in replace of Kyle Lowry. He averaged 18 points, 8.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds on 49 percent shooting, 37.9 percent from beyond the arc and 83.9 percent from the free throw line.
He’s a pesky defensive player and will benefit in the Suns up and down style of play.
Expect him to average 17-19 points, 7-9 assists, 2-4 rebounds, on 46-48 percent shooting, 36-38 percent from beyond the arc and 82-84 percent from the free throw line.
No.7 Kyrie Irving
The Cleveland Cavaliers found their franchise player by drafting Kyrie Irving as the first pick in the 2011 NBA draft and he did not disappoint. In 51 games he averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, on 46.9 percent shooting, 39.9 percent from beyond the arc and 87.2 percent from the free throw line.
As a result of his play he won the Rookie of the Year Award.
His strengths include being a great passer, ball-handler, solid shooter and he’s fearless in the lane. Weaknesses are his durability missed 15 games last season and while at Duke he missed. At times he will try too hard to take over games.
Expect a season of 19-21 points, 6-7 assists, 3-5 rebounds, 46-48 percent from the field, 39-41 percent from beyond the arc and 87-89 percent from the free throw line.
No.6 Stephen Curry
When the Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks it signaled that the team was going to build its future around Stephen Curry. In 2011-2012 he only played in 26 games due to an ankle injury.
He is now healthy and has a number of shooters in Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Harrison Barnes and Richard Jefferson who will get open looks with big men David Lee and Andrew Bogut demanding attention from defenses.
Curry’s strengths are his passing ability and shooting. Weaknesses include defense and at times being too unselfish.
For 2012-2013 expect a season of 17-19 points, 6-8 assists, 2-4 rebounds, 1-2 steals, on 48-50 percent shooting, 42-44 percent from the three-point line and 90-92 percent from the free throw line.
No.5 Tony Parker
Tony Parker has quietly become the most important player for the San Antonio Spurs and in 2011-2012 he set a career high by dishing out 7.7 assists per game. It was his best season since the 2008-2009 season when he averaged 22 points and 6.9 assists.
His strengths are his speed, ability to penetrate and a solid mid-range jumper. Weaknesses include being a poor perimeter shooter, only being decent from the charity strike and he is average defensively.
Expect a season of 18-19 points, 7-8 assists, 2-3 rebounds, on 49-51 percent shooting and 76-78 percent from the free throw line.
No.4 Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics primarily looks to pass instead of score. His weaknesses outweigh his strengths and that is why he isn’t the best point guard in the NBA even after recording six triple-doubles in 2011-2012.
As for his strengths they are his athleticism, ability to penetrate, passing ability, rebounding and defense. Weaknesses include his jumper beyond 15 feet, lack of scoring, free throw shooting and at times he will gamble on defense.
Expect a season of 11-13 points per game, 10-11 assists, 4- 5 rebounds, 1-2 steals, on 47-49 percent shooting and 62-65 percent from the free throw line.
No.3 Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is a point guard that looks to score first and pass second. He is able to do this because teams respect the scoring ability of Kevin Durant and will leave him open more times than not.
Even though his assist numbers dropped in 2011-2012 he set a career high in points per game with 23.6 and field goal percentage at 45.7.
His strengths are his ability to penetrate, athleticism, durability, rebounding and defense. Weaknesses include the lack of a perimeter jumper and at times will become a volume shooter.
For 2012-2013 expect 23-25 points per game, 7-8 assists, 4-5 rebounds, 1-2 steals, on 44-47 percent shooting and 82-84 percent from the free throw line.
No.2 Deron Williams
The Brooklyn Nets made a great decision to build around point guard Deron Williams and in the offseason two big moves got made. One was to re-sign small forward Gerald Wallace and the other acquiring Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks.
More importantly Brook Lopez is healthy providing the Nets with one of the best post players in the NBA.
Williams is a perfectly balanced point guard as he can take over a game with his scoring or he can take it over with his passing. With plenty of weapons around him he will put up better assist numbers from his 2011-2012 season in which he averaged 8.7 per game.
For the 2012-2013 season expect him to average 19-22 points, 10-12 assists, 3-4 assists, on 44-46 percent shooting and 82-85 percent from the free throw line.
No.1 Chris Paul
Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers is the best point guard in the NBA. The reason he beats out Deron Williams is because he is more efficient and is willing to take a calculated risk on defense to come up with a steal.
With Blake Griffin demanding attention from defenses it gives Paul the opportunity to find open teammates such as Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan, he can take a three-pointer or drive to the rim.
The additions of Matt Barnes, Willie Green and Grant Hill are additional scoring threats that Paul can find for an open look.
Expect a season of 20-22 points, 10-11 assists, 4-5 rebounds, 1-2 steals, on 46-48 percent shooting, 37-39 percent from beyond the arc and 85-87 percent from the free throw line.