The Real Top Ten Point Guards in the NBA

Basketball, Ed The Sports Fan, Lists — By on February 24, 2012 at 2:00 am


The point guard position is the one position in basketball where hope, promise and opportunity lies at the fingertips of a man whose size is the only one that resembles a normal human being. They are the facilitators of the game, the purveryors of the court, and the liaison of wisdom and advice from the head coach. If you have a point guard worth a damn on your favorite team, you never feel like you can’t win a game if he doesn’t play well. If you don’t have a point guard worth a damn…you’re either a Lakers fan, or your team isn’t any good.

Between the work we’ve done on ETSF and TSFJ, we specialize in the creation of lists. It’s fun, we like to collaborate, and and we like to berate each other for our questionable selections that you’ll read below. For this top ten list, we leveraged the basketball aficionados on this site: BC (SLAM Magazine),  Tins (Smoking Section),  Ken, and yours truly (SLAM/SB Nation). Plus, we reached out to our left-coast brethren and asked Anthony Ramsey of Los That Sports Blog to join in on the festivities. Everyone’s list came out very similar at the top, but the bottom of the list shows that no one can agree on anything.

Just like always, we used this season’s current performance as the barometer, but previous success will be taken into consideration as well. With all that out of the way, the floor is open for debate. Here are the REAL top ten point guards in the NBA.

T-10. Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors
T-10. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kenny made an interesting point about Spain’s best point guard. (Rubio’s almost there, but not yet.) If Calderon wasn’t rotting away in Toronto, he would get more love. The man sets the table for everyone and, most important, he takes care of the basketball. It’s what anyone would want in a point guard. Anthony pointed out that Calderon has an amazing 4.5 assist to turnover ratio on the year (second to only Chris Paul), while dishing out 8.7 dimes a game.

As for Kyrie Irving, as much as everyone has swooned over Ricky Rubio,, if you watch Kyrie play then a few things stick out above Rubio. Irving is more assertive on the floor, he’s more confident in his shooting ability, and he’s not a liability on the defensive end. These three reasons trump Rubio’s insane court vision, but both will probably be higher on this list next year.

9. Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets

Per Tinsley, coining somebody “underrated” has actually become “overrated” in recent years, but if any player in the league fits this bill, it’s Houston’s floor general. The only reason you don’t know about the guy is because Houston plays no nationally-televised games.

Plus, the fact that Lowry is capable of getting a triple-double almost every night (averaging 18/8/5) has to get you on the top ten PGs list.

8. John Wall, Washington Wizards

John Wall has everything you’d want in a point guard (in a physical sense). Cat-like quickness, good shooting form and great height and length (what up, Bilas?) for the position. The problem is that he plays for Washington Generals Wizards where the jerseys are just as distracting as the terrible roster they trot out there. Wall has to do way too much himself, but he’s number eight on this list, purely off of pure potential alone. Hopefully, D.C. figures it out soon, so Wall can win in Chocolate City.

7. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Let it be known that Tony Parker has more rings than everyone else COMBINED on this top ten list. Yes, you read that right. Parker has won three championships since hitting the league ten years ago, and it’s crazy to think that the man is only 29 years old. Folks tend to forget that Parker was a lot like Rondo early in his career, as his jumper was a liability on the court. Not anymore, as there’s nothing that Parker can’t do on the court. It’s the off-the-court stuff that Parker has a problem with. (Hide your chick, hide your wife.)

6. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

From Ed, “If you notice this top ten list, I have Russell Westbrook as the number five point guard in the NBA. Yes, I know I am one of the biggest homers for Russell Westbrook you’ll ever know, but if I made an honest assessment on what I visualize a point guard is…then yes, he’s number five. However, if this list was just “the best players in the NBA,” then I’d consider putting Westbrook above everyone else on this list, outside of Rose and Paul. Westbrook doesn’t make his bread by focusing on being a distributor; he thrives by pressuring the defense. Attacking the rim, pull-up jumpers, penetrating and kicking to open shooters will never go out of style, and that’s something that Russie will always be number one at.


5. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Per Tinsley, Rondo’s everything you’d want in a point guard, off-top. A floor general, a warrior and exceptional court vision. And there’s a good chance he could’ve landed at number one if he weren’t such a liability when he was forced to shoot the ball or deliver at the free throw line, where he converts only 62% of the time.

4. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

Steve Nash is the Point God that just won’t die. Nash is top-three in Kenny’s eyes, and it’s tough to argue about a PG whose skills haven’t eroded and is leading the league in assists at 11 per game at age 38. Tinsley has clamored for the Memphis Grizzlies to trade for him, while I envision a day where he plays for the Atlanta Hawks. Regardless, the consensus from almost everyone is that it is time to free Steve Nash from his captivity.

3. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

By Ken’s definition, a point guard makes the game easier for everyone, and while Rose has come a long way and we can even say he’s probably a better player than the guys ahead of him, he’s not a better point guard than the guys ahead of him…in Ken’s humble opinion. However, Anthony points out that his jumper is vastly improved, and he has an uncanny ability to know when to get his teammates involved or take over the scoring load himself when the Bulls need a bucket.

2. Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets

Per Kenny, “Despite the fact that his play this season has not only disheartened me, but infuriated me as well, he’s still the best point guard in the NBA. Once the change of address comes, his play will improve. Even with that, his track record is solid enough to where I feel comfortable taking him above anyone else at the position.”

1. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Nevermind the fact he’s only been out the first round once in his career, Tinsley says that the dictator of “Lob City” is everything a team could ask for in a point guard. Court vision that’s second-to-none, a beautiful shot and, probably his best quality, CP3 can be a complete dog on the court, when need be. Not to mention, the Clippers became title contenders once he stepped in town.

Honorable Mentions

Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks

Jason Kidd not only solidified his importance to the Mavericks last year, but he is reinforcing it this season with some time off. The Mavs have tried Delonte at the point, Roddy B. at the point, and while I love Delonte and Roddy is cool, the Mavs need Kidd back. His leadership, his ability to make the game easier for everyone, and his clutch play are what defines a real point guard.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

I’m going to have to call Anthony Ramsey on Curry getting an eighth place vote out of him. Are we sure Curry’s even the damn point guard of the team, or is it Monta Ellis? I’m not even sure he’s a damn point guard personally, but he does represent well for the Light Skinned Coalition, so I’ll chill for the time being.

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

It’s not a question of if with Rubio, but when. Watching Rubio in international play made me realize that this kid was, in fact, real. He gave Deron Williams and Chris Paul fits at 17 years old in the 2008 Olympics. Now, at 21, he’s got the Timberwolves playing with a .500 record and their team is must-see-TV.

Here is everyone’s personal top ten point guards list, the doors of the church are open. Let the debate begin.

Eddie Maisonet, III

Eddie Maisonet is an appreciator of the ultimate reality show that is sports.

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    27 Comments

  • I can honestly say that my top 10 would be practically identical to this. Great work as always fellas.

    Remember a few years ago when there seemed to be a major dearth point guards? Now the position is absolutely loaded, which is great for the NBA. Nothing makes basketball better than floor generals who know how to command an offense.

    I hear NBA haters tell me all the time that the NBA is no fun, players don’t care as much, etc. Clearly they aren’t playing attention, because watching all these great to really good point guards orchestrate their teams has just risen the level of play in the NBA.

  • Josiah says:

    Free Steve Nash!!!

  • J. Tinsley says:

    If you can’t tell, I’m smitten over the word “floor general.”

    It’s great in every sense of the words.

  • Shirley says:

    Crawford really put Lin at 10? SMH. I don’t follow the NBA as closely as I used to but seriously?

  • JT says:

    Solid list. A lot of solid PG s in the LG right now no votes at all for Jennings or Conley ?
    Lin got a vote other them smh . I rather have D Will also but him and cp3 is an arguement waiting to happen.

  • Mdotbrown says:

    “As for Kyrie Irving, as much as everyone has swooned over Ricky Rubio, if you watch Kyrie play then a few things stick out above Rubio. Irving is more assertive on the floor, he’s more confident in his shooting ability, and he’s not a liability on the defensive end”

    This, sirs, is simply not true and a basic search would prove as much. While Rubio does struggle with smaller/quicker guards, he’s still top 5 in steals. Irving on the other hand is not. In fact, Cleveland is actually about 10 points worse defensively when he’s on the floor. So the liability-defensively at least-is actually Irving.

    • Rubio is a nasty defender, that’s for damn sure.

    • rome says:

      you have to watch irving he is a better man to man defender. rubio actually get his steal by playing a lane. he is not a good defender. and if irving was on rubio’s team they would have won more games, because he is an underated passer. rubio would not make the cav’s better look at the team and who irving plays with . there is no comparison.

  • DNKB says:

    I enjoyed reading this top ten list…probably because I know less about the unique skill sets needed for individual positions in basketball compared to football so I wasn’t as emotionally attached to the selection.

    I learned something reading this and I enjoyed that this panel recognized the value and talent that Rondo brings to the Celtics (got into an argument with my brother during Christmas on this).

    Thanks for the sports lesson…I’ll give y’all a shout out during my next sports debate when I take some of these lines :)

  • Somebody had to give Lin some shine. Why not me? I live out in the proverbial limb anyway. Great work, fellas!

  • phil says:

    I agree with your top ten maybe not in the same order but there all there…keep up the good work

  • LosAngelesFan says:

    What, no mention of Andre Miller? He averages a decent numbrer of points, has great court vision, sets up others to be dunking stars, and pulls off some amazing buzzer beaters – even this season he just had a couple, recently. Because of his experience I’d put him in, if not in this list, right under it. He’s way up there.

  • Jake says:

    I’m glad this article exists, because it’s a very recent analysis, and since “best” fluctuates, recency is the most important thing in a rankings list. However, my analysis would go differently–mine’s looking from a fantasy basketball perspective, not really factoring in stuff like “being a great floor leader”–and I thought I’d put it out there.

    Also, it’s not really comparing apples to apples, honestly, because I get to include someone like D. Wade as a pg, which only really makes sense in fantasy, i.e. The Heat would probably be unwise to build their franchise around Wade at point.

    All that said, I like my list. So without further ado…my top 15 PG in March, 2012.

    15. Tyreke Evans
    14. Jose Calderon
    13. Kyrie Irving
    12. John Wall
    11. Jeremy Lin
    10. Kyle Lowry
    9. M. Ellis
    8. Tony Parker
    7. Steve Nash
    6. Rajon Rondo
    5. Russell Westbrook
    4. Chris Paul
    3. D. Wade
    2. Deron Williams
    1. Derrick Rose

    CP3 at the 4 spot. Yup.

    • My only response to this….if you’re willing to consider D. Wade at the point….then shouldn’t you consider LeBron for the point? He’s a much better passer and floor leader than Wade. Just a thought. Nice list and come back some time.

      • Jake says:

        Hey E.,

        The one thing I can say is that I would love to be able to agree with you, but most fantasy leagues (like espn and yahoo) don’t allow Lebron to play the 1. Most leagues have him as a SF/PF, even though anyone who watches knows he could pretty much be an all star at any position. But ya, thats the reason he isn’t on this PG list — it’s only among players that ESPN says are point guards.

        Jake

      • Jake says:

        My revised list would have Lebron at #1. He’s that good.

    • nick says:

      That’s literally the stupidest thing I have heard yet. Jeremy Lin is not even close to a top twenty point guard, and to put Rondo behind Westbrook is purely idiotic. Learn something about the NBA man.

  • Jab123 says:

    Rondo at 6 while derons at 2? and tony Parker deserves to be higher he’s played lights out this year My last issue is you have monta at 9 and Jose Calderon? Don’t get me wrong Jose is ok but kinda hard to take your list seriously when I see his name up there and you don’t have stephen curry on it? Woah that’s crazy

  • giel says:

    for me rondo is the number 1 pg

  • true says:

    1.cp3
    2.d.rose
    3.Rondo
    4.dwill
    5.westbrook
    6.Nash
    7.parker
    8. J.wall
    9.rubio
    10.irving

  • W!$CON$!N says:

    Omg you obviously don’t know pg monta Ellis isn’t a pg Dwayne wade isn’t a pg jeremy Lin isn’t good Tony Parker isn’t in the top 20 pg Where’s My man Brandon Jennings it’s sad hes like top 5 talent rite there

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