Posted March 19, 2013

The NBA’s top 10 point guards

Ben Golliver, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, Ty Lawson
Chris Paul and Tony Parker

Chris Paul (right) and Tony Parker head up the NBA’s best point guards. (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

February was a very, very good month for the NBA’s deep crop of point guards.

Chris Paul won the All-Star Game MVP award; Tony Parker worked his way into the MVP conversation; up-and-comers Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday made their first All-Star Game appearances; Stephen Curry scored an NBA-season-high 54 points at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday; and Damian Lillard continued his stranglehold on the Rookie of the Year race.  It’s hard to ask for more than that, especially when two of the league’s premier point men — Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo — have been sidelined with injuries.

But how do the best of the best floor generals stack up against each other? Here’s my rundown of the NBA’s top 10 point guards. (All stats and records are through March 1.)

10. Ty Lawson, Nuggets

Stats: 16.5 PPG, 7.1 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 2.7 TO, 44.7 FG%, 35.4 3P%, 17.2 PER, 35.2 MPG

The 5-foot-11 Lawson’s short, wide build, top-shelf first step, elite end-to-end quickness and brash confidence with the ball make him one of the league’s most difficult players to defend one-on-one. He leads a high-octane Nuggets attack that ranks No. 6 in points scored per possession and No. 2 in pace. He generally appears to be stuck in fast forward, rarely wasting an opportunity to push the tempo in transition or attack his man from the perimeter. His lack of size can be exploited on defense, but his quick hands and ability to transform any turnover into an easy basket at the other end help compensate.

Lawson, 25, lacks the refinement and postseason success of some of the more established names on this list. Still, he merits inclusion because he plays lots of minutes and uses lots of possessions for a team that has consistently won more than 60 percent of its games since he arrived as a 2009 first-round pick. His slow start this season became a distant memory after he posted averages of 23.3 points and 8.4 assists in February; any snap-take concerns about his four-year, $48 million deal should now be assuaged.

Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday has posted career highs is points, assists and rebounds this season. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

9. Jrue Holiday, Sixers

Stats: 19.1 PPG, 8.6 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 3.9 TO, 45.6 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 18.2 PER, 38.4 MPG

Holiday’s emergence as a franchise-type point guard has been the only thing standing between the Sixers and a totally lost season. The 22-year-old in his fourth season has produced a career year across the board, showing real value on both ends of the floor and building off a solid 2012 postseason.

Offensively, the 6-foot-4 Holiday possesses sufficient size, quickness and ball-handling ability to get into the paint, and he’s shot a career-best 45.6 percent despite a drastic uptick in his attempts and mediocre finishing abilities at the rim. Defensively, he’s committed and focused and has good feet, allowing him to pester ball-handlers and disrupt offenses.

Holiday deserved his first All-Star nod, and his four-year, $41 million contract extension is looking like a bargain before it even kicks in next season. Paul has praised Holiday’s poise and athleticism, which counts as a ringing endorsement, and he’s significantly younger than 2009 draft classmates Lawson and Curry and therefore offers more long-term upside. He’s improved his ability to get to the free-throw line, which he will have to continue to build on, and he’s talked about the need to reduce his league-high turnover average. But the perception of his development will likely be influenced more by the talent around him than by his own incremental improvements. Hopefully Philadelphia finds some help for him sooner than later, because he arrived as the real deal in 2012-13.

8. Deron Williams, Nets

Stats: 17.4 PPG, 7.6 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 3.0 TO, 41.8 FG%, 36.6 3P%, 18.2 PER, 36.8 MPG

There was a time, not too long ago, when it would have been nearly impossible to keep Williams out of this list’s top five. “Williams or Paul?” was once a somewhat legitimate topic of discussion. Then again, there were times this season when it seemed like Williams didn’t belong on it at all, and he was left off the All-Star team in what would have qualified as a shocker last summer, given his status as the No. 1 free agent. His shooting struggles, nagging ankle and wrist injuries, the Nets’ somewhat ugly early-season coaching change, the second round of “coach killer” accusations of his career and questions about his conditioning didn’t do his reputation any favors.

Still, Brooklyn is battling for home-court advantage in the East, his scoring numbers and shooting percentages have picked up in the New Year, and he’s managed to avoid gigantic controversy during the P.J. Carlesimo era. Is the three-time All-Star the same dominant point guard that he’s been for much of a career? Not really. Was much more expected of him after he received a five-year contract worth nearly $100 million and a new upgraded cast of teammates that cost even more than that? Absolutely. Is it disheartening that he’s not playing the best basketball of his career at 28? For sure. But are you really ready to write him off as an elite point guard? I’m not, at least not yet.

7. Stephen Curry, Warriors

Stats: 22.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 3.0 TO, 44.3 FG%, 45.5 3P%, 20.6 PER, 37.9 MPG

His fabulous shooting display against the Knicks this week helped his name recognition, to be sure, but Curry has sprinted up the list of best point guards this season now that he’s finally been able to stay healthy. Without constant ankle sprains to slow him down, he is scoring at a career-high rate in his first full season playing without former backcourt mate Monta Ellis. He’s doing so in large part because of his marksmanship from deep, and his nearly 46 percent shooting on more than seven three-point attempts per game is almost incomprehensible.

His launching 17 shots per game with a beautiful, smooth shooting stroke will lead many to conclude that he’s not a “true” point guard. In fact, Gary Payton told reporters at a Hall of Fame event in Houston over All-Star Weekend that he saw Curry as more of a “scoring point guard” rather than a set-up guy. Curry might be ready to pop at a moment’s notice, but his pick-and-roll reads and overall handle are excellent. He and All-Star power forward David Lee have emerged as a lethal combination, and the Warriors rank No. 9 in offensive efficiency and No. 1 in three-point percentage, numbers aided by Curry’s drive-and-kick ability.

Defense is clearly his bugaboo. Though he’s proved that he can create and get off his shot despite his slight frame, he can be bullied and exploited on the other end. He’s not yet 25, and the Warriors are looking smart for taking a calculated risk in extending his contract last October, as they surely saved themselves millions of dollars by locking him in for $44 million over four years.

Unless absolute disaster strikes down the stretch, Curry will get his first crack at the postseason this year. He’ll need to experience some success there — and maintain his streak of good health — to have a chance to move up in future versions of this list.

6. Rajon Rondo, Celtics

Stats: 13.7 PPG, 11.1 APG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 3.9 TO, 48.4 FG%, 24.0 3P%, 18.3 PER, 37.4 MPG

It’s an unwritten rule on the Internet that you must use the word “enigma” to describe Rondo, so I’ll get it out of the way early. He’s an enigma. Look no further than Lee Jenkins’ recent story on him in Sports Illustrated — in which the 27-year-old explains why he feels the need to dominate children at Connect Four — to immerse yourself in his weirdness. We’re past the point of expecting Rondo to bend to our collective desires, which include developing a reliable jump shot, being more selfish in looking to score in certain situations, and adopting a friendlier approach to referees who draw his ire.

Before his season-ending knee injury, Rondo was leading the NBA in assists per game for the second straight season and he’s usually among the league leaders in steals, due to his quick hands and willingness to gamble when he’s off the ball. Blessed with great vision and a preternatural feel for timing, spacing and opponent tendencies, Rondo is an artist when it comes to plays with a high degree of difficulty.

His habit of rising to the moment in big games and playing well on national television is well established and was never made clearer than in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals when he outdueled LeBron James at times and put up a whopping 44 points in Game 2. Rondo, unlike all but one other point guard on this list, owns a championship ring, but he will return from his injury with the aging Celtics facing a transition period (or having already undergone one). He will also face a simple question: Is he the right type of player to lead a rebuilding/reloading effort or does his skill set require greatness — or at the very least proven veterans — around him?

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, 20, was the youngest All-Star this season. (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

5. Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers

Stats: 23.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 3.2 TO, 46.8 FG%, 42.0 3P%, 22.7 PER, 35.2 MPG

The breakout star of All-Star Weekend, Irving is blowing away the concept of a “ceiling” for a player’s potential. Would you bet against him as a future Hall of Famer? Only 20 and in his second season, he’s positioned himself perfectly to take the “best all-around point guard” reins from Paul as he ages, and he’s a pretty good candidate to step into the Clipper’s shoes as the starting point guard for future USA Basketball teams, too.

Irving’s game starts with his handle and jumper, which are both among the league’s best. He’s also maxed out on the poise scale and developed a reputation as a big late-game player with a handful of game-winners. He’s good with both hands and he can finish from practically any angle. There’s work to be done defensively, but he can make opposing point guards pay for sloppiness, thanks to his quick hands and comfort in transition.

Why slot him above Rondo, who has a longer track record of winning and more postseason success? It’s a tough call. Irving’s case hinges on two reasons. First, he lacks any obvious holes, like Rondo’s reluctance to shoot from distance and get to the free-throw line. Second, the team-wide impact of his overall game is monstrous. Irving has carried a cast of relative no-names to a league-average offensive efficiency this season, while Rondo’s Celtics have generally ranked 20th or worse. Assuming the Cavaliers can assemble even a decent roster around him, Irving will be the centerpiece of one of the NBA’s elite offenses in no time (and for years to come). It’s quite possible he spends a half-decade atop this list once he hits his prime.

4. Derrick Rose, Bulls

2011-12 Stats: 21.8 PPG, 7.9 APG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 3.1 TO, 43.5 FG%, 31.2 3P%, 23.1 PER, 35.3 MPG 

Rose, a legitimate candidate for No. 1 honors in recent years, must drop because of his season-long absence after an ACL injury. But how far down this list can he go before it gets to be insulting? The fourth spot feels like a good basement for the only player besides three-time winner LeBron James to claim the MVP award in the previous four seasons.

His list of accomplishment is lengthy: 2011 MVP, three-time All-Star, 2009 Rookie of the Year and leader of an Eastern Conference finalist in 2011. His individual production has been inseparable from his team’s success: The Bulls have won an eye-popping 78.3 percent of their games over the last two years when Rose has suited up.

The biggest unknown is how Rose’s knee injury will affect his game. Rose has pursued a deliberate approach to his rehabilitation. It’s still not known for certain whether he will return this season, though all reports indicate that he is expected to make a full recovery. Rose, an explosive attacker who carves up defenses off the dribble, has never been known for his shooting range. The questions that face any player recovering from an ACL injury will shadow him until he proves he can operate at or near his previous standard.

Can he still turn the corner effortlessly against virtually anyone in the game? Does he trust his legs during his powerful jump stops in traffic? Will he display the same lift in the basket area, or will he need to compensate in other ways? Will he be able to stay with his man when he needs to move laterally? Still just 24 and with a contract that runs through 2016-17, Rose has plenty of time to provide the answers to those questions.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is the NBA’s premier athlete at the point guard position. (Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

3. Russell Westbrook, Thunder

Stats: 23.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 3.6 TO, 43.4 FG%, 34.5 3P%, 23.7 PER, 35.6 MPG

Westbrook, one of the NBA’s most polarizing players, offers plenty of meat to feed the critics. He’s prone to horrible shooting nights, questionable decisions, more than his fair share of turnovers and the occasional emotional outburst, and his ego boasts impeccable health. Look at it this way: If a player with that many faults is still viewed as “polarizing” rather than “awful,” he must be doing something right.

Indeed, Westbrook’s strengths far outweigh his limitations. The 6-3 Westbrook is the most fearless and most athletically imposing player at his position, capable of jumping over you, blowing by you, dribbling around you and dunking on you. He’s improved his discipline on defense and can turn defense into offense as well as anyone on this list. He’s an excellent rebounder for his position and puts relentless pressure on his defensive matchup, getting to the free-throw line seven times per game, an excellent number. For all the heat he takes for his inefficient shooting and me-first scoring tendencies, the Thunder own the West’s No. 2 record and the NBA’s No. 2 offense, even with his usage rate at a team-high 32.4 percent.

At 24, he’s already a three-time All-Star with one trip to the Finals. His play might not always be perfect, but it gets the job done.

2. Tony Parker, Spurs

Stats: 21.1 PPG, 7.6 APG, 3.1 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 3.1 TO, 53.3 FG%, 37.9 3P%, 24.6 PER, 33.0 MPG

Parker is worth mentioning in the MVP conversation, if only because voters are allowed five names on their ballots and submitting “LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, LeBron” is generally frowned upon.  His credentials are sterling: The Spurs have the NBA’s best record and the No. 4 offense and No. 3 defense. Parker trails only Paul in PER among point guards, and his 53.3 percent shooting leads the names on this list by a wide margin. How does he do it? By taking more than half of his shots at the rim, according to NBA.com, an incredible figure for a player who stands just 6-2.

The 30-year-old Parker is quick, crafty and disciplined, more eager to make the extra pass than to force a shot. He’s good anywhere you put him: in transition, in high pick-and-rolls or weaving through traffic. No offensive system generates better looks than San Antonio’s, and Parker has been at the helm so long that he makes it all look like child’s play.

A three-time champion and five-time All-Star, Parker has met every challenge and joins Rondo as the only point guards on this top 10 to win a title. There isn’t much separating Parker from Paul, but the latter is the choice as a better individual defender and a bigger threat from three-point range. Paul is a touch more physical, too, without giving up anything meaningful in the quickness department.

1. Chris Paul, Clippers

Stats: 16.3 PPG, 9.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 2.4 SPG, 2.2 TO, 47.7 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 26.1 PER, 32.6 MPG

Despite stiff competition, Paul’s spot at the top of this list feels as undisputed as it has been in some time. His arrival flipped the Clippers’ franchise upside down and he hasn’t looked back. This season, Los Angeles is winning 75 percent of its games when he suits up and just 50 percent when he has been out. He captains both the Clippers’ No. 7 offense and No. 6 defense; his ability to keep the many scoring options around him happy is unmatched, and his league-leading steals average is the trigger to the devastating Lob City transition attacks.

Paul does his best work late, asserting himself off the dribble more regularly when the game is on the line. He’s the total package in game-deciding situations: He’s quick enough to turn the corner; he has a mid-range game that can make you pay; he’s an expert reader of defenses if helpers over-commit; his basketball intelligence and feel for time/score situations are off the charts; and he loves the moment. Even though he lacks James’ physicality, Paul is the only player in the league who can match the Heat forward’s ability to dictate the action in the fourth quarter.

This is a big year for Paul, who will turn 28 in May, as he’s approaching the point where questions will surface about his standing relative to his contemporaries if he doesn’t make his first trip out of the conference semifinals. Last year, Paul was clearly banged up when the Spurs swept the Clippers in the second round. This season, he’s surrounded by the deepest and most talented cast of teammates of his career. The Thunder and Spurs are so good that they are capable of making superstars look like mortals, but the combination of Paul’s age and his team’s quality depth will leave him facing an unprecedented number of doubters should the Clippers make another quick exit. That might seem unthinkable now, given Paul’s near-universal popularity, but just you wait. The critics eventually come for everyone.

45 comments
mceacmic001
mceacmic001

out of all these guys rondo is the best rebonder pass defender ect. hes also a under rated scorer hes put up 40+ before all around he is the best  and on this list only him and parker have rings............i dont get how is this a debat

BenSmith
BenSmith

Yeah, Curry is more of a scoring point guard ... and so was Gary Payton, who is heading to the Hall of Fame largely on the basis of him being a scoring point guard. Payton never averaged more than 8.987804878 assists per game in a season, but he averaged over 20.0 points per game in seven different seasons, sometimes by attempting over 20.0 field goals per game.  

BenSmith
BenSmith

Also, Parker actually out-shot Paul this season in terms of three-point field goal percentage. Yeah, Paul attempted three times as many threes, but given that his percentage (.328) fell well below the NBA's average (.359), that's not something to be proud of. 

BenSmith
BenSmith

I don't mind the choice of Paul over Parker, but you left out one critical advantage that Parker enjoys over Paul. Parker is much better going to his left, which allows him to make plays more quickly and not become bogged down as readily, a major plus against playoff defenses.  

BenSmith
BenSmith

I think that Tony Parker has proved that he can dictate the action in the fourth quarter as much as Chris Paul ...

BenSmith
BenSmith

The issue isn't that Rondo needs to be more "selfish." Although I know what you're attempting to say, that word choice conveys an impression that misses the point. Rather, Rondo needs to be a more aggressive scorer in order for his team to be more effective and offensively efficient, and greater aggressiveness would not mean greater selfishness. Rather, greater scoring aggressiveness could actually mean less selfishness, for there have certainly been whispers that Rondo sometimes goes out there trying to tally assists and steals in an effort to lead the league in those categories, rather than making the right play or doing what his team needs from him to win. 

Additionally, the issue with Rondo (or Rose) isn't poor or mediocre three-point shooting, but just jump-shooting in general. If Rondo were a more fluid , assertive, and consistent shooter from twenty feet, then shooting threes would be irrelevant (the same would be true of Rose, although he has of course been a better shooter than Rondo). As Tony Parker has proved, if you're a penetrating point guard, you don't need to shoot threes. What you do need to be is a credible pull-up shooter inside the arc after dribbling off a ball-screen. 

Of course, Rondo's free throw shooting is certainly a huge problem, especially for a player who primarily scores off the drive.   

BenSmith
BenSmith

Please understand that PER constitutes a ridiculously fallacious metric that should not be cited for all manner of reasons. Among other flaws, PER commits the major mistake of interpreting a star's statistics based on team pace factors. In other words, a star who posts major numbers at a slower pace is elevated, whereas a star who posts major numbers at a faster pace is diminished. But anyone who really knows the game understands that simple linearity is misplaced, that the relationship between team pace factors and a star's numbers is more complex, ironic, and even inverted. For what a star gains from a faster pace in terms of a higher number of possessions to actually or theoretically be involved with, he loses in the ability to manipulate, control, or dominate those possessions to the same extent. At a faster pace, the ball is moved up and around the court more quickly, spontaneously, and democratically, and more players tend to become involved. At a slower pace, certain complementary players may see their numbers diminish, but the stars will be better able to manipulate, control, and dominate the possessions. Playing more slowly means playing against set defenses more often, which means more play-calling, which means putting the ball in the stars' hands more frequently, because those guys are the primary options and the best options to break down a set defense. So what stars lose in the number of possessions by playing at a slower pace, they gain in their ability to milk possessions. 

Think of Chris Paul, in particular. Throughout his career, his teams have played at slow paces, largely due to his methodical, dribble-heavy style (which is another reason why a star's statistics should not be adjusted based on pace factors, because stars themselves are often responsible for the paces at which they play). Yes, Paul is not on the court for as many possessions as a point guard playing at a faster pace, but by playing at a slow pace, Paul is able to manipulate his possessions to a greater degree. By playing slowly, Paul often milks the shot clock and then shoots or passes to a teammate who has little choice except to shoot, and thus Paul tallies tons of points and assists despite—or perhaps because of—the slow pace. As a result, Paul's PER is higher than that of Magic Johnson, both for their respective careers and their respective single-season highs. But is Chris Paul, who after eight seasons and at the age of twenty-eight has never even played in the conference finals, really a better point guard than Magic Johnson? The answer is "Of course not," but the problem is that by misapplying team pace factors to the performance of an individual star, PER falsely inflates Paul's value and falsely deflates Magic's value 

Likewise, was Terrell Brandon (a fine point guard, but hardly a Hall of Fame-type player) a better point guard in 1996 than Magic Johnson in 1986? The answer should be, "Of course not," but PER's answer is "Yes," further evidence of PER's lack of reliability and the metric's fundamental fallacy. Was Michael Adams a better point guard in '90-'91, when he averaged 26.5 points, 10.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.2 steals yet shot .394 from the field for a 20-62 Denver team that ranked twenty-first in Offensive Rating (points scored per possession), than Kevin Johnson in '88-'89, when he averaged 20.4 points, 12.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals while shooting .505 from the field for a 55-27 Phoenix team that ranked second in Offensive Rating? The answer should be, "Of course not," but PER's answer is "Yes, Adams in '90-'91 was better than K.J. in '88-'89," further evidence of PER's lack of reliability and the metric's fundamental fallacy.   

Likewise, PER suggests that Amar'e Stoudemire was usually a better player for the Suns than Steve Nash; do you believe that notion? But the best way to think about PER is to think of its suggestion that Terrell Brandon in 1996 was a better point guard than Magic Johnson in 1986. If you're going to cite PER at all, then you should also write a column arguing for why Brandon in 1996 was a better point guard than Magic in 1986. Otherwise, drop PER and think critically about advanced metrics.   

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

How is irving above rondo . Hes been in the league for only 2 yrs. Rondo wins in assists, rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage. Only thing irving is better at then rondo is shooting . Rondo is more all around and a better point guard since point guards truly dont have to shoot.

JosephMurphy
JosephMurphy

look at the numbers. steph curry is better than kyrie and derrick rose in almost all categories 

prayboii
prayboii

i made a same POLL in Frinzee.. hmm but i didnt put all, do you think i should? just checked it out, the moderator just made it Featured! haha

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

I like CP3 as a person, very good player but he's not as good at Parker at this point in his career.  It is close though.

marxjgm
marxjgm

Derrick Rose? Don't you have to play to be considered?

hitchworlder
hitchworlder

Let's be honest. What's an "elite" point guard good for these days anyways? There are only 4 rings on this list (three for Parker and 1 for Rondo). When is the admission that we live in a era where the point guard is the most overrated position in the NBA? In a time where a player's performance is not judged on points scored or assists dished out but by the number rings earned, it's time we acknowledge that "elite" point guards in the modern era don't often win championships (case in point Steve Nash).

jsteppling
jsteppling

where the hell is mike conley first off, or damon lillard.............and drop Deron because for the last two years he has sucked. BADLY. Vasquez should be mentioned at least.........considering he is leading in assists......and how does westbrook rate that high???? He is barely a point guard actually. Impact player....but the second best pg in the league. Not close. Goran Dragic is one of the ten, no question. Its not his fault he is stuck on a crap team. Dragic's at least as good as deron this year or ty lawson.......and I like lawson. Conley and Dragic for sure deserve mention.

pwar77
pwar77

Mike Conley! Mike Conley! Mike Conley! Just sayin.....

ajudki20
ajudki20

This is a poor list. Remember, it isn't a list of the best small players in the league, it's a list of point guards. Westbrook, Irving and Curry are really only PG's by size default. And the reason they are in the league is pure scoring ability, not point guard skills like passing, assists, running an offense, assists to turnovers, steals, defense, leadership etc. Conley should be on the list instead of one of those three, for instance. 

eddie577
eddie577

Tony Parker without a doubt is tops. Didn't Tony and his team sweep Paul's Clippers last year? Last time I checked Tony had 3 NBA Rings. Not sure how many Chris has, but it's less that Parker has.

Ball_or_Nuthin
Ball_or_Nuthin

Good, solid list.  Great job Ben Golliver (@blazersedge)!  Since the relatively-unestablished Jrue Holiday is on this list, I wonder what rank Damian Lillard would be.  Sure, he's a rookie...but he has clearly established strong leadership in Rip City.

scubasteve511
scubasteve511

Does Mike Conley Jr. deserve some consideration for the back end of this. Steady solid stats, and second in the league in steals

DeAnsin
DeAnsin

Did you watch the game with the Spurs @ the Clippers???  Parker RULED! He also should be mentioned as an MVP candidate because HE IS ONE, not because you can't put any other name on there multiple times.

shamrockpapa
shamrockpapa

Jrue Holiday a great trade for the Lakers Howard...

 

timmytoes
timmytoes

@The Unknown Soldier The author explains why he chose Irving over Rondo. And, Rondo also had the luxury of playing his whole career with 3 HoFers to pass to. Now, he'll have to step up his scoring for the C's to do anything. That's why Irving is better. At 20 yrs old he's already a monster offensively. You can't teach that. Rondo can gradually improve, but he'll never approach Irving's ability to score.

The Unknown Soldier
The Unknown Soldier

Hes far better then parker but parker is surrounded by two possible hall of famers and a hall of fame coach

BenSmith
BenSmith

@hitchworlder Basketball is not an individual sport devoid of context; counting up rings as if these guys are playing tennis or golf is ridiculous, and while I recognize that you're not necessarily subscribing to that standard, we need to hold the media and fans who do so accountable. 

Point guards rarely put a team over the top in the playoffs, especially if they're not playing with a great big man (such as Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett). But if you don't think that point guards matter, see how offensively horrendous the Celtics proved in the playoffs without Rondo or a true point guard on the roster. Moreover, Duncan may not have won his last three championships without Parker. 

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

 @ajudki20 You're not talking about point guards then, you're talking about a narrow sub set of point guards who fit your vision of how the position is traditionally played.

 

Those players ARE point guards.  It's the position they play, it's the position they defend.  They're the primary ball handlers for their teams.  There's no argument about whether they're "really" point guards.

Ruff
Ruff

 @eddie577 I get so tired of this argument. Stacey King has 3 rings and Charles Barkley has none. so is king the better power forward?

Astro
Astro

I agree with you Eddie, Tony has 3 rings and last week mopped the floor with Paul. Last I looked Paul doesn't own any NBA rings.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

 @eddie577  What Paul has is that he's better at basketball than Parker is, at the same position.

 

How many rings each has is a reflection of team and career, not who is individually the better player right now.

 

eddie577
eddie577

@shamrockpapa Jrue and Bynum for Howard and Nash.

ajudki20
ajudki20

 @Bearsclone I didn't say they  aren't point guards. I said they are playing PG by default. If they were a couple of inches taller they'd be 2 guards. That's their skill set. You see guys like Lebron doing ball handling... there is more to it that dribbling. But either way, the three guys I mentioned could use some development of their non-scoring skills. All of them are really good, but I don't consider scoring the most important skill at that position... at all. 

John4
John4

 @eddie577  The Lakers were lucky to get rid of Bynum.  No way they will take him back.

BenSmith
BenSmith

@timmytoes @The Unknown Soldier Ginobili certainly isn't a Hall of Fame-level player anymore.

By the way, if Ginobili one days makes the Hall of Fame, shouldn't Byron Scott and Mitch Richmond be there as well?

ajudki20
ajudki20

 @jsteppling  @Bearsclone Haha, oh gee, Irving and Westbrook are both not very good passers! And let's be real, Irving is scoring so much because that's his best skill and he's the only big scoring threat on his team. But on a better team his primary skill would still be scoring. Perhaps he'll develop more skills. He's still very young. But, this list is opinions and so are these comments.  If I made a list of top ten PG's, I'd leave Westbrook, Curry and Irving off for now. Just my take. 

jsteppling
jsteppling

 @ajudki20  @jsteppling  @Bearsclone you are trying to make the argument IRving is less of a passer than Westbrook? Id say actually Curry also passes more and manages the game more than westbrook....who is the most unorthadox. Irving HAS to score because he plays for a team where NOBODY ELSE can score. I mean christ, this is sort of obvious. Irving is asked to score. Have you watched the cavs when irving is hurt? Curry is asked to score, too, though admittedly thats his mentality. Lillard too, scores first.......but he also racks up a lot of assists. So does irving, in spite of everything......at times anyway.  Westbrook gets to pass to Durant. IF westbrook played for the cavs how many assists does he get? None probably. Its an interesting question though. Would rondo get assists regardless? Probably. 

ajudki20
ajudki20

 @jsteppling  @Bearsclone Yeah, a guy like Westbrook IS in fact playing PG because of his size and the fact that he can be passed off at that position, not because his wealth of point skills. He needs to be on the court and that's the best place to put him. But that's not the point. I think you are both missing the basic argument I'm making here. I'm not saying guys like Westbrook or Irving aren't PG's. If they have PG behind their name and they are out there at that position they are points. But I judge PG's by a certain skill set, and Westbrook, Curry and Irving come up short. All they do is score--particularly Irving, who can't pass well or defend well. Westbrook can pass ok, and can defend some. Curry has rounded his game well, but plays like a shooting guard. Would you put a power forward on a top ten list who could barely rebound? In my mind putting guys on this list who can't pass well is the same thing. 

jsteppling
jsteppling

 @ajudki20  @Bearsclone that argument doesnt quite make sense. They arent playing by default. They are playing pg, period. You may not approve of HOW they play, but thats the position they play. I could argue westbrook isnt a pg either, but he is.......so says scott brooks and OKC. I do think having deron williams on there, the more i think of it, is idiotic. He has been flat out terrible. To rate him ahead of conley or dragic is really lame.

Ruff
Ruff

And that Philly wishes that they hadn't