For these rankings I will primarily be looking at how well each player is playing as of right now and not necessarily measuring long-term value, age, or any injuries they may be dealing with (such as Deron Williams’ wrist). However, the player must be active and playing to make the list, therefore players like Kyrie Irving and Steve Nash would not be considered at this time. After a little more than a dozen games into the season, let’s take a look at which point guards have been the most valuable commanders of the floor. Side note: The Atlantic division appears to be the strongest in the league at the point guard position.
5. Jrue Holiday: This has been a season of young players looking to prove their worth and show that they belong among the elite point guards in the league. Typically, there is a more obvious picture of the league’s best PGs, but the position keeps getting deeper and deeper. Holiday is one the players that has quickly climbed this ladder. Doug Collins is looking for his young player to help carry the load while Bynum is out. And that is exactly what he has done.
Jrue is averaging 18.5 points which is fourth among point guards. With his importance in the Sixers offense, his 45.5% field-goal percentage is higher than you would expect. He is also averaging 9.1 assists which is higher than any of the other top scoring point guards. The only weakness at this point, appears to be his efficiency with the ball. His 4.4 turnovers are the most among any player in the league. Normally we would dismiss him from this list because of that, but with everything else that he is doing we are going to have to make an exception.
Hopefully Holiday will be able to gain a better handle on his turnovers as the season goes on. With Bynum apparently expected to be out much longer than originally planned, Holiday will continue to have complete freedom on this Sixers team. The Sixers are currently sixth in the East and have surprisingly managed to remain a playoff team thanks to Jrue Holiday
4. Deron Williams: Williams is off to a slow start shooting the ball this season, but has still performed at an extremely high level. Away from the stat sheet, he is right next to Chris Paul on the list of players who are able to control and dictate the pace of a ball game. On the books, Deron is sitting fourth in the league in assists at just under nine a game. Over the last two weeks he has been in double figures with his assists and second only to Rondo.
Williams and the Nets are still figuring out the best way to play with each other. With Wallace missing some games, it has not been easy for the Nets. With that being said, the Nets are 9-4 and tied with New York for first in the Atlantic division and second overall in the East. Deron Williams is averaging 16.7 points and will likely increase his field-goal percentage as the season progresses. Fourth is relatively low on the point guard list for Deron, but if the Nets keep winning and he begins to find his stroke he should be more like the second best point guard overall.
3. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook is the best scoring point guard in the NBA. His scoring averages come second only to Kyrie Irving, who is relied on heavily to score the ball as the focal point of the Cavs’ offense. Westbrook happens to be the second best scorer on his team; otherwise there is no telling how many points he could possibly average. His athleticism is unmatched at this position and Russell uses this to his advantage every possible chance that he gets.
Westbrook is extremely fast, quick, strong, and as aggressive as anyone in the NBA. Somehow, he manages to take more shots per game than Kevin Durant. Most people would scream that that is absurd and would criticize his game for that reason (as I have found myself doing in the past). But at this point, it only seems to make sense. It is simply what Scott Brooks wants him to do.
At point guard, he constantly has the ball in his hands and he is always looking to score. Any opportunity that he has to get in the open court, put defenders on their heels, and attack the basket he causes problems for the other team’s defense. Whether in transition or in the half-court, you can never lose focus of where he is on the court. His ability to get to, and finish at or above the rim is at a level we have never seen from a point guard. Every night Westbrook is able to put on an electrifying performance.
2. Rajon Rondo: This is probably the most difficult selection for this list. But right now, it’s hard to put anyone else in front of him. He is the dominant leader of the league in assists at 13.7 per game. Rondo is on a hall-of-fame assist streak with the Celtics. On Sunday, Rondo recorded his 37th straight game with at least 10 dimes tying John Stockton for the second longest such streak in NBA history. He finished the game with a near triple-double recording 15 points, 16 assists, and nine rebounds.
Clearly, Rondo is not a one-dimensional player. He is second in rebounds among point guards at 4.8 a game. All of his shooting percentages are up this season: his free-throw numbers are up by a slight 2%; he is shooting 32% from three, versus last year’s 24%; and his field-goal percentage is at a career high 52% even with his added importance within Boston’s offense. Rondo has always been known as one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA and continues to get nearly two steals a game.
Rondo may be the most unique player in the game today with his passing ability and has become as important to his team as anyone. He would likely be in the MVP discussion if the Celtics can manage to somehow finish with one of the top three seeds in the East. Tonight Rondo will look to pass Stockton in consecutive games with double-digit assists as the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets.
1. Chris Paul: This selection shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people. Chris Paul has been near or at the top of this list for some time. Paul is coming off of his second gold medal performance with the United States; this time as the starting point guard. He did not get into that position by accident. This year he is currently second in the league in assists at 9.5 per game, only behind Rajon Rondo. Coming down the stretch of a ball game, there is no other player that a team would rather have in control of the ball.
Chris Paul can beat opposing players in a number of ways. At second in the league in assists, he seems to always make the right play when it matters most. If you try to take away his passing ability, he will likely score the ball instead. CP3 is averaging 16.1 points on 46% from the field. There are essentially no weaknesses in his game. He shoots very well from the foul line at 88%, and takes very good care of the ball for how much it is in his hands: 2.4 turnovers a game and lowest among players on this list.
What else can you ask for in a point guard? Many coaches like a player that can play defense. Paul does not let up in this category either. He is currently third in the league in steals at 2.8 per game (second in the league if you remove Gerald Henderson who has only played in two games). Chris Paul is the prototype of point guards today and currently has his LA Clippers at 8-6, sitting in fifth in the West.