With the NBA season well underway, debates have already started popping up throughout the league. One heated discussion floating about is circled around the question of who is the best point guard in the National Basketball Association today.
The list of talented point guards in today’s NBA is probably one of the longest out of the five positions if not the longest. With new potential like John Wall entering the professional ranks to duke it out against veteran point guards such as Chris Paul and Steve Nash, narrowing it down to just one can be extremely difficult. But that’s what I’m here for; to take on the difficult questions and provide you all out there with my own two cents.
In order to come up with an answer to this burning question, I’ll narrow the list down to five of the more proven point guards playing today: Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams. (Due to John Wall’s rather short resume, we’ll exclude him from the conversation for now.)
Chris Paul (19.6 ppg 11.0 apg 5.4 rpg 2.4 spg)
CP3 spent a good portion of last season recovering from a meniscus tear in his left knee that caused him to miss a total of 37 games. With the emergence of then-rookie standout Darren Collison, many believed Chris Paul’s days in New Orleans may have been numbered and would soon be replaced. However, after the Hornets traded Collison to Indiana, the message was clear that Paul was here to stay.
Chris Paul opened the 2010-2011 season against the highly-publicized Miami Heat with a double-double, dropping 13 points and 19 assists to go along with five steals and proved to everyone he was back and just as dominant as before. Paul’s assist total tied the Hornet’s franchise record previously set by Mugsy Bogues in 1989. The Hornets haven’t looked back since; putting up a record of 5-0 placing them second in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Paul’s stat line places him among the top ten in the NBA in assists and steals per game. In addition to that, for the Hornets, he ranks among the top three in points, assists, rebounds, minutes, and steals per game. If Paul can continue to consistently contribute to the Hornets in this way and continue leading them to more victories down the road, the 2010-2011 season could be yet another strong MVP campaign for the six-year veteran out of Wake Forest.
Rajon Rondo was handed the key to the Celtic’s offense four years ago and has yet to disappoint. In fact, some might argue that Rondo has well exceeded expectations and it’s only his fifth season in the NBA. Refusing to take a permanent back seat to the superstar trio of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, Rondo has made a name for himself around the league, causing several sports analysts to label him the newest member of the Celtic’s Big Four.
His most glaring weakness that caused several GMs around the league to pass up on him in the 2006 NBA Draft was his shooting ability—or lack thereof. While this remains his biggest downside, his other abilities on the basketball court more than outweigh his lack of outside shot.
Rondo is arguably the most talented and well-rounded point guard in today’s game with the ability to fill his entire stat line with highly respectable numbers. In the Boston’s fifth game of the season against the New York Knicks, Rondo displayed this ability posting a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a team-record 24 assists to go along with an additional steal. This season could be a career year for Rondo as he is currently on track to post career highs in assists, steals, and rebounds.
Deron Williams (18.2 ppg 9.4 apg 4.6 rpg 1.0 spg)
Whenever discussing which point guard should be crowned king in the NBA, Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz always finds his way into the debate right there next to Chris Paul. Physically, Williams has all of the attributes any coach would want out off their star point guard. He’s the rare combination of quickness and strength, but most importantly he has a very high basketball IQ. But then again, would you expect any less from Jerry Sloan’s star pupil?
Everyone knows how John Stockton turned out (i.e. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame) so it’s only right that Sloan’s next star guard would posses such crucial abilities. Much like the Jazz of the 90’s, this millennium’s edition has circled around the chemistry of the point guard and his star big man. Up until this offseason, Williams and former Jazz forward Carlos Boozer created the new Stockton-Malone combo under Sloan’s careful guidance. Now with Boozer out of the equation, Williams has a new running mate in Al Jefferson to keep Sloan’s system alive.
Williams’ stat line has him hovering right around his averages from last season which landed him a spot on the Western Conference All Star team. With a 2-3 record, the Jazz are off to a rocky start but with Williams at the reigns, the Jazz should be looking at another playoff appearance this season.
Chicago’s star point guard was named the team’s first all star since the G.O.A.T. himself received the nod back in 1998. Rose’s numbers in points, assists, and rebounds have gone up rather considerably each season. With him as the primary scoring option, the Bulls have made the playoffs each of his three NBA seasons but have never been able to advance past the first round.
Following a productive offseason, with the acquisition of all star caliber forward Carlos Boozer and three-point specialist Kyle Korver, the Bulls are looking to make a legitimate push towards a successful playoff run this season.
Derrick Rose has evolved into a well-rounded offensive threat. He is currently the second leading scorer in the NBA and fourth in the league in assists. With career numbers and a team with plenty of potential, Rose could be a potential candidate for MVP honors this season.
Russell Westbrook (22.2 ppg 6.6 apg 7.0 rpg 2.0 spg)
Like Derrick Rose, Westbrook is only in his third season in the NBA. Even so, the 6’3” point guard out of UCLA has shown his ability to be a primary threat for the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder. While teammate Kevin Durant has received the most praise and credit for the Thunder’s recent turnaround, Westbrook has been just as crucial to the team’s progress.
Westbrook has the ability to fill up the stat sheet from end to end with this hustle and toughness on both ends of the court. He currently leads all guards in rebounds per game and leads the Thunder in free throw percentage, assists, and steals per game.
The star guard’s only glaring weakness is his lack of outside shot as he is currently shooting a mere 10% from beyond the arc. With Westbrook being only three years removed from his UCLA playing days, there is plenty of time to improve as he continues his career in the NBA.
As the Thunder currently sit only 2.5 games behind the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, with a record of 3-2, no one knows for sure what the future holds for this young group of talent. But one thing is for sure: with Westbrook leading the offense, only good things can happen as a result.
All things considered, each athlete can make a legitimate case as to who the true star is amongst them. If forced to make a decision on who I believe is the best point guard in the league today, I’d have to go with CP3—with Rajon Rondo hanging on his coattails. Chris Paul leads all guards in efficiency rating (+28.50) and has the least amount of support as anyone else on this list. Paul’s contributions on the court leave the Hornets only a half game behind the Lakers in the West. For Paul to be able to lead such a mediocre team to an undefeated record says a lot about his ability as a point guard who can successfully carry out an offensive game plan.
Don’t agree with my pick? Leave a comment about who you think is the best PG in the NBA today.