The point guard spot is arguably the most talented position in the NBA. Every year, teams are trying to find that superstar point guard who can change the fortunes of their team. In this list, we count down the top 10 point guards heading into the 2017/18 season.
1. Stephen Curry
While Curry may have had a drop-off season, but that was purely because the Warriors added Kevin Durant. It’s also easy to say he had a drop offseason considering his 2014/15 season and his 2015/16 season were phenomenal.
Curry was still top 20 in assists, 7th in steals, 14th in PER, led the league in 3 pointers made, and was 8th in points. By no means is this a poor season. In any other season in fact, Curry could have been in the discussion for MVP. However, Curry had to compete with phenomenal seasons by Leonard, Harden and Russell Westbrook. Despite what many at claim, Curry is still the best point guard in the league.
2. Russell Westbrook
When you have a point guard that can score, rebound and set-up teammates, you’ve got a star. When a player can do this consistently every night, you’ve found a franchise superstar. When this player is Russell Westbrook, you surround this player with talent and hope it’s enough to win a ring. For the Thunder, this is exactly what they have done.
Over the off-season, Thunder GM Sam Presti added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. This is even more impressive when you realise that all the Thunder had to give away was Sabonis, Oladipo, Kanter, McDermott and a 2nd round pick. Now, the Thunder have fixed their biggest hole, adding players who can knock down the three. This helps Westbrook heaps. Now, the Thunder can space the floor, allowing Westbrook to attack the ring, shoot the three, or pass it off to his new superstar teammates to set Oklahoma on fire. Westbrook was the MVP with a mediocre tea. Imagine how good he can be with talent around him.
3. Chris Paul
Without MVP or rings, many disregard Chris Paul as one of the best point guards in the league. However, what many fail to realise is that not only is Paul one of the best point guards in the game today, but he is also one of the best point guards of all-time.
He can hardly be blamed for his lack of success. The last two playoffs, the Clippers have been dealt heavy blows with injuries to other Griffin or Chris Paul. However, just this season Paul proved how fundamentally sound he is, with a 20 assist, 20 point game while having no turnovers. His combination of handles, defence, perimeter shooting and attacking the ring, on top of his elite passing vision, makes him a deadly force who deserves more credit than he is given.
4. John Wall
While Wall’s high turnover ratio may be highly criticised, all other aspects of his game are fundamentally sound. Wall is one of the most athletic guards in the game, using his size, strength and speed to get to the rim on one end, and to block the lane on the defensive end.
A player who’s passing ability has often been unappreciated, Wall can set up his teammates well, or if needs be, can pull up and create his own shot. Wall last year proved that he could be an MVP candidate with the right team around him, and with the Wizards looking in their best form in recent years, Wall could continue to be an elite guard.
5. Kyrie Irving
This year will either be a breakout year for Irving or a greatly dissapointing season. Out of Lebron’s shadow, Irving this year has a chance to do what he wanted all along when he first requested a trade: lead a team. And if there was ever a team you wanted to lead, it would be the Celtics. Young players in Brown, Tatum and Smart. A star wing in Hayward and a veteran presence in Horford. Additionally, many Celtics fans are hoping that the creative mind of Brad Stevens can unlock the next level for Kyrie as he emerges as the Celtic’s future.
Of course, the concern is whether or not Irving can actually lead a team. After all, the Cavaliers don’t have the best record when he’s their main scorer. But this is the time for Irving to prove that he can lead a team, and if the fantasy ECF matchup happens, Irving can prove he made the right choice in leaving his old team.
6. Mike Conley
A poor man’s Chris Paul. A rich man’s Ricky Rubio. There isn’t a specific way of describing Mike Conley. A jack of all trades but a master of none. While for some this may seem as a burden, when it comes to the Grizzlies, this is exactly what they need. An underrated defender, a guy who can knock down threes and a playmaker. Conley has been a staple of the Grizzlies success for the past several years. Paired alongside Marc Gasol, Conley has found a home in Memphis. And while many would loom past Conley, his all-around ability puts him up there when it comes to point guards. Now, he just has to prove that he’s worth his contract.
7. Isaiah Thomas
Before the off-season, we may have put IT higher up. But a combination of a new situation, being paired with Lebron and the questionable hip injury slides him down our list. Still, IT is elite. He proved this last year by carrying the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and the 1st seed. In addition, he was named to the All-NBA Second Team and was named to his 2nd All-Star game. The only concern is whether or not IT gain regain his health. His game last year consisted very heavily of drawing fouls and getting to the line. His lack of playmaking may also be a concern for Cavaliers fans. Yet, when you’re playing with the King, you don’t need to do too much.
8. Kemba Walker
With all undersized guards, they’re often questioned if they can carry a tram and be the focal point of an offence. For Steve Clifford, he’s ignored this and continues to trust Kemba Walker with the Hornets offence. His shooting ability and speed makes him an offensive force. His lethal step back jumper is a go to move that defences struggle to stop. While his passing ability may lack, in the era of the “score first” point guard, this can be ignored. Similar to IT, his lack of defence and his height does prevent him from climbing further up this list. But hey, we’re happy to be proven wrong.
9. Kyle Lowry
Two years ago, the Raptors were Kyle Lowry’s team. Now, the reigns have been passed over to his BFF, Demar Derozan. That hasn’t meant that Lowry has become forgotten. Lowry’s playmaking ability has been underrated, being the main distributor for a high powered Raptors offence. In addition, Lowry has shown in the past that he can light up the box score. A point guard that has recently been overlooked due to the offence of his backcourt teammate, Derozan, but can still be productive when creating an offence.
10. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry. His quick release and his ability to knock down shots makes him an exciting player to watch. However, his lack of playmaking and defence puts him at number 10 on our list. His offence is good, and he’s always a treat to watch after All-Star weekend. Yet, for a player who can seemingly turn on the jets when bye wants to, he often waits till its too late to show flashes of potential. Lillard needs to consistently be a dominant force if he wants to move up our list.