ESPN recently went nuts and ranked the top five point guards in the National Basketball Association because of the crazy weekend that point guards had. Ric Bucher ranked them like this:
5. Chris Paul
4. Tony Parker
3. Deron Williams
2. Russell Westbrook
1. Derrick Rose
Bucher admitted that he wasn’t ranking point guards on a tradition scale, but one that ranked the guards by the way they change the game. I’ll admit that he’s got four of those five right. He sure as hell doesn’t have them in the right order.
Let’s rank them the right way.
5. Russell Westbrook
I know that Westbrook is a game-changing point guard. He’s a dynamic scorer and he can do a lot of things that a lot of guy can’t do. He’s shooting a career-high 47% from the floor. He’s doing some things that aren’t good enough to move him up this list. Things that, hopefully, he’ll fix as he gets older.
He’s only making 81.7% of his free throws. That’s not good enough for a guy who gets to the lane as much as Westbrook does. He’s gotta be better at the line, especially since he’s been there 224 times this season.
The most important part of point guard play, traditional or not, is the way they control the floor. With such a dynamic playmakers in Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins, and Serge Ibaka, Westbrook should have a lot more assists. As it is, he’s only got 205 assists to 153 turnovers. Those numbers are too high and the sign of a player who still has some maturing to do.
4. Deron Williams
Williams just put up a ton of points this past weekend and helped set off the point guard frenzy that led us here. I’ll admit that Deron Williams is one of the most dominant players in the league right now, but I don’t know if I’d call him a point guard because he’s built more like a two-guard.
Either way, he’s been impressive all season and you can’t fault him for the Nets lack of success. Williams is shooting a career-low 41.4% from the field. He’s also on pace to take the most shots of his career. He’s also just 80 three-pointers from breaking his career high from behind the arc in attempts. He’ll probably break that number with ease. The most impressive change in Williams’ play is his improved free throw percentage – up 20 points from last season.
Technically, he’s a point guard. Still – he only has 305 assists to 155 turnovers (the most in the East). In reality, Williams is probably a shooting guard who needs to work on his three. Oh…and he’s not as good as the next three guys.
3. Rajon Rondo
Don’t hold Rondo’s numbers this season against him. He’s played in 11 fewer games than anyone else on this list. Still, he’s shooting 46.7% form the floor, and he’s got 264 assists to only 96 turnovers.
That’s not the most impressive part, though. Let’s dissect the Celtics. They’re old. They haven’t made a meaningful personnel move in three years. Rondo is being shopped around like a classic muscle car, and he’s still playing out of his mind. If it weren’t for Rose and Paul having incredible seasons, Rondo would be at the top of this list.
Yes, Rondo needs to work on his long-range shot because it’s awful. Yes, he is a terrible free throw shooter. Yes, he’s the third best floor general in the game. That’s what we’re ranking here – the best point guards. If you need one of those, Rondo is on your top-3 list.
2. Chris Paul
Paul is having a fantastic season. He transformed Blake Griffin into the best power forward in the game right now. We’ve been talking a lot about turnovers, assists, shooting percentage, etc. Let’s talk about it some more.
Paul is shooting 49.1% from the field, a career-high 42.7% from behind the arc, and 253 assists to only 66 turnovers.
Blake Griffin has emerged as the best power forward in the game right now. Before the botched Lakers trade, the Clippers were missing one piece. Something to bring the team together.
Guess what they got? The best point guard in the game. Why is he at number two, you ask? It’s because Rose is doing it without a second option. If the rest of the Bulls start to show up, Paul would take Rose’s spot at the top. He’s the most talented point guard in the league. Don’t argue with me.
1. Derrick Rose
He’s the reigning MVP. There’s no doubt about how good this kid is. If the Bulls didn’t have such a great record, he’d be number two on this list. He’s shooting 46% from the field, 32.8% from beyond the arc, and he’s got 235 assists to just 84 turnovers. He’s only averaging 22.4 points per game. I know what you’re thinking – Andy, you just made the argument that he was the best point guard because he’s carrying this Bulls team.
That’s because he is. Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng haven’t exactly impressed this year – maybe they’re tanking because they don’t want to get shipped to Orlando.
Either way, Derrick Rose is having a great season and he’s carrying a Bulls team that’s not as talented as it should be. I keep hearing that the MVP Race is between Kevin Durant and LeBron James. There’s a third horse in the race. He might be a distant third, but don’t sleep on him.