The point guard position in the NBA has quickly become one of the most competitive spots in all of sports. There are so many good lead guards in the NBA that it’s impossible for any player at the position to take a night off.
The position has seen a major increase in talent over the past decade. It’s an ongoing trend. Ever since Chris Paul won the Rookie of the Year award in ’05-06 that teams have realized how valuable lead guards — true lead guards — really are. It wasn’t really until after CP3 that teams began to draft point guards with the first overall pick. Before Chris Paul came along, that was a risky decision and it had happened only four times previously (Allen Iverson, John Lucas, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson). Then after Derrick Rose, it became more acceptable.
Point guards in the NBA are like quarterbacks in the NFL. There are no slouches at the position and each player is different in their own way. In the NFL you have your running quarterbacks and your traditional pocket passers. In the NBA you have your scoring point guards and you have your traditional distributors. The great players are the ones that are able to do both. Here are my top 10 point guards in the NBA this season.
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Rajon Rondo: 13.7 ppg, 11.1 apg, 5.6 rpg (only played in 38 games)
Jrue Holiday: 17.7 ppg, 8.0 apg, 4.2 rpg
Brandon Jennings: 17.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 3.1 rpg
10. MIKE CONLEY: 14.6 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.8 rpg
Conley is growing a reputation as the most underrated point guard in the league. He’s gotten better every year he’s been a pro so far. What he lacks in size and athleticism, he makes up for with his IQ as one of the smartest point guards in the league. The most impressive part about his game is that he doesn’t depend too much on one particular thing. John Wall and Russell Westbrook depend on their athleticism. Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard lean on their shooting ability. Mike Conley is one of the few point guards in the league that doesn’t depend on anything.
Conley is just quick by nature. His ability to get anywhere he wants on the court is what makes him tough to deal with. When he’s navigating the court and breaking down the defense there are few that can impact a game the way he does. He proved he can hold his own against any point guard in the league. Conley isn’t the most exciting point guard in the league — he has the lowest scoring average on this list and the second-lowest assist average. Statistically, he doesn’t measure up to the other great point guards. But few measure up to his leadership. Mike Conley has always been a winner and a playmaker. He always gets the basketball where it needs to go to give his team the best chance at winning. That’s really what the definition of a traditional point guard is supposed to be.
9. JOHN WALL: 18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg, 4.0 rpg
John Wall returned from his knee injury at the start of 2013. The Wizards were 5-28 without him and 24-25 with him on the floor. After going half the season without a consistent contribution from anybody, the Wizards were ecstatic to get a healthy Wall back on the court. He lead the team in points, assists and steals this season in only 49 games.
As a player that came into the league with such a bright future, it was tough to see John Wall sidelined by that knee. The former Rookie of the Year averaged about 16 and eight in his first two seasons, so Wizards fans were excited to see him continue to grow. Unfortunately, that growth was stunted and some were skeptical about how good Wall would be after returning from the knee injury. Anytime an athletic player like Wall suffers a knee injury, it’s alarming. Athleticism is such huge part of the player he is. Thankfully for John Wall, he was able to come back better than ever.
People have been well aware of what John Wall is capable of. His potential has always been clear as day, but it wasn’t until this season that he began to fulfill that potential. In a game against Memphis at the end of March, Wall put up a ridiculous line of 47/8/7. Those are LeBron numbers.
John Wall believes he’s a max contract player. This summer we’ll find out if the Wizards believe that as well.