The NBA has changed. It doesn’t make sense to pigeon-hole players in narrow, positional constraints at this stage and a lot of basketball-related discussions group players in entirely different fashion than in previous decades. However, the point guard position is relatively easy to pin down and, in some ways, a different discussion — pitting “shoot-first” point guards against “pure” point guards — takes precedent over whether a certain athlete is actually a point guard or not.
With that in mind, it is easier to construct the player pool for a list of the best point guards in the NBA but that doesn’t necessarily simplify the task in an overall sense. The athletes in question can be very different in the way they approach the game but, if nothing else, there is a tremendous group at the top of the NBA and our task is to find the 10 best and rank them in order.
10. Mike Conley
Conley famously hasn’t landed in the NBA All-Star Game during his impressive career and that is a shame. It is fair to point out that the former Ohio State standout probably hasn’t been an uber-elite player at the position at any point but, in year 12 of an impressive career, Conley still operates at a high level.
Since making something of a leap in the middle of his career, Conley has averaged 18 points and six assists per game over a six-season sample with high-end defense. Beyond that, Conley’s efficiency has always been solid and he takes very little (if anything) off the table on a nightly basis. You probably don’t want Conley to be your best player if you are making a title run but, at the very least, he would be a welcome addition to virtually any team and he is a good fit on this list.
9. Jrue Holiday
Holiday doesn’t always play point guard but, in a vacuum, it’s the position he is best suited for. With that in mind, it may be a surprise to some that he would crash the party in this space but, quite honestly, Holiday might be higher when accounting for recent performance. He is enjoying the most productive offensive season of his career (21 points and eight assists per game) and Holiday might be the best defensive player on this entire list.
It’s worth noting that Holiday isn’t necessarily best when asked to engineer an offense in the way that some players on this list would be, but that also adds to his versatility and overall value in certain situations. Holiday isn’t the most dominant offensive player at the position but, when accounting for his stellar defense and ability to knock down shots, his inclusion is a no-brainer.
8. Chris Paul
By any measure, Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA. He is already in the top 15 all-time in both steals and assists, with off-the-charts efficiency (seventh all-time in PER) and nine selections to the NBA’s All-Defensive team. In short, there are no weaknesses in Paul’s overall career resume and, even if he remains underrated in a historical sense because of his team-based playoff profile, there are no arguments against him as a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee.