NBA / Sep 25, 2013 / 12:15 pm

The Top 20 Point Guards In The NBA Right Now

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose (photo. adidas)

Point guard is the most important position in basketball; this player is essentially the coach on the court, or the NBA-version of the quarterback. Just like the quarterback, middle-to-good quality point guards can score a fat contract if they can put together a strong season or two. Outside of the “Who is the top player?” debate (which LeBron snatched from Kobe these past two years), there is no NBA-related argument, right now, quite like naming the top point guards.

With a recent infusion of premier talent through the draft in the past few years, getting a unanimous top five, or even top three is hard to do. So it’s my turn to tackle this subject. To put together this list I relied on a mathematical equation that combines… just kidding. I relied on the players’ recent history (especially the last two years), and focused on the present more then the past (example: Steve Nash circa 2005 is clearly not the same as Steve Nash 2014, and the list reflects that). Also, there are a number of different prototypes with point guards. There’s the traditional game-manager type, the scoring point guard, and a variety of players that fit somewhere in between. I value scoring and passing on an equal playing field, but I don’t consider small guards (like Monta Ellis) as point guards. To me, they are shooting guards stuck in a point guard’s body. So, you wont see them on this list.

Let’s take a look at the 20 best point guards in the NBA right now.

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20. STEVE NASH
Blasphemy that Nash is this low? Well, he should consider himself lucky. I very nearly went with Raymond Felton and Jameer Nelson ahead of him. In the end, Nash doesn’t put up the numbers that he used to and is basically a walking toll booth on defense. But he’s still an incredible shooter (barely missing out on 50/40/90 again last year) who can run any offense in the league. He shouldn’t be criticized for only averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 assists last season, with a PER of 16.00, because, really, what did you expect? He was the fourth option behind Kobe, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. A drop in production was expected.

Nash’s prime is long gone, but he’s still a solid point guard who can make shots and play selflessly. You can do a lot worse than that.

19. GORAN DRAGIC
Dragic became one of the most underrated players in the NBA during last season’s second half. Playing for Phoenix, a complete mess right now, the 6-3 point guard was one of the organization’s lone bright spots. The 27-year-old received his first real extended time as a starter last season. It showed early in the year as Dragic struggled in almost every way possible through December and January. But after that? In each of the final three months, he averaged at least 8.5 dimes a night, and upped his scoring average all the way up to 17.4 during April.

Finally, Dragic gets extra points with us because he’s nastier than you think. A fiery competitor, his old feud with Sasha Vujacic isn’t the only bullet in his chamber. Eric Bledsoe may change things a bit with Phoenix’s gameplan, but Dragic is tough enough to earn his 35 minutes a game.

18. RICKY RUBIO
The 22-year-old Spaniard has been in the limelight since going pro in the Euroleague at the age of 16. Boasting career averages of 10.7 ppg and 7.7 apg, he’s shown he has the ability to become a star. He has a lot of positives. He’s arguably one of the top three passers in the NBA, capable of creating spectacular plays out of nowhere. He’s an above-average defender and rebounder for his position (posting career averages of 2.3 steals and 4.1 rebounds) and can get to the bucket.

The negatives? He flat-out cannot shoot the ball from anywhere outside the paint (36 percent from the floor, 32 percent from three). Pro-Rubio supporters can point to J-Kidd as an example of a young point guard who went from terrible to league-average shooters as they grew, and really that’s all Rubio needs to succeed. If he can force defenders to play him tight, he’ll be able to do more than simply orchestrate an offense, and take more command for himself. Only time will tell whether or not he improves to stardom or becomes nothing more than an important role player.

17. JEFF TEAGUE
Teague came into his own last year, improving his production to new highs (14.6 ppg, 7.2 apg) as he stepped into a larger role for the Atlanta Hawks. They must think he is an important part of their rebuilding process, as they decided to match a four-year, $32 million offer sheet from the Bucks. He is also one of only 10 players to increase their scoring output in three-straight seasons.

A quick guard who looks to attack the basket rather than sit out on the perimeter, Teague has improved an area of his game each offseason (midrange jumper, then last year adding a floater to his arsenal). Teague should have an even bigger role this year for the suddenly rebuilding/reloading Hawks, now running a “Spurs East” (both coach and GM are former Spurs employees) which bodes well for Teague seeing as how Tony Parker has improved over the course of his career.

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  • JAY

    “Flickinger”…. best name at Dime.

  • Chris Callihan

    Rose back to top 2 this season imo

  • shockexchange

    Good list. In the Shock Exchange’s opinion, (i) Parker should be behind Westbrook and Rose, and just ahead of Rondo, and (ii) Steph Curry just ahead of Kyrie. After his team gets bounced early in the playoffs again, CP3 will have to fall down the list next yr this time.

  • Boogie

    it’s interesting that Miami has won back to back titles without a top 20 point guard!

  • Saleem Rainman

    The top 10 is so iffy and dependent on opinion, so i wont comment about it, but u have Teague, Kemba, Jennings ahead of Rubio? no way. Also not crazy about Steve Nash’s place on the list, but he has this year to prove himself close2 to a top 15-10 pg still, if he’s got it.

  • Saleem Rainman

    I agree with Parker ahead of Kyrie for sure, but Parker definitely a top 2 point guard, he’s arguably deserving of that top spot.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange thinks Parker is more of a “system PG” in that he shines in pick-and-roll scenarios with San Antonio. SE doesn’t think he could carry the load that Westbrook or D. Rose carry for their respective clubs. The way The Kang shut Parker down in Game 7 of the Finals … The Kang could not have totally shut out CP3, D. Rose or Westbrook like that.

  • Saleem Rainman

    he held rose to 6% shooting when he was guarding him in the conference finals, dont give me that. Parker at that point was all out of stuff in the tank.

  • algrolls

    Kyrie Irving is already top five, STOP IT!

  • Abraham Monzon

    Some people r honna dis agree but how is my boi chalmers not on here? Kemba walker? Jose calderon? Better than jennings? I mean come on! Kemba is on the bobcats. Calderon is decent. Chalmers is the 4th at times the 5th option so come on. He shows up when one of the big 3 plays bad. He be alot better on another team. Honestly hes on my top 15 pg list

  • Abraham Monzon

    Other than chalmers not top 20 I like this list alot. Cp3-parker can be switched but im ok with it. Parker almost won another ring this year while cp3 lost in the first round. Westbrook and rose could be switched to but rose hasnt played in a year. Rondo and deron cuz rondo fell halfway through the year cuz he got injured. Deron I like alot and I want him in top 5 butbhe hasnt played like he did in utah where hebwas being compared to cp3.

  • Chicagorilla

    very misleading stat. Lebron only guarded Rose at the end of a couple of those games when Wade and Chalmers had already worn Rose down and I believe Rose took less than 10 shots.

    Either way Rose dominates Tony parker whenever they are matched up so how can you argue that point? Parker is a system PG, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I also believe Rondo is too. Parker will not put up the same numbers or accomplishments once Pop and Duncan are gone.

  • Chicagorilla

    No it’s not. Lebron and Wade both average more than 5 assist per game. Not because they HAVE to, but because they WANT to. They don’t want a top flight PG with them that’ll take the ball out of their hands and lower their assist numbers.

  • The Black Community

    Real top 5:
    1. D. Rose — Who else on this list is an MVP other than Nash? Guess cause he sat out last year but after this year it won’t be a question. Head to head he killing everybody (except Westbrook 3-3) FACT
    http://www.basketball-reference.com

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/812771-derrick-rose-and-the-top-five-point-guards-based-on-head-to-head-contests

    2. Russel Westbrook
    3. Tony Parker
    4. Chris Paul — definitely top five but still overrated in my opinion. Hasn’t come close to winning anything and has played with so much talent. Head to head CP3 has NEVER beat D.Rose FACT 0-5
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=paulch01&p2=rosede01

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/812771-derrick-rose-and-the-top-five-point-guards-based-on-head-to-head-contests

    5. Deron Williams
    Bonus:
    6. Rajon Rondo
    7. Kyrie Irving

  • Gilbert

    I think Rose should be 2nd and Rondo should be either 3rd or 4th

  • fadhl Hussein

    5. Tony Parker
    4. Rajon Rondo
    3. Kyrie Irving
    2. Derrick Rose
    1. Chris Paul

  • AytotheM

    chris paul infront of of westbrook??? hell nah thry trippin

  • John Simons

    How did you miss Jeremy Lin? His stats clearly shows he is better than Rose and Kemba Walker.

  • someguy

    Lowry is top 8 for sure, probably top 6

  • Ben Aubrey

    Lawson not in the top 10 is a joke.

  • Martin the peanut

    Are you an idiot? Chris Paul has no talent around him other than Blake griffin. New Orleans? Are you kidding me? No Chris Paul is the best point guard. Hell Westbrook is more of a shooting guard than a point guard. Derrick rose? I would take kyrie over him any day.
    1. Chris Paul
    2. Tony Parker
    3. Rajon rondo
    4. Kyrie Irving
    5. Stephen curry

  • Martin the peanut

    I can tell you ride the bulls. You think Derrick rose is like god for some reason. Explain to me why the bulls did better without him. Wade and lebron want to? Haha you’re funny. Take a look at their assist to turnover ratio before you speak

  • Chicagorilla

    WTF are you even trying to say? You’re all over the place. None of what you wrote makes any kind of sense.

  • djgibb

    The thing for me about Paul is he controls the tempo and does what it takes do win. He doesn’t have to score to win but scores when he needs to get the job done. His ego is not about points, steals or assists but about the W’s!

  • avi

    What!?!?! Bulls do better without derrick rose? With Derrick Rose they made it to the eastern conference championship and without him they couldn’t beat the 6ers in the first round. Without Rose they are not a playoff team

  • Bryan Bautista

    5. Damian Lillard
    4. Kyrie Erving
    3. Stephen Curry
    2. Tony Parker
    1. Chris Paul
    (2013-2014)
    I would put Rose and Rondo, but they were injured. :(

  • Alyssa Menta

    rondo #1

  • Matt Peterson

    Idc if you came out with this before last year. You successfully put together a list worse that what my 5 year old niece would have put out if she had to draw names out of a hat. Have you watched Deron Williams at all since he left Utah? Parker #2? And Chris Paul can’t stay in front of nearly 6 of these PGs. Lillard at the start of the year was still in the top 10 Rose #4 like dude you’re shot. Also Jrue Holliday’s never deserved at top 10 ranking I understand it was before the seasons start but anyone could have projected that lillard, kemba, and others would develop beyond him, given his slow release and average speed. Also Steve Nash hasn’t belonged in the top 20 since he got to LA.

  • Matt Peterson

    No talent other than Blake? Jordan is the most athletic 7 footer ever. Dude gets 3 assists a game just off oops to him. Jamal Crawford? Matt Barnes sucks too I guess. Reddick can’t shoot threes he has no range either right? He has both guys with range to spread the court out and guys he can throw the ball above the rim making it easier for him to compile assists and giving him larger lanes to drive to the basket or pull up elbow extended