Top five point guards: A look at the best five point guards in the NBA and their unique skill sets.
In ranking these players, I don’t really look into durability or how much they help their team win in terms of chemistry. This is more of a focus on the most skilled point guards the league has to offer. Without further adieu, let’s get into it.
5. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving is a very interesting player. He has all the offensive talent in the world in terms of scoring.
Yet he has never really been “the guy” on a team, and probably never will. Despite his offensive prowess, before LeBron returned to Cleveland, the Cavaliers were pretty horrible, going 21-45, 24-58 and 33-49. All three seasons were with Kyrie, and all were in a pretty weak Eastern Conference.
This is due to the fatal flaws of Kyrie Irving. He has never been a great passer, someone who makes his teammates better (although his teammates have usually been pretty awful). His defense leaves a lot to be desired, either from effort or just anticipation. The most glaring deficiency in his game, however, is definitely injuries. He played less than 60 games his first two seasons, and was knocked out of the Finals last year. He also only played 11 games in college, and missed a lot of time this year.
Despite this, Irving was the second-best player on a team that went to the Finals last year and dropped 55 points on a very talented Spurs team last year. In terms of talent, Kyrie is definitely top five.
4. John Wall
Wall isn’t as talented a scorer as Irving. But, in every other sense, he is a better player. First off, he makes his teammates much better. This is shown clearly by his 9.8 assists per game. Wall is perfect for the pace-and-space era as well, with his breakneck speed on the fast break and ability to drive and kick.
This video shows a nice little duel between the two players a couple weeks ago. The Cavs were without LeBron James, so it was a perfect microcosm of how Kyrie fares as the go-to guy. Irving had a solid 28 points, but Wall was spectacular with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Additionally, the Wizards comfortably got the win. Irving had some really nice offensive displays, but Wall’s ability to pass pushed his performance above Kyrie’s, and is why I have Wall ranked fourth.
3. Chris Paul
Chris Paul is the ideal point guard. He does everything you want out of a facilitator. He is one of the best passers the game has seen, and is incredibly unselfish. He can shoot open threes but doesn’t really force his own shot very often. This explains his career averages of 18.8 points and 9.9 assists. Counting assists as two points, that adds up to Paul scoring and creating about the same amount, which is pretty perfect for a point guard.
Paul is also an excellent defender, averaging 2.3 steals for his career. He can lock down opposing point guards, and even went head-to-head with Kevin Durant. One of Paul’s best skills is his midrange jump. The little stepback at the elbow is one of his favorites, and he hits it at about a 50 percent clip.
2. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is basically the equivalent of if a tornado or tsunami were a basketball player. Scouts didn’t really know what position he was coming out of college, and many pegged him as a combo guard. Then the triple-doubles started happening. So, he might not be a point guard, because typically point guards don’t average 24 points, 7.5 rebounds and 10.3 assists. Westbrook is probably the most intense player in the league.
Russ doesn’t shoot the ball incredibly well, and sometimes gets burned on defense for gambling on skills. But other than that, there aren’t a lot of holes in his game. He averages quite a few turnovers, but no other players have a usage rate quite like Westbrook, and no other players play at 1 billion miles per hour all the time.
Westbrook is a freak athlete, will dunk on anything, can hit open jumpers, has incredible passing vision and rebounds about as well as most power forwards. When people talk about a freakish talent, Westbrook is close to being No. 1.
1. Steph Curry
You can’t guard him. No one can. Best shooter ever, crazy good passer and his team is 56-6. What more needs to be said? Until next time.
Collegian NBA Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JScriff.