There are over 4,500 players in the NBA each year but there is only a handful that can play the point guard position at an elite level. From prospects in college to overseas recruits, evaluating the top floor generals is always a tricky task.
Throughout the course of time, we have seen quite a few players leave their mark. Those same players stand out from the rest of the crowd thanks to their scoring, handles, defense, and leadership. Here, we present the rankings of the top point guards of the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard
Each of these players can change the dynamic of a game in a matter of minutes. Curry and Lillard are the most dangerous scorers when it comes to the position. Earlier this season, we saw Curry lead the Golden State Warriors back from 22 points down to a win over the Los Angeles Clippers. As for Lillard, he can shoot from nearly half-court. We saw Lillard score six points in under 10 seconds, including a late-second three-point shot in a win over the Chicago Bulls.
Curry is averaging 29.4 points per game, while Lillard is averaging 29.1 points. Irving is averaging 27.5 points per game but also can influence the game by setting up his teammates. Irving has one of the best mid-range games in the league but also has the potential to lead all players in assists.
Luka Doncic, Chris Paul, Trae Young, Ben Simmons
These players have the ability to finish with a triple-double each night. Doncic is just 21 years old but owns the Dallas Mavericks record for triple-doubles with 31. He is a human highlight reel every night. Simmons can go for a triple-double but it’s typically a lower scoring game for him. If Simmons doesn’t provide a triple-double on the stat sheet, he can go for at least a double-double for points and assists, while also throwing borderline All-Defensive Team defense.
Paul’s past his prime for triple-double but his leadership is a stat that doesn’t get accounted for in the box score. Even though he doesn’t rebound as hard anymore, he can still produce a point-assists double-double. As for Young, he is the best pure scorer by averaging 26.7 points per game, while also adding 9.2 assists. Young is only 22 years old and has never averaged more than 4.2 rebounds in a season. His ability to take over a game late makes up for that.
Russell Westbrook, Malcolm Brogdon, Jamal Murray, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Collin Sexton, Ja Morant
These players have the ability to jump back and forth between Tier 2 and Tier 3. Westbrook is not averaging 20 points per game for the first time since 2009; however, his 9.0 rebounds and 9.2 assists show he is playing hard every night. When it comes to the best scorers, both Murray and Sexton are wild cards. Both have the potential to score 30 points in one night and then follow that up with 15 the next.
Morant is the former Rookie of the Year and is averaging about the same points as last season, while his 7.2 assists are on par. We don’t know enough about the 21-year old yet to call him a superstar.
Conley, Lowry, and Brogdon are all pure starting-caliber point guards. They aren’t going to change the outcome of a game but can help the team get to a win. Both Conley and Lowry are seasoned veterans with a ton of respect from their peers. Brogdon plays similar to Lowry. He can score 20 points in a game and play stellar defense.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, D’Angelo Russell, John Wall, De’Aaron Fox, Jrue Holiday
Gilgeous-Alexander has the most promise out of the group to jump tiers. He is averaging 22.2 points per game, while his 6.3 assists are three whole assists more than last season. He has to score and run the offense ever since Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder left. It’s not his fault the Thunder traded away all their talent but he is making the most of it.
The rest of this crew features players with one or two All-Star appearances, except for Wall, who owns a string of four consecutive appearances. However, that was pre-injury John Wall. This version is not the same explosive player that could average 20 points and 10 assists in a season. With that said, he remains a starting-caliber point guard, just not somebody that deserves $40 million in salary.
Fox owns the fourth-largest guaranteed contract in the league but has never made an All-Star team. Russell has proven with the Warriors and Timberwolves that he can’t change a game on his own. His lone All-Star season in 2018 featured two more assists per game than what he is averaging now. As for Holiday, he is a great perimeter defender but not somebody that you want to take the last-second shot. He fits very well with Khris Middleton and Giannis in Milwaukee.
Derrick Rose, Goran Dragic, Dejounte Murray, Devonte’ Graham, Kemba Walker, LaMelo Ball
It’s a shame for the Charlotte Hornets franchise that three of these players spent the bulk of their career in Charlotte or are currently there. Starting with Walker, the all-time leader in points for the Hornets, his production this season is likely a residual effect from his knee injury. He hasn’t looked the same and is normally an All-Star caliber point guard, so let’s table this conversation for later.
The two current Hornets in Graham and Ball could be the effect from playing on the same team. Graham finished last season with 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game but that number is now 14.3 points and 5.9 assists. He is sharing time with the No. 3 overall picks in this year’s draft in Ball, who is averaging 13.8 points and 6.0 assists.
Murray is having a career-season with 14.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists but his career numbers signify backup numbers. Dragic is a former All-Star, while Rose is a former MVP; however, both have hit with injuries and aging. Both are quality guards in the NBA but are best coming off the bench for contending teams.