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NBA Point Guard Tiers: Stephen Curry Has No Competition

NBA Point Guard Tiers: Stephen Curry Has No Competition

The point guard position has always been one of the most important positions in the NBA, although the role of a point guard has changed tremendously over the past decade or so. The player in this position is no longer required to just run the plays and lead the team's offense every night, but must also score the ball. We have seen that the point guards on teams are often the best scorers on their respective teams.

Some of the game's greatest players are currently point guards, and they make up the majority of teams' offenses these days. It is time to rank all point guards into tiers, where we will rank all players until the king of the position is crowned. Only players that have played this season will be considered in the rankings, meaning Jamal Murray for the Denver Nuggets will not be ranked for example. Here are all the NBA's point guards (starters or 6th men), divided into tiers.

Tier 5: Average Starters

Kemba Walker, Spencer Dinwiddie, Monte Morris, Marcus Smart, Kevin Porter Jr.

Tier 1 point guards are considered at the bottom of their class as starters, although they do their job at the basic level. They are all worthy NBA professionals who contribute on the court without making too much impact and are often looked over on the stat sheet.

Kemba Walker was a former All-Star who has slowed down in recent years, to the point where he was benched for a few weeks under head coach Tom Thibodeau. Kemba is still capable of having big games, but injuries have taken a toll on his career (13.4 PPG is the lowest since rookie season).

Spencer Dinwiddie was getting close to an All-Star season two years ago, but injuries have also affected his career as his averages sit at 13.7 PPG and 5.8 APG which are respectable but unspectacular numbers. Marcus Smart is an elite defender, but his impact is not quite there as he gets involved in trade rumors under the struggling Boston Celtics squad.

In the absence of Jamal Murray, Monte Morris has taken his spot as the starting point guard for the Denver Nuggets. Morris is a solid shooter and has a tendency to make clutch shots for the Nuggets, but his averages of 12.8 PPG and 4.0 APG mean he is an average point guard who is effective in his role as a steady scorer and playmaker.

Kevin Porter Jr is very young with potential, and his career has not taken off quite yet as a result. Porter Jr is only 21, so he is at least a few years away from making a name for himself. As a relatively inconsistent scorer and passer at this stage, the young athlete is an average point guard this season.

Tier 4: Quality Starters

Dejounte Murray, Russell Westbrook, Lonzo Ball, Malcolm Brogdon, D’Angelo Russell, Reggie Jackson, Derrick Rose, Jalen Brunson, Josh Giddey, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Maxey

Tier 4 players are quality starters who can be relied upon to play big minutes every night. They are scoring at a high clip and are often the main contributors to their teams. Some of these players are also considered fringe All-Stars this season.

Dejounte Murray is having a breakout season, putting up a near triple-double as he looks more comfortable controlling the team’s offense. The athletic point guard is putting up 19.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 8.9 APG this season and should get a few All-Star votes.

Russell Westbrook has seen his status diminish greatly over the past two seasons, as he is no longer an All-Star in the NBA. The former MVP is averaging strong numbers, but he has been terribly inconsistent and is considered one of the worst-performing players on a disappointing Lakers team.

Lonzo Ball is finally becoming a capable starter, and his impact is going beyond his numbers. An elite defensive player with high IQ intangibles, the former No. 2 overall pick is one of the reasons the Chicago Bulls are in the number one spot in the East.

Malcolm Brogdon is putting up 18.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 5.9 APG while playing 33.4 MPG for the Indiana Pacers. Brogdon’s team is not performing well but the point guard has been a steady contributor as he could be traded during the Pacers’ rebuild at some point.

D'Angelo Russell and Reggie Jackson have been in the league for a while now, and are considered solid starting point guards. Russell made the All-Star Team in 2019, although he has not taken his game to the next level just yet. Jackson has revolutionized his career with the Los Angeles Clippers and his clutch shot-making and mentality place him in Elite 4.

Derrick Rose has seen his career become rejuvenated, as he is putting up 12.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 4.0 APG this season. The former MVP is only one year removed from averaging 14.7 PPG and 4.2 APG last year, so his numbers should increase when he gets healthy. Similarly, Jalen Brunson has been a solid playmaker and scorer at the point guard position as a 6th man. The 6’1” point guard is putting up 15.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 5.5 APG and is one of the best players on a Dallas Mavericks squad that should be in the playoffs this year.

Josh Giddey, Cole Anthony, and Tyrese Maxey are all promising young guards with excellent attributes in their games. Giddey has tremendous height at 6’8” tall and will be a triple-double threat going forward in his career, while Cole Anthony is putting up 18.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 5.8 APG as one of the most improved players at his position.

The 76ers will have to survive without the services of their original starting point guard Ben Simmons, and Maxey has filled in quite well. The 21-year-old is averaging 16.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 4.4 APG while nailing 40.6% of his three-pointers. Alongside Joel Embiid, Maxey should be part of Philadelphia’s core going forward.

Tier 3: All-Star Caliber

LaMelo Ball, Darius Garland, Kyle Lowry, Jrue Holiday, De’Aaron Fox, Mike Conley, Fred VanVleet

Tier 3 point guards are players who are All-Star talents that will be considered on All-Star teams this season or the next. Thanks to their very effective play on a consistent basis, these guys can be the best player on their teams at moments but are usually the second or third option on championship teams.

LaMelo Ball might be the best of the bunch because his skill set is complete as a passer and scorer. Ball is averaging 19.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 7.7 APG this season as he tries to lead the Charlotte Hornets into the playoffs. At 20 years old, LaMelo could be on the path to superstardom soon.

Darius Garland has improved the most out of the players on this tier and deserves to make the All-Star Team this year. A capable shooter and improving playmaker, Garland is putting up 19.8 PPG and 8.1 APG for a playoff-bound Cavaliers squad. Even if LeBron James is no longer with the franchise, Cleveland’s future looks bright.

Kyle Lowry provides consistency in terms of running the offense and draining outside shots for a contending Miami Heat squad. The former NBA champion was one of the biggest signings this offseason because his leadership at his position will be key for the Heat as the team prepares for a deep playoff run.

A reigning NBA champion, Jrue Holiday has the luxury of pacing himself before performing at an elite two-way level for the Milwaukee Bucks. Holiday understands he is the third wheel behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, but that does not take away from his All-Star impact.

De’Aaron Fox is on the trading block, but he is still a very capable scorer and playmaker at his position. A lightning-quick guard, Fox is putting up 21.0 PPG and 5.2 APG for the Sacramento Kings. The former No. 5 overall pick is only 24 years old, so he has time to become an All-Star if he continues to improve his shooting.

Mike Conley and Fred VanVleet are often underrated because they are miniature guards without flashy styles of play, but they deserve to be in Tier 3. Conley is a key cog for the contending Utah Jazz as he is averaging 14.1 PPG on a career-high 42.0% clip from three. VanVleet is averaging 21.8 PPG and 6.9 APG, strong numbers for a Toronto Raptors team that could sneak into the playoffs this year.

Tier 2: Elite Stars

Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Trae Young

This next tier contains the very best point guards in the league. They are easily All-Star players and some will be featured on All-NBA teams as well. All 5 players in this tier are superstars and are having excellent seasons on the stat sheet for their teams.

Kyrie Irving has only appeared in 6 games so far, but he has shown flashes of being the elite star we have come to know. The superstar point guard is the greatest ball-handler in NBA history, and he is putting up 22.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 5.2 APG for the Brooklyn Nets this season.

Luka Doncic has assumed his responsibility as the do-it-all star for the Dallas Mavericks, and he has truly answered the call by putting up MVP numbers. The Slovenian is putting up 25.2 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 8.7 APG while placing himself in the MVP race this year. At only 22 years old, Luka could be the face of the NBA at some point.

Ja Morant might win Most Improved Player because he is taking over the league with his athleticism and unstoppable scoring ability. With Morant impacting the game like a young Allen Iverson, defenses are having a difficult team slowing down the energetic guard. Morant is putting up 25.1 PPG and 6.9 APG for the surging Memphis Grizzlies.

Chris Paul is an NBA legend, and he continues to play at an elite level despite his age. Getting closer to age 37, we might not be sure how much longer Paul has at this level although he is averaging 14.1 PPG and 10.1 APG for the contending Phoenix Suns.

Meanwhile, despite his struggles with his shooting, Damian Lillard is easily one of the best players in the NBA when he is on point, and his inconsistent season should not take him out of Tier 2.

An All-Star shooter and scorer, Trae Young is putting up spectacular numbers. Averaging 27.9 PPG and 9.4 APG, Young is doing everything for a struggling Atlanta Hawks team. It seems that Young will not be featuring in the Eastern Conference Finals again, but that should not take away from his All-Star season.

Tier 1: Best of the Best

Stephen Curry

In a league filled with fantastic talent at the point guard position, Curry is the cream of the crop. His unstoppable offensive production gives him the major edge over the rest, and he continues to break NBA records with his three-point shooting. Of course, he shattered Ray Allen’s record for most threes in a career.

Curry is simply unstoppable in today's game. Even when double-teamed, he is able to create space thanks to his tremendous dribbling skill and get his lightning-quick release off. Not to mention, he is a very effective playmaker who can find the open man with ease. A two-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion, there is no debate that Stephen Curry is the best point guard in the NBA. 


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