The year is coming to a close and we have seen everything that we need to see. At the point guard position, the league has been graced with some of the best outside shooters, clutch playmakers, and elite players. There are at least three players on this list that you would want to take the last shot in any given game.
Outside of elite scoring and handling, we have a new all-time leader in triple-doubles, a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and one of the best leaders of all time. Without further ado, here are the best point guards by category.
Overall - Steph Curry
There is no doubt that Curry is the best overall point guard. When sorting out tiers, Curry was so elite that we put him in a super tier. After his historic shooting performance in April, Curry could move to shooting guard and he wouldn’t even skip a beat.
Along with his scoring, Curry is averaging 5.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists on the season. Good things happen when the ball starts or finishes in his hands.
Scoring - Steph Curry
Curry isn’t only the best scoring point guard in the league, but he is the best scorer in the league. His 31.9 points per game are contending with Bradley Beal for the NBA scoring title. Thanks to his deep outside shot, Curry is a candidate for 50 points on any given night.
Curry ranks second all-time in three-point field goals made. He trails Ray Allen by 151 three-point field goals. We are truly witnessing greatness as Curry has played in 760 regular-season games, while Allen has played 1,300.
Playmaking - Chris Paul
Three times in Paul’s career has he finished a season with a usage rate over 25% in a team’s offense and finished with an assist rate over 50%. This year, Paul is used 22% of the time and is assisting on 40% of the Suns’ field goals. Even at the age of 36 years old, he is having a hand in the team’s plays two-fifths of the time.
Paul has helped Devin Booker’s game evolve as now he can primarily shoot the ball, rather than make plays himself. We have seen growth in DeAndre Ayton as well. The Suns look like the vintage Suns of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire with this offense.
Rebounding - Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is no ordinary point guard. He is a hustle machine and a ball magnet. While some criticize his constant motor to the basket, his motor is what has him averaging 11.6 rebounds and 11.6 assists. Westbrook recently broke Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double mark, a record that was never meant to be broken.
We sometimes get lost in the moment and don’t appreciate Westbrook. He has averaged double-digit rebounds four times and is currently averaging a career-high in rebounds today.
Defense - Ben Simmons
Simmons is either going to win or finish runner-up in the Defensive Player of the Year Award rankings. Out of all the defensive entries, he has a borderline top-5 defensive efficiency rating but has the No. 1 ranking among all point guards.
It’s almost not fair taking Simmons one-on-one if you are a traditional point guard. With his length and long frame, he can keep up with just about any guard in the league. In 2021, Simmons could be the one to finally take down yearly candidate Rudy Gobert, a two-time winner of the award.
Shooting - Steph Curry
As previously mentioned, Curry is in the running for the NBA scoring title. It’s a career season for Curry. Per 100 possessions, Curry is averaging a career-high 44.0 points per game. According to advanced stats, he owns a true shooting percentage of 66%, while he is shooting 57% from inside the arc.
Curry is going to go down as the greatest three-point shooter of all time. By the end of this season, he could make a case for the greatest shooter of all time.
Finishing - Russell Westbrook
Fun fact about Westbrook. When he is zero to three feet away from the basket, he converts 65% of his field goals. In Westbrook’s career, he has taken shots from this distance 34% of the time and has converted 47% of the time. When around the basket, there is no better finisher than Russ.
Westbrook has a way of getting to the hoop as we have never seen before. He has been called explosive his entire year. One day, he is going to slow down, but luckily it’s not this season.
Athletic - Ja Morant
Morant has a lot of growing up to do, but the 21-year old has some athleticism that we haven’t seen since Westbrook himself. Morant may never average a triple-double, at least that is not the player we are seeing right now. With that said, Morant is every explosive and throws up highlight-reel dunks on any given night.
Morant also has sturdy playmaking skills that make members of the Grizzlies better. He needs to develop an outside shot, but like Russell Westbrook, there are not many players that can handle his first step. As he continues to grow, he could be elite like Westbrook.
Clutch - Damian Lillard
In March, it was reported that Lillard led the league in clutch points with 124. That also included shooting 60% from the field, 53% from the three-point range, and 100% from the foul line, including 38-of-38, in clutch situations. According to advanced stats, his true shooting percentage in clutch situations is 83%.
Time and time again, we have seen Lillard pull up from near half-court and sink a go-ahead basket like it was nothing. Remember Paul George? What about the Chicago Bulls game this season when he clinched a game-winner after a jump ball? The Trail Blazers are always alive as long as Lillard is on the floor.
Efficiency - Steph Curry
Out of all point guards, Curry has the best performance efficiency rating. Curry is taking the most three-point shots and has the best three-point shooting percentage. He is also shooting over 90% from the free-throw line. Given that Curry is shooting more than any point guard in the league and ranks near the top in capitalizing, he is not only the most efficient point guard but is also one of the most efficient players in NBA history.
Leadership - Chris Paul
Paul has a leadership resume that dates back to his days in New Orleans. The Pelicans (Hornets at the time) made a second-round playoff run. The Clippers played some of their best basketball. The Rockets made a Western Conference Finals appearance, while the OKC Thunder made an improbable playoff appearance last year.
This year, Paul’s addition has the Phoenix Suns contending for a No. 1 seed, but at the very least a No. 2 seed. The Suns could make the NBA Finals. This team was not a playoff team last year. That shows you what Paul means to a locker room.
Versatility - Luka Doncic
Doncic can play point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and even guard the big men in the paint. He’s strong enough to handle any assignment and can knock down game-winning shots if necessary.
Doncic is going to be the next triple-double threat once he reaches his prime and Westbrook is out of the league. He is already the franchise record holder for triple-doubles. As long as he stays in Dallas, that record will never be broken.
Handles - Kyrie Irving
Irving is used over 30% of the time, but turns the ball over just 10% of the time, while his assist rate is just over 29%. Irving doesn’t make careless turnovers. Instead, he had a devastating baseline move and can find the diagonal pass.
There are not many players that can do what Irving does. Irving easily has the best handles in the league.
Underrated - De’Aaron Fox
Fox hasn’t played since April 21, but take a look at his game log before he got hurt. Leading up to his injury, Fox has scored point totals of 30, 30, 27, and 33 in four of his last five games. Nine days before the injury, Fox scored 43 points against the Pelicans and 44 points against the Warriors in March.
His 25.2 points per game are a career-high, but nobody notices because Fox is playing for the Kings, who are near the bottom in the standings. DeMarcus Cousins suffered through three All-Star seasons and nobody noticed because of where he played. We could see the same happen to Fox.
Overrated - Ben Simmons
Outside of defense, Simmons doesn’t bring a lot to the table offensively. Simmons owns a career 14.7% shooting mark from the three-point range. His 14.4 points per game are a career-low. His 7.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists are nice, but you would think a player making $29 million each season would contribute just a few more points.
We see guys like Jimmy Butler efficiently play both ends of the floor. Simmons is an elite defender but has not developed his offense in four seasons. Is anybody scared of what Simmons can do in a late-game situation? For the bang for the buck, that makes Simmons overrated.
Credit for an idea: The Beard NBA