The point guard of the 80s and 90s is a nearly extinct position. Gone are the days of the point guard who shoots only when needed to and is on the floor solely to get others involved. With the emergence of ball dominant forwards like LeBron James, Draymond Green, and Giannis Antetokounmpo – effectively taking over point guard duties on their respective teams – the PG position has become more of a scoring role.
Yes, they still need to help run the offense and be incredible playmakers to help their team succeed, but the point guard of the modern NBA needs to have a scoring mentality, making plays for teammates as well as themselves.
Here are all of the starting point guards in the NBA for the 2018-2019 season, ranked:
30. DJ Augustin - Orlando Magic
Their PG situation is the worst in the NBA. They waived Shelvin Mack (who “led” the team in assists last year), and are currently trotting out DJ Augustin, a career journeyman, as their starter. They recently acquired Jerian Grant from the Bulls, who has shown very little at this point in his career. Orlando retained Aaron Gordon and has some young players with a lot of potentials (Bamba, Isaac), but their PG situation is, well, pathetic.
29. Brandon Knight - Phoenix Suns
Phoenix has arguably the best collection of young assets in the NBA; however, their PG situation is….questionable. Brandan Knight has barely played in the last two years, and even when he did play, he was not exactly great. He is much more of a scorer than a playmaker, which isn’t great when you have two stellar young players that need the ball in their hands in Ayton and Booker.
28. George Hill - Cleveland Cavaliers
Perhaps this a bit premature as Collin Sexton looked very good in summer league (but its summer league) and should take the reigns from Hill sooner than later in Cleveland, but Hill is a husk of his former self-defensively and offers little else than long-range shooting offensively.
27. Darren Collison - Indiana Pacers
He basically shares the guard duties with Oladipo, Joseph, and now Aaron Holiday, but for the purposes of these rankings, we will consider Collison the PG. Collison has long been a relatively effective player who does not shy away from big moments and knocks down shots, and I expect this to continue.
26. Reggie Jackson - Detroit Pistons
Jackson, even going into his age 28 season, is still somewhat of an enigma. He has played well in spurts but has often been injured the past two seasons in Detroit, and the jury is still out on if he can ever be a capable starter.
25. Milos Teodosic - Los Angeles Clippers
Yeah, he makes fancy passes, but he’s, at best, an average defender and scorer. His subpar athleticism really holds him back, but this is potentially a moot point because I expect him to be surpassed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at some point this season.
24. Trae Young - Atlanta Hawks
It is too early to tell how effective of a rookie year Trae Young will have with the Hawks, but nonetheless, he has a lot of potentials and showed in College he can carry a team. Do not read too much into his Summer league showing; as he got more comfortable, his numbers stabilized somewhat and were more indicative of the type of player he will be going forward.
23. Kris Dunn - Chicago Bulls
He rebounded nicely from a poor start to his career in Minnesota but still has a ways to go as a shooter and consistent playmaker. Chicago could be a sleeper team in the East if Dunn can continue to build on last season and be consistent as a distributor.
22. Frank Nkilitina (NYK)
rumors are that Hornacek wants him to play off the ball more this year (potentially making Trey Burke the de facto starter, which is... something), but Nkilitina is already one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. Watch him lock up Harden last year. If his offensive game catches up to his already stellar defense, the Knicks have their PG of the future to go along with their potential-laden frontcourt.
21. De'Aaron Fox - Sacramento Kings
Fox looked solid last year but shot poorly while Sacramento was predictably awful. Somewhat on the small side for a PG, Fox needs to refine his shooting and playmaking capabilities to take the next step in his development.
20. Dejounte Murray (SAS)
A wiry, long-armed defender who improved significantly last year as the main starter for the Spurs, Murray offers tremendous athleticism and a growing basketball IQ. He has San Antonio fans feeling hopeful in the wake of Tony Parker’s departure.
19. Dennis Smith Jr. or Luka Doncic - Dallas Mavericks
Hard to tell who is going to be the “point guard” in Carlisle’s offense, but either way, Dallas is in good hands. They will shine together in a two-guard offense.
18. Lonzo Ball - Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron is going to be so ball dominant that he’s basically the PG. Nonetheless, for all the Ball family BS, Lonzo played pretty well his rookie year and laid some of the athleticism concerns scouts had about him to rest.
17. Eric Bledsoe - Milwaukee Bucks
His disastrous stint in the 2018 playoffs aside, Eric Bledsoe is a still a solid starting point guard. He offers playmaking capabilities and is a strong, aggressive defender. The question is still how he plays in more of an “off ball” role with Giannis dominating the ball so much.
16. Jeff Teague - Minnesota Timberwolves
Teague has always been a solid player, but he is usually someone who is not as good as his numbers indicate. Look for Tyus Jones to compete for a starting spot this upcoming season.
15. D'Angelo Russell - Brooklyn Nets
More of a combo guard than a true PG, Russell has true scoring chops but has to show that he’s more than a scorer to keep the Nets PG position locked down. Dinwiddie also played well for them in spurts at this position last year.
14. Ricky Rubio - Utah Jazz
Rubio was very good for Utah last season, shooting the ball better than normal while continuing his outstanding playmaking. He fits perfectly into the well-oiled machine that is Quinn Snyder’s offense.
13. Goran Dragic - Miami Heat
The Heat are still in cap space hell, but they should still be competitive as long as they have Dragic at the helm.
Consistently underrated, Dragic was the best player on the Heat over the last few seasons, and the Slovenian lefty should continue to keep the Heat in playoff contention. With that being said, Miami may want to invest in a young PG sooner than later.
12. Jrue Holiday - New Orleans Pelicans
He played off the ball a lot more with Rondo in the fold last year (and excelled at it, especially in the playoffs), but with Rondo departing to LABron, Holiday reverts back to the PG position. If he can play up to the level he displayed in the 2018 playoffs, Holiday has the capacity to become a true 2nd star to Davis.
11. Jamal Murray - Denver Nuggets
I was reluctant to put Murray here, but he really is on the cusp of becoming a star. More of a combo guard, but he is the de-facto PG in Denver. Murray showed vast improvement as a playmaker last season.
10. Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
Consistently good on a bad team, Kemba has been a fringe all-star talent for the last couple of years. He has also produced one of my favorite all-time college basketball shots and calls (*insert Cardiac Kemba clip*)
9. Ben Simmons - Philadelphia Sixers
Simmons was very, very good at almost everything in his rookie season with the caveat of one thing: he cannot shoot. At all. In the modern NBA, having a PG that cannot shoot is incredibly restrictive, and it came back to bite Simmons and the Sixers in the playoffs. If he can develop at least a respectable shot over the next couple of years of his burgeoning career, the sky is the limit.
8. Kyle Lowry - Toronto Raptors
Going into his age 32 season Lowry may regress somewhat, but is still a fantastic shooter, pesky defender, and has actually played really well for the Raptors in the last couple of postseasons (unlike another ex-raptor who was recently traded). With the addition of Kawhi and the continued development of Delon Wright and Fred Van Vleet, hopefully, the pressure of a long season on Lowry’s aging body is somewhat mitigated and he is able to be in top form come this year’s playoffs
7. Mike Conley - Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis’s oft-injured PG is really, really good, and it is easy to lose sight of this as he was barely on the court last year. If he and Gasol return healthy, Memphis is THE sleeper team in the West to make the playoffs. That is a big if, though.
6. John Wall - Washington Wizards
John Wall is an incredibly talented player, yet clashes with his teammates and general discord in the locker room in Washington have left their “fans” (both of them) wanting more. It remains to be seen if he and Beal can co-exist effectively, and the addition of Dwight “coach killer” Howard to the locker room is a questionable one.
5. Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
There are some rumors that the Blazers may look to move Lillard this season, as questions have arisen if he and McCollum can win together. They are both relatively small, scoring guards with defensive limitations. That being said, Lillard is consistently in the all-star conversation, is incredibly clutch, and is one of the best scoring guards in the league.
4. Kyrie Irving - Boston Celtics
Boston has all the potential in the world this year, and Irving has the keys to the ignition. He has been a star for a few seasons now, but this year will determine if he is a true superstar.
3. Chris Paul - Houston Rockets
While Houston has regressed somewhat this offseason, Paul is still a very capable PG. While getting older, he remains an incredible shot maker, gifted passer, and hard-nosed defender. He showed some signs of decline last year and had nagging injury issues that may play a large role in the remainder of his career.
2. Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC’s roster has improved significantly this offseason, mainly through keeping Paul George and losing Carmelo Anthony. OKC is one of the few teams that has the potential to challenge GSW for the title, but it all lies in how Westbrook performs.
Some games he can be a phenomenal passer and get all his teammates involved - and, coincidently, OKC plays better in those games - and other games, particularly in the playoffs, he has tunnel vision and shoots OKC into the loss column. If Westbrook plays us to his abilities, he is the best PG in the league.
1. Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is one of the most important factors why the Golden State Warriors won 3 NBA Championships in the last 4 years and almost every player wants to play together with him because he is so unselfish, humble and he can adjust with any superstar on the roster, like he did after Kevin Durant signed for the Warriors.
Stephen Curry is the best point guard in the league and he is arguably the best point guard in NBA history after Magic Johnson.