With the NBA season approaching, I will begin to take a look at the top 5 players of each position, starting with the PGs. The NBA is about scoring now with the changes in defense, but everything starts with a good playmaker. The PG in the NBA is much like the QB in the NFL. He is the leader, the one that sets the tempo on both ends of the floor. If you have a good one, you already have the foundation for success, but pick wrong and your team could be in for a world of heartache.
My idea of an elite PG may be different than others, just because one goes out and scores 30 points does not make him a good PG. You must be able to the little things that matter. Maybe he will score 15 points but manage to give you 10 assists, 7-8 rebounds, and two steals. That is a true PG, the one that stuffs the stats sheet, so while you may look at this list and expect to see league-leading scores, then you came to the wrong place. I want players that can do it all. Some big names will be left off for that reason alone.
Here are my 2016 top 5 NBA point guards:
Rajon Rondo (Chicago Bulls)
Rondo, last season was back to his productive self but with the Sacramento Kings struggling his stats of 12 points, 12 assists, and five rebounds went unnoticed in 2015. Now, Rondo is in Chicago with Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler and averaging 12 assists with the Kings was great but what happens when you team him with two prolific scorers? As good as Rondo is we have yet actually to see him in an offense with this type of firepower. Wade can still get up and down the court, and Butler can run with the best of them. Rondo could be in store for a 15 assists average if it all goes according to plan.
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
Paul is still a top PG, but I can no longer place him in the top 3 due to his playoff failures. This has been the one knock that has plagued him throughout his career. When you have a team that features Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and still haven’t reached the NBA Finals you must look at yourself in the mirror and point the finger. Paul averaged 20 points, 10 assists and two steals per game but when your team is that loaded, that should be expected. Paul is still one of the best regarding getting to the rim and his perimeter game in underrated.
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Lillard is here for possibly being the best true leader on this list. Rondo has the assists and Paul the teammates, but Lillard was usually a one man wrecking ball and what he was able to do with the Blazers in 2015 was simply remarkable. The team was thought to be lottery bound after the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge, but Lillard placed them on his back. Lillard averaged 25 points and six assists in 2015 but with the improvement of the Blazers for 2016 he could do less scoring and more passing. He ranks this high off leadership, something the others on this list has yet to grasp.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Curry is the IT man in the NBA now and rightfully so depending on who you speak with. Some see him as the best player, if not that, then the best PG, but I place him behind Westbrook. Curry, while good, still leaves me wondering what he would be like without 2-3 other All-Stars on his team. Will he still jack up halfcourt shots coupled with those fancy passes and the over-dribbling? Last season he averaged 30 points, seven assists, and two steals per as the Warriors won 73 games.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Westbrook is the top PG in my opinion. He offers everything a PG should with ball handling, assists, scoring, defense, and rebounding. This season we will get to see what he can do without Kevin Durant. In 2015 Westbrook averaged 24 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and two steals in 2015 and this was with Durant. Now, we get to see what type of leader he is. If he’s able to lead the Thunder to the playoffs, then his place at #1 will be solidified.