Point guards are the position that has some of the most talented players in the NBA. And many players were top-10 candidates, but not all of them could make this list.
Right now, in the NBA, point guards have arguably the most crucial role on their teams. Almost all contending teams have good point guards. With that being said, having good point guards are critical to having a great team.
Now, before we get into the list, there are some things you need to take note. I based these players’ positions off of what we have seen so far (mainly last season). They are not on what we are told. So, when you don’t see players like LeBron on this list, that’s why. Also, If the player was out most of last season with injury or are expected to miss most of this season, they won’t be on this list. Pre-season had little to no effect on the players’ ranking. And lastly, This list was made before the regular season started. So, it’s just based on what we have seen thus far.
With all that out of the way, I’m just going to say with all of the amazing talents at this position and how different all point guards are from another, ranking them was not very easy. But we gave it a try anyway.
Honorable Mention: Chris Paul
Chris Paul, while being on the decline of his career, still deserves a spot on this list somewhere. Paul had a decent season last year, averaging just over eight assists and 15 points on 41.9% shooting from the field.
Chris Paul had arguably the worst season of his career last season. That can be expected, though, of a guy who has played 14 years in the league.
The reason Paul isn’t higher on this list: we don’t know for sure if he will be on the Thunder the whole season or not. If he isn’t, we don’t know where he will end up. Also, with him getting older, I don’t see him making too big of a leap in his game, although he might put up better stats if he stays with a team like the Thunder who aren’t filled with players who demand the ball.
Although, midway through the season, if we see him putting up ridiculous numbers, I could see him possibly cracking this list. But as of now, I am confident with where he’s at on the list.
10. Trae Young
Coming into his rookie season, Young was getting compared to Stephen Curry. That was crazy for a guy who not too many people knew until his fantastic college season at Oklahoma.
The Atlanta Hawks evidently believed all of the hype. On draft night, they traded the rights of Luka Dončić to the Dallas Mavericks. In exchange, they got the rights to Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick. That trade surprised some NBA fans. They thought that Luka should have been chosen higher than Trae.
Some NBA fans will still say that the Mavericks won that trade. However, I think that it was pretty fair. Not only did the Hawks get a top 10 point guard in Trae Young, but they also got a first-round pick as well.
With all that said, Trae did have a slow start to his rookie season. But, he really started exploding onto the scene during the second half of the season last year.
Throughout the whole season, he managed to average just over 19 points and 8 assists. He didn’t shoot the ball amazingly well at 41.8% from the field. However, not many rookies come into the league as a guy who jacks up three-pointers quite often and averages a high percentage.
Another downfall to Young’s game is his turnovers. He averaged just under four turnovers per game last season. That isn’t great compared to other starting point guards. However, he was a primary ball-handler as a rookie, so he wasn’t expected to look perfect on the court. Hopefully, he lowers that number significantly this season.
One of the reasons that Trae is on this list is his passing. He’s very sloppy at times and turns the ball over more than he should. However, he has shown that he can pass the ball just as good as some of the best in this league.
Although Trae didn’t have a perfect rookie season, he showed that he is one of the top point guards in this league. He is very exciting to watch through his flashy passes and long-range threes.
9. Mike Conley
Mike Conley is the definition of an underrated player in the NBA.
Conley has shown that he is one of the most reliable and consistent point guards in the NBA over his career. He’s averaged just under 15 points in his career, along with slightly under six and a half assists. His best scoring year was last year. And he scored over 21 points per game while shooting 43.8% from the field.
Along with being able to score, Mike is a tremendous defender. One of the league’s best when it comes to point guards.
Along with all of that, Conley has zero All-Star appearances along with zero All-NBA selections. This is not surprising to many, but I think that he has an argument for being there. Although Conley doesn’t necessarily put up great numbers and play super flashy, he plays lockdown defense and can contribute to any team. The main reason that he hasn’t been selected for either of these teams is mainly because of the team he plays for and the position he plays. And that isn’t fair at all. For example, if you look at it, Draymond Green has made 3 All-Star games and 2 All-NBA teams. He brings pretty much the same thing to the table as Conley does. But, because Draymond plays for the Warriors and is a power forward, which is a weaker position, he is selected.
One thing that most people say when talking about Conley is how he has been putting up “empty stats” because the Grizzlies weren’t a winning team. However, that isn’t necessarily true. Conley has played on very successful teams such as the 2012-13 Grizzlies team who won 56 games and made it to the Western Conference Finals. During that season he averaged 14.6 points per game along with 6.1 assists. Conley will continue to show that he can put up winning stats and play great defense this year in Utah.
We haven’t seen him in a regular-season game in a Utah jersey. However, I expect to see nothing less than what he brought to the 2012-13 Grizzlies team. I expect to see a point guard capable of locking down your team’s best guards, making great basketball IQ plays/decisions, and dropping a 30-piece here or there.
8. De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox is a stud. An absolute stud. And in my opinion, he has the potential to be one of the top 3 point guards in the NBA someday.
Fox improved EVERY aspect of his game from his rookie season to his sophomore season. He went up in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, 3 point percentage, field goal percentage, and even more. If he continues to grow this much as a player, he could definitely be at the top soon.
Fox has some things in his game that just aren’t teachable. He’s undoubtedly one of the quickest players in the NBA. His basketball IQ is very high. He has shown thus far that he can stay relatively healthy throughout entire seasons as he has only missed a few games here or there.
The two most underrated things about Fox’s game are his three-point shooting and his defense. Fox made over 37 percent of his threes last season while also averaging 1.6 steals per game. Everyone knows Fox for his stellar speed and attacking the basket, but many fail to mention that he shoots a high percentage from three and also clamps up your team’s point guard.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Fox going into his third season other than watch out for him because he has mad potential.
7. D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell is a hard player to rank. Last season was really a breakout year, he is in a new situation, and we don’t really know how he is going to adapt to his new role. However, we do know that last year he was an All-Star and put up some pretty great numbers on a playoff team.
You can look at almost any top 100 player lists and almost nobody has him at the same spot. That is fair because all player ranking lists are opinion based. It just really shows that nobody knows where Russell will be this season.
We can’t deny his talent, though, being an All-Star last season and putting up great numbers on a good playoff team. It will just be interesting to see how he performs this season.
Another question mark next to Russell is that we don’t know for sure if he will still be on the Warriors at the end of this season. There have been a few trade rumors involving him and teams like the Pistons so him changing teams could affect his ranking drastically.
With all of the question marks and knocks on him out of the way, now we can start talking about how great of a player he is.
Russell is one of the most underrated pick-and-roll guards in the league. Although the Warriors don’t have a great post big man, he will still help get other players open when defenders go to help.
Russell is also especially good at shooting off the dribble which is perfect when you’re playing with Curry. Now you will have 2 point guards on the floor at the same time who can pull up and drain threes in your face. For the whole game.
I think that this season will be a slight step back for Russell. However, he will still show that he is one of the top young point guards in our league.
6. Ben Simmons
What Ben lacks skill-wise, he makes up for with his big body, high basketball IQ, and great athleticism.
The fact that he is a borderline top 5 point guard in the NBA with a below-average skill set is pretty crazy in and of itself.
I am pretty excited to see how Ben will shoot this season. Especially from 3. The main knock on Simmons’ game is, of course, his inability to shoot from outside. We saw him knock one down without much hesitation in the pre-season, but we’ll see how that translates to the regular season.
If Simmons at least shoots them, even if he doesn’t hit them at a high clip, the 76ers will be such a better team because that would force defenders to step out and guard him and that will free the paint up for the big guys.
Ben is someone who I would consider a top 10 player in the NBA when it comes to potential. The things that he lacks are things that can be developed (i.e. shooting) and the things that make him such a great player currently are things that can’t be taught/learned like height, basketball IQ, etc.
I am very excited to see how Ben does this season and if he will make that next jump as a player. He could easily be top 5 by the beginning of next season.
5. Kemba Walker
If there are any of the players on this list that I am most excited to see on a new team, it’s most certainly Kemba Walker. Although Kemba’s overall stats may go down slightly, I believe that with more eyes on him and with him having a better supporting cast, he will show everyone that he is certainly a top 5 point guard in this league.
The fact that Kemba could even get some people to turn on the TV to specifically watch the Hornets last season should already be enough to show you that he is amazing. As much as he shot, being able to shoot 43.4% is pretty amazing when he was the one taking most of his team’s shots last season.
On top of that, he managed to average 5.9 assists, which to me is a miracle in and of itself when you are kicking it to (and relying on) guys like Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lamb, and Cody Zeller.
I personally think that Kemba will have an amazing season this year. However, I also need to see how he is going to adapt to playing on a good team. With that being said, I am very confident with where he is currently listed.
4. Kyrie Irving
This might be the most controversial player on this list.
As much as some people love Kyrie and his game, I simply don’t. Kyrie has always seemed a bit overrated to me, and I don’t throw that word around too often. It just seems as if people overhype him a bit too much. And I totally understand where all of that comes from.
Kyrie is one of, if not the flashiest players in the NBA today. And that is why some people tend to overhype him. If you were to only watch highlight reels and not full games, you might actually think that Kyrie is a top 10 player in the NBA. And he just isn’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Kyrie is an amazing basketball player. He can contribute to many teams. It’s just that I need to see a bit more from him for him to be any higher.
Irving had a great regular season last year. He put up 23.8 points per game, 6.9 assists per game, and 5.0 rebounds per game which are pretty good for a point guard.
The main knock on Irving last season was his playoff performance. If you watched any of the playoff games last season, you could tell that Kyrie just didn’t look like himself. Especially watching the Bucks series, he didn’t seem like a good leader and it felt like he almost just gave up once they started losing games. On top of that, he shot a rough 38.5% from the field in last year’s playoffs.
With all of those knocks on his career, I have to say that last year was pretty much a fluke year because usually, he plays really well in the playoffs. So I am hoping that him being in Brooklyn with the change of scenery will help his game out more.
With all of the knocks on his game that I have pointed out, he still is undoubtedly a top 5 point guard in the NBA. I believe he will have a great season and will lead the Nets to the playoffs while averaging between 28 and 32 points.
3. Russell Westbrook
This is another controversial one.
Although many fans will argue that Irving is way ahead of Westbrook, I just don’t see it.
Personally, I believe that Westbrook has been extremely over-hated for the past few years. He isn’t necessarily underrated, but the fact that so many people call him overrated is just absurd.
I think that people have become almost immune to how powerful a triple-double is. Averaging 10 points, rebounds, and assists per game aren’t things that get done too often. Westbrook has had more triple-doubles than any active NBA player by far and isn’t too far off being number one all-time. He got 138 triple-doubles so far in his career before the 2019-20 season. That makes him tied with Magic Johnson for number two all-time. To compare that to other active NBA players, LeBron got 81 in his career before the start of this season. That means that to start this season, Westbrook has 57 more triple-doubles than LeBron who is the next active player behind him. That stat is wild.
Although Westbrook is not the most efficient, he is willing to take the backseat to players who are better than him. We saw this last season when Paul George was in OKC. If he can take a backseat to Harden this season, the Rockets will go very far.
I believe that if Westbrook can average 18 points per game on 45% shooting, 7 rebounds per game, and 8 assists per game, then that will be an amazing season from him. However, if he goes out and averages a triple-double then his stats will look better, but his team will not be as good.
This season the Rockets are going to be as good as Russell’s unselfishness. If he is willing to not take as many shots and not steal rebounds from the big men, then the Rockets could be the best team in the west.
I expect Westbrook to mature and learn that he doesn’t have to get triple-doubles every single game this season. With that being said, if he can do those things, then, in my eyes, he is a better player than if he put up better stats on a worse team.
2. Damian Lillard
Dame has easily cemented himself as a top 2 point guard in this league in my eyes.
He is quite a bit better than the people under him, and certainly Steph’s closest rival at this point in time.
Dame’s main focal point is, of course, his shooting. Which is fair. Lillard was top 3 in pull up trees attempted and was top 5 in contested shots made from 3.
Dame is forever known for the shot that he drilled over All-NBA defender Paul George. That shot really showed how great Lillard is at shooting contested and deep shots. He certainly does not fail to execute in clutch situations. The Trail Blazers know that they can always fall back on Dame hitting big shots to close out games.
When you watch Dame you see a silky smooth player who is fundamentally sound while also being super flashy.
There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Lillard’s game besides hopefully he has another MVP caliber season.
I see Dame averaging between 25 and 30 points this season and hopefully, his team will be a good playoff team come to the end of the season.
1. Stephen Curry
Steph is by far number 1.
The biggest gap in this list is by far Curry to anyone under him. That is not saying that anyone below him is bad. All it is saying is that it really puts into perspective how great Curry really is.
I shouldn’t have to go into too much detail on how great he really is, but I will anyway.
Besides being the greatest shooter of all time, some of the most underrated things about Curry are his playmaking and his finishing at the rim.
Curry averaged 5.2 assists last year, which was his worst year passing wise. I think that last year he took a tiny step back, but I believe he will make up for that this season. I feel like he will average at least 6 assists per game without Durant being there and having the ball in his hands all the time.
The next part about him that I would like to talk about is his finishing at the rim. His finishing, to me, has always been the most underrated part of his game. Which is understandable. I mean, when you watch Curry, what are you looking for from him? Most people will say threes. But people but not be watching and looking at his finishing. He drove to the basket 7.7 times per game last season and made exactly 50.0% of them. That stat doesn’t seem to jump out, but looking at a guy like Russell Westbrook, he made 50.2% of his shots where he drove to the rim.
Since 2016-17, Curry has shot a true shooting percentage of 64.3. That number is fantastic. To put it into perspective, he was top 10 in the league last season in true shooting percentage. Also, he was number one compared to other point guards.
I expect Curry to have an amazing season this year. He will lead the Warriors to a top 5 seed in the west. I certainly think will be in MVP conversations as well.
All stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.