Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 6/3/13
  With Jason Kidd announcing his retirement from the NBA earlier today, I figured it was only right to compile this list. While Kidd was a shell of himself during the 2012-13 season, he will go out as one of the greatest to do ever do it as his position. Second all time in career assists and steals behind only John Stockton. Third all time in three pointers made. And Kidd’s 107 career triple-doubles are good enough for third most all time as well. Kidd entered the League in 1994 where he split Rookie of the Year honors with another player who recently announced his retirement from the game, Grant Hill. While Kidd is moving on to the next chapter of his life, the NBA will continue moving forward with 30 starting point guards of its own. Yet for some reason there seems to be some discrepancies when it comes to settling on who the best point guard is in today’s NBA. Most people think it’s Chris Paul. Some equally incorrect misguided youth believe Derrick Rose is still the best despite playing as many games as Jay Williams and Len Bias combined last season. Well I’m fed up. I’m tired of the meaningless debates. I’m tired of hearing words like “PER” thrown around. I want to talk results. A point guard is a field general. He’s a quarterback. He’s the starting pitcher. Hockey and soccer don’t really have a solid comparison, which should tell you all you need to know about soccer and hockey, but I digress. So here, finally, is a definitive list for the world to use as a reference point when heading into the 2013-14 season: the Top Five Point Guards in the National Basketball Association. 5. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Love him or hate him, Westbrook’s value skyrocketed without him playing a second of basketball. The Oklahoma City Thunder went from the top overall seed looking for a Finals rematch against the defending champs to barely managing a win against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the playoffs. The only reason the Spurs are sitting at home waiting for the Heat and Pacers series to finish up is because Russell Westbrook got hurt. If he was healthy they’d be at home waiting for the next season to roll around. During the 2012-13 season, Westbrook averaged 23.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 7.4 apg. Sure, his shot selection is maddening and doesn’t run as tight of an offense as some other points in the League, but his athleticism is second to none and when he’s on there isn’t a true point guard in the Association who can cover him. Hate on his style of play all you’d like. But if you don’t think Westbrook is a top five point guard you’re lying to yourself. 4. Steph Curry, Golden State I can already feel people dismissing this list. Which is a damn shame. Because if you watched a second of the NBA this season you would know that Steph Curry finally took that step forward, and didn’t twist his ankle in the process. In 78 regular season games, Curry averaged 22.9 ppg, 4 rpg, and 6.9 apg in just a shade over 38 mpg. He did this while shooting 45% from the field, 45% from three, and 90% from the charity stripe as the primary ball handler for the Golden State Warriors. Oh, yeah, he kind of also set the NBA single season mark for most three pointers hit in a season with 272. That was with him missing four games. This coming off of a year in which he only played 26 TOTAL games. His defense is far from even third team consideration but he takes enough gambles to average 1.6 steals per contest (while only turning the ball over 3.1 times a game). But why I put Curry on this list is because of what he was able to do throughout the entirety of the Warriors 2012-13 season. Let’s face it, few people even picked the Warriors to qualify for the second season this year (although I believe Cole Zwicker did). Klay Thompson is a solid player on both ends of the court. David Lee is a double-double machine when he’s healthy. Andrew Bogut is a rich man’s Omar Asik (again, when healthy). Jarrett Jack wasn’t anyone special until this season when he was a legitimate candidate for 6MOY. Harrison Barnes was a rookie and had plenty of ups and downs. So who was carrying this team? Who got this team a 6-seed and brought them into a series against Denver, one of the best home court teams in the NBA, and came out victorious to advance to the second round? Steph. Curry. Curry missed four regular season games and made up for it by delivering 12 playoff games. He took the Spurs (the same Spurs who swept the Grizzlies. The same Grizzlies who eliminated Chris Paul’s Clippers. Just saying.) to six games and even had the series tied 2-2 before being eliminated. Now I’m not one for handing out participation medals but considering how deep the Western Conference is annually and how deep the point guard position is in today’s NBA, I think you’d be foolish to not put Curry head and shoulders above the majority of them. The season Steph Curry just put up was the third best the NBA saw this year behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Does that make him the third best player in the League? Not at all. But fourth best point guard? Absolutely. 3. Tony Parker, San Antonio “System” point guard. Listen… EVERY point guard runs a system. Some are better at it that others. And some systems flat out stink (I’m talking to you, LAL’s version of the Princeton offense). Could you plug Mario Chalmers in for Tony Parker and have the Spurs in the NBA Finals right now? Of course you couldn’t. While Tim Duncan had an underrated season in terms of importance to the Spurs’ success, this has been Parker’s team for a few years now. In 66 games, Parker averaged 20.3 ppg for the second seeded Spurs on 52% from the field. His 7.6 assists were .1 off of his career high (set last year over the course of 60 games) and he chipped in a modest three boards a game. Think about how this Spurs team is constructed and then ask yourself how it’s even possible that there’s a realistic chance that they could be crowned NBA Champs in a few weeks. Danny Green was nothing special at UNC and then he couldn’t even get off the bench in a post-LeBron Cleveland. Kawhi Leonard was a relative unknown coming out of college to the common basketball observer and was acquired for George Hill in a draft day deal with the Pacers. TIAGO SPLITTER! TRACY MCGRADY! TONY PARKER BROUGHT TRACY MCGRADY TO THE NBA FINALS! If that’s not enough to give TP9 the recognition he deserves, I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to get it. Parker isn’t going to hit many threes, but he’s crafty enough to be able to get Pop a bucket whenever the Spurs seem to need one. Whether that means setting up a play for Manu or running a P&R with Timmy, Parker always seems to make the right play. His defense is far from sterling, and he has done stupid **** off of the court like try to be a French rapper and cheat on Eva Longoria, but other than that I can’t think of many other point guards I’d rather have leading my team than Tony Parker. Regardless of system or players surrounding him. 2. Rajon Rondo, Boston Anyone who knows me is in utter shock and disbelief right now. Well I’m sorry to disappoint everyone but I’m taking off my rose colored glasses for a second and looking at Rajon Rondo as unbiased as humanly possible. Sure, Rondo has his flaws. He’s the most hated player in the League by the League for some reason or another, so he has that working against him. He’s had his elbow snapped in half by Dwyane Wade, which certainly isn’t a positive by any definition of the word. But since we’ve covered all the negatives about Rajon Rondo’s game, let’s try and dig up some of the things he does well. Rajon Rondo is the ONLY player in the NBA to average double digit apg totals over the past three seasons (2010: 11.2, 2011: 11.7, 2012: 11.1). Before his altercation with Kris Humphries, Rondo was on his way to breaking Magic Johnson’s record for consecutive games with double digit assists. Rondo’s also been the best player on the Boston Celtics since 2010, a season in which Rondo led Boston to the NBA Finals where the Celtics ultimately came up short in Game 7 against their rival Los Angeles Lakers. So spare me with the “he’s always played with Hall of Famers.” Yeah. At the tail ends of their careers. Not like he was Kobe Bryant playing with a prime Shaquille O’Neal. Or even Dwyane Wade playing with a prime LeBron James. Rondo had a player in Paul Pierce who was given little respect outside of Boston prior to the forming of the Big 3, Kevin Garnett on his last dominant year (not Garnett’s fault a knee injury took away another year or two of elite level of play). And Ray Allen who was a glorified spot up shooter for three of his five years in Boston.  Rondo’s only been eliminated by Conference or Finals Champs his entire starting career (2008: NBA Champ, 2009: Orlando Magic, 2010: LA Lakers, 2011 & 2012: Miami Heat). And the biggest myth about Rondo – he can’t shoot – is a laughable stance in 2013. Let’s go back to last season, shall we?   Who is that from the right elbow shooting 56% on the season? Rajon Rondo. Shooting 1% worse than Steve Nash from the left elbow when Nash could still walk. Those elbow jumpers aren’t bunnies. That’s just where Rondo’s comfortable on the court. But comfort or not, how can you look someone in the eye during a legitimate argument and say Rondo can’t shoot. Not enough? Alright, let’s look at what Rajon Rondo did in the postseason last year. Over the course of 19 games, Rondo averaged 17.3 ppg on 46.8% from the field. Serious question: does it matter where those shots came from? It does? Alright fine, you got me. Rondo only shot 8-for-30 from downtown during those 19 games. So just for fun, let’s see what he shot from everything within the arc. Rondo made 141 out of 301 shots during those 19 games. Subtract eight from those makes and 30 from those missed to get 133/271 which is good for… *drumroll* 49%! Alright, so Rondo shoots threes as poorly as Tony Parker does outside of H-O-R-S-E competitions against Kevin Durant. I can live with that being his fatal flaw. But don’t tell me he can’t shoot. Don’t tell me he’s not the second best point guard in the League when he was averaging 17.3 ppg, 11.9 apg, and 6.7 rpg over 19 playoff games – seven of which coming against the best team in the NBA. And more specifically against the eventual NBA Champs, Rondo put up gaudy stats. 21 ppg on 49% from the floor, 11.3 apg, and 6.9 rpg. Oh yeah, since Rajon Rondo’s rookie season (a season in which he barely played) only two players have notched more triple-doubles than he: Jason Kidd and LeBron James. Not bad company at all. 1. LeBron James, Miami That’s right folks. Not Chris Paul. Certainly not Deron Williams. And DEFINITELY not the worst teammate in the history of organized sports ,Derrick Rose. Let’s get down to brass tax. LeBron does everything. You want to talk about the guy you want to have the ball in his hands with a play needing to be made, the list begins and ends with LeBron James. Love him or hate him, there isn’t a pass in the game LeBron cannot make. In fact, he wants to make that pass. You watch the games. LeBron tries to cherry pick assists way more than Rajon Rondo ever has in his life. Because if LeBron wanted to he could get to the rack just about every possession of a game. Who’s stopping him? So the fact that he ever passes to anyone is already befuddling enough. But he does it. Because say what you want about the most talented player on the planet, he really does just want to win. He realized that he needed help in doing so – mainly because of his pass first mentality – and signed up to play along two guys who he thought had more than two years of All Star caliber play left in their careers. Even still, the Heat bench is comprised entirely of spot up shooters who are perfect for LeBron to target when he drives and the defense collapses on him. What makes LeBron so dangerous and unguardable is his ability to pass out of any situation. According to Sports Science (whattup Brenkus!) LeBron gets off a pass faster than Tom Brady. And few people in the history of passing have been able to do so with the quickness and precision of Tom Brady. So save me your technicalities ******** that I know you’re all clamoring for because regardless of title everyone knows Mario Chalmers isn’t the point guard of the Miami Heat. LeBron is the primary ball handler and he led the Heat in apg (7.3 – good enough for ninth in the NBA). You want to disprove that LBJ isn’t the best point guard in the NBA? Just tell me who could cover him AND who you’d trust more with the game on the line than LeBron as a point guard to make the right decision for the team. Passing, shooting, doesn’t matter. You name me another point guard in the world who can do what LeBron can’t, and you’d better say Giannis Adetokoubo. Cause if not, I flat out don’t want to hear it. (Hey CP3rdRound?What’sThe3rdRound?! Stop choking every year and I’ll stop giving you the Peyton Manning treatment! Until then, enjoy #6!)
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