Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 8/26/13

Point guard is my favorite position, and through analyzing the position, I’ve realize the importance of great point guard play, is overstated. Now, saying that doesn’t mean the play is worthless either. These players are great and they are all invaluable to their team, but let’s sympathize: it’s hard for a player whose main job is to pass or distribute in order to lead a team to a championship. Great point guards have won many championships, but usually as the second best player on a team. Players not in the top three tiers of point guards all have huge holes in their games, despite their effectiveness, so it’s nearly impossible to determine who is better than whom past the top thirteen or so. To do so, one must determine the impact of alleged holes, and that’s not realistic. So I’d like to work my way up, starting with the players in the third tier of point guards. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Don RyanDamian Lillard’s rookie season was incredible. His efficiency wasn’t really as bad as many have suggested. His PER, at 16.4, was right on par with other point guards just below the top two tiers. His numbers, 19 PPG and 6.5 APG, were really impressive and totally deserving of the ROY award. Shot selection is an obvious area in need of improvement, but that should improve with experience. The only problem with Lillard, and why I wasn’t sure whether I should put him with these other players is that he may not have a ceiling as high as the other top point guards. He’s already 22 and didn’t show the athleticism we thought he had out of college, so it’s more of a mental thing for him if he wants to improve. But if his mental strength in pressure situations is any indication, he should prove my doubts wrong.   Photo Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE Jrue Holiday put up 17.7 PPG and 8.0 APG with a 16.7 PER last season. Aside from his offensive contributions, he’s a legitimate lockdown defender; he’s set up to have a career year with his move to the Pelicans. He, like his now fellow backcourt-mate Tyreke Evans, was in dire need of a change in scenery.  The Pelicans are overloaded with ball handlers at the moment. I’m hoping the coaching staff hands the team over to him as he becomes a more aggressive shot creator. A pick and roll offense with him and Anthony Davis could be awesome. Photo Credit: US Presswire Memphis Grizzlies’ Mike Conley Jr.’s rise to point guard “elitism” was another trendy topic of last season’s playoffs. As great as he was in the playoffs, that talk was misguided or, at the very least, premature. He did a great job of running the offense all season, and stepped up in the playoffs, especially defensively. He’s excellent in the pick and roll with Marc Gasol, often getting Gasol mid-range elbow jumper he loves. This play shows of how perfect Conley’s timing is and his expert manipulation of the defenders. He does this as well as anyone in the league, and on a regular basis. Saying Conley isn’t yet in the top tier of point guards isn’t a knock on his game, it speaks to the depth of the position. He averaged 14.6 PPG, 6.1 APG, and a 18.3 PER last season, numbers that, if anything, don’t accurately depict his true effectiveness because the nature of the Grizzlies’ offense (bad perimeter shooting, post-driven). He’s made huge improvements in his game since his entrance into the league, but he’s still an offseason or two of improvements in shooting and court vision away from being at the top of his craft.   Photo Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports Ty Lawson is a top-nine point guard in the NBA but he’s not quite as great as the top-eight point guards. His numbers are really right between the two groups, so what I did in order to decide was look at the difference in responsibilities between the players previously mentioned and the ones not yet mentioned. Lawson is the undisputed leader of the Denver offense, but the system doesn’t necessarily depend on his skills or playmaking. His numbers and his team’s offensive production is more a product of the system than a product of his play. Which isn’t to say he isn’t really good, 16.7 PPG, 6.9 APG, and a 17.9 PER is stellar production. It feels a little unfair to use an offensive system against him, but when examining the cream of the crop, one must use extreme discretion. George Karl has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive minds and still is, even if his stay Denver is over. His genius must be looked at when analyzing the man who runs his system. He’s breathtaking in the open court though, and no system is responsible for this. Lawson. Like everyone else above, just needs small improvements to take the next step.  He is 25 though, and it may be the case that he has reached his peak. Which is fine; hopefully he can sustain the production. Part two coming soon. -Ormond

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