Coast to Coast is my bi-weekly column here at Fansided. Each week I’ll be taking a look at an interesting topic in the NBA, and giving my own spin on it. Feel free to disagree, because you most likely will anyways.
The point guard position has always been an important position in the National Basketball Association. With new rules that favor offensive players on the perimeter, we have seen an influx of talented floor generals. The preseason is always full of rankings in all different outlets, and this is no different. We here at Fansided bring you the top ten point guards going into the 2013-14 season:
10. Steve Nash- 2012-13 Stats: 12.7 points, 6.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds per game; 49% from the field.
I’m sure I’m the only one that feels this way. Steve Nash will be 40 this season, but expect him to have a big impact. If he’s healthy, he will have a chip on his shoulder, and he’ll play in a system that won him back to back MVP’s. In a season where he suffered freak injuries and couldn’t get comfortable, he nearly shot 50-40-90 and had respectable stats. He should be more comfortable this season, and he could see bigger numbers. You heard it here first. Nash isn’t good on defense, but which Laker player will be?
9. Kyrie Irving- 2012-13 Stats: 22.5 points, 5.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds per game; 45% from the field.
Kyrie Irving is one of the best young players in the game. He gives Cleveland hope for the future, and he was an all-star in just his second year. The reason Irving ranks 9th on this list is in direct correlation to the fact that he’s a terrible defender. For all the great things he does on offense, he is equally bad on the other end. The NBA is more about team defense in today’s era, so under Mike Brown, he could improve. If Irving can stay healthy, he could be even better this season overall. He also needs to improve his passing and distribution of the ball, but with improved teammates, he may be more willing to pass the ball.
8. Rajon Rondo- 2012-13 Stats: 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds per game; 48% from the field.
Rajon Rondo only played in 38 games before tearing his ACL, so it is uncertain how he will return. He won’t be back until December, so we will have to wait for a few months to see how he will be. As for his play as a whole, Rondo is a very good point guard. He has court vision that is unmatched in the NBA, and his ability to rebound and make something out of nothing is top-notch. The setbacks on Rondo have to do with his attitude and effort on the court. He will often chase triple doubles, and it can cost the team. He will also pass up layups and easy baskets for flashy passes and try to make something fancy happen. He has also been labeled as a hot-head and can have issues taking criticism. Rondo is still very good, but with the team rebuilding, he will need to show that he can truly be a leader.
7. John Wall- 2012-13 Stats: 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, 4 rebounds per game; 44% from the field.
John Wall is one of the fastest players in the NBA, and his game is starting to catch up to his speed. He was hurt for half the season, but when he came in, he was one of the best players in the NBA, and it has people thinking playoffs in Washington. He lacked a steady jump-shot, but he is starting to knock it down. If he can continue, he could be deadly in the pick and roll, and he will take a big leap if he stays healthy.
6. Stephen Curry- 2012-13 Stats: 22.9 points, 6.9 assists, 4 rebounds per game; 45% from the field.
Stephen Curry had a breakout season last year, and he put himself on the map. He is a sharpshooter who can pass with the best of them as well. He isn’t great on the defensive end, but as far as a leader, he seems poised to be great. He shot 45% from 3 last year, and averaged 7 assists. He makes a defense focus solely on him, and it can have a huge effect. He has some ankle issues, but if Curry can stay healthy, the Warriors should go far, and he could be in the MVP race.
5. Deron Williams- 2012-13 Stats: 18.9 points, 7.7 assists, 3 rebounds per game; 44% from the field.
Deron Williams is one of the strongest point guards in the league. He can shoot, pass, defend, and is a good leader. He will be the general of a very talented Nets team this season. Head coach Jason Kidd wants him to get double digit assists this season, so Williams could average a double-double for the 5th time in his career. Williams came in unhealthy last season, but after the all-star break, he averaged 22.9 points, 8 assists, and 2.5 rebounds a game on 48% shooting from the field, and 42% from downtown. He is clearly one of the best point guards in the league.
4. Tony Parker- 2012-13 Stats: 20.3 points, 7.6 assists, 3 rebounds per game; 52% from the field.
Tony Parker has always been underrated, and he is the engine that drives the train for the Spurs. He is insane off of pick and rolls, and his play-making has improved drastically. He was a big reason they made it to the Finals last season, and he should have a successful campaign in 2013-14. He thrives off of mid-range shots, and he can kill teams through the system they run. He is older, and played in the summer during EuroBasket, so he might battle fatigue. You could argue that Parker was an MVP candidate last season.
3. Russell Westbrook- 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5 rebounds per game; 43% from the field.
Westbrook had surgery, and won’t be playing until December. This is a huge blow for the Thunder, and it is going to be interesting to see if he can return and be explosive. He is a big part of what the Thunder do, and he had the best season of his career last year, and if he can come back at full strength, he could improve. He is becoming more comfortable as a point guard, and he is one of the hardest players to guard in the league. This is all based on projections that he can come back at full strength as soon as possible.
2. Derrick Rose- 2011-12 Stats: 21.8 points, 7.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds per game; 43% from the field. (Didn’t play last season)
Before he tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, Derrick Rose was viewed as a top 7 player in the NBA. He is explosive, and can make plays. Derrick Rose also added to his game, and it seems as if he is becoming harder to stop. He missed the entire 2012-13 season, which I’m fine with, and he will have to come back at full strength in order for this ranking to hold up. He should have an improved jump-shot because of his rehab (the first thing you can do is shoot, most players recovering from ACL tears improve their jumper), and he should be an All-NBA player again. Like Westbrook, this is all based on projection of recovery.
1. Chris Paul- 2012-13 stats: 16.9 points, 9.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds per game; 48% from the field.
Chris Paul has been the best point guard in the league for a few years now, and he has a stranglehold on the spot. His stats may not be as high as other guys, but anyone who knows the game will tell you he’s the best. Chris Paul has one of the top handling abilities in the league, and he can control a game better than anyone. He comes up big in clutch moments, and he is a great leader. He has a great shot, and it seems as if he does things that don’t seem possible. Chris Paul is hard to explain, but just watch him and you’ll see why he’s the best point guard in the league.
Many people compare the value of an NBA point guard to that of the NFL quarterback–you need a good one to win championships. I think that’s extreme. Mario Chalmers, Derrick Fisher, and an old Jason Kidd are the last three starting point guards on the NBA Champion. They are becoming more important though, and there is no doubt that this is the deepest position in the league. These rankings could make me look like a fool, but these guys are at the top of their position going in to this season.
Just missed the cut: Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Damian Lillard, Chris Duhon (kidding)
Check out the first power rankings of the year.