With another NBA season upon us, I’ll rank the top players at each position in the league. Arguably the most important position in the game, point guards lead the discussion.
1) Russell Westbrook (OKC): Westbrook put up monster numbers with 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 rebounds per game last season. Without Kevin Durant, he’ll have an even larger chip on his shoulder than normal. Best of luck to opposing defenses. And yeah, Westbrook also leads the league off the floor in the fashion department too.
2) Stephen Curry (GSW): Don’t let LeBron’s block diminish the player Curry has become. We talked about Curry’s unique rise last winter. His numbers are staggering and warranted the second straight MVP selection last season: 30 points, 6.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds per. The scariest part of his output were the FIVE made 3-pointers a night. Even if his stats dip a little with the addition of Durant, Curry is still at the top of this discussion.
3) James Harden (HOU): ESPN analyst and former NBA champion Chauncey Billups said it best, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” That describes the sentiment in the public towards Harden who has become a pop culture icon of sorts. On the floor, he’s leaned out and had a quietly productive 2015-16 season: 29 points, 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds per. He’s the best in the league at getting to the free throw line shooting 86 percent from there.
4) Damien Lillard (Portland): Lillard turned heads with his debut rap album, “The Letter O,” last week. But his 140 million guaranteed contract came from his domination on the hardwood. Dame dropped 25 points, 6.8 assists and 4 rebounds per in 2015-16.
5) Chris Paul (LA Clippers): Paul is the consummate floor general. Even as he starts to enter the latter years of his elite prime, his numbers held as steady as ever. Paul dropped 19.5 points, 10 assists and 4.2 rebounds per. He doesn’t shoot the 3-pointer at the same clip as Lillard, Curry or Harden but averages more assists than any of those three.
6) Kyrie Irving (Cleveland): Irving’s ability and willingness to score the ball from the position makes him unique. He found a way to coexist with ball dominant guard option in LeBron and win an NBA title in the process. In a shorter season recovering from a kneecap injury that ended his 2014-15 campaign, Irving posted 19.6 points, 4.7 assists and 3 rebounds per. His assist numbers will always project to hover lower than the other guys on this list as long as King James is playing at his current level so don’t be swayed. Irving is a goon in late-game situations.
7) Kyle Lowry (Toronto): Lowry made a believer of most in last year’s playoff run. He was fantastic all year north of the border averaging 21.2 points, 6.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds while making close to three 3-pointers a game too.
8) John Wall (Washington): Wall’s showing signs of the prospect who warranted a first overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. He might not ascend past Lillard, Curry into the elite discussion of NBA point guards but Wall is a nightmare on any given gameday for opposing defenses. He dropped 19.9 points, 10.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 2015-16 so he’s headed in that Chris Paul direction as a player.
9) Isaiah Thomas (Boston): After leaving Phoenix, Thomas saw his playing time and role increase. The diminutive guard took full advantage averaging 22.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3 rebounds per. Thomas is one to keep an eye on this season to possibly move up the ladder.
10) Kemba Walker (Charlotte): The moving on up radar watch same goes for Walker as Thomas. Walker was fantastic last season posting 20.8 points, 4.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds per. His assist to turnover ratio is hovering under 2 which is not an elite stat in the NBA. Harden’s is 1.64 but his numbers justify the dip while Walker has yet to post Harden like stats in his career.
Honorable Mention: Eric Bledsoe (Phoenix), Mike Conley (Memphis), Goran Dragic (Phoenix), Rajon Rondo (Chicago), Jeff Teague (Indiana)
Brandon Clay serves as the publisher of PSBPopCulture.com. A self-professed entertainment, music and sports junkie, Clay has been on his game since picking up his first Nintendo and Sony Walkman in the early 90’s. Adding in a SLAM (Basketball) Magazine subscription in the late-90’s had him setup up for lifelong success. Clay is also a founding member of the “Luxury Boys Club” designed to stay on top of whatever is next in the world of PopCulture. You can follow him on Twitter @psbpopculture.