It’s the start to the NBA season, so you know what that means; I need to rank my top 100 players in the NBA just like I did last year. I began creating the rankings until I realized just how ridiculous it was that I was comparing guys like Lou Williams to guys like Clint Capela. How exactly do you fairly rank them? While they each play their role perfectly, it’s hard to determine whose role is more important to their team, so I scrapped the top 100.
Now, I will be ranking the top 10 at each position (I used Basketball-Reference to determine the positions). Starting tonight, on opening night, I will rank the top 10 point guards in the NBA based on my projections for the upcoming season. Tomorrow, I will rank the shooting guards, then the small forwards, and so on.
1. Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
Whether you like the way he plays or not, it’s pretty tough to argue against a unanimous MVP and three-time NBA champion. Stephen Curry shot 42% from beyond the arc last season while averaging over 26 points per game. While he may not be as relentless a scorer as Westbrook or Lillard, Curry knows his role, and in my opinion, he plays that role better than any other point guard in the league.
2. Chris Paul – Houston Rockets
Already getting controversial, Chris Paul was a huge piece of the Rockets success last season. While one may believe CP3 is out of his prime, or not a real offensive threat like others above him on the list, he makes a huge positive impact on this Rockets team. Just think about it; many believed the Rockets had a chance to beat the Warriors in last year’s postseason. That was, until, Paul was injured and Warriors-haters threw in the towel on their season. The loss of one player changed the whole series.
3. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. Despite averaging a triple-double for back to back seasons, Westbrook still receives more hate than any other player in the NBA. Somehow, I stand between the lovers and the haters. I recognize Westbrook’s relentless effort, yet I still question if it’s always positive. Nevertheless, the Thunder would be one of the worst teams in the league without him, so he clearly makes a positive impact MOST of the time.
4. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
It is a fair observation to make that Damian Lillard has historically struggled in the playoffs. After all, last season Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans embarrassed the Blazers with a first-round sweep, yet I don’t put all the blame on Lillard. I like using the ideology that theoretically, I believe Lillard would make a bigger impact on the Celtics than Kyrie would; therefore, Lillard should be higher ranked than Kyrie. I believe Lillard is able to outplay any of the guys before him their respective roles.
5. Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons is hard to rank on this list, as he has a far different playstyle than any of the other guys. The controversial rookie of the year tallied up eight rebounds and eight assists standing 6 inches taller than any other top 10 point guard. While he may not be as aggressive a scorer, Simmons is nearly impossible to defend when handling the ball.
6. Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics
No. I didn’t really leave Kyrie Irving off the list, but I did leave him out of the top five. Here’s why. Kyrie Irving is replaceable. He’s arguably one-dimensional; he takes the ball into a black hole of dribble moves and fadeaway jump shots, sometimes completely ignoring his Celtics’ teammates who are potentially better scorers than him. Any of the other point guards on this list could succeed just like Kyrie if given teammates like the Celtics.
7. Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets
Kemba Walker is nothing short of a superstar. Standing at a measly 6’1, Walker has managed to average over 20 points per game for all of the past three seasons. With a strange combination of speed, elusiveness, ball-handling, and shooting, Walker is capable of leading his embarrassing roster to a non-embarrassing record.
8. John Wall – Washington Wizards
John Wall has had an interesting career. Despite his elite athleticism, Wall hasn’t really been able to put together a string of efficient seasons leading his team to significant wins. Last year, Wall scored his least amount of points since 2015, despite shooting the best three-point percentage of his career. After struggling with injuries and chemistry last season, John Wall has an uphill climb to get back into the conversation of a top-5 NBA point guard.
9. Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry averaged his least points ever since arriving in Toronto back in 2013 last season. Since hitting his peak in the 2015-2016 season, Lowry’s career has been on a slow decline in into mediocrity. Perhaps the trade of former best friend Demar DeRozan in return for Kawhi Leonard will reenergize Lowry and the entire Raptors’ roster this season to vault Lowry back into the league’s top guards.
10. Darren Collison – Indiana Pacers
Darren Collison is the ideal roleplaying point guard to play off of any star player in the modern NBA. Collison is small, speedy, an underrated defensive player due to his deceptively long wingspan, and statistically the best shooter in the NBA. While Oladipo broke out largely due to his work ethic, the sharpshooting Collison probably made his breakout season a lot easier.