The regular season is almost upon us. As I wake up every morning I check the countdown like a kid counts down for Christmas. These rankings are based on two ideas. I compared all the stats from the point guards’ regular season and postseason. I also looked at their possibilities for them to improve this coming season, though it was not as important last year’s stats. So, with that being said, let’s get right into it!
*stats come from ESPN.com, NBA.com, & Basketball-Reference.com*
** After publishing the article, I have decided to put people into their new positions. Example: James Harden will be a point guard this year. I was going to include him in the Shooting Guard article due to his stats coming from that position. I will change that from now on. I will NOT change this article to reflect my new decision**
Chris Paul is ole reliable. 31 years old and still producing in the league. While it has not turned out great for the Clippers yet because the Clippers Big Three hast not produced a ring yet; Paul still churns out the stats. For example, Paul finished last season with averages of 19.5ppg, 10.0apg, 4.2rpg, and 2.1apg. He shot .462% from the field, .371% from the three point line, and .896% from the free throw line. He finished with a +7.8 Box Plus/Minus and contributed 12.7 Win Shares. Paul and the Clippers were swept in 4 games in the playoffs this past season. Paul still put up averages of 23.8ppg, 7.3apg, 4.0rpg and 2.3spg. He shot .487% from the field, .300% from the three point line, and 100% from the free throw line. The main problem with Paul and the Clippers is their success in the regular season never quite translating to the postseason. Paul has never made it to the Conference Finals in his career. As his career is winding down, he hopes that can change. That does not take away from the fact Paul is still an excellent point guard.
What comes to mind when you think of Kyrie Irving? There are two examples of Irving’s dominance that came to mind right away. Number one is Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals when Kyrie and LeBron put on a show where they both put up 41 points against the Golden State Warriors. The second thing that comes to mind is Kyrie’s handles in general. He puts defenders on ice skates, often making them look foolish. Last season, Kyrie put up averages of 19.6ppg, 4.7apg, 3.0rpg, and 1.1spg. He shot .448% from the field, .321% from the three point line, and .885% from the free throw line. Irving put up a +1.6 Box Plus/Minus and contributed 5.0 Win Shares. Irving’s biggest knack against him is his defense. Irving has had a negative Defensive Box Plus/Minus every year of his career. His offense well makes up for it. In 21 games in the postseason he upped nearly all of those averages. He put up 25.2ppg, 4.7apg, 3.0rpg and 1.7spg. He shot .475% from the field, .440% from the three point line, and .875% from the three point line. Irving is only 24. What is scary for the league is that LeBron and Kyrie figured out how to work best with each other during the 2016 NBA Finals. Watch out NBA…
Lillard is way underappreciated by the league and has been snubbed for too long. Lillard is dominant. He came into the league with complete confidence in his play and it showed. The 26 year old once again had a dominant season for the Trail Blazers. During the regular season, Lillard averaged 25.1ppg, 6.8apg and 4.0rpg. He shot .419% from the field, .375% from the three point line, and .892% from the free throw line. He put up a +3.7 Box Plus/Minus and contributed 9.2 Win Shares. Lillard showed up in the Trail Blazers 11 games of the postseason too. Lillard put up averages of 26.5ppg, 6.3apg, 4.3rpg, and 1.3spg. He shot .368% from the field, .393% from the three point line, and .910% from the free throw line. This team was an afterthought coming into last season. They were counted out by everyone. Lillard, with the help of his teammates, completely refuted everyone. He is a dominant point guard and the league should finally take notice.
I may get some surprised readers when they see Stephen Curry is my #2 but bare with me. Curry absolutely dominated the regular season on the way to his consecutive MVP; putting up averages of 30.1ppg, 6.7apg, 5.4rpg, and 2.1spg. He shot .504% from the field, .454% from the three point line, and .908% from the free throw line. He had a +12.5 Box Plus/Minus and contributed 17.9 Win Shares. Curry also put up good numbers in his 18 games in the postseason. Curry averaged 25.1ppg, 5.5rpg, 5.2apg, and 1.4spg while shooting .438% from the field, .404% from the three point line, and .916% from the free throw line. We all know that fateful NBA Finals where the Golden State Warriors were up 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and then lost three straight to watch the Cavaliers celebrate their first ever title. That is not the reason Curry dropped to No. 2 though. The reasons why he dropped to #2, will be stated when I release my top point guard.
Stephen Curry may play for the best team but Russell Westbrook is the best point guard. Westbrook is physically dominating. The 6’3″ 27 year old will attack you with a mixture of his strength and speed as you watch him ferociously dunk and electrify the crowd. With Durant’s departure to Golden State, this is no doubt Westbrook’s team. Westbrook put up averages of 23.5ppg, 10.4apg, 7.8rpg, and 2.0spg while shooting .454% from the field, .296% from the three point line, and .812% from the free throw line. He finished with a +10.0 Box Plus/Minus and contributed 14.0 Win Shares. In 18 games in the post season, Westbrook averaged 26.0ppg, 11.0apg, 6.9rpg, and 2.6spg while shooting .405% from the field, .324% from the three point line, and .829% from the free throw line. Let us not forget, they were up 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors and were one game away from making the NBA Finals. They lost three straight and the Warriors advanced. So why is Westbrook number 1? Well, the Warriors added his ex-teammate Kevin Durant, which is sure to drop Curry’s numbers. Westbrook had great stats with less than what Curry had. Lastly, when the Thunder played the Warriors in the post season, Curry and Westbrook went head-to-head. Going by game-by-game basis, I concluded that Westbrook outplayed Curry with better stats in Game 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. That leaves Curry winning Games 2 and 7. Looking at the entire series as a whole, Curry averaged 27.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 5.9apg, and 2.1spg over 7 games while Westbrook averaged 26.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 11.3apg, and 3.7spg. Just looking at those stats, Westbrook outplayed Curry. Westbrook can be seen as a turnover machine, but no one can refute his talent and his knack for being a triple-double machine. Westbrook’s talent is an argument for his #1 point guard status.