The Elite: (In Order)
1. Chris Paul
Chris Paul has been steady throughout his career and is widely considered the best point-guard in the NBA. While this season Paul is averaging 16 points a game and assists, he has career averages of 19 points a game, 10 assists per game and 4.4 rebounds a game, which is a testament to his consistency in his 7 years in the league. Paul finished 3rd place in MVP voting for good reason, and this season expect him to take the Clippers to new levels in the playoffs
2. Rajon Rondo
Rondo is right up there with Chris Paul, and some argue that he is better. Rajon Rondo is a winner, and at age 22 was the floor general for a championship team. With the other stars on his team aging, Rondo has taken over as the leader of the team and has stepped his game up. While Rajon Rondo is averaging only 13 points a game, that stat doesn’t tell the whole story. He averages 13 assists a game and 5.3 rebounds a game, while also being a feisty defensive leader. His all-around game is exactly what his team needs. He has been criticized for his lack of a jump-shot, Rondo has improved his field goal percentage to 51%, which is good enough for third best on his team. This shows that not only has he improved his jumper, but he is taking good shots.
3. Derrick Rose
Although currently injured, Rose is a former MVP and for good reason. He is electric and gets to the basket, has a steady jump-shot. Rose has been somewhat criticized for not getting his teammates involved enough, but the 3 time all-star averaged a career high 7.9 assists a game last season, a good sign for Bulls fans. At age 24 Rose still has plenty of time to work on getting his teammates involved and due to his youth, he still should have elite athleticism despite his injury.
4. Deron Williams
Williams continues to evolve, and he’s been one of the best point guards in the NBA for quite some time. He needs to work on his rebounding and defense, but it does seem like he’s moving in the right direction. Last season he managed to average of 21.0 points and 8.7 assists per game, with a sub-par team. While this season his points a game will likely go down, that should not concern Brooklyn Nets fans because he no longer needs to be the vocal point of the offense (scoring-wise that is). With an improved team, including having a healthy Brook Lopez and trading for former-Hawks swing-man Joe Johnson, I expect his assists numbers to go up.
Just Missed The List: (No Order)
1. Kyrie Irving
At just 20 years old Irving is averaging 24 points a game and 5.6 assists a game. While he is scoring at an elite level, I would like to see Irving play more than just 65 games that he’s played on his resume. His assists need to go up, but some of that can be accounted for by not having an all-star caliber player on his roster, but what Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio and Steve Nash do is find a way to make their teammates over perform, something I have yet to see from Irving.
2. Steve Nash
Steve Nash is a two-time MVP, but at age 38 I feel that Nash is no longer in elite company. His scoring averages have steadily dropped over the years, but his assists a game haven’t. Last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns, Nash managed to be towards the top in assists a game despite having mediocre teammates. It will be interesting to see how he plays alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.
3. Tony Parker
Of the point-guards who aren’t elite, Parker is the closest to being elite. The French guard is in a similar situation as Rondo in the sense that his other stars are aging. Parker has picked up the slack by averaging 19 points a game and 7.5 assists a game. If their is one thing that we’ve learned about Parker’s Spurs is not to count them out, and Parker is as big of a reason we can’t as he ever has been.
4. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook took the league by storm when he first came into the league out of UCLA. This season Westbrook is making a strong bid to be included in the “elite” category by upping his assists a game to nearly 9 a game, which he had previously been criticized for. Currently averaging 20 a game, Russell Westbrook is probably the most explosive and athletic point-guard in the game right now, but he needs to shoot less, and shoot higher percentage shots. Westbrook too often times forces the issue when he should pass to the team’s true superstar Kevin Durant. Even with my criticisms of Westbrook it is getting harder and harder not to consider him an elite point-guard.
Too Soon To Tell: (Players who have started off great, but it has been simply too soon to fully judge their abilites. NO ORDER)
1. Ricky Rubio
2. Damian Lilard