Top NBA point guard superlatives
Debating the top point guards in the game is no easy task. So we've broken the debate down to find out who excels in which areas. Check out our team's takes:
1. Which NBA point guard is the best passer?
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul would get no arguments from me, but I'll still vote for Andre Miller. It's not difficult to distinguish when a player is offering an idle compliment and when he's sincerely complimenting a guy. To that effect, know what makes LaMarcus Aldridge's face light up? A discussion about what it's like to be a big man with Miller at the point. Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin will say the same thing about Miller's capacity to deliver the ball precisely where they wanted it. Among his peers, Miller is an all-time great.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Ricky Rubio. Similar to how the loss of a sense can heighten others, Rubio's court vision is enhanced simply because he has nothing else to use offensively. If he could hit a jumper or regularly break his man down off the dribble, the openings for Rubio's incredible passes would only multiply.
David Hopkins, The Two Man Game: Is there anybody in the NBA who loves to pass more than Rajon Rondo? He is the quintessential passer -- in that he doesn't only give his teammate the ball, he also gives his teammate an easy shot once it's in his hands. But with Rondo out for the rest of the season, I might say Ricky Rubio instead. Rubio hasn't been very efficient this season, but those passes sure are pretty.
Brett Koremenos, HoopSpeak: Ricky Rubio. It's hard not to pick Steve Nash or Chris Paul, especially with Rubio struggling coming back from an ACL, but Rubio is just in a class by himself.
Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball: He hasn't been around long and he's pretty flawed as a shooter and finisher, but Ricky Rubio is in a class by himself as a passer. Even in the short time he's been back on the court since tearing his ACL he's completed passes few other point guards in the league would even have the courage to try.
2. Which NBA point guard is the best shooter?
Arnovitz: Nash might go down as the best shooter in the game's history. He's a smidgen away from being a 50-40-90 career shooter. What's interesting about Nash is that while his form is hitch-free, his shot isn't among the most aesthetically pleasing in the game. Stephen Curry has a prettier stroke and so long as he can stay healthy, he should vault over Nash fairly soon.
Foster: Stephen Curry. High-volume shooting and efficiency aren't supposed to go together, but Curry's percentages from behind the arc have only increased as he's attempted more shots. It doesn't even seem to matter whether he's shooting off his own dribble or spotting up -- he's an elite shooter in virtually any setting.
Hopkins: Steve Nash still has the highest "true shooting percentage" among point guards in the league (.617). This season, he's shooting .420 from the 3-point line and .970 from the free throw line. Nash may be the greatest point guard shooter in the history of the game. And even though his points per game have dropped, that shot is as reliable as ever.
Koremenos: Steve Nash. As a player synonymous with the 50-40-90 club, Nash isn't just the best shooting point guard, but perhaps one of the greatest shooters of all time.
Schmidt: History says Steve Nash, but when you look at volume, it's hard to give him the nod over Stephen Curry this season. Curry is relentless on offense and fearless on pulling up from three. Unlike so many other players with those qualities though, he's hitting 45 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
3. Which NBA point guard is the best defender?
Arnovitz: Sure, he roves a little, but Eric Bledsoe pressures the ball relentlessly. What the most diligent defenders do for five to 10 seconds, Bledsoe does for full defensive possessions. In order to get into their stuff when Bledsoe is on the floor, offenses have to either go early, or swing the ball to the wing then set.
Foster: Chris Paul. It's all in the hands. Paul has led the league in steals four out of the last five seasons thanks to those mitts, and with a strong frame, great lateral quickness and the mentality of a pest, there's no point guard immune to his harassment.
Hopkins: With Rondo out, I'm looking at Chris Paul. He's a great man-on-man defender. He has a 4.0 steal percentage this season, and his defensive rebounds aren't too bad for a 6-foot guard. That tells me he knows where to position himself on the court, and positioning is half the battle in defense.
Koremenos: Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is an absolute nightmare for opposing guards. Whether it's playing on or off the ball, he can make even a simple post-entry pass an impossible task. His length, strength, effort and athleticism making him a complete package.
Schmidt: For point guards, defense is a difficult proposition. They get screened constantly, take tons of hits and have to recover against the league's quickest players. Chris Paul does as good a job as anyone here, all while helping orchestrate the movements of his team's top-five defense.
4. Which NBA point guard is the best floor general?
Arnovitz: We are all just players in Chris Paul's world because he controls everything -- the pace of the action, the movements on the floor and the themes of the game. On top of all that, he's imbuing every teammate he plays with a superhuman confidence.
Foster: Chris Paul. He knows how to manipulate time (he never misses a 2-for-1 opportunity), he knows who needs shots and from what locations, and he has a sense of the moment for when he needs to produce the dagger himself. No one exhibits the level of control over the game like Paul does.
Hopkins: Chris Paul. Without a doubt. Just watch the Clippers play. Paul directs that team like an orchestra conductor. It's beautiful to watch.
Koremenos: Chris Paul. The most telling impact of Paul is watching the Clippers struggle to even get into a set on the offensive end of the floor during his recent absence. Paul is the best at finding a pass-shot balance and putting every single of his teammates in the best position for them to be successful.
Schmidt: Paul gets the call again. As good as he's been on defense, he's been even better on offense. He's keeping multiple big men happy, dominating late in games once again and thriving whenever his team tosses out another point guard next to him in Eric Bledsoe.
5. Which NBA point guard has the most potential?
Arnovitz: It's safe to say Kyrie Irving has graduated from potential status. That being the case, Damian Lillard tempts the imagination, as does Bledsoe, but the trajectory to follow is Jrue Holiday's. Would love to see what he could do alongside a wing who demanded real attention.
Foster: Kyrie Irving. You simply can't stay in front of this kid. Irving hasn't even played 100 games yet, but he might already be the best scorer and ball handler at the position, and his weaknesses defensively should melt away with more time. He has all the ability to be one of the best ever.
Hopkins: I have to keep reminding myself that Kyrie Irving is only 20 years old and in his second season. Irving is the next truly elite-level point guard -- one of those awe-inspiring players who upgrades his game every offseason. If I were a GM, I'd take him over almost anybody not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
Koremenos: Kyrie Irving. The kid is already an elite passer and scorer at just the tender age of 20. It's almost scary to see where he's going to be in five years
Schmidt: Even the sky seems like too much of a limit for Kyrie Irving. He controls the ball on the dribble like it's part of his body. There's nothing he can't make it do. And he combines his ball-handling prowess with incredible athleticism, a deadly jumper and an obvious desire to win. He's a clear future MVP.
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