NBA Return: Top 5 Point Guards Ranked
5. Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
I’m sure some will have issues with Simmons being on this list, seeing as he looks like a power forward and his actual position has long been debated, but he’s the primary ball handler for the Sixers, and a point guard by definition.
Simmons is an unbelievable two-way player. He has his limitations offensively, mainly the fact that he refuses to even attempt jump shots, but he brings so much more than scoring to that side of the ball.
Simmons’ court vision is unbelievable. His ability to drive and dish is unmatched and his vision in the pick-and-roll game is a major reason why his teammates find themselves so open as often as they do. Simmons averages 8.0 assists per game in his career, including 8.2 per game this season while averaging 16.7 points per game.
Defensively, he’s by far the best point guard in the league. His 2.1 steals per game are the most in the entire NBA and his size and strengths means he can matchup with any position on the floor.
If he can improve his jump shot and confidence from outside, he can take that next step from great player to bonafide superstar.
4. Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
If he could stay healthy throughout his career Kyrie Irving would find himself even higher on this list, but a myriad of injuries drops him a bit.
As far as talent goes, it’s tough to find a better, more well-rounded scorer at the PG position, and it starts with his handles.
Irving has an amazing ability to beat defenders off the dribble or break an ankle or two because the ball basically sticks to his hand. That, coupled with his agility and quickness, puts most defenders on skates immediately.
On top of that, he’s an unbelievable finisher at the rim, absorbing contact and often getting to the line.
He’s not going to put up a ton of assists or rebounds, but he will absolutely light up the scoreboard on any given night. In 20 games this season for Brooklyn, he’s averaging 27.4 points per game on 47.8% shooting.
He does everything on the offensive end as a ball-dominant point guard that scores in bunches from in close or beyond the arc.
3. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Speaking of scoring in bunches from beyond the arc, our No. 3 point guard may be the best in the world at doing just that.
Lillard averages an unbelievable 28.9 points per game, good for fifth in the NBA and second among point guards. He’s known for his ridiculous shooting range, often pulling up from close to the logo and making defenses extend way past where they’re comfortable.
He also has an undeniable flare for the dramatic. Just ask the Houston Rockets and OKC Thunder, who have both been on the wrong end of series-clinching buzzer beaters from Lillard.
Lillard was also in the midst of his best season ever in terms of distributing the ball before play was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. He’s averaging 7.6 assists per game and fewer than three turnovers per game.
There’s very little Lillard can’t do on the offensive side of the ball and it shows as he puts up massive numbers year after year out in Portland. The next step for Dame will come when he can get some postseason success and make a run at his first ever title.
2. Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
I would bet that even the biggest Luka Doncic fan in the world didn’t expect him to be this good, this quickly.
In just his second year in the league, his age-20 season, Doncic is averaging 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game.
If you watch a Mavericks game you see him doing just about everything. He brings the ball up, shoots from distance, gets to the rack and distributes the ball with ease.
His 27.7 Player Efficiency Rating is good for fourth in the NBA, and he spent a good portion of the season as an MVP contender before Giannis Antetokounmpo took over.
His ceiling at this point is limitless. If he’s this talented offensively in just his second year, who knows how good he will end up down the line.
He’s shown more quickness and better athleticism that people expected from him when he was drafted out from Real Madrid in 2018, which has led to him taking the NBA by storm.
1. James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Harden, like Ben Simmons, is another player that some may not consider a point guard, especially with the addition of Russell Westbrook to Houston. But, he is often the primary ball handler for Houston’s offensive sets and rarely plays without the ball in his hand.
The evolution of Harden has been spectacular to watch. He’s not the biggest, fastest, strongest or most athletic guy on this list, but he’s still far and away the best point guard in the NBA.
As a scorer, his talent is unmatched in the NBA, regardless of position. He’s led the league in scoring for the past three season, including a 34.4 points-per-game average prior to the suspension in play in 2020.
He’s incredibly crafty with the ball in his hand. He uses ball fakes to create separation and make up for what he lacks as a natural athlete.
He has improved his game as a passer, rebounder and defender while maintaining his dominance as a scorer. There is really no argument against James Harden as the NBA’s best point guard.
Brian is a sports journalist with close to ten years of experience in the business. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan with a passion for all things sports gambling.