So far the NBA has had a terrific season and this article examines my opinion of who (so far) have been the top points guard of 2016-2017 NBA season.
Kyle Lowry - Toronto Raptors
Lowry is an obvious top ten point guard, nevertheless, injury prevents him from being on the list with the veteran missing the rest of the regular season with a wrist injury.
Goran Dragic - Miami Heat
Dragic has been terrific for the Heat since they have gone on a massive surge towards the playoffs. Since January 17th, Miami have gone 16-2. Dragic has averaged 22.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.7 dimes during that span.
Eric Bledsoe - Phoenix Suns
For what has been a gloomy season for the Suns, Eric Bledsoe has been a bright spot. Bledsoe has been able to stay injury free and posted averages of 21.3 points, 5 rebounds and 6.3 assists thus far.
10. Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets
Not only is Kemba averaging a career-high 22.7 points, he is also shooting the ball like never before. In the previous five seasons, Kemba shot the ball at a remarkably low percentage of 39. This season, he has improved that to 45 % and 40 % from three. A massive jump. With limited options in Charlotte, Kemba is going to have to keep on improving if the Hornets are any chance of making the playoffs.
9. Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
People will say Damian Lillard is too low on the list. That’s your opinion and you're entitled to that. Lillard IS scoring at a tremendous rate averaging close to 26 points per game to go along with 5.8 assists. However, Lillard has become too much of a defensive liability to be in the ‘Top Five’ conversation for point guards. Lillard possesses one of the worst defensive ratings of 114 in the league. If he can improve defensively he can skyrocket up this list.
8. Mike Conley - Memphis Grizzlies
The -153 million dollar- man has a productive season once again pairing up with Marc Gasol to lead the Grizzlies to a solid record of 35-25 and sixth place in the West. Memphis are utilizing Conley more than ever with a career-high usage rate of 25.9. This has led to Conley scoring the ball like never before, with a career high average of 19.4 points thus far. However, Conley still bolsters as one of the league's top two-way guards as he excels defensively. Conley averages a defensive net rating of 107. The same as lock-down defender Patrick Beverley.
7. Kyrie Irving - Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie is one of the best scorers, one of the best finishes and the best ball handler in the league. Irving is posting career highs across the board with highs in points, free throw percentage and two-point field goal percentage. With such firepower on the Cavaliers team, Kyrie doesn’t need to score thirty a night, but he could. If the team needed him too.
6. Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
Unfortunately, Paul missed fourteen games between January and February due to thumb surgery. In the 38 games he has played so far, Paul has still been outstanding. Averaging close to a double-double with 17.4 points, 9.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Paul outshines opponents defensively and is without a doubt the best two-way point guard in the league with the offensive rating of 126 and defensive rating of 105 per 100 possessions.
5. Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
Yes, I have Steph Curry at five. No, this isn’t a joke. The fact is, Kevin Durant’s move to Golden State has really hurt his production. Curry’s rebounds, assists, steals, field goal and three-point percentage are all down from last year's MVP season. Not to mention his points have dropped from 30 to 25 a game. Curry is still one of the best players in the league dot get me wrong. However, this year has not been his best.
4. John Wall - Washington Wizards
Wow has this guy been good. After a slow start to the season, John Wall has really stepped up. Wall has led the Wizards to currently third in the East and is putting up massive numbers of 23 points, 10.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals. At this rate, Wall and the Wizards may be the only thing in the way of the Cavaliers in the East.
3. Isaiah Thomas- Boston Celtics
Isaiah has now cemented himself as a top scorer in the league. The little guy is averaging close to 30 points per game and has led the Celtics to second in the East. Thomas has scored 20 points or more in 43 straight games now showing his consistency as well as averaging a crazy 10.5 points in the last quarter. Clutch. The only question now is, MVP?
2. James Harden- Houston Rockets
What a year this guy is having. Along with Wall, Harden is the only other player averaging double-digit assists with 11.3. To go with that, ‘The Beard’ is putting up crazy numbers of 29 points and 8 rebounds per game. These numbers are in large part due to the freedom Harden has been able to play with under coach, Mike D’Antoni. Harden will go very close to MVP if he continues to put up this kind of numbers.
1. Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
Back and forth I went picking between Harden or Westbrook. I couldn’t go past my boy Russ. Durant leaving, in a way, might have been a blessing in disguise. Russell is now leading the league in scoring while putting up a triple-double. That’s unheard of. However, the stat that does separate Westbrook and Harden is this.
While Russ is on the court for the Thunder they are +3.2, without him? -10.5. Rocket’s with Harden on the court + 7.6, without him? +4.6. NBA fans need to watch and enjoy the fire Westbrook plays with because it is astonishing and won't be around forever.