As the skill set needed to play in the NBA has changed greatly over the past few decades, maybe no position has changed more than the point guard. Ever since “Magic” Johnson proved that big, powerful guys could play the position and that you didn’t have to just be a skinny, short guy who was good at passing, point guards have come in all shapes and sizes.
We took a look at the starting point guard listed on ESPN’s depth chart for all NBA teams as of Dec. 4, 2018 and ranked them in order of greatness — from worst to best. They are all dangerous in their own ways, some are better at passing, others at scoring, some at forcing turnovers and even a few at grabbing rebounds. We only counted one point guard from each team and all stats come from NBA.com.
See where your favorite floor general landed on our list.
Dejounte Murray (San Antonio Spurs)
The youngest player ever to be named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team, Dejounte Murray has worked his way to becoming the Spurs starting point guard in his third year. Unfortunately, his progress hit a major snag when he went down with a torn ACL during a 2018 preseason game.
Only time will tell if Murray is able to come back and continue his improvement at full power after healing up. His scoring and assist numbers could both use a boost for him to be considered a top point guard.
Reggie Jackson (Detroit Pistons)
In his nine seasons in the NBA, Reggie Jackson has only started more than 50 games once. Various injuries shortened his last two seasons but he’s been healthy so far in 2018 and is among the top scorers for the Pistons.
Compared to other starting point guards in the league, however, his overall stats are average at best, especially his assist numbers, which have been at their lowest since 2012-13.
D.J. Augustin (Orlando Magic)
Augustin has bounced around the league, playing for eight different teams since 2008. His numbers are nothing to write home about, averaging 9.6 points and 3.8 assists per game in a career that has mostly seen him coming off the bench.
This season, he’s Orlando’s starting point guard and he’s on pace to have one of his best seasons in terms of assists, but his stats are still toward the bottom of the league at the position.
Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers)
Constant injury issues have kept Pat Beverley from realizing his full potential and from ever starting more than 67 games in a season. After missing nearly all of last season, Beverley is listed as the Clippers starting point guard but has been splitting time with rookie Shai Gilbeous-Alexander, who has outscored him so far.
Beverley’s career stats have yet to show him as a sub-10-point scorer and a point guard who doesn’t excel in racking up assists. The best part of his game is on the defensive end, where he’s twice earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive Team.
Kris Dunn (Chicago Bulls)
Injuries have limited Kris Dunn’s potential in his three NBA seasons so far, but he’s also shown he’s a dynamic, talented player when he is healthy. Dunn hurt his knee during his first game of the 2018-19 season with the Chicago Bulls, forcing him to miss more than a month of action. If Dunn is able to come back at full power and keep up the kind of all-around production he gave Chicago last season, he could easily climb this list in years to come.
Emmanuel Mudiay (New York Knicks)
Emmanuel Mudiay has put up middling numbers since joining the league in 2015 as a member of the Denver Nuggets, leading some to label him a draft bust.
In his time since joining the Knicks in February 2018, his assist numbers haven’t been great but, in the early part of the 2018-19 season, he’s now averaging 11.7 points per game, which is close to his career high. He’s listed as the Knicks starter but is part of a rotation of point guards that may be hindering his individual stats. The jury is still out on whether Mudiay can be counted among the league’s best floor generals.
Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers)
This young player’s NBA career is just getting started, but he’s getting a ton of experience already, thanks to being on a struggling team. Collin Sexton was Cleveland’s top draft pick in 2018, and he’s already the team’s starting point guard.
In the early part of his rookie season, he’s shown to be more of a scoring threat than an assist machine, averaging 14.5 points per game to just 2.5 assists per game through 22 games. Sexton can easily climb this list in years to come, but it’s too early to know what he’s capable of in the NBA.
Elfrid Payton (New Orleans Pelicans)
With Jrue Holiday now listed as a shooting guard, per the Pelicans depth chart, Elfrid Payton is the team’s starting point man. An injury in November will shorten his 2018-19 season by a bit but, before getting hurt, Payton’s stats were on par with his career numbers, which average out to about 11 points and six assists per game. Playing alongside a versatile guard like Holiday will likely hurt his individual numbers a bit. Payton’s defensive skills have been proven since his award-winning days playing college ball.
Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks)
Now in his second NBA season, Dennis Smith Jr. has proven himself as a solid defender, but not yet as an elite point guard in terms of offensive production. Smith averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.2 assists per game in his rookie season but both numbers have dipped slightly so far in 2018-19. He’s still got a lot to prove before he is ranked among the best at his position but Smith has looked impressive so far.
Darren Collison (Indiana Pacers)
A veteran journeyman, Collison has played point guard for five NBA teams and is currently in his second stint with the Pacers.
The 31-year-old player stunned many fans when he led the league in three-point shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio last season. Collison’s numbers have dipped a bit from those career highs but he seems to have some great basketball left in him.
Lonzo Ball (Los Angeles Lakers)
In his second NBA season, Lakers star Lonzo Ball has seen his stats dip because of LeBron James taking over his team’s offense. Ball’s assists-per-game average has dropped to nearly half of its 2017-18 figure and he is being outdone in that category by teammates James and Rajon Rondo.
Ball is clearly still a gifted point guard but it’s going to take some time for him to adjust to playing with a dominating veteran like James, who can run an offense better than most players in the league.
D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn Nets)
Despite missing some significant time in 2017-18 due to a knee injury, Nets star D’Angelo Russell has been developing into a dangerous starting point guard since debuting with the Lakers in 2015. Russell has averaged at least 15 points per game in the past two seasons and, through 25 games in 2018, is now averaging a career-high 18 points per game. He’s yet to play on a team that’s won more than 28 games but, hopefully, Russell will get to show what he can do on a good team one of these days.
Goran Dragic (Miami Heat)
The Slovenian baller has been in the league since 2008 but just made his first All-Star Game roster last season. Dragic has averaged at least 15 points per game in all but one of the last four seasons and he’s averaging 16.3 so far in 2018-19. He hurt his knee after just 13 games into the current season, keeping him out for several weeks. But he’s not been injury prone and has proven to be a reliable scorer from the point guard position.
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
The fifth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Young was an absolute freak in college, having a historically great freshman season before leaving school for the pros. Through the first 24 games of his NBA career, Young is averaging 15.6 points per game and 7.6 assists per game, immediately showing his potential. If Young can get his shooting percentages up across the board, he’ll be one of the league’s most dangerous players.
Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
Rising star Jamal Murray may be leading the Nuggets in scoring through 22 games of 2018-19, but he’s being out-assisted by his center. Still, Murray is currently averaging career highs in points, assists and rebounds per game in leading the Nuggets to the best start in the entire Western Conference through November. The Canadian baller is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talked-about players.
Ricky Rubio (Utah Jazz)
Unlike many of the star point guards in today’s NBA, Ricky Rubio has been a more consistent passer than shooter over his career. He averaged about nine assists per game every season from 2013 to 2017. His assist numbers hit a career low last season but his scoring average hit a career high at 13.7 points per game.
Rubio played for some low-performing Minnesota Timberwolves teams for the first six seasons of his NBA career, but in his first season with the Jazz last year he finally made the playoffs and was fantastic, averaging 14 points, seven assists and more than seven rebounds per game during the postseason.
Jeff Teague (Minnesota Timberwolves)
For seven straight seasons, Jeff Teague has averaged at least 12 points per game, making him one of the most reliable scoring point guards in the league. His assist numbers have improved in recent years, as well, with him averaging at least seven per game for three of the past four seasons.
So far in 2018, he’s keeping that pace up, with his 7.4 assists-per-game average ranking in the top 10 of all point guards. Teague has also managed to stay healthy, starting in at least 70 games for each of the past six seasons — which is an increasingly impressive stat.
De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
One of the youngest starting point guards in the league, 20-year-old De’Aaron Fox showed his considerable talents during his rookie year in 2017-18. But his numbers have been even more impressive during the 2018-19 season, with him averaging more than 17 points and seven assists per game in 22 contests thus far. Fox plays on a Kings team loaded with young talent but has already separated himself as a clear leader on the court.
Eric Bledsoe (Milwaukee Bucks)
Through eight NBA seasons so far, Eric Bledsoe has been a consistently great point guard, even if injuries have shortened several of his seasons. He’s been a reliable scorer and passer but his ability to force turnovers has been even more impressive. In 2017-18, he led all point guards in steals per game, averaging two each contest.
Through 22 games this season, he’s averaging more than 15 points per game and his shooting percentage is among the highest of all point guards.
Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
Since being drafted by the Grizzlies in 2007, Mike Conley has been climbing the franchise’s all-time records, cementing himself as one of the leagues true star point guards. Injuries have shortened his past few seasons, including 2017-18 when he only played in 12 games. Even with those obstacles, Conley has been putting up career-high scoring numbers since 2016, including this season.
Unfortunately for Conley, his talents have never led to a deep playoff run for Memphis.
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
In just his fourth NBA seasons, Devin Booker has already proven himself to be one of the league’s most exciting offensive players. During his second season, he scored 70 points in a single game. Performances like that have helped him average 23.5 points per game over the past two seasons.
He ranks near the top of all starting point guards in points and assists per game through the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season. Booker leads the Suns in both of those categories and is quickly showing he’s one of the most dangerous point guards in the NBA.
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)
A two-time All-Star already, Hornets point guard Kemba Walker seems to get better every year, despite never having won a playoff series in eight seasons of NBA play. He’s proven himself to be one of the most reliable scorers from that position, seeing his points-per-game average soar to a career-high 23.2 last season.
This season, he’s averaging more than 26 points per game through 23 games, including single games where he’s scored 60 and 43, opening up the old debate as to whether a player on a bad team can be named league MVP. Walker has averaged 5.4 assists per game through his career so far and he doesn’t often miss games.
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
A four-time NBA All-Star, veteran Kyle Lowry leads all starting point guards with 10.3 assists per game through the first 24 games of 2018-19. His previous career high was 7.4, so clearly he’s moving the ball better than he ever has. Lowry has proven to be a great leader as one of the driving forces behind Toronto’s transformation into one of the Eastern Conference’s most consistent playoff teams.
He’s been in the league since 2006 but has truly become a dangerous scorer in the past five seasons, averaging 19.1 points per game in that span.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
A truly all-around threat, 76ers star Ben Simmons has already made a name for himself in just his second NBA season. As a rookie in 2017-18, Simmons led all point guards in shooting percentage — and he’s leading all starting point guards through the first 24 games of this season. In addition to his shooting accuracy, Simmons is also a nightly triple-double threat, averaging 15.5 points, 7.9 assists and 8.8 rebounds per game so far this season, similar to his rookie season line of 15.8, 8.2 and 8.1.
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Wizards star John Wall has been an NBA All-Star for the past five consecutive seasons and has nearly averaged a double-double for every season of that stretch. He missed half of the 2017-18 regular season due to injuries but has been back to full power to start this season, averaging more than 21 points and eight assists per game through the year’s first 24 games.
Rumors persist that a frustrated Wall may be traded this year and any team would be lucky to have a point guard of his abilities.
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
A star since day one, Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was named NBA rookie of the year in 2013 and has earned three All-Star Game appearances.
Through six full seasons so far, Lillard has averaged more than 23 points and six assists per game — and has averaged about 27 points per game in the past two seasons, the same total he’s currently averaging through 23 games of 2018-19. He’s also been fantastic in five straight playoff appearances that he’s led Portland to, averaging nearly 24 points per game through 35 postseason games.
Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics)
A five-time NBA All-Star and one of only two point guards on this list to have won an NBA championship, Kyrie Irving proved himself in Cleveland for six seasons before leaving for Boston in 2017. Irving has been a consistently great scorer in his career, averaging 22 points per game over seven seasons, not including the 22.2 points he’s averaged through this season’s first 22 games.
So far this season, he’s also averaging a career-high 6.4 assists per game.
Chris Paul (Houston Rockets)
Some would say he’s not the best point guard on his own team, but Chris Paul is still listed as the starting point guard for the Rockets, while James Harden is listed as a shooting guard in the depth chart, so we’re going with Paul for our consideration.
A nine-time All-Star and former NBA MVP, Paul has been considered the gold standard of the classic point guard style since coming into the league in 2005. Paul has led the league in assists per games four times and in steals per game six times, while his career scoring average of 18.7 points per game is also nothing to overlook.
Teaming with Harden has dimmed his star power a bit but Paul is easily still one of the league’s best point guards.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
A five-time All-Star and two-time MVP, Steph Curry’s three NBA championships might be his most impressive accomplishment. Few other point guards are able to score as consistently as Curry, as he’s averaged 23.1 points per game in nine seasons so far, and has averaged 27.2 points per game in the past three seasons. His assist-per-game numbers are also respectable, with him averaging 6.8 in his career.
Curry is the most consistent winner at the point guard position in the NBA today and is arguably the most dangerous shooter in the league. But, according to us, he’s only the second-best starting point guard in the league today.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
A true freak, Russell Westbrook is the most dynamic point guard in the NBA today — and arguably the last guy you want facing off with your team. He’s a seven-time All-Star and was named league MVP in 2017.
For the past two seasons, Westbrook has averaged a triple-double and he’s nearly on pace to do it again, averaging 22.8 points, 9.2 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game through 14 games played this season. He’s led the league in scoring average twice and led the league in assists per game last season.
Westbrook represents what a truly complete player can do in the point guard position. It’s a controversial take, but we’ll put Westbrook over Steph Curry in this conversation because of his pure domination in every stat, including the assists category.