RANKED: Every NBA Point Guard from Worst to Best

30. Isaiah Canaan — Phoenix Suns

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The Suns chose to not address their gaping hole at point guard over the off-season. While the team did spend an early second-round pick on French guard Elie Okobo, the 21-year-old is a ways away from being a major contributor at the NBA level. Canaan is a fringe player that only saw extended minutes in the league while playing for the 76ers during ‘The process’ era. The primary reason Phoenix has decided to start Canaan is for defensive purposes — as the Suns lead playmaker Devin Booker is unfit to defend opposing point guards.

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29. D.J. Augustin — Orlando Magic

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For years, the Magic have failed to find any sort of stability at their lead guard spot. While Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon provide ample playmaking abilities, the Magic don’t have a guard able to break down defenses and distribute at a high-level. Augustin is a fine player, but has clear physical limitations. His shooting and decision-making make him a better fit for leading a bench mob instead of facing off against opposing starters.

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28. Trey Burke — New York Knicks

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In yet another lost season for the Knicks, Burke shined in his return to the NBA. Coming in from the G-League as a mid-season acquisition, the former Michigan Wolverine has shown improvements in all facets of his game. The diminutive guard has always had a clean handle — though his finishing around the rim and consistency from the outside often came into question. Burke has been a far more efficient scorer and willing defender since his return to the league.

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27. George Hill — Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s only a matter of time until rookie Collin Sexton takes over. Until then, the veteran Hill will anchor a depleted Cleveland Cavaliers roster. The combo guard has lost a bit of his first step, though Hill has the length and savvy to compete on the defensive end. He’s also a lights-out corner three-point shooter. With the departure of LeBron James, we could see a more attack-minded Hill in 2019.

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26. Kris Dunn — Chicago Bulls

After spending three years in school, Dunn was touted as a can’t-miss prospect ready to instantly contribute for any team. Unfortunately, he was drafted into a tough situation in Minnesota, and failed to live up to expectations after starting just seven games as a rookie. A trade to Chicago seems to have ignited Dunn. A tenacious defender and willing passer, Dunn has to make just a small leap to become one of the better ‘pure’ point guards in today’s league.

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25. Patrick Beverley — Los Angeles Clippers

One of four players on this list that has made an All-Defensive first team, Beverley hangs his hat on the little things. A pesky defender that can get streaky from beyond the arc, the former Rocket is the type of player that is universally beloved by teammates and entirely despised by competitors. He fits in best alongside a player that can create off-the-dribble as evidenced by his career numbers playing in a backcourt with James Harden.

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24. Darren Collison — Indiana Pacers

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Collison has gone under-the-radar as one of the most consistent offensive guards in the league. While he doesn’t post the gaudy numbers of some of his peers, Collison has carved a niche for himself as a consistent scorer and reliable free throw shooter. In 2018, the Indiana Pacers guard came dangerously close to joining the exclusive 50/40/90 club by posting career-high averages in field-goal percentage (49.5), three-point percentage (46.8), and free-throw percentage (88.2).

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23. Trae Young — Atlanta Hawks

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A massive amount of hype surrounds the fifth overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft. Young dazzled the basketball world with a diverse offensive skill-set that is reminiscent of two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. While Young isn’t quite there yet, the 19-year-old has plenty of game at a young age. Young is known for having deep range and the ability to get his shot off whenever he likes. However, his most intriguing skill might be in his ability to pass and make his teammates better. On a young Atlanta team, Young will have to act as the team’s quarterback to help speed-up the rebuild.

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22. De’Aaron Fox — Sacramento Kings

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Early returns on Year 2 for Fox look promising. The former Kentucky Wildcat has all the physical tools to be a great point guard. The hard-working Fox has clearly put in the necessary work to perfect his craft, and is off to a tremendous start to his sophomore campaign. A rangy athlete with elite speed, the best version of Fox could look a lot like Washington’s John Wall.

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21. Dennis Smith Jr. — Dallas Mavericks

While Luka Doncic will help ease the burden of play-making duties, the Mavericks start their 2017 first-round pick at the point guard spot. Smith Jr. is an explosive leaper. He’s also shown signs in becoming a multi-faceted scorer. Smith will need to up his efficiency based upon his rookie season (.395/.313/.694). With that said, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic over Smith Jr’s potential.

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20. D’Angelo Russell — Brooklyn Nets

A former second overall pick, Russell has had a unexpected up-and-down start to his career. The former Lakers player was jettisoned to Brooklyn as a cap-saving move before last summer. He was then limited to just 48 games during his first year with the Nets. The most troubling part about Russell’s game is that he hasn’t really gotten much better year-to-year since he’s entered the league. He’s made small improvements in certain aspects of his game, but is still an inefficient scorer (40.8 percent from the field) that struggles to get his shot off against elite defenses. Russell is still just 22 so there’s no reason to panic just yet. However, the clock is ticking on any chance for him to become a star.

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19. Jamal Murray — Denver Nuggets

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The Nuggets have assembled the best roster they’ve had in years, and the key to unlocking their full potential will be the growth of the 21-year-old Murray. Drafted with the seventh overall pick in 2016, Murray has since made the transition to the point from more of a combo role. It hasn’t been totally natural, but the Canadian-born player certainly has the vision and the play-making chops to make it work. He’s going to need to be better from three to become a more legitimate threat on offense. Murray will also have to find a position to defend effectively to stay on the floor.

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18. Reggie Jackson — Detroit Pistons

It wasn’t all that long ago that teams actually wanted Jackson. The former Thunder guard helped lead the Pistons to the playoffs in his first full season with the team back in 2016. In the two years that followed, Jackson has been marred by inconsistent play and injuries. He’s still great at operating in the pick-and-roll, but Jackson’s shot-selection and lack of defensive intensity is a big reason for Detroit’s woeful two-year stretch.

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17. Dejounte Murray — San Antonio Spurs

It didn’t take an expert to recognize the Spurs got a steal when Murray slipped to 29th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Gifted with long limbs and exquisite defensive instincts, Murray is perfect for the role of a defensive combo guard in San Antonio’s offense. He’s gotten better every year, and Gregg Popovich has gradually afforded Murray more responsibility as his career has gone on. If his offensive game ever catches up to his stellar defense, it could spell trouble for the rest of the league.

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16. Rajon Rondo — Los Angeles Lakers

Part of Boston’s 2008 championship team, Rondo knows what it takes to be a winner in the league. A fiery competitor with inhuman court vision, the former Kentucky guard has done well to reinvent himself over the course of his career. The knock on Rondo has always been his spotty shooting, though he’s been an above average three-point shooter ever since he left Boston in 2015. Able to fill up the stat-sheet in many ways, Rondo should be able to stick aroundMost well into his late 30’s.

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15. Ricky Rubio — Utah Jazz

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Rubio entered the league with as much hype as an international player could ask for. The Spanish national team point guard has been a star ever since he burst onto the professional basketball scene at the age of 14. His polish as a passer and defender made him a unique prospect that the Timberwolves took a shot on with the fifth overall pick in 2009. While it took him a few years to make it over to the states, Rubio is finally starting to hit his stride as an NBA player. His defense is All-NBA worthy, and his ability to create for his teammates is infectious.

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14. Jeff Teague — Minnesota Timberwolves

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One would have expected Teague to have made a giant leap by this point in his career. However, the now 30-year-old has failed to add anything new to his game over the past few seasons. He peaked in 2015 with a 60-win Atlanta team averaging 15.9 points and 7.0 assists on 46 percent shooting. His efficiency has dipped every year since. Teague is still a crafty ball handler that can explode to the rack every now and again, but the holes in his game keep him from cracking the top-10.

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13. Eric Bledsoe — Milwaukee Bucks

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The lasting memory of Bledsoe’s first season with the Milwaukee Bucks will be him getting embarrassed for multiple games by Boston backup guard Terry Rozier. While Rozier and the Celtics exploited many of Bledsoe’s weaknesses (namely defense), the Bucks should remain optimistic about the future of their starting point guard. Bledsoe’s game meshes rather well with Giannis Antetokounmpo. The latter’s ability to contort defenses due to sheer fear will help amplify Bledsoe’s ability as a cutter. Bledose has also been rather good from three over the past couple of years. He should get a boost playing in Mike Budenholzer’s up-tempo offense.

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12. Goran Dragic — Miami Heat

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Dragic has a strong claim for being the most underrated All-Star from last season. Simply looking at a box score doesn’t do the Slovenian justice. Dragic is a potent offensive player with scoring skills from any spot on the floor. He’s a relentless slasher that can knock down close to 40 percent of his three-point attempts. The defensive end of the floor has always been the issue for the 6-foot-3 guard (though it’s not for a lack of effort). He’s a solid team defender on a team that has ranked in the top-10 for defensive rating over the past three seasons.

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11. Mike Conley — Memphis Grizzlies

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Having played in just 12 games in 2018, the NBA world seems to have forgotten just how good Conley is. The Grizzlies haven’t had any resemblance of competent guard play alongside Conley during his entire tenure. The best shooting guard Conley has played with in Memphis might have been Tony Allen — an absolute zero on the offensive end. Despite never having a true backcourt running mate, Conley helped lead the Grizzlies to seven straight post-season appearances before being forced to miss almost all of last season. A pest defensively with a reliable outside jumper, Conley will be back to All-Star form soon enough.

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10. Jrue Holiday — New Orleans Pelicans

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If there was any doubt over who the best defensive guard in the league was, Holiday emphatically staked his claim during the 2018 NBA Playoffs in a dominant performance against Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers. Holiday feels a little bit like a throwback player. He picks up opposing guards 90-feet away from the basket, and hounds ball handlers from the moment they catch the rock. Impressively enough, Holiday is able to keep a certain level of defensive intensity while also being highly-efficient on the other end. In 2018, Holiday posted career-highs in field goal percentage (49.4) and points (19.0).

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9. Kemba Walker — Charlotte Hornets

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Walker’s handle is like something out of an And1 mixtape. The 6-foot-1 guard is lightning quick. He has the ability to make defenders look downright silly with an effortless array of moves. Walker also has the play-making skills to get out of the toughest of situations. As a scorer, Walker has proven that he can be a consistent go-to option at the NBA level. 2018 marked the third consecutive year that Walker has averaged over 20 points per game.

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8. Kyle Lowry — Toronto Raptors

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A quintessential late-bloomer, Lowry didn’t make his first All-Star team until he was 28 years old. Ever since being traded to Toronto after the 2012 season, Lowry has flourished as Canada’s favorite point guard. Lowry is in range as soon as he steps foot on an NBA floor. His ability to stretch defenses with quick-trigger pull-ups opens up the entirety of Toronto’s offense. Playing alongside an MVP-caliber player like Kawhi Leonard should only help the now 32-year-old Lowry as he attempts to fight off Father Time.

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7. John Wall — Washington Wizards

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The last couple of years have been a mixed bag for the 2011 first overall pick. Two postseasons ago, Wall was celebrating with the entire city of Washington after hitting a game-winning jumper to close out Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Fast-forward a few months, and the Wizards were a vastly better team with Wall off the floor as opposed to on it. The chemistry in Washington has always been a bit murky — though the talent level of their stars have been mostly unquestioned. There’s no doubting Wall’s ability as a passer and defender (when he wants to be). However, it remains to be seen if Wall can win at the highest level as a team’s primary option.

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6. Ben Simmons — Philadelphia 76ers

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Simmons didn’t waste much time asserting himself as one of the top lead guards in the league. At 6-foot-10 with excellent passing instincts, Simmons is a near unstoppable force once he gets his big body on the move. The 20-year-old Aussie is close to a complete package. Simmons’ lack of three-point shooting hurt the 76ers tremendously during their uninspired playoff series versus the Celtics last postseason. He’ll need to be at least an average shooter to keep defenses honest. Until then, the book on Simmons will be to give him space — and force the youngster to fire away long jumpers.

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5. Damian Lillard — Portland Trail Blazers

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If Steph Curry didn’t exist, we would be talking about Lillard as the flame-throwing alien point guard from this generation. Lillard is a scoring threat from anywhere inside the half-court line. A three-time All-Star and former All-NBA First Team guard, Lillard is one of the greatest offensive forces we have in the game today. He’s gotten better over the years at cutting down the turnovers and taking better shots. Since 2016, only three players have scored more total regular season points than Lillard (James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and LeBron James).

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4. Kyrie Irving — Boston Celtics

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It’s not incredulous to say Irving is the best ball handler the game has ever seen. His ability to thread a dribble through the smallest of spaces is simply remarkable. Not even the best defenders can slow down Irving when he gets going. He’s made players like Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry look absolutely foolish on several occasions. Once he arrives at the basket, Irving’s ability as an under-the-rim finisher is nearly unparalleled. On a stacked Boston team, Irving has a great chance to add to his lucrative trophy case.

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3. Chris Paul — Houston Rockets

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The body of work that Paul has put forth throughout his illustrious 14-year career reeks of an all-time top point guard. Never have we seen a player so consistently efficient at both scoring and play-making. He regularly tops the league in assist-to-turnover ratio, and hasn’t shot under 46 percent from the field since his second year in the league. Paul also led the league in steals five times, and has made a point guard record of nine All-Defensive teams (tied with Gary Payton). All that’s left for Paul to do at the NBA level is hoist a championship (though the Warriors won’t make that very easy).

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2. Russell Westbrook — Oklahoma City Thunder

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There are better individual players in the league today, but only a select few can single-handedly carry a team like Westbrook can. In the year after future Hall of Famer and former NBA MVP Kevin Durant left for Golden State, Westbrook put a mediocre Thunder team on his back en route to 47 wins and an a MVP trophy of his own. When locked in, Westbrook is a near unstoppable force on both ends. He plays at 100 miles per hour all game, and never lets up on the opposition. His shot selection will always be a question, and often times he lacks defensive awareness. Regardless, Westbrook is truly a phenom that should be cherished.

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1. Stephen Curry — Golden State Warriors

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A two-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion, there isn’t much left for Curry to accomplish. He’s broken all sorts of records — including single-season three-pointers, single-game three-pointers, and earning the first unanimous MVP selection. Curry will have virtually rewritten all of the history books in regards to shooting accolades by the time he hangs it up. Much like Paul and Irving, Curry’s ball-handling skills enable him to both evade defenders and create space for looks at the basket. On a team loaded with superstars, Curry remains the true x-factor on a historically great dynasty.

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