We’re now moving into the section of point guards that are very good, but not quite at the elite level yet. These are the guys that you’d be very happy to have on your team. But, at the same time, all teams are looking for an elite guy. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t quite at that level last year. Here are #11-20:
20. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
Stats: 14.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.1 APG
For what Deron Williams is getting money-wise, this is a terrible performance. It was actually his worst season since his rookie year, and yet another year where injuries prevented him from playing the full season. In 64 games and 58 starts he put up okay numbers for a PG, but nowhere near what he used to put up. Could his career already be ending? His assist numbers have dropped for a fourth straight season, as well as his scoring. The Nets are overpaying for an average PG at this point.
19. Brandon Jennings, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 15.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 7.6 APG
Jennings took forever to sign with a team because he was asking for elite PG money, but he just isn’t at that level yet. He ended up on the Pistons after four years with the Bucks, but his numbers didn’t really improve. While it was actually the most APG he’s ever had for a season, it was tied for his lowest scoring and rebounding outputs. He also shot a sub-par 37% from the field, which is not acceptable for a starting PG. They should never be shooting below 40%, but because of his high point totals anyway, it suggests that he’s probably taking too many shots overall. If he can improve his efficiency as a shooter, he might be able to get higher on the list for next year.
18. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Stats: 11.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 9.8 APG
Rondo missed most of the season because of his injury that he had suffered two years before. He eventually returned and played 30 games, but he was not the same Rondo people are used to. Sure, he did almost average a double double and averages close to the most RPG as a PG, but most of his numbers were down. His scoring was about average, but Rondo is used to averaging over 11 APG. His shooting was also much worse, shooting just 40%, the lowest amount of his career. He was probably just rusty for a lot of the games he played, so I wouldn’t consider this a big problem. But ACL injuries do affect players a lot, so we’ll see.
17. Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks
Stats: 17.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.9 APG
Knight and Jennings switched teams before this past season, and Knight surprisingly turned out to be the better performer. He may not be the greatest passer, but he put up more points and had a higher PER. If he ever wants to be better than a middle of the pack PG, he’ll need to boost those assist numbers, which at 4.9 per game is probably close to the lowest in the league for starters at his position. But he was one of the better scoring point guards and had to deal with the worst team in the league alongside him, so I’ll cut him a little slack.
16. Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Stats: 16.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 6.7 APG
Teague arguably had the best season of his career last year, averaging career highs in PPG and RPG. His assist numbers were a bit down from 7.2 per game two years ago, but his scoring and growing maturity as a team leader made up for that. The Hawks just squeaked into the playoffs this past year and Teague was one of the big reasons why, taking on a larger scoring role after Al Horford got hurt early on in the year. But with Horford back next year, he could be even better. He’s a guy I really like.
15. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 5.7 APG
If people are doing an all-time list of point guards, then obviously Parker will be a lot higher, but not for a list just based on last year. He’s an extremely efficient player with a very high PER and shooting percentage, but his stats don’t scream “all-star” this past year. It was one of his lower totals in scoring and passing, although not his worst. He’s not really known for putting up 40 points and 15 assists every game, but instead playing very efficiently and making other players better. Unfortunately, he is getting older and is wearing down a bit, causing him to play less games. If Parker wasn’t on a team as deep as the Spurs, it would be a problem that he only played 68 games because he needed to rest. But he won an NBA title this past year and was a big reason why.
14. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
Stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 7.9 APG
Holiday’s season was cut short after he broke his leg, ending his first year in New Orleans. He has gotten much better as a passer in the past couple years, and is a very solid rebounder for how small he is. His scoring was a bit low this past year, but he’s more of a “pass first” type of guy in my opinion. He should be back for next year to help lead a struggling Pelicans team that died of injuries last year and failed to make the playoffs in a very tough Western Conference. Holiday is still improving.
13. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats
Stats: 17.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.1 APG
Walker put up another very good season this past year, matching his scoring total from the year before and increasing his assist numbers by a bit. His rebound numbers were also a career high, but his steals and shooting percentage were down. He shot just under 40%, which as I mentioned before, is not really acceptable for a season-long starter at PG. He tends to still shoot a little too much, but it’s not like the Bobcats were loaded with shooters last year, so he had to do it. If he gets a little more offensive help, then he should be able to shoot more efficiently and even assist the ball more.
12. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
Stats: 16.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 6.3 APG
Carter-Williams won the Rookie of the Year award this past year and was very well deserving of it. He led the NBA in RPG for point guards and had solid scoring and assist averages, getting in the upper half in both. His PER is still a little lower than many of the guys on this section on the list, but it’s hard to be extremely efficient on a team as bad as the Sixers were. I watched him play quite a lot this past season and he’s no legend yet, but if he’s already putting up these kinds of numbers as a rookie, I expect him to do even better next year and possibly crack the top 10 in point guards. This guy is something special, and so is his team’s future.
11. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Stats: 17.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 6.0 APG
I was actually surprised at how high Conley ended up on this list. His scoring is good but not great, as well as his assist numbers. What got him all the way to #11 then? His PER, which was 20.07 last year and the first PG that I’ve ranked to have a PER over 20. This is a very efficient player that helps his team as much as possible when he’s out there, whether he’s scoring, passing, or playing defense. It was probably the best season of his career, and I think he’s reaching his maximum potential finally. He will continue to do very well.