NBA 2013-2014 position rankings: point guards #21-30

My last post included my rankings for the #31-40 point guards in the NBA (according to me), and this one will include the next ten. The last group of players included many starters, proving that they were clearly very inefficient in their play to be included below some backups. The biggest surprise to some might be Derrick Rose at #32, but if you don’t understand why I did that, just read my last post and you’ll see why. This list is mostly unsurprising in who is included, although the order may be argued a bit. Here are the next ten point guards:

30. Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets

Stats: 12.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 4.1 APG

Linsanity continues to decline with every year he plays. After breaking out as a star with the Knicks a few seasons ago, his points, rebounds, and assists have fallen, making last year the worst since his rookie year with the Warriors where he barely played. He played 71 games but wasn’t the real starter until Patrick Beverley got hurt, which allowed Lin to start 33 games on the year. He’s not a terrible player, but he’s nowhere near the caliber that he was playing with the Knicks. His assist numbers of about the level of a backup PG, and his scoring is nothing too exciting. He’s been traded to the Lakers, which may give him some better playing time, and certainly the chance to rack up the assists by passing to Kobe. Because we all know it won’t be the other way around.

29. Jose Calderon, Dallas Mavericks

Stats: 11.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.7 APG

I really like Calderon as a player, but it seems like he always gets screwed over in some way or isn’t on the right team. He’s a starting-caliber PG in this league (not the best, but still starting-caliber) and I wish he got a chance to show more of his skills. He excels at passing the ball and doesn’t focus on scoring. He’s known for having games with 0 points and 10 assists on just one shot, because that’s the type of player he is. It’s not that he’s inefficient because his PER is a solid 15.25. It was actually one of his highest PPG of his career, but it was the lowest APG since his rookie year. It’s possible that he could be wearing down and can’t start and still make enough of an impact, but he started 81 games for the Mavericks last year and did alright, and the Mavericks are the team that veterans like Calderon end up on. Maybe it was just an off year in his passing.

28. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz

Stats: 12.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.7 APG

Burke had a pretty solid rookie year with the Jazz, getting 68 starts in 70 games and averaging over 30 minutes per game. He was kind of under the radar due to Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams taking up the talk for rookies, but Burke was probably a top five player in that rookie class (even though it was terrible). He’s going to have to shoot more efficiently because 38% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc in a season are not good enough to keep a starting job. He’ll improve though, and his passing was good for a first year player. He even managed solid rebounding numbers for how short he is. This guy could be a solid PG in the future.

27. Darren Collison, Los Angeles Clippers

Stats: 11.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.7 APG

If I wasn’t going by stats, I’d probably list Collison as the best backup PG in the league, but again, this list is mainly based on stats, which is why my opinion would’ve been a bit off. He’s still good enough to crack the top 30 though, even though his scoring, rebounding, and passing are all lower or the same as the other players so far on this section of the list. Why is he ranked higher then? PER. He’s a very efficient player with a PER of 16.21, which is better than many starters. That’s the kind of backup a team wants. He’ll be off to Sacramento to likely get the starting job after they traded Isiah Thomas, and I think he can hold his own there.

26. Ramon Sessions, Milwaukee Bucks/Charlotte Bobcats

Stats: 12.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.1 APG

Sessions is another very efficient backup, or starter depending on where he goes. Last year he mainly assumed the role of a backup, first with the Bobcats and then with the Bucks. Overall he played in 83 games (yes, more than the amount in the season due to the trade) and started 19. He was actually great with the Bucks after being traded, averaging starter-level PPG and passing the ball well. His PER was also above 16, but just below Collison’s value. Sessions is another solid backup to have, which is where he plays better. But he’s skilled enough to be filled in as a starter in case someone goes down.

25. D.J. Augustin, Toronto Raptors/Chicago Bulls

Stats: 13.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 4.4 APG

The Bulls kept giving Kirk Heinrich the starting job over Augustin after Rose got hurt, even though Augustin was performing much better in similar time on the court. Nonetheless, Augustin played well in a bench role until he was surprisingly traded to the Raptors at the deadline. He played 10 games for Toronto, but barely got any minutes and put up abysmal numbers, such as a 29.2% shooting percentage and 2.1 PPG. If he stayed with Chicago all season, he would probably be much higher on this list, but that stint in Toronto hurt his averages. He’ll play for the Pistons next year as the likely backup to Brandon Jennings.

24. Alec Burks, Utah Jazz

Stats: 14.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG

I was pretty surprised when the young, rebuilding Jazz decided to make Richard Jefferson the starting SF, pushing Gordon Hayward to SG and Burks out of the starting lineup. Burks played backup PG for the Jazz for most of the season, also getting 12 starts. He had by far the best year of his 3 year career, scoring more than any other backup PG in the league. His passing has yet to be refined, averaging less APG than Jamaal Tinsley, who played 3rd string PG for 8 games last year. His efficiency made him ranked higher than fellow starter Burke. The Jazz have some really good young talent, and Burks is often forgotten, but he’s one of their best players.

23. Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic

Stats: 12.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 7.0 APG

Nelson is clearly wearing down and has possibly seen the end of his career after he was released by the Magic following last season, but he still put out one last solid year. He’s never been an elite or all-star caliber PG, but his 7.0 APG was one of the better totals in the league. It was one of his best years as a passer, but his shooting percentage has been taking a hit recently with back-to-back years of 39%. He’s also been hurt a lot, never playing in a full season in his career. He started all 68 of his games last year, but who knows what he has to offer now. I’d say he’s still good enough to backup a PG on a contender.

22. Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder

Stats: 13.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.1 APG

Jackson was really asked to step up after Russell Westbrook was injured, and was forced to do so immediately in the playoffs two years ago. While that didn’t work out, he began the season in the starting lineup and recorded 36 starts. He played 80 games total and kept his numbers up, being able to score, rebound, and pass. He’s solidified himself as (probably) their best bench player and will look to exploit that role in the future. And if Westbrook ever goes down again, they know Jackson has experience in all sorts of games and will be able to trust him running their offense.

21. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

Stats: 9.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 8.6 APG

It’s rare to see a PG like Rubio that averages single digit PPG and such high assist numbers, but that’s just the type of player he is. He’s like a mini version of Rajon Rondo, except less skilled. Rubio doesn’t score much because he doesn’t shoot well, so he exploits his strong suit and passes instead. He can also rebound the ball better than most guards, making him a very good player to have in the backcourt. Now, he’s asking for a max contract, and that’s overrating him too much because he’s still at only #21 on this list. Rubio isn’t good enough to deserve a massive contract, but he’s certainly good enough to be a starting PG.

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