With Luka Doncic and LeBron James added to the PG bracket, ranking the top 10 Point Guards of this season has become even more difficult than it already was, but the VAVEL team has broken it down and emerged with this list.
Here is part 2 of the list, ranking PG's 5-1. You can find the first part here.
Disclaimer: Only players listed as Point Guards by Basketball Reference will be considered (This adds LeBron James and Luka Doncic while excluding D'Angelo Russell, James Harden and Spencer Dinwiddie). Players who have not played at least half of their team's games this season will also be excluded (Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving).
5. Kemba Walker- Boston Celtics
The Celtics have found their true leader, and it isn’t Kyrie Irving. Boston is in its best position to succeed in years, and Walker is the clear leader of the charge.
His shooting, playmaking and ball-handling ability perfectly mesh together to create an offensive demi-god who can score from both the mid-range and from three. His height can hold him back at times, resulting in some mediocre at-rim finishing, but his overall offensive game is mesmerising.
His defensive game has come along nicely, as all guards seem to improve under Brad Stevens, and all of this has come together to propel the Celtics past any expectations so far this season, with a 27-13 record at 3rd place in the East.
Walker's numbers have been slightly down this season with a more talented team around him, but that was to be expected. He is putting up 22.1 points and 4.9 assists on a career high 58.9% True Shooting Percentage.
The sophomore sensation out of Oklahoma has very quickly become one of the league's elite, seemingly booking his place in the all-star team with one outstanding performance after another.
No one should be surprised about his success this season, as he gave us fair warning to this breakout. In his final 23 games last season, he averaged 25 points with 9 assists and almost beat out Luka Doncic for Rookie of the Year.
His shooting and playmaking are obviously the highlights of his game, but his ability to create his own shot inside the paint is widely underrated. Unlike Walker, he uses his small frame to his advantage in the paint, making himself smaller and going under defenders in order to finish with a wide shot variation in the paint.
This has resulted in averages of 29.2 points and 8.5 assists (both top 4 in the league), while his True Shooting has increased by 5.4% from last season as a result of much more accurate 3 point shooting.
3. Damian Lillard- Portland Trail Blazers
The injury bug has hit Portland, with Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic, Skal Labissiere and Rodney Hood all out indefinitely. Still, thanks to Dame, the team remains in the playoff race and with a real chance of making a push upon Nurkic's return.
Similar to Young in some sense, Lillard has a lot of range to his game, and he loves shooting triples from almost anywhere in the halfcourt (cue memories of the series-clinching buzzer beater against OKC). He is also a very classy playmaker, able to find his teammates in the right spots though scoring is definitely his forte.
His numbers perfectly represent his play, averaging career high numbers of 7.6 assists and 60.4% True Shooting alongside 26.8 points, proving himself as one of the league’s premier offensive players.
All he needs now is some help around him and he will continue to prove himself as a 'winner'.
The young Slovenian has already found himself in the hearts of fans all across the world, proving time and again how magical he is with the basketball in his hands.
He has singlehandedly led one of history's greatest offenses with a Harden-esque style of play. His step back three, his floater, his playmaking wizardry. Everything has clicked for Luka, and he is currently having one of the best sophomore seasons ever.
His team is going to go whatever direction he takes them for the foreseeable future, and it certainly seems like that direction will always be upwards whenever he’s at the helm.
He is currently putting up MVP level numbers, with 28.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 9 assists with a True Shooting Percentage up near 60%. For someone his age he is truly spectacular, and hopefully it will shine a spotlight on the huge benefits of European prospects in future.
He has to decline at some point, right? The King is 35, and there is still a good argument that he is the best player in the league. A very good argument.
He is leading his team to first in the West, proof that he can function outside the Eastern Conference. He is atop the league in assists for what would be the first time in his career. King James can do no wrong.
His defensive effort has even been better than last year, and along with that he has been attempting more threes than ever before. Sadly, his efficiency has been compromised, his True Shooting Percentage at it’s lowest point since his 5th season in the league.
His MVP candidacy is strengthened by some gaudy offensive numbers, averaging 25.4 points and 10.9 assists with 7.7 rebounds. Although, his shooting needs work, and if he can fix up his free throws and become more consistent from beyond the arc he will become virtually unstoppable, as if he wasn’t already.
Thanks for reading, make sure to stay tuned for the release of all the other positional rankings that will be hitting VAVEL soon!