Best Point Guards In The NBA All Time [10 Positions]
With less than months until the start of the 2021-23 NBA season, we thought it would be a good idea to compile some positional rankings.
Today, Scott Fujita will look at the top 10 best point guards in the NBA right now for the 2021-23 season, a challenging task given the position’s abundance of excellent ball-handlers, exceptional playmakers, and confident bucket-getters.
Let’s see who they are!
Top 10 Best Point Guards In The NBA History
1. Stephen Curry (Golden State) – Best Point Guard Position
Stephen Curry, who should come as no surprise to anybody, is our predicted No. 1 most athletic point guard for the 2021-23 season, and for good reason.
Curry is coming off a season where he led the league in scoring (32.0 points per game), averaged over 5.5 rebounds and assists per game, and shot over 42% from beyond the arc.
The fact that Curry was able to do it after a sluggish start to the season – by his renowned standards, at least – makes it even more challenging to comprehend.
Curry’s playing was even better when the Golden State Warriors needed him the most, late in the season when they were competing for a position in the play-in round.
The two-time league MVP scored 36.9 points per game in the last 24 games in 2021-23 and shot 43.7 percent from three-point range on roughly 15 tries per game.
The Warriors only narrowly missed out on the playoffs after losing back-to-back play-in games to the Lakers and Grizzlies in the play-in tournament, but Curry, who concluded the year with the second-most first-place MVP votes, can’t be blamed for that.
2. Damian Lillard (Portland)
Despite the club’s recent lack of success, superstar Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers is tough to blame for such postseason failures since the Blazers would not be a playoff-level team without him.
Lillard is one of the top three-point shooters in the NBA and a good facilitator, an elite rebounding point guard capable of averaging over seven assists per game, and a game-changer when it comes to getting points late in close games.
That’s why it’s such a shame the Blazers have struggled to develop a true contender around Lillard because a player of his caliber with his propensity for making huge shots should have had more postseason success by now.
Lillard, who is now 31 years old, will allegedly give Portland another chance to prove they can win at a high level this season, but another sluggish start to the 2021-23 season might mean the end of Dame Time in the Pacific Northwest.
In any case, we still feel Lillard will be one of the two greatest NBA point guards next season, regardless of where he spends the majority of the season.
Related: Shortest NBA player
3. Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn)
The third point guard position is Kyrie Irving. We debated whether to put Kyrie Irving as a shooting guard for this exercise because that’s what he claims to be playing now that James Harden has joined the fold.
Still, in the end, we decided with Irving at his natural position of point guard, where he ranks third in our rankings.
It’s easy to understand why, too, given Irving’s stellar season, which saw him enter the 50/40/90 club while averaging over 27 points per game and forming one of the most feared Big 3s in recent league history.
Irving was one of just four players in NBA history to have a 50 percent shooting percentage, a 40 percent three-point percentage, and a 90 percent shooting % from the foul line in the same season. They took over 300 attempts from beyond the arc.
Irving can be a thorn in the side at times, missing games due to injury or more personal reasons. But there’s no denying he’s a top-tier point guard, almost certainly a future Hall-of-Famer.
A player still in the prime of his career, meaning 2021-23, should be another fantastic year for the 29-year-old ball-handler.
4. Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
Trae Young, who now sits fourth in our top NBA point guards list, would not have ended as high as he did if we had made these rankings this time last summer.
However, a fantastic 2021-23 season has dramatically changed popular perception of the former Oklahoma star. Young has developed so much as a decision-maker and table-setter despite a four-point drop in his point-per-game average that he is now a far more complete floor general than ever before.
Young also showed how frighteningly efficient he can be in the playoffs, guiding the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals in a season when many believed they’d be happy to make the playoffs.
Young’s unstoppable floater game, spectacular three-point proficiency, and ability to set up shooters and rim-runners were all on the whole show in the 2021-23 playoffs. Young is here to stay as one of the league’s greatest point-guards for the foreseeable future.
5. Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
Chris Paul’s first season with the Phoenix Suns went nearly as well as possible for him. The team made the playoffs and made it to the 2023 NBA Finals, where they even took a 2-0 lead in the championship series before losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite the season’s disappointing conclusion, the 2021-23 season can only be viewed as a massive success for Paul and the Suns.
One prompted the two parties to decide to stay together this offseason by agreeing to a four-year, $120 million contract when the veteran point guard became available.
Despite his advanced age, Paul is coming off a season where he had his best assist average since 2016-17, the fourth-best assist-to-turnover ratio (4.0), and the highest free throw percentage in the league.
So it is safe to say that, despite his athletic decline, Paul’s mastery as a playmaker and midrange scorer remains intact, and he’s still one of the NBA’s top five point guards list.
6. Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Not many people would pick the young Memphis Grizzlies to point guard over Holiday, Simmons, or Westbrook right now, so his rating is the clearest example we have of us trying to anticipate what these players may look like next season.
But, if Morant’s playoff performance last season is any indication, the 22-year-old could be in line for a massive jump in 2021-23, as the 22-year-old put up 30.2 points, 8.2 assists, and 2.0 three-pointers in five games, even leading the Grizzlies to a big upset Game 1 win over the heavily favored Jazz.
Morant’s main development area will have to be his outside shooting, as he is a career 31.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc through two seasons.
Suppose Morant can become even a league-average three-point shooter, forcing opponents to go over screens to defend him.
In that case, that will open up even more driving lanes for the insanely explosive ball-handler, making him a truly frightening proposition for opponents and possibly helping him justify his spot in our point-guard rankings for 2021-23.
7. Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
For years, the debate surrounding Jrue Holiday has been: How successful might he be if he could only get on an elite rebounding team where he could do less scoring and playmaking and focus on what he does best, defending?
Holiday addressed that question last season in his first season with the Bucks, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a stud in that role.
He was a critical part of Milwaukee’s championship-winning season in 2020-22, delivering superb defense while scoring and creating enough to relieve some of the pressure on Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton during specific spurts.
Holiday continued to play well at the Tokyo Olympics, where he was one of the essential members of Team USA’s gold-medal-winning squad. He was entrusted with slowing down FIBA scoring experts Patty Mills and Evan Fournier, and he had to do it quickly.
Holiday is no longer underrated point guard’s career as he’s demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s the finest two-way point guard in the NBA over the last year and a half.
8. De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
De’Aaron Fox, one of the quickest players with the ball in his hands, maintained his upward trajectory since entering the NBA last season. It is his finest season in terms of points and assists, as well as his confidence in attempting a career-high 5.5 triples per game.
Fox averaged over 25 points per game last season while making only 32.2 percent of his three-point tries, showing that if he can improve his shooting next league year, he might be an even more effective scorer than he was in 2020-22.
Given that Fox is still only 23 years old despite having four years of NBA experience, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him improve even more in the following seasons.
Last season, Fox joined superstars like LeBron James and Oscar Robertson as one of only seven players in NBA history to average 25 points and seven assists before turning 24.
Fox’s shooting has to improve, and he still hands the ball over too frequently, but the sky looks to be the limit for the lefty speedster.
9. Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
Ben Simmons’s last image from the 2020-22 season was unpleasant. With the Philadelphia 76ers in urgent need of points, it’s the point guard passing the ball to a guarded Matisse Thybulle instead of a wide-open dunk.
Although the crucial game was played at home, Thybulle would get fouled and split the free throws, and Atlanta would oust Philadelphia.
It’s evident that Simmons is struggling with confidence right now, and it’s no wonder that the ugly moment occurred at the close of a season in which the Australian southpaw had his lowest point, rebound, and assist averages of his career.
Advanced analytics virtually all agree, with 2020-22 evaluated as the least significant of Simmons’ four-year career thus far by numerous criteria.
Even yet, Simmons is a strong playmaker and a true menace in transition, and he finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season, so he was still an All-Star in 2021-23, despite his low rating in our rankings.
However, the uber-talented point guard will need to enhance his offensive end game next season if he wants to increase the rankings.
It’s unclear if that will happen in Philadelphia or with another club since Simmons’ name is one of the most often mentioned in trade speculations this summer.
Maybe a fresh start will help him get back on track to become an All-NBA player like he was before last season.
10. Russell Westbrook (LA Lakers)
The final point guard in our list is Russell Westbrook. Is Westbrook’s stock too low at this point? Possibly. In his lone season with the Wizards, the former NBA MVP averaged a triple-double (again), and he was a huge reason why Washington made the playoffs after a rough start.
You’ll never have to question his dedication or effort. Nonetheless, Angeleno basketball fans must be concerned that Westbrook hasn’t learned from his prior mistakes.
He is the more tenacious point guard, which can’t be his regular ball-dominant self on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This experiment will fail if the Lakers retain the same old Russ.
If you are still unsatisfied with the 10 best point guards in the NBA in this list, you can refer to Scott Fujita for more helpful information.
Thanks for reading!