Where two writers produce two different opinions about one topic. Who do you think is right?
The issue: Who is the Best Point Guard in the NBA?
By Conrad Hoyt and Nicholas Williams
Nicholas Williams: The point guard position has evolved over the years. We are witnessing so many great point guards in this day and age that contribute a lot to a team’s success. A guard can no longer be a pass-first player but must be an all-around player as well as a dominant shooter and scorer in today’s NBA.
The best point guard of this era is the man who has revolutionized and changed the point guard position for the better, and that is Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.
When we talk about revolutionary players, we mean players who have changed the way we think about the game of basketball, how to defend, what offense is the best, can a miniature point guard be a number one option on a team? Is shooting really that valuable of a skill?
Stephen Curry is a winner. He has changed the way we think about guards in today’s NBA. Curry is a three-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, six-time All-star, NBA scoring champion. Curry is also apart of the 50-40-90 club, an exclusive club to players who were able to shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point land, and 90 percent from the free throw line. Only seven other players are in this club.
Ever since the 2012-2013 season, Curry burst onto the season as a big-time player. He has led his team to numerous NBA finals appearances. Curry has revolutionized the point guard position due to his ability to shoot the basketball from anywhere on the court. His game is so scary that players have to guard him from half court because Curry can pull up a three-pointer from beyond the three-point line.
His game opens up so many options for his team, he spaces the floor for his team and forces players to defend him up close, this creates driving and dishing opportunities for his teammates. He is an unselfish player that even though he is a scorer, he is an exceptional passer. Also, if Curry gets hot, he is impossible to stop. He has the ability to drop 50 points on any given night. Curry has one of, if not the best handles in the NBA.
Even if Curry is off, his presence on the floor is still valuable. He can heat up at any second with his ridiculous shot making ability. Curry has really revolutionized the point guard position for the better. Point guards must know how to shoot and must be more of a focal point for there team.
Other point guards in the NBA have not seen the success that Curry has had. He has accomplished more in his career than guys like Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard. These are all great point guards but they are not at the level Curry is on right now. Lillard may be the closest and has a case as the best Point Guard in the NBA, but he has not led his team to the promise land yet.
Curry is the glue that keeps the Warriors rolling, without him, the success the Warriors have seen would not have happened. Curry has proved his worth after recently just closing out the Houston Rockets in six games after his teammate Kevin Durant went down with an injury in Game Five of the series. People instantly wrote Golden State off, but never count out the heart of a champion that is Stephen Curry.
Shooting is so valuable and the shots that Curry is able to pull off is honestly more remarkable than the tough fade away jump shots that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant did. Curry isn’t better than those guys, but his shot-making ability, especially from three-point range, is remarkable. Curry has the whole package from step-back threes to floaters in the lane to tough finishes, he is truly a remarkable player and will go down in history as such.
Conrad Hoyt: Damian Lillard is the best point guard in the NBA, and at this current juncture, it is not particularly close. Though coming back to earth after his first-round series, Lillard has still been exceptional these playoffs scoring from everywhere on the floor, dishing off passes to his teammates in places they can succeed, and leading his team in ways that the other top point guards have not.
Before I start listing the other top point guards, let me just say: James Harden is a superstar facilitator and player, but he is not a pure point guard. He came into this league as a shooting guard, and that is where I am going to classify him.
Damian Lillard vs. Russell Westbrook was the prime jewel of the first round. The two players have had some history, and the trash talk in the series did not disappoint. Many people would have argued Westbrook was better than Lillard going into that series. Those people can surely not say that now.
Last season the Trail Blazers were the third seed and were completely decimated in a sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans. Lillard himself was shut down by Jrue Holiday, and the shadow of that postseason loomed large over the Trail Blazers this whole year. With another lost series, Lillard was on the verge of creating a reputation of being a star in the regular season but just average in the playoffs.
Instead, he came out in the first round and absolutely showed up Russell Westbrook, hitting shots from beyond thirty feet at a ridiculously high clip, culminating in a walk-off, buzzer-beating, 37-foot three-point shot to close out the series in five games, making Lillard the only player in NBA history to hit two series-clinching shots in his career.
As for the other top point guards, Lillard has been far more consistent as a leader this postseason. The Celtics are one game away from elimination, and Kyrie Irving’s back to back poor shooting nights with 7-22 and 8-22, respectively, have not helped matters. The Celtics all season were a team brimming with talent and promise, but could never put it together. Chemistry issues were cited as a cause for this, and Irving was not “the man,” like he said he wanted to be when he left Cleveland. He deserves more blame for the Celtics’ failures than anyone.
Finally, for Steph Curry, probably most people’s pick for the best point guard. In Game Three against the Rockets, he had one of the worst playoff performances we have ever seen from a superstar. He shot 7-23 from the field, 2-9 from three, and missed a wide-open dunk that would have cut the lead to three with 20 seconds left on the clock. After this game, experts started looking into Curry’s past playoff performances in big games. He has had a lot more duds than one would expect from a player of his caliber.
Worse than this, the Rockets have been religiously attacking Curry in the pick and roll, and with the Rockets’ floor spacing, he is left helpless on an island. The Warriors have been relying on Durant all postseason, and Lillard has no one close to the caliber of Kevin Durant.
When Portland’s starting center Jusuf Nurkic went down with a season-ending surgery at the end of the season, many experts expected Portland to lose in the first round yet again. Instead, Lillard has rallied the troops and led by example, to get the Trail Blazers within one game of the conference finals. Lillard is a better leader than any of the other three superstar point guards, and right now, he is as good a defender, and a better shooter and scorer. If he continues scoring, leading his team, and adding to his arsenal of attack, the sky is the limit for Lillard.