by Will Overton
It’s draft time folks and that means it’s time to bust out some rankings. We are going to be looking at each position’s top 30 while also breaking down out sleepers, busts and deep sleepers. The top of the point guard list is one of the most top heavy in the game and it’s not easy to differentiate between these guys. Let’s get to work breaking down how we see it falling out:
1) Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
2) Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors
3) Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers
4) Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
5) John Wall – Washington Wizards
6) Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers
7) Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors
8) Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets
9) Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics
10) Mike Conley – Memphis Grizzlies
11) Goran Dragic – Miami Heat
12) Rajon Rondo – Chicago Bulls
13) Jeff Teague – Indiana Pacers
14) Brandon Knight – Phoenix Suns
15) Ricky Rubio – Minnesota Timberwolves
16) D’Angelo Russell – Los Angeles Lakers
17) Dennis Schroeder – Atlanta Hawks
18) Reggie Jackson – Detroit Pistons
19) George Hill – Utah Jazz
20) Jeremy Lin – Brooklyn Nets
21) Darren Collison – Sacramento Kings
22) Emmanuel Mudiay – Denver Nuggets
23) Elfrid Payton – Orlando Magic
24) Derrick Rose – New York Knicks
25) Michael Carter-Wiliams – Milwaukee Bucks
26) Deron Williams – Dallas Mavericks
27) Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs
28) Marcus Smart – Boston Celtics
29) Patrick Beverley – Houston Rockets
30) Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans
Sleeper: Emmanuel Mudiay – If we look at the second half of Emmanuel Mudiay’s season it solidifies his sleeper status to me. Over his last 22 games of the season Mudiay scored 16.5 PPG with 5.0 APG and 1.7 3PG. Mudiay is a liability when it comes to his FG%, but that got a bit better as the season went along last year too. Right now Mudiay is being selected after the likes of Tony Parker, Michael Carter-Williams and Kris Dunn despite having a starting job locked down unlike Dunn and MCW and real upside unlike Parker. I expect a big sophomore campaign from Mudiay and at his current price he is a steal.
Deep Sleeper: Brandon Jennings – Just two seasons ago Brandon Jennings was averaging 15.4 PPG, 6.6 APG, 1.1 SPG and 1.9 3PG when he got a knee injury halfway through the season. That injury cost him his starting job when the Pistons traded for Reggie Jackson and Jennings struggled to get back on his feet after this. Now Jennings is in New York backing up the most fragile point guard in the league in Derrick Rose, who frankly, we don’t know if he’s even good anymore. I think Jennings gets a chance to be a big role player off the bench who eventually winds up starting one way or another.
Bust: Derrick Rose – This almost feels like cheating after I just talked about Jennings, but Derrick Rose is definitely the guy for this spot. Currently Rose is being picked 85th overall on average on ESPN and that’s just craziness. The injuries, the off-court problems, the regression in talent, these things shouldn’t lead to a top 85 pick. Guys being picked after him are Darren Collison and George Hill and Jeremy Lin is going just barely ahead of him.
More Point Guard Notes
- The battle for number one is a close one between Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry, and if this is a nine category league with TO’s counting, it might change things. In an eight category league though Russell Westbrook is your guy. I don’t expect any kind of a dramatic decline from Stephen Curry, but he is going to have a hard time getting the same number of shots off this season and may also have the ball in his hands less in general. Meanwhile, Westbrook is one stop shop in OKC and will literally be doing everything for the Thunder and racking big time stats.
- The always criminally underrated Kemba Walker is flying under the radars once again this season. Kemba is an elite point scorer and should continue to be one of the league leaders in steals and threes as well. So he’s got a shot at being top 10 – 20 in three different categories while also getting assists and rebounds enough to contribute there. The only drawback is the FG% which can be lived with if it doesn’t regress back under 40%.
- We got a glimpse of the potential that D’Angelo Russell possesses last year towards the end of the season. Now we have to just hope that the Lakers really let him loose after holding him back somewhat last season. Russell has the upside to be a Kemba Walker esque guy plenty of points and steals and quite possibly an even better three-point shot. Russell has a lot of room for growth, in particular as a playmaker before he joins the next tier of point guard, but if he can get to 5.5 – 6.0 APG he’s going to finish higher than I have him ranked here.
- If your team is short on assists when you hit the 90 – 100 pick range, there won’t be many options there for you, but the one guy you should be looking at is Elfrid Payton. His first two seasons in the league have had a lot of ups and downs, but the Magic are still committed to him as their point guard and there is a lot to like. Payton has a Rajon Rondo type of skill set where he won’t blow you away as a scorer, but I can still see the day where he will be top five in the league in assists and steals. Payton makes mistakes and makes some bad decisions, but he’s a great playmaker the assists will be there if the minutes are.
- The toughest guy at this position to decide what to do with is Jrue Holiday. This is a guy who would likely be in the mix for top 15 under other circumstances. Holiday has taken a leave from the Pelicans to be with his wife and children as his wife prepares for surgery to have a tumor removed. No one questions the decision, but it is unclear how long this is going to leave Holiday out for. It looks like he’ll miss at least the first couple months of the season, though it could be less and it could be more. Without knowing he’s too much of a risk to take until the very late rounds of your draft.