Whether you believe it or not, most people enjoy watching sports, either because they find it to be a good way to pass the time, or simply because they love watching individuals or opposing teams compete against one another. The entire world is filled with leagues and federations which are made up of professional athletes, and in North America, sports fans are especially fortunate, because the continent happens to be home to four of the biggest and most competitive leagues on Earth. The NFL is without a doubt the most popular and profitable of the four leagues, with the NHL being the complete opposite in both regards, while the MLB is the oldest and most historic of the four, but the NBA is the one league that revolves heavily around powerhouse teams made up of star players.
The National Basketball Association has been around for 70 years now, and in all those decades, basketball fans have seen their fair share of great Hall of Fame caliber players and dynasty teams who have won numerous championships. Like the other three major sports, winning championships is the one and only goal for NBA teams and players, but in order to win a title, a team needs to have good and capable players throughout their roster, and no basketball team is going to win if they do not have a good enough starting point guard.
The point guard position is the most specialized of all the sport’s other positions, as it is up to the point guard to run the team’s offense, to control the ball, and to ensure that the right player gets the ball at the right time, which means that most scoring plays start with the point guard. Each NBA team has a starting point guard, and although there are many good point guards in the league, not all of them are going to finish their careers with a championship, for a variety of reasons, and the purpose of this list is to identify seven of these starting point guards who will win a title and eight who will not.
19 Won’t: Derrick Rose
It is highly unlikely that any team on the verge of contending for a title will risk signing or trading for Derrick Rose. He was selected by the Chicago Bulls in 2008 first overall, and right out of the gate, he showed that he was indeed a great player, who helped to make the Bulls a tough team to play against. Unfortunately, he has had a terrible history of lengthy injuries which have kept him from being effective in the playoffs.
For his career, Rose on average is capable of putting up 19.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.7 rebounds, which are all fantastic numbers, but seeing as he gets injured so frequently, those numbers do not really matter as much as they should. Seeing as Rose is such a risk, only a middle-of-the-pack team will dare sign him to a long term contract, and in the NBA, teams like that do not win titles for quite a few years, and Rose likely does not have that many good playing years left.
18 Will: Mike Conley Jr.
Their record may not be all that impressive, but the Memphis Grizzlies are actually one of the best teams in the NBA. It just so happens that they play in the Western Conference where most of the league’s best teams also play, making the competition incredibly hard and fierce. Memphis has a good core group of players, including their point guard Mike Conley Jr, who has been with the team ever since they drafted him fourth overall in the 2007 draft.
With the five-year extension he signed this past offseason, he will likely end his career with the team as well. For his career, Conley has scored an average of 13.9 points and 5.7 assists per game, which is great for a point guard. He will eventually win a championship if the Grizzlies as a team manage to go deep into the playoffs.
15 Won’t: Goran Dragic
The Miami Heat were incredibly lucky to have Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh on the same team, as the team was able to win consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013. With Wade and LeBron gone, Miami went from being a great team to a mediocre one. In February of 2015, the Heat acquired Goran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns in order to make the Slovenian their new starting point guard, and so far he has not disappointed.
This year is looking like a career year for Dragic as he is averaging 20.3 points per game while throughout his career he usually averages around 13. The problem is that Miami will not be winning any titles any time soon, and by the time his contract is up, Dragic will be in his mid-thirties, which reduces the likelihood of a contender signing him.
14 Will: George Hill
In 2008, the San Antonio Spurs drafted George Hill late in the first round. For three seasons, he was used as the team’s back-up point guard, which makes sense seeing as their starter is future Hall of Famer Tony Parker. This is San Antonio though, one of the best teams in the entire NBA the past 15 years, which means that they only draft and acquire players who they know are good and versatile. Hill has exactly demonstrated to be that ever since being traded elsewhere.
After some time with Indiana, Hill is now the starting point guard for the Utah Jazz, and he is currently having a career year as he is averaging 17.5 points and 4 assists per game. Seeing as he can provide both offense and defense, he will definitely win a title if the Jazz can make it to a championship series.
13 Won’t: Eric Bledsoe
Back in the days of Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire, the Phoenix Suns were viewed as a contender, but that time is long gone, as the Suns now find themselves battling for last place in the Western Conference. In July of 2013, the Suns went out and acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Los Angeles Clippers, making him their starting point guard in the process, and he has shown that he can be an effective player when healthy.
Bledsoe for his career has scored an average of 13 points and 4.5 assists per game, but those numbers are lower than they should be because three times in his career, he has missed most of a season due to injury. When healthy, Bledsoe is capable of averaging at least 20 points per game, which would make him a very good addition to any contending team. It is unlikely that many competitive teams will invest in a point guard with a history of injuries, meaning that his next/last team will probably be a middle-of-the pack team with no hope of winning anything.
11 Will: Patrick Beverley
The Houston Rockets may have had Yao Ming on their roster for roughly seven seasons, but they were never able to capitalize on his skills when he was healthy to win a championship. If he were a part of the current Rockets’ roster, Houston would have an even greater team than they do now. Currently, the Rockets find themselves in third place in the Western Conference standings, with their current shooting guard, James Harden being the main reason for their winning ways.
Harden also has a fairly good supporting cast around him as well, including point guard Patrick Beverley. Overall, Beverley has spent his entire four-year NBA career with Houston, and he has been a fairly productive player for the team as he averages at least 9 points per game. If he stays in Houston, and the Rockets get another big name player, he will definitely be getting a ring.
10 Won’t: Jeremy Lin
A few years ago, while with the New York Knicks, Jeremy Lin became incredibly popular because of a stretch of time in which he clearly over-performed, and he has managed to turn that stretch into a lucrative career. This year marks Lin’s seventh NBA season, and in that time, he has played for six different teams, including Golden State, Houston, the Lakers, Charlotte, and his current team the Brooklyn Nets, who are currently the worst team in the entire NBA.
For his career, Lin has averaged approximately 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per game, which would be fine if he were not such a bad defender and 3-point shooter. Those two aspects of his game make it incredibly hard to believe that he will finish his career with a championship under his belt.
9 Will: Kemba Walker
The Charlotte Hornets have been a bad team for a while, but thanks to being so bad, the team has been able to fill its team with a lot of good young players through the draft, and their current starting point guard is one of them. Kemba Walker was drafted by Charlotte early in the first round in 2011, and ever since he debuted later that same year, he has proven to be a very good offensive player.
He was finally named an All-Star this season. In his career, Walker on average scores 18 points per game, and records on average 5.4 assists and 3.98 rebounds, which are all impressive numbers for a point guard. It is because he is so offensively gifted that he will definitely win an NBA title, just probably not with the Hornets.
8 Won’t: Ricky Rubio
The Minnesota Timberwolves may still be at the bottom of the NBA standings, but there is no denying the fact that the team is slowly improving. Plus, they play in the Western Conference, meaning that their record would probably be a lot better if they played in the East. Minnesota’s roster consists of some very good players, including Andrew Wiggins, but the team needs a new starting point guard if they want to truly start succeeding.
Ricky Rubio has not lived up to the hype. He was drafted by Minnesota fifth overall back in 2009, and although he is a fairly good rebounder who manages to average about 8.3 assists per game, he scores on average less than 10 points per game. He could win a championship as a backup, not certainly not as a starter.
7 Will: Reggie Jackson
In 2011, the Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Reggie Jackson out of Boston College late in the first round, and kept him around for parts of four seasons before trading him to the Detroit Pistons in 2015. Since the trade, he has become the Pistons' starting point guard, where he signed a five-year extension.
So far, he has lived up to his contract. Jackson has been able to score on average 12.2 points per game, while recording approximately 4.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, which are numbers worthy of a championship winning point guard; and seeing as the Pistons are an up and coming team, chances are he will likely win a title.
6 Won’t: Kyle Lowry
After years of mediocrity, the Toronto Raptors have risen to become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and a major reason for that is because they have two All-Star level players on their roster, with Kyle Lowry being one of them. Lowry was initially drafted by Memphis back in 2006, where he stayed for three years before being traded to Houston in 2009. After three years of being criticized about his work ethic and physique, he was then traded to Toronto where his career was rejuvenated.
If his current production continues, Lowry will have a career year in terms of points with 22.8 a game, and as impressive as that number might be, it is hard to believe that he will win a championship, simply because of where he plays. Toronto may be a top Eastern team, but the Cavaliers are on another level, and every other team is slowly getting better with every year, meaning that the Raptors’ and Lowry’s window is closing incredibly fast.
5 Will: Isaiah Thomas
The Boston Celtics are one of the oldest, most historic, and most successful teams in the NBA, as the Hall of Fame is filled with many former players who helped the franchise to win a combined 17 championships. For a couple of years, the Celtics were not a very good team, but after a short and detailed rebuild, the franchise is quickly turning back into a competitive team. Isaiah Thomas, who may in fact be named this year’s MVP, is a big reason for their turnaround.
Thomas was originally a part of the Sacramento Kings for three seasons, and spent a year in Phoenix before being traded to Boston, where he has shined as their starting point guard, especially this season as he is averaging 29.9 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game, all of which are career highs. Isaiah is going to be great for a few more years, and by then the Celtics will be in title contention, which makes his chances of winning pretty high.
3 Won’t: Deron Williams
In 2005, the Utah Jazz drafted Deron Williams with the third overall pick, and for the better part of six seasons, he served as their starting point guard before being traded to the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets in 2011. The Nets believed that they had a great player on their hands, which is why they gave Williams a lucrative five-year extension in 2012, but three years into the deal, his statistics started to take a steep decline. It is why he was bought out of the last two years of his deal.
As of right now, Williams is the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, where he is averaging 13.1 points per game. Dallas is in the middle of a rebuilding phase, which means that this three-time All-Star will not be winning a championship with them anytime soon. At 32 years old, few contending teams will be willing to trade for him, or offer him another big money deal.
2 Will: Russell Westbrook
Earlier it was mentioned that Isaiah Thomas may be named this year’s MVP, but in all likelihood he will not win, because that award is without a doubt going to Russell Westbrook. Russell is having a phenomenal season with Oklahoma City. He has been with the team since 2008, when the team was still in Seattle and took him 4th overall. He has been one of the best point guards in the NBA for over five years now, and his stats prove that, as he has averaged 22.3 points, 7.8 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game for his career.
It is true that Oklahoma City lost a monumentally significant player in Kevin Durant last offseason, but Westbrook has proven that he can lead his team to victory all on his own. Seeing as he is surrounded by a good group of players, all the team needs to do is land another big-name guy to take some of the pressure off of Westbrook, which will guarantee a championship in a few years.
1 Won’t: Chris Paul
Chris Paul is a perfect example of a very talented player who by all accounts should finish his career with a championship title, but who will likely end up with none when the time comes to call it quits. Paul began his NBA career with New Orleans, who drafted him 4th overall in 2005, and although he became a star with New Orleans, he was still traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011 where he continues to play today.
The Clippers are indeed a good team, but they are not good enough to win a championship, as evidenced by their failures in the postseason the past couple of years. Paul has consistently put up better numbers in the Playoffs than the regular season. For his career, Paul has put up 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game, which are great numbers, but seeing as he will be with the Clippers until his mid 30s, his window for winning a title is quickly closing.