You have heard commentators say this ad nauseam, but they are right in saying that we are in a golden age of point guards. There is such a gluttony of point guards in the NBA right now, that it seems as though every team has a good one. In fact, there may be only three or four teams in the NBA right now with a bad point guard. Today, most of the point guards that you see in the league are not only the leading scorer on their team, but they are the best player on the team.
In the 1990’s we saw a gluttony of centers that dominated the league. You had Patrick Ewing on the Knicks, Hakeem Olajuwon on the Rockets, David Robinson on the Spurs, Shaq on the Magic, Rik Smits on the Pacers, Alonzo Mourning on the Hornets, and Dikembe Mutombo on the Nuggets. These were no 6-10 power forwards pretending to be centers who had no back to the basket game; no these were legitimate 7-footers who could post up on the left and right block. Today, these centers are now extinct, with the exception of the aging Tim Duncan.
But what the 90’s did not have, that we have today, are point guards that are more athletic and versatile than ever. So, rather than celebrating what the NBA is not, it is important for us to celebrate what the NBA today is. And what we have today is a Golden Age of Point Guards. Below is a list of the Top-15 highest paid point guards in the NBA today.
15 Mike Conley - $8,694,216
Is there any point guard in the league more underrated than Mike Conley? Conley often gets overshadowed by the Grizzlies frontcourt which consists of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and understandably so because the entire offense runs inside-out. However, the catalyst behind their offense is Conley. This year, Conley is averaging 17.9 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game. These numbers might not get Conley an All-Star birth in the West, but it certainly makes him one of the best bargains in the NBA.
14 Steve Nash - $9,701,000
Believe it or not, Nash is still getting paid, and it’s not chump change. It seems almost criminal that any person can get paid this much for not doing anything, but such is the nature of guaranteed contracts in the NBA. Nash has made it known that he is not going to do the Lakers any favors by retiring, so that the Lakers can gain more salary cap room. Nash is clearly going to do what is best for himself and his family, but this should not diminish what the two-time MVP has accomplished over his remarkable career.
13 Jrue Holiday - $9,904,495
Jrue Holiday is turning out to be one of the best bargains in the NBA. The term “underrated” gets thrown out a lot these days, but Holiday – a former All-Star – is one of the most neglected and under talked about point guards in the NBA today. This year, he is averaging 15.2 points per game and 7.1 assists per game. Additionally, he is averaging 1.6 steals per game. By all accounts, Holiday is one of the most all-around point guards in the NBA today.
12 Stephen Curry - $10,629,213
The seventh pick in the 2009 draft is now 26-years-old and is at the peak of his prime. Many consider Curry to be the leading candidate to win the MVP this year with the transition of LeBron to Cleveland and Durant just starting to shake off his injury rust. Curry signed a four-year deal last year worth $44,000,000. That means that he is still on the books for two more years, in addition to this year. This makes Curry one of the best bargains in the league. In fact, it is highway robbery for the Warriors, who currently have the best record in the NBA.
11 Tyreke Evans - $11,265,416
It is hard to say whether Tyreke is a point guard, shooting guard, or small forward, but he pretty much is a combination of all three. One thing is for sure, he handles, dominates, and creates for his teammates much like a point guard does. On July 10th, 2013, Evans signed a 4-year deal worth $44 million. Now, in his second year with the Pelicans, Evans is finally coming into his own and is one of the biggest guards in the league. So far this season, Evans is averaging 17.1 points per game and 5.3 assists per game.
10 Ty Lawson - $11,595,506
Lawson has been a Denver Nugget his entire career, and they rewarded him with a contract last year that would ensure that he be a Nugget until 2017 worth $48,000,000. This year, Lawson is averaging 16.7 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and a whopping 9.9 assists per game. He is one of the fastest point guards in the league, and despite his small size, he is able to finish at the rim quite well.
9 Kyle Lowry - $12,000,000
Lowry is one of the main reasons why basketball is back in Toronto. Lowry has helped resurrect a franchise that has been in the dumps since the days of Vince Carter and Air Canada. This year, Lowry has averaged career high in points with 19.8 points per game, 4.9 rebounds per game, and 7.5 assists per game. That is why the Raptors were eager to reward Lowry with a hefty contract that would ensure that he would be in Toronto for another four years. And if Lowry continues to play the way that he does for another week, it is very possible that he may become an All-Star reserve.
8 Tony Parker - $12,500,000
Most people assume that Tony Parker is as old as Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, but he is still only 32-years-old. That is why the frugal Spurs were so quick to sign Parker on another four-year contract that will expire in 2018. Parker is not nearly as fast as he used to be, but he still has championship pedigree and experience. This makes Parker’s contract one of the best in the entire NBA. So far this season, Parker is averaging 14.5 points per game and 4.7 assists per game.
7 Rajon Rondo - $12,909,090
On November 2nd, 2009, Rondo signed a five-year contract worth $55 million, set to start in 2010-2011. Fastforward 4.5 years later and Rondo’s contract will be expiring at the end of this regular season, and it is difficult to say what kind of contract Rondo will land next. Rondo is now a Dallas Maverick, and all indications point to Mark Cuban resigning the enigmatic and feisty point guard. Right now, Rondo is averaging 10.7 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, and 7.3 assists per game as a Mav. He is still learning Carlisle’s offensive schemes, but Rondo and Carlisle are both sharp enough to ensure that this learning curve will be very short.
6 Eric Bledsoe - $13,000,000
The 18th pick in the 2010 draft always felt like he was worth more than he was valued. That’s why when the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t resign him for the amount that he wanted, he was willing to go to the Suns on a five-year deal worth $70 million that he signed last year on September 24th. Today, Bledsoe, Dragic, and Thomas form one of the most diverse and fastest backcourts in the NBA. He's averaging 16.8 points and 5.9 assists per game.
5 John Wall - $14,746,000
If you ask the Washington Wizards, John Wall is worth every single penny. Last year, Wall signed a five-year extension worth over $80 million. This year, he is averaging 17.0 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, and 10.0 assists per game. Wall has averaged these types of numbers in the past, but this year, the impact that these numbers have carry far more weight, and therefore, far more wins.
4 Russell Westbrook - $15,719,062
On January 19th, 2012, Westbrook signed a five-year contract in 2012 worth $78,595,310, which will keep him with the team until 2017. I do not think that I’m being hyperbolic when I say this, but Westbrook is the most athletic and dynamic point guard we have ever seen in NBA history. More than Isiah Thomas, Kevin Johnson, Derrick Rose, and John Wall, Westbrook is like a running back with rockets in his shoes. What he will be like when he gets a little older is anyone’s guess, since he relies so much on his athleticism, but Westbrook is going to ride that wave as long as he can.
3 Derrick Rose - $18,862,876
The days of the former MVP are slowly starting to come back, but Rose is still very far from what he used to be like. On December 21st, 2011, Rose signed a 5-year deal worth $94,314,376 that started in 2012-2013. Nearing the $100 million mark makes Rose one of the most well paid players in the NBA period. Unfortunately, Rose is not even a top-5 point guard right now, as he tries to shake off the rust from all of his injuries for the second consecutive year. He's played in 33 games this season and he's averaging 18.2 points per game and 5.1 assists per game.
2 Deron Williams - $19,754,465
On July 11th, 2012, Williams signed a 5-year deal worth $98,772,325. Williams has an early termination option (ETO) during the last year of his contract, but there is no way he would ever terminate it early. Prior to his rib injury that has kept him on the sidelines, Williams was relegated to the bench in favor of Jarrett Jack. Deron was at one point, deemed the best point guard in the NBA, but those days are long gone and forgotten. Today, he is not only the most overrated point guard in the league, but he is also the most grossly overpaid. So far this season, he's averaging a pedestrian 13.9 points per game and 6.3 assists per game.
1 Chris Paul - $20,068,563
On July 10th, 2013, CP3 signed a five-year deal worth $107,343,478 that will expire in 2017-2018. Paul has a player option during that last season, but it is hard to imagine him opting out. Paul is still one of the most well-rounded point guards in the NBA with an average of 17.3 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, and 9.8 assists per game. The only thing missing from Paul’s resume now is a NBA Championship.