Nov 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) drives to basket between New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) and guard Pablo Prigioni (9) during the second half at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 97-95. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets: Is Ty Lawson A Top 3 Point Guard?

Quick, name the top five point guards in the NBA. Chris Paul, um, Stephen Curry, ummm, Tony Parker? In a league where Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose are hurt, Russell Westbrook is coming off an injury, Deron Williams is playing some of his worst basketball of his career, and Steve Nash is getting too old to be relevant, the point guard position all of a sudden became one of the weaker positions in the NBA.

If it hasn’t been official before, let’s make it official now: Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league. Before I could have made a strong argument for Rajon Rondo, but he hasn’t played in almost a year. That’s a different argument for a different day, let’s stay on topic. After Chris Paul it is an absolute crapshoot when it comes to naming the top guards in the league. Is Tony Parker the second best? Maybe during the playoffs, but he just doesn’t bring the same intensity during the regular season. How about Damian Lillard? His 39.1 shooting percentage makes me to hesitant to put him in the top 5 at the moment. Kyrie Irving and his 40.4 shooting percentage make me think twice as well. That and the fact he doesn’t play defense.

How about Jeff Teague? Teague has made huge strides this year, but he needs to be a better scorer to challenge the other top guards. Determining the top five point guards is a little harder than it sounds, right? Let’s make it easy on ourselves and shorten our list to top three. We’ve got Paul at one, now let’s find two more. After eliminating the players above, we are left with a list of: Ty Lawson, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Eric Bledsoe, Ricky Rubio, and Isaiah Thomas. Let’s take a look at Lawson’s resume:

The former North Carolina Tar Heel is ranked fifth among point guards in points per game with 19.3.  Two of the three players ranked ahead of him are high volume scorers. Irving, Lillard, and Westbrook put up tons of shots per game, leading to their 40.4, 39.1, and 39.4 shooting percentage respectively.  Ty Lawson sits at a respectable 44.4 percent.  Want another efficiency stat? He ranks fifth among point guards at points per shot at 1.35. Lawson has also found a way to the free throw line this year- leading all point guards with 7.2 attempts per game. Not only has Lawson been one of the best scoring point guards in the league, he has also distributed the ball at an elite clip. His 8.2 assists per game ranks sixth in the NBA ahead of guys like Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving. Additionally he is ranked eighth in assist to turnover ratio, ahead of guys like John Wall, Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry.

So, Lawson has built a pretty good resume so far this year. If I had to pick the top five point guards in the NBA right now, it would be: Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook. Russell Wesbtrook is fifth only because he is still trying to get back to full form after knee surgery. John Wall is too wild of a player at times and still has a lot of maturing to do. His ceiling is high, no doubt, but as of right now Lawson is better.  So, who are your top five point guards as of today?

 

Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

Dec 3, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson (3) drives to the basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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