Ranking the Greatest NBA Point Guards Since 2000

David Kenyon Featured Columnist

    Over the last two decades, the NBA has enjoyed a sensational run of talent at point guard. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash highlighted the early years at the position, while Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook have recently dominated the spotlight.

    As a result, any list of the NBA’s top point guards since 2000 will be loaded with Hall of Famers and players headed that way.

    The following rankings are subjective, but we’ve considered individual production and accolades, contributions to team success and advanced metrics such win shares (WS), value over replacement player (VORP) and player efficiency rating (PER).

    Only a player’s production since the beginning of the 2000-01 season was taken into account here. Contributions before then are mentioned in career highlights but not measured.

    Andre Miller

    “The Professor” enjoyed a 17-year career that covered 10 stops and nine franchises. Miller’s best season came with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001-02 when he averaged 16.5 points and a league-high 10.9 assists. He posted 10-plus points per game in 12 seasons.

    Rajon Rondo

    Despite lacking much shooting range, Rondo thrived on offense because of his passing ability. Along with John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Steve Nash, he’s only of only four NBA players to average 11-plus assists in four seasons. Rondo is a four-time All-Star and has made four All-Defensive teams, too.

    Kemba Walker

    Walker’s progression from an inefficient volume scorer to a versatile offensive weapon has translated to three All-Star nods. The UConn product averaged a career-best 25.6 points per game in 2018-19. Unfortunately, Charlotte has mustered only two first-round postseason exits in Walker’s eight seasons.

    John Wall

    One of the league’s most prolific passers in this era, Wall ranks 13th since 2000 with 5,282 assists. However, injuries―particularly to his knees―have regularly shortened his seasons. Wall missed 33 games in 2012-13, 41 in 2017-18, 50 in 2018-19 and is likely to miss most if not all of the 2019-20 season because of an Achilles injury.

    Deron Williams

    After an All-American career at Illinois, Williams earned three All-Star appearances over his 12-year NBA career. He also garnered a pair of second-team All-NBA honors and is one of 12 players ever to have averaged 20 points and 10 assists in a season.

    Career Marks (2012-present): Four-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, 23.5 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.2 RPG, 36.8 3FG%, 21.4 PER, .169 WS/48

    When the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Damian Lillard out of Weber State in 2012, few expected him to become one of the league’s most dominant scorers.

    Seven years into his career, Lillard has ranked no lower than 16th in points per game leaguewide in any season. He’s averaged 25-plus points for four consecutive seasons and is already 33rd in NBA history with 1,506 threes.

    “Big Game Dame” also has the unique distinction of burying a buzzer-beating series-ending shot in the playoffs twice. He eliminated the Houston Rockets in the 2014 postseason and bounced the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2019 playoffs with a cold-blooded 37-footer.

    If Lillard achieves more postseason success in the coming years, he’ll have a case to soar in these rankings.

    Career Marks (2006-present): Five-time All-Star, 2015-16 All-NBA, 14.4 PPG, 6.1 APG, 4.3 RPG, 36.7 3FG%, 18.4 PER, .155 WS/48

    Kyle Lowry headed to the Memphis Grizzlies as the No. 24 pick of the 2006 NBA draft. He played two-plus seasons in Memphis before the Grizzlies traded him to the Houston Rockets.

    Lowry turned into a regular starter in Houston, and he emerged as a star for the Toronto Raptors upon being traded there in 2012.

    During his seven seasons with the Raptors, Lowry has five All-Star appearances. He’s shifted from a complementary piece to leading scorer to facilitator, topping out at 22.4 points per game in 2016-17 and 8.7 assists in 2018-19.

    Lowry, who ranks 30th in league history with 1,532 three-pointers, helped the Raptors win their first-ever NBA title in 2019.

    Career Marks (2011-present): Six-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, 2011-12 Rookie of the Year, 22.2 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 39.0 3FG%, 22.1 PER, .163 WS/48

    Best known for his series-deciding shot for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving has experienced dramatic highs and lows throughout his eight-year NBA career.

    The Cavs had the league’s third-worst record in 2012-13 despite Irving playing well enough to earn an All-Star nod. Three years and one LeBron James free-agent signing later, Irving drained the game-winning shot to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.

    Irving forced a trade from Cleveland in the summer of 2017 and joined the Celtics. He averaged at least 23.8 points in both years and set a career high of 6.9 assists per game in 2018-19.

    Career Marks (1996-2014): Two-time MVP, eight-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA, five-time assists leader, 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG, 3.0 RPG, 42.8 3FG%, 20.0 PER, .164 WS/48

    If you never saw Steve Nash play, spend three minutes watching this mastermind on the ball.

    From no-look dimes and wrap-around feeds to nutmegs and behind-the-back flips, Nash boasted a variety of ways to carve up a defense and outwit defenders. His 10,335 assists are the third-most in NBA history.

    Nash also buried 90.4 percent of his free throws and connected on 42.8 percent of his threes. Mark Price and Stephen Curry (so far) are the only other players to post a 90/40 career clip.

    Although his creativity and efficiency make Nash one of the best point guards of his era, jaw-dropping highlights don’t tell the whole story. His lack of postseason success―namely his zero NBA Finals appearances―cannot be overlooked compared to his counterparts.