5. Kyrie Irving—Boston Celtics
Kyrie made headlines this off-season with his sudden demand for a change in his career. Rather than staying with the Cavaliers who drafted him and provided him his only championship, he was traded to the Celtics. Alongside LeBron, last year Kyrie averaged 25.2 points per game. However, the partnership with another ball-handler in LeBron restricted him to 5.8 assists per game. Kyrie showed us though that he is still one of the most efficient shooters from the point. Last season he shot 47.3% from the field and 40.1% from deep. An offensive weapon who can slice his way to the basket, Kyrie will need to work on his defense has he becomes the leader of a young Celtics organization.
4. John Wall—Washington Wizards
This former Kentucky Wildcat has brought life to the Wizards franchise. A hero in the D.C. area, Wall averaged 23.1 points along with 10.7 assists per game last season. Not only does Wall do well offensively, he also tied Draymond Green and Chris Paul for first in steals per game with an average of 2. However, Wall has to work on his offensive efficiency. Last year he averaged 4.1 assists per game and shot a pitiful 32.7% from three. No doubt he is a star in this league, but if he wants to be the best point guard in the league he’s clearly got to fix some things.
3. Russell Westbrook—Oklahoma City Thunder
The MVP from last season became only the second player ever to average a triple-double in a season. His 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds per game are surely eye popping stats. After Durant had left the Thunder, fans were eager to see what Westbrook would become and he didn’t disappoint. Despite his triple-double stats, Westbrook struggled to hang on to the ball. He turned the ball over 5.4 times per game along with a poor 34.3% shooting percentage from three. This poor shooting percentage might well have been due to the lack of talent around him last season – he simply had the ball so often. With Carmelo Anthony and Paul George around him this year, Westbrook’s stats will surely take a hit.
2. Stephen Curry—Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry has forever changed the NBA with how well he has been able to shoot the 3-point shot. Last season he kept up the high volume of shots from deep while hitting 41.1% from back there. When he gets hot it seems that he could drain a half-court shot with his eyes closed. Beyond his amazing shooting ability, he averaged 1.8 steals per game last season which was 7th best in the league. Curry’s stats should only grow this season now that Kevin Durant has had a year to fit into the offense.
1. Chris Paul—Houston Rockets
I know this might be a shocker to many. However, Paul was one of the most efficient shooters at the point guard position. Last season he shot 47.6% and 41.1% from three. That was slightly better than Stephen Curry despite scoring being a small part of Paul’s game. Paul only turned the ball over 2.4 times per game (better than Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry and John Wall) while averaging 9.2 assists per game. And although Paul only averaged 18.1 points per game, he made up for it on the defensive end. He averaged 2 steals per game last year— tied for first in the NBA last season. Chris Paul might not be the most glamorous at his position, but he is the most well-rounded and efficient. Even when he’s not shooting well he still makes an impact.