Ranking the league's brightest stars: Top 25 PGs

Ok, I want to join the PG fray with a fanpost of my own. We all know the NBA is a business, so it doesn’t make sense to purely rank the players only by their talent or stats, or by some other qualitative measure (though those factors do matter). We gotta' throw in things like salary as well. Obviously, if a player is in the middle of a very reasonable contract, he deserves to get a boost in the rankings.

I'm not a big fan of the efficiency thing, but I think it's the easiest way to quickly summarize a player statistically. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, it goes something like this:

EFF = ((Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers))

I’ll list Efficiency Per Game (EPG) for each player, which will give a simple snapshot of his stats.

I’ll also consider a player’s age and potential. All else being equal, a franchise would probably prefer a 25 year-old point guard to a 32 year-old point guard, right? Essentially, the order of this list comes down to this question – would you trade Player X for Player Y, assuming the goal is to win a title in the next three seasons at a reasonable payroll?

To summarize, there are four major factors I’ll consider: talent (based on statistical performance and "eye evaluation"), contract, age and potential (somewhat subjective, but I'll do my best).

Without further ado, here is my top 25 point guards, ranked by total value:

1. Chris Paul, Hornets
Age: 23
EPG: 27.8
Contract: two years, $10.6 M ($5.3 M per)

Should we have taken this guy over Martell? The debate will rage on for decades. In any case, he is destroying the league, and almost snatched the MVP from K*be this year. That would have been nice.

2. Deron Williams, Jazz
Age: 23
EPG: 23.0
Contract: two years, $11.8 M ($5.9 M per)

Williams is bigger and stronger than Paul and is also a better outside shooter. However, he lacks the quickness, ball handling and court vision of Paul.

3. Tony Parker, Spurs
Age: 25
EPG: 16.9
Contract: three years, $37.7 M ($12.6 M per)

Parker is young, speedy and a proven player in the clutch (I recently compared him to our own Brandon Roy in a fanpost . Hate to self-promote, but I thought it was a great read). Parker's salary is fairly reasonable for a player of his caliber. His defense is mediocre at best.

4. Baron Davis, Warriors
Age: 29
EPG: 22.6
Contract: free agent / player option for one year, $17.2 M

Davis is a fierce competitor and can get to the basket at almost any time, but he’s a little too injury-prone for my tastes. His next contract is up in the air, but he’ll probably ask for close to the max. He's also got a fairly interesting blog.

5. Steve Nash, Suns
Age: 34
EPG: 22.5
Contract: two years, $25.4 M ($12.7 M per)

One of the best shooters in the league, hands down. He has lost a half step to his game, but that hasn't stopped him from being a solid point guard (just not one who can keep up with Williams, Parker, or Paul). He’s still a joy to watch in the open court and in a pick and roll, but his defense is a liability.

6. Chauncey Billups, Pistons
Age: 31
EPG: 19.6
Contract: three years, $36.3 M ($12.1 M per)

Mr. "Big Shot" is getting older, but he’s a proven winner and should have a few good years left. He's showing good stuff in the playoffs so far. His affordable contract puts him ahead of the next few guys.

7. Gilbert Arenas, Wizards
Age: 26
EPG: 15.6
Contract: free agent

There is no doubt that Agent Zero is extremely talented (especially offensively), but he’ll be looking for a max contract and I don’t know if an expensive, shoot-first point guard is the way to build a championship contender. Nevertheless, at least whoever gets him owns bragging rights for his mad Halo 3 skills.

8. Monta Ellis, Warriors
Age: 22
EPG: 20.4
Contract: free agent

Ellis is more of a scoring guard than a pure point guard, but I think he has the tools to run a team. With his contract status up in the air, it’s tough to get a gauge on his true value.

9. Jose Calderon, Raptors
Age: 26
EPG: 17.9
Contract: restricted free agent

On a per minute basis, Calderon is better than big names like Jason Kidd, AI and Baron Davis. He’s an amazing shooter (43% from 3PT) and has great court vision (8.3 apg). Can we steal him and leave the Raptors in the dust with TJ Ford? Only time and KP will tell...

10. Devin Harris, Nets
Age: 25
EPG: 15.8
Contract: five years, $42.3 M ($8.5 M per)

Harris is a lightning-quick point guard with an improving jumper, and can play some defense. This season, he set career highs in points, assists, steals and three-point percentage and the Mavs still decided to trade him away. Feel free to cast your vote for who's better between Harris and Calderon in Tubba's ever-popular fanpost .

11. Allen Iverson, Nuggets
Age: 32
EPG: 23.3
Contract: one year, $23.9 M

AI is fearless and is one of the league’s most prolific scorers, although he sure isn't much of a team player. He hasn’t lost a step, but one wonders how much more abuse his body can take. His high price tag makes him a risky proposition.

12. Jason Kidd, Mavs
Age: 35
EPG: 20.5
Contract: one year, $21.4 M

Kidd has trouble guarding quicker point guards and is not a consistent shooter. At his current price tag, I don’t think he’s a championship piece

13. Rajon Rondo, Celtics
Age: 22
EPG: 14.0
Contract: three years, $8.1 M ($2.7 M per)

The C’s couldn’t have asked for much more from Rondo this season. He plays good defense, distributes and scores when necessary. And he, too, has a fun blog to read.

14. Jameer Nelson, Magic
Age: 26
EPG: 13.9
Contract: five years, $33.6 M ($6.7 M per)

Nelson isn’t as quick as he should be for his size, but he makes up for it with strength. He’s a terrific shooter (41% from 3PT) and an improving playmaker. I loved watching him play at St. Joe's.

15. Kirk Hinrich, Bulls
Age: 27
EPG: 13.8
Contract: four years, $36.5 M ($9.1 M per)

Hinrich just had a brutal season in which he set career lows in points, assists, rebounds, FG% and 3PT%. Will the real Kirk Hinrich please stand up? (Thanks to Winchester for offering those stats in a recent fanpost. ) I actually considered moving Hinrich down a few more, simply because of the most awesome fanpost title over at Blog-A-Bull: The official "I just plain don't like Hinrich and can't wait for him to get out" fanpost.

16. Andre Miller, 76ers
Age: 32
EPG: 18.7
Contract: one year, $10.0 M

Miller set a career high in points leading the young Sixers. He was never blessed with great quickness, so age may hurt him more than most.

17. Mo Williams, Bucks
Age: 25
EPG: 18.0
Contract: four years, $35.0 M ($8.8 M per)

Still has too much of a shoot-first mentality and his effort on defense is inconsistent, but Williams is an extremely talented guard who could use a summer watching film of past NBA point-guard greats.

18. Raymond Felton, Bobcats
Age: 23
EPG: 15.1
Contract: two years, $9.7 M ($4.9 M per)

With Larry Brown in town, this will be a make-or-break season for Felton. He’s a talented playmaker, but his career FG% is under 40%. Not good. It was either Wheels or Rice who commented that he'd be a good fit in our system. I can't see that happening, but I've been known to be wrong on occasion...

19. Mike Bibby, Hawks
Age: 29
EPG: 14.5
Contract: one year, $15.2 M

Bibby is expensive for what he brings to the table these days, and his FG% (41%) is taking a slight dive. He improved his assist numbers with the Hawks, but seems to have a lot of mileage for a 29 year-old. Nice work against the C's this year.

20. Leandro Barbosa, Suns
Age: 25
EPG: 13.8
Contract: three years, $19.8 M ($6.6 M per)

Barbosa is lightning fast and a good shooter, which makes him a very dangerous scorer. He’s not a natural ball handler or distributor.

21. Mike Conley, Grizzlies
Age: 20
EPG: 9.8
Contract: three years, $12.4 M ($4.1 M per)

Conley was nagged by injuries in his rookie season, but he didn’t do anything to dispel the notion that he’s a terrific prospect. He just needs to learn the position in the NBA and improve that jumper. He's yet another Yardbarker blogger.

22. Jordan Farmar, Lakers
Age: 21
EPG: 9.2
Contract: three years, $5.9 M ($2.0 M per)

Farmar’s prospects were looking better before the Utah series, but he was great all season off the Laker bench and there’s no reason to think this current funk is permanent.

23. T.J. Ford, Raptors
Age: 25
EPG: 13.4
Contract: two years, $16.5 M ($8.3 M per)

On a per-minute basis, Ford is an ok player. But the big question surrounding Ford is his durability, as he has missed 38% of games over his five seasons in the league. Hopefully the Raptors find reason to fall in love with him this summer, and hopefully they suddenly find Jack appealing, and hopefully a 4th Presidential candidate that I actually like bursts onto the scene. Hopefully.

24. Nate Robinson, Knicks
Age: 23
EPG: 11.3
Contract: two years, $4.9 M ($2.5 M per)

More of a scorer than a distributor, it might be tough for Robinson to land a starting gig at 5’9" if he isn’t going to be more of a playmaker. I think he's really fun to watch. Reminds me of Ruben Patterson, sans the character issues.

25. Jason Terry, Mavs
Age: 30
EPG: 14.2
Contract: four years, $41.1 M ($10.3 M per)

There is no doubt Terry is an ok player, but he really hasn't done much since the Mavs collapsed. Also, that contract might be a beast in its final two years.

You may have noticed I didn't evaluate our own point guards, namely, Blake, Jack, and Sergio. I didn't feel any of these guys made the top 25, though I think both Blake and Jack would be "on the bubble." For a great analysis of all three of them, plus some thoughts on B-Roy and Rudy playing PG, check out EngineerScotty's great fanpost analyzing, considering, re-considering, and overanalyzing some PGs on our own team.

As always, feel free to make fun of my analysis, grammar (I'm sure tominhawaii will be on the lookout for comma splices), or the fact that I want Damon Stoudamire back if our "PG of the future" doesn't pan out.

And if John Paulsen is out there, much thanks bro.

Oh, and if you want my vote for our PG of the future: