The NBA is rapidly moving into a new era of versatile guards that dominate both sides of the floor.
Traditional point guards’ archetypes have significantly changed, and you now see stars come in all shapes and sizes at the position.
With the 2023-2024 season just around the corner, let’s dive into my list of the top 10 point guards in the NBA.
Top 10 NBA Point Guards
10. James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers
Harden has been a household name in the top point guard conversation for almost a decade.
For years, Harden has been amongst the upper echelon of playmakers who could efficiently generate offense for himself, but also get his teammates involved and facilitate at the highest level. Just last season, Harden averaged 21 points, 10.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game playing alongside MVP Joel Embiid.
There’s no denying, however, that Harden’s best days are likely behind him. The 34-year-old point guard will be entering his 15th season in the league and third in a 76ers jersey — unless he gets moved. Harden formally requested a trade from Philadelphia following an embarrassing playoff exit at the hands of the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
While the Beard’s future is undoubtedly up in the air, it’s safe to say that whatever team he suits up for next season will have an elite playmaker at the helm of its offense.
9. Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are fresh off of an NBA title, and Murray is a big reason for that. He and two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokíc led the top-seeded Nuggets through a dominant playoff run that ultimately resulted in the team’s first championship.
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The 26-year-old point guard is now entering the prime of his career and doing so on a well-rounded team set to contend for years to come. Murray’s sharpshooting and shot-creating ability allows the combo guard to play on and off the ball, enabling head coach Michael Malone to run the offense through Jokíc, arguably the best player in the league.
Murray has already proven he can step up his game when the lights shine the brightest, and it should not surprise you to see him take another jump this upcoming season.
8. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
Haliburton is the epitome of the new-age guard that will soon take over the NBA.
Standing at a towering 6-foot-5, the 23-year-old point guard out of Iowa State has been nothing short of impressive in his three-season career. The 2022-2023 All-Star has quickly risen to the ranks of elite guards, and it will be exciting to see how he continues to grow as a player given his young age.
Haliburton brings a little bit of everything you want your point guard to have in this era. Averaging 10.4 assists per game last season, he is easily one of the best playmakers in the league, and his skill set doesn’t end there. While some may classify the former Cyclone as “pass-first,” Haliburton averaged just under 21 PPG last season on nearly 50-40-90 efficiency.
To round things out, Haliburton is more than adequate on the defensive side of the ball, ranking within the top half in defensive rating for point guards. He does a great job using his length to bother opposing guards and came away with 1.6 steals per game last season.
Haliburton and the Pacers still have a ways to go in their development, but there’s no denying the future is bright in Indiana.
7. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Young is easily one of the most fun players to watch on a nightly basis.
From logo three-pointers to lobs from beyond half-court, Young is undoubtedly one of the premier showmen in the NBA. The 24-year-old has already been named to multiple All-Star teams, earned Third-Team All-NBA honors, and reached the Eastern Conference Finals, among other accolades.
Despite an impressive resume, Young still leaves specific skills to be desired on the basketball court. His 6-foot-1, 164-pound frame makes him a target on the defensive side of the ball and one that Atlanta often has to overcompensate for.
Apart from his defensive woes, playing off the ball and overall efficiency are skills that Young lacks and should look to improve going forward. Despite some of his negative traits, the Oklahoma product is one of the few players in the league who can power an offense almost completely by himself.
Apart from the common flashy plays, Young is a playmaking maestro, leading the league in total assists the past two seasons. He also finished first in total points scored in 2021-2022 and was in the top 10 last season.
It’s safe to say that Young is elite offensively and will only improve with time.
6. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings put forth their best regular-season campaign in recent memory last year, with Fox and All-NBA big man Domantas Sabonis leading the Kings to the third seed in the Western Conference and a 48-34 record.
The former Kentucky star enters his sixth NBA season with his fifth being his best to date. In 2022-2023, Fox made his first All-Star appearance, was named Third-Team All-NBA, and won the first-ever NBA Clutch Player of the Year award.
The 6-foot-3 speedster averaged 25 PPG on over 50% shooting from the field to go along with just under seven assists per game.
As Fox enters his prime years, he will only continue to improve his game. His ability to get downhill at will, score efficiently, and take over games down the stretch are clear signs that he will be an elite player in this league for a long time.
5. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Similar to Harden, Damian Lillard has graced every top point guard list for a while. Due to a combination of injuries and age, Lillard has fallen off the pedestal he once graced.
The 33-year-old guard has failed to reach more than 67 games played in his last four seasons. However, that does not mean he isn’t still among the elite guards within the Association.
In 2022-23, Lillard logged the highest-scoring season of his career, averaging 32.2 PPG on 46% shooting from the field and 37% from behind the arc. This included several monster performances, including his career-high 71-point outing in February.
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While his availability has taken a hit over the past few seasons, there’s no denying that Lillard is still one of the best scorers in the league. However, the 2022-2023 season may have been the last of Dame D.O.L.L.A. in a Blazers uniform.
Lillard requested a trade after Portland failed to build a winning roster around him this offseason. It has been reported that Lillard is doing all he can to force a move to the Miami Heat to play alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
It’s safe to say whichever team Lillard does suit up for next will have a top-five point guard on their hands.
4. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have been a contender since drafting Ja Morant in 2019.
The 6-foot-2, uber-athletic guard has been dominant since entering the league and has a lengthy resume to show for it. Apart from his off-court issues, the 24-year-old has been nothing short of spectacular and has all the potential in the world to get better.
Morant is one of the best finishers in the league; his 26.2 PPG last season is evidence of that. Additionally, Morant finished with a career-high 8.1 assists per game, an area the young guard has worked to improve.
Unfortunately, Morant must serve a 25-game suspension to start the 2023-2024 regular season after allegedly flashing what appeared to be a firearm on Instagram Live after the Grizzlies were eliminated from the playoffs.
That wasn’t Morant’s first act of misconduct, but hopefully, the young guard learns from this going forward. His potential is monumental, but he must stay on the court to maximize it.
3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder struck gold when they traded for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in 2019.
Apart from the immense draft capital they received, there’s an argument that they got the best player in the trade as well. While Paul George is an elite player in his own right, Gilgeous-Alexander’s 2022-2023 regular season has placed him amongst the league’s best.
The 6-foot-6 Canadian combo guard averaged 31 PPG while shooting over 50% from the field last season. Apart from his apparent scoring prowess, SGA averaged about six assists and five boards per game. He finished with one block per game on the defensive side of the ball, the most of any guard in the league last season.
At 25, Gilgeous-Alexander is just entering his prime, and it will be exciting to see how good he can get. Last season, he was named to his first All-Star team and earned First Team All-NBA honors.
The Thunder are another young, up-and-coming squad that will be dangerous as long as SGA continues on his current trajectory.
2. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
It’s crazy to think that Luka Dončić is as good as he is at such a young age.
His 6-foot-7, 230-pound frame makes him a mismatch against any defender teams throw at him. To make things worse, Dončić is one of the best passers in the league, so double-teaming him comes with significant risk.
- Read why Dončić is a favorite in our NBA MVP odds.
Dončić has already accomplished so much at just 24 years of age, and it’s only a matter of time before he takes the top spot on this list. The Slovenian point guard nearly averaged a triple-double last season, recording 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game on just under 50% shooting from the field.
The Mavericks will be a team to look out for next season after making several significant moves during free agency. Dončić may be forced to play in some new roles, but that should be no problem with his versatile skill set.
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
It’s no surprise, but Curry retains his spot as the best point guard in the NBA.
His greatness continues to shine, and the four-time NBA Champ looks like he isn’t slowing down soon. The 35-year-old averaged 29 PPG with six rebounds and assists, shooting 42% from behind the arc.
Curry’s ability to hit the three-ball at such a high clip when attempting over 11 per game makes him one of the most valuable players in the league. The gravity that the two-time MVP still holds when he’s on the court is second to none, forcing every team to game plan against him.
Golden State again managed to retain the core of Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green and should always be in the conversation for contenders as long as that is the case.
While Curry certainly has some competition quickly catching up to his level, it’s hard to see anyone dethroning arguably the greatest point guard of all time.