Toronto Raptors stud Fred VanVleet has been playing the best basketball of his life. He’s a shoo-in for his first All-Star Game and is leading a deeply flawed Raptors roster to playoff contention. In a lot of ways, it’s all we’ve ever wanted from him as fans.
Fred is a star now, that’s for certain. How high up on the ladder is he? Is he messing around with the borderline stars or has he risen to the rank of superstar? The only way to find out is to go man-by-man and measure out each of their cases for being called the top point guard in the NBA.
Names like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dejounte Murray, and even Kyle Lowry barely missed the cut in these rankings. Note that for the purpose of this exercise, 2021-22 performance is weighted heavily. With James Harden being looked at as a shooting guard and Kyrie Irving barely playing, neither of those stars are on this list.
There are some young standouts on this list, but this ranking also confirms that VanVleet has placed himself firmly among the
LaMelo’s highlight-fueled fame might proceed his actual abilities at this point, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s fast becoming one of the premier playmakers in the world. We learned basketball snobs in the media might take the behind-the-back passes at less than face value, but at a certain point, one has to respect the skill.
LaMelo is also the top player on the now play-in-bound Hornets, and that’s the key point. On-court pizzaz has often been an avenue for high usage stars on bad teams to promote themselves amidst a losing season, but in the case of Ball, it all seems to be translating to production.
Leading a team with no bonafide All-Star to more wins than Jayson Tatum’s Celtics, Julius Randle’s Knicks, or Trae Young’s Hawks is nothing to sniff at. Ball has a bright future, but let’s not forget he has a bright present too.
NBA Power Rankings: Darius Garland has impressed this season.
The most pleasant surprise of this NBA season thus far, Garland’s ascent to stardom has boosted the stagnant Cleveland offense.
In an era that has split the point guard position into the small, deep-range gunners (Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving), and the jumbo-sized, heliocentric playmakers (Luka Doncic, LaMelo Ball), Garland’s game reminds some of the point guards of old.
Combining precision ball-handling with awesome court vision and awareness, Garland has been doing his own poor man’s Chris Paul impersonation in Cleveland and leading them to the 5th seed in the East despite losing Collin Sexton to injury.
Garland’s abilities aren’t as jaw-dropping as someone like Ball’s, but one could argue he has a better command of the floor and his teammates than anyone in the East right now. His patience and control are what sets him apart.
It’s still too early to rank him any higher than this, but with his first All-Star game on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see how Garland, and these Cavaliers, will continue to evolve.