Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

NCAA Position Rankings: Top 10 PG

Posted by Tommy on July 17, 2008

The ability of a point guard to run an offense and distribute the ball is very key for a college basketball team’s success. Great point guards are tough to come by, and extremely tough to keep around because there is such a high demand for point guards in the NBA. I am going to run down the top 10 point guards in the country for the upcoming 2008-2009 season.

1.  Ty Lawson: Lawson is one of the few exceptions of highly skilled point guards that stick around for all four seasons. The “Roadrunner” is the fastest player with the ball in the NCAA, helping him run the potent UNC fastbreak. He can get the ball into the right hands, but Lawson is also a great scorer around the rim. With all the running UNC does, Lawson doesn’t get too many chances to show what he can do in a half-court offense, but he would be my first choice to run a fast-break. He spent the second half of last year bothered by an ankle injury so he’ll be back at 100 percent for the first time in a while.

2. Jeremy Pargo: As a freshman, Pargo was a guard with plenty of raw, unpolished talent. There was no question he could get to the bucket, but there wasn’t much else he could do with much effectiveness at the college level. Pargo has come leaps and bounds from where he was as a freshman, and now he is the leader of the Zags. He not only developed his decision making, but improved his shot as well, making him a big scoring threat from the point guard position.

3. Tyrese Rice: Rice was one of the few bright spots for BC last season. He can fill the hole with anybody in the country, just look at the UNC game last season. The only problem for Rice is that there was so little offensive talent around him last year that he had to do a lot of the scoring on his own as well as force the ball into tight holes. As a result, he averaged 3.4 turnovers/game and had a 1.45 assist-to-turnover ratio. It would be awesome to see a talent like Rice in Lawson’s place at UNC, but he isn’t, so that’s why he is my #3.

4. Scottie Reynolds: Unlike Pargo, Reynolds came to Villanova and performed as a point guard right away: he scored 40 points versus UConn as a frosh and was named 2006-07 Big East Rookie of the Year. Last year, Reynolds had a good year, averaging 15.9 ppg and 3.2 apg, but didn’t really live up to his high expectations. Villanova returns many of the same players so I think they’ll build more chemistry as a unit, and this is a big draft stock year for Reynolds as well so look for him to really try to improve his game.

5. Greg Paulus: Paulus has improved over the past couple of years more than anybody in the nation. He really struggled at times running the point for Coach K as a freshman, averaging 3.3 turnovers/game and only 6.7 ppg. Over the course of his junior season he cut his mistakes down to 1.6 turnovers/game and improved his scoring to 11.4 ppg. Although his stats show improvement, you have to watch him to see how much he has improved. You can see how his confidence has increased, not only as a point guard, but as a scorer as well. He stopped forcing passes and took better shots, not to mention he became deadly from behind the arc last season. If Paulus can continue improving, look for him to be a great true point guard.

6. Darren Collison: Collison has one of the most well-rounded skill sets as a point guard in the country. Nothing about his game really stands out on the offensive end when you watch him, but he does everything well. He is a good decision maker, can get to the rim pretty well, has a pretty good shot from beyond the arc and is a good floor general. What makes him different from most point guards in the nation is that he takes pride on the defensive end of the floor and is a lock-down defender. His well-rounded skills, coupled with his defensive ability make him a top tier point guard.

7. Stephen Curry: With Curry being a two-guard his entire college career, this is kind of based on speculation. He played point guard in high school so he knows what it takes, but the college game is a huge step up for point guards. Scoring-wise, we all know what Curry can do with the ball in his hand. The only question is whether he can make good decisions as a point guard. I wouldn’t be surprised if Davidson ran an NBA style pick-and-roll offense to give Curry chances to create. I think he’ll be a great point guard, but he’s at #7 only because his skills aren’t proven.

8. Levance Fields: Heart. It’s the first word that comes to my mind when I think about Levance Fields. He was expected to miss the whole second half of the season due to a broken left foot, but Levance made it back in the middle of the Big East regular season for the Panthers. He makes up for his diminutive stature (listed at a generous 5’10”) with his heart, and is the leader of the Panthers. His assist-to-turnover ratio was close to 3:1 last season, meaning he is a great decision maker and who could forget about his shot to beat Duke?

9. AJ Price: Price is one of the more talented guards in the country, and his improvement since his freshman year makes for a promising junior year for Price. Price suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage before his freshman season, resulting in an extra year of eligibility. His comeback from the hemorrhage has been remarkable, and I think he’ll continue to grow as a point guard. Last season he averaged a huge 5.8 apg, but he had 2.4 turnovers/game. If he cuts down on the turnovers he is a top tier point guard with plenty of scoring ability.

10. Devan Downey: One of the most underrated guards in college basketball looks to improve on his 18.4 ppg from last season for the Gamecocks. He transferred from Cincy to South Carolina after his freshman year and will be coupled with Zam Fredrick in the Gamecocks’ backcourt. Downey is a very explosive athlete and can get to the rim with the best of them. He also added 5.4 apg last year as a sophmore, but like AJ Price, committed too many turnovers with 2.7 TO/game. Look for Downey to surprise a lot of people this year with his explosive talent.

Also Considered: Jonny Flynn, Kyle McAlarney, Dominic James, Grievis Vasquez, Eric Maynor, Ish Smith, Chris Warren, Trevon Hughes, Kalin Lucas.


23 Responses to “NCAA Position Rankings: Top 10 PG”

  1. Interesting to see Scottie Reynolds @ #4

  2. Patrick said

    I agree with that. Scottie Reynolds is listed as a PG but he’s more of a SG, it’s not like he has great court vision especially compared to the three before him.

  3. Zach said

    I added a picture to spice the post up a bit, Tommy.

    My quick ranks: 1) Rice, 2) Lawson, 3) Collison, 4) Curry, 5) Pargo, 6) Reynolds, 7) Price, 8. Paulus, 9) Fields, 10) Downey. McAlarney is really really close. Curry is a tough one to rank as you said because his pure point guard skills are still N/A, but just purely on his ability I’ll rank him in the top 5. Collison I think you underrated. Like Lawson, he battled an injury last year- look for him to come back strong.

    Oh, and Lawson is only a junior this year. He won’t stay all four.

  4. Sui Generis said

    This list is a joke. Scottie Reynolds isn’t even close to being the best point guard in his own league. Sure, he can score, but a point is supposed to be a facilitator. Reynolds wasn’t even in the top 15 in assists in the Big East last year. There were BE forwards who had more assists than him, plus he had over 100 turnovers and one of the worst assist/turnover ratios of any point in the league. Rank him among the scoring guards, but his point skills are WEAK.

  5. Patrick said

    He did lead his team to a Sweet 16 last year as a 12 seed, and had another year to polish his skills. Curry wasn’t even a PG last year so let’s put him at the bottom of this list……NO. In my opinion there are three kinds of point guards: Floor Generals (Guys that are in the game to pass the ball and score occasionally i.e. Derek Raivio(2005-06 Gonzaga), John Stockton, or Jason Richards (Davidson 2007-08). Then there are the point guards that are simply Scorers i.e. Scottie Reynolds, Gilbert Arenas, and Stephon Marbury. Then there are the guys that do both very well i.e. Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and Gary Payton (Mostly in college but also in the NBA).

    The point is all three can be very successful point guards and just because a guy isn’t a great floor general doesn’t mean he isn’t a great point guard. I’ll take 20 PPG from my PG any day, and that is what people expect Reynolds to do next season. He might not be a top 5 PG but he deserves to be on the list.

  6. Mike said

    This ranking is a JOKE! How can you NOT have Jonny Flynn Ranked in the top 10 point guards? need I remind you that statistically speaking he was one of the best performers in the country last year? He was arguably in the top 5 last year and he’s not in the top 10 on this list? I’m going to assume this was just a lack of research because this is completely ridiculous. You have some good players up there but without Jonny Flynn on that list you’ve shot yourself in your own foot. DO THE RESEARCH and stop overlooking deserving players

    -The Big East

  7. Dan said

    Darren Collison is WAAAAAAY too low! You can’t even create an argument that Greg Paulus is better than him. If he didn’t play at Duke he probably wouldn’t even be on this list. I’d have Collison as the top point guard in the nation.

    I also think Price was impressive enough last season to warrant a higher ranking. He and Reynolds should switch places. You mentioned that Price turned the ball over too many times, but Reynolds had more turnovers per game last year with 3.1. You didn’t mention that when you ranked Reynolds 4th. You’ve got to be consistent about that when you’re doing these rankings.

    These types of lists are hard to do and as you can see, they generate a lot of discussion! Have thick skin and do them for the rest of the positions. They are very fun to debate.

  8. Bill said

    This is literally one of the top 10 worst rankings lists I’ve ever seen. Congrats Tommy you made my top ten. Ty Lawson is not the best PG in the country, not even the best in his own conference. Scotty Reynolds isn’t a point guard, and neither is Stephen Curry (sure he is the best three point shooter in basketball but whats that have to do with PG skills?). Tell me what Greg Paulus has done to be considered a quality PG? It’s clear you have some obsession with the ACC. Thanks for the quick laugh, you’re clearly “the expert”.

  9. Sui Generis said

    Patrick wrote:
    “20 PPG from my PG any day.”

    Who wouldn’t? But, Scottie Reynolds is not a 20 ppg scorer. He averaged ~15 per game last year, roughly the same as Jonny Flynn. In other words, Flynn was every bit the scorer Reynolds was, but a much better passer and not the turnover machine. There are others who fit that bill, too.

    Reynolds took his team to the Sweet 16? How about,his team took him to the Sweet 16? And, even if that is a qualification, that means there are 15 other guys who meet it.

    Reynolds = OVERRATED.

  10. Jay said

    Greg Paulas? Ha, wow that is garbage. He isn’t even top 20 let alone 5. Flynn not top 10, what are you smoking, half of those guys aren’t even pg’s.

  11. Patrick said

    O.K. I usually don’t like to bash my readers because I like the discussion and I like that you are reading but some of these comments are ridiculous.

    Bill: Yes, Curry is a point guard. Have you seen anything in the news lately, he is switching to point guard because that is what he will play in the NBA. He played PG in High School too but when he got to Davidson Jason Richards was their PG so he played SG.

    Sui: No, Reynolds took his team to the Sweet 16. Lets look at his stats: 21 points against Clemson, 25 points against Siena. Leading scorer in both games……… but yeah I’d say his team carried him on their back (NOOOOOOOO!!!).

    Jay: Please name me 20 better point guards than Greg Paulus, and after your done, I’ll stop laughing.

    I don’t agree that he is top five, but he is still a good player and deserves to be on this list.

    However, please keep the comments coming so I can disagree with you and prove you wrong….its fun!

  12. Tommy said

    Again… this is based on speculation fellas, not purely on last year’s stats. I’ll agree that I overrated reynolds, but I think Paulus will continue to improve at the rate he has been. Jonny Flynn was right on the bubble of my top 10, but i’m sorry not everybody can make it. i actually had him at 10 until i decided to replace him with downey. and bill, i don’t know if you’ve heard but Curry is in fact running the point for Davidson next season. thanks for the advice guys…

  13. Bill said

    no, curry has not been a point guard… he’ll play the position this year… but its not his natural position. Understand the game and then write a blog… thank you.

  14. Patrick said

    Bill, understand that Curry played point guard in HS and was switched to SG when he got to college. So in fact it is his “natural position”, if that means anything. Understand the facts and then comment on blogs and you won’t sound so stupid….your welcome.

  15. Bill said

    Patrick, you think you know the game… but ya don’t(I.E. your top 10 here is a huge joke). He’s not a PG, he may have played it and will certainly play it… but he is not a natural point guard. He creates for himself (when he does move with the ball)not for others, he averaged 2.9 assists and 2.6 turnovers last year. Typically PG’s protect the ball a little better than that. You don’t know what you’re talking about… and it makes me laugh.

  16. Patrick said

    Hey, I didn’t write this article……………..(i.e. when you don’t write the article it can’t be “yours”) How can you say he doesn’t create for others when he played a totally different position, I’m sure in McKillop’s offense the SG and PG don’t share the same role. Curry’s job was to create for himself and that’s how his team made the Elite Eight. He has also attended many camps this summer to polish his PG skills (i.e. Lebron James Camp, Chris Paul camp, Steve Nash camp) and all have said that he looks great and will have no problem being a great point guard. Bill, I understand the game just fine and to come onto somebody’s blog and say that they don’t understand the game because they list a player as the #7 PG (which I didn’t, because I didn’t write this article) is useless. I’ve had plenty people say that this is a great blog, and I think everyone is doing a great job. So shove your worthless comments down your own mouth and get a life.

  17. Sui Generis said

    Patrick, of course you have to defend yourself. But great point guards are not judged on two games alone. Reynold’s season stats tell the tale: OVERRATED. His scoring is good-not-great, his passing is mediocre, his turnover ratio is terrible. The numbers don’t lie, except when you choose to cherry pick two good games out of 30-odd played.

    Reynolds is overrated,and you are overrateR.

  18. Zach said

    Did you hear that, Pat? You’re overrateR. How’s that feel?

    He got you, man.

  19. Patrick said

    I wish I knew what that meant so I could say a comeback…..

  20. Bill said

    Patrick, it’s great that you mom and fellow dipsh*t friends think this is a great blog… and maybe it is when you’re not discussing basketball. But from what I read (which is limited to this one terrible entry) I have it in my right mind to print it, just so i can wipe my brown eye with it. I see a lot of positive feedback resonating in wake of this masterful list. You’re a hack and I really hope you have a day job.

  21. Zach said

    Then why the hell do you keep coming back?

  22. Bill said

    Flynn is a better PG than everybody on that list.

  23. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by torkar on 2008-07-22 NCAA Position Rankings: Top 10 PGs – bookmarked […]

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