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Golden State of Mind’s Top 10 NBA point guards

The GSoM community ranked their top 10 point guards with the first place finisher being pretty obvious.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the Memphis Grizzlies gave the Golden State Warriors their first loss of the 2015 NBA Playoffs in Game 2 of the second round, Nate Scott of USA Today wrote a piece describing why Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA.

Conley doesn’t have the otherworldly athleticism of John Wall or the sweet stroke of Curry or the narrative of Derrick Rose or the swagger of Chris Paul. He’s a great teammate for a team that doesn’t get on national TV a lot. He makes sure his teammates get the ball when they need it, and makes the open shots he gets. Learn to love him.

And perhaps you remember why that game in particular was such a statement for Conley: while Stephen Curry had a bit of a down game, Conley scored 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting including 3-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. You may also remember that the Grizzlies’ 15 point loss in Game 1 of that series further underscored the value of his contributions in Game 2 -- it’s hard to imagine the Grizzlies taking a 2-1 lead over the soon-to-be-champions and eventual dynasty-in-the-making without Conley’s efforts.

Although it would seem that someone who is constantly labeled underrated would eventually be ...appropriately rated... the crazy thing about Conley is that here we sit looking ahead to the 2017-18 season with Conley still fighting for recognition as a top 10 point guard among some fans.

In the first installment of Golden State of Mind’s positional polls, Conley finished just ninth among NBA point guards — behind the guys mentioned above, for obvious reasons, but also guys like Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and Isaiah Thomas. Obviously, this is a point that can be debated, but Conley is the guy who fairly consistently ends up being on the short end of the stick.

Part of the goal of this little survey was to get a little insight into how people think about the league’s top players — where do we think various players stand and what skills do people most value. And for Conley in particular, the comments about his ranking may reflect broader perceptions about him.

The Rankings

As a refresher for those who might have missed it, Golden State of Mind ran a survey over the last week to gather input about the top 10 point guards. By no means is this a representative sample -- we received 183 surveys -- but it’s a good starting point for conversation.

We scored the surveys “rotisserie style”, with a first place vote getting 10 points, a second place vote getting 9, etc. — Google Forms organized all of the data, I scored it.

The following are the results, including their final place and a comment from either that original thread or the survey comments. I tried to pick out comments that reflected the reasoning for the player’s ranking to the extent possible.

10. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

Comments on Walker:

I'm likely sleeping on Kemba Walker, as he is a better defender the most on this list, but his lack of team success makes it difficult to rate him much higher. Where Memphis outperforms in the crazy West, Charlotte seems to under perform in a very weak eastern conference.

He is a gifted scorer and has insane ball handling but doesn't seem to stick out from the other guards in the league.

9. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

Comments on Conley:

Mike Conley and Kemba are at the back because they seem to just be average when comparing them to the top competition. Conley is a great facilitator and has a all around good game but he doesn't boast any major strengths.

Lowry and Conley round out the list as glue guys for their respective teams and good leaders who do their jobs. Lowry just doesn't really show up in the playoffs tbh, he cracks under pressure.

8. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Comments on Lowry:

Kyle Lowry is one of the big name free agents this offseason. He is one of the most hardworking players in the league. He has slimmed down and is one of the best three point shooters in the league. He has helped the Raptors become a serious threat in the East and make other players on his team better. The reason Kyle fell on my list is because of his age and lack of athletic ability.

Lowry is a top 10 (all positions) player in the regular season but falls off quite dramatically in the postseason.

Lowry and Conley round out the list as glue guys for their respective teams and good leaders who do their jobs. Lowry just doesn't really show up in the playoffs tbh, he cracks under pressure.

Lowry and Conley was another toss up, but this time I went with who I liked more.

7. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

Comments on Isaiah Thomas:

Isaiah Thomas is one of the best scoring point guards in the league. He can do everything. What made him fall on my list is his lack of defensive ability, mainly due to his small stature. Also his passing is not as good as my other players listed and his athletic ability is average for an nba point guard.

Isaiah Thomas could be a top 5 point guard, if he was an elite scorer, who could play defense. His small frame stops that from happening, as he's a defensive liabilty and his team has won their only game in the ECF without him. But his value to the Celtics is a lot, and combine that with his scoring he is just barely outside of the top 5.

6. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Probably the most underrated point guard in the league, Damian Lillard proved he can score at will and be a true leader for his team.

Damian Lillard is the most undervalued point guard in the league. He is an awesome teammate. He can score in the paint and from the three point line and is probably one of the best three point shot creators in the league.

Dame = so underrated - very athletic, can shoot from deep and contested and isn't bad on D.

5. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers (or...?)

Comments on Irving:

Kyrie has fluctuated wildly in the past due to his bad defense and spotty play-making, but the two things he's genuinely elite at - creating off the dribble & scoring in ISO - are so valuable in the playoffs that they hide a multitude of sins.

...he is an all world scorer, ball handler, finished around the rim, but his assist to turnover ratio is not good and he isn't a good defender.

John Wall is incredibly talented, but his shooting is a liability in the playoffs where there are fewer transition opportunities, and more half-court. I'd almost put Kyrie before Wall for that reason. Kyrie's offensive skill-set is made for the playoffs. I'd like to see him do it w/o LeBron before I make that jump.

4. John Wall, Washington Wizards

Comments on Wall:

John Wall is fourth, he is a great passer and is really fast, and can run in transistion. However, because he doesn't put up great numbers ike Russ, his shooting is more of a weakness. He does have great defense though, which puts him above some other point guards.

fastest player in the league ,great playmaker top 5 defensive PG great Leader averages a double double and can be clutch and is maybe a top 10 player

The top 4 are the first tier, clearly better than the rest. However, beyond John Wall, the next 5 are almost interchangeable in terms of value

3. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets

Comments on Paul:

Paul or Wall are really close in my opinion but I give the nod to Paul because he has more experience and is a better playmaker and has a better 3 point shot Chris paul is the best playmaker in the NBA, his defense is not what it used to be but is solid in that department

Paul has been a top PG for years, and is still one of the better defenders in the league. One of the few people on this list who can competently defend his position.

Chris Paul is probably the only "true" point guard, but it doesn't make him the greatest. His passing abilities and his defense are amazing. However, his old age has made him a bit worse compared the his other seasons.

2. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Comments on Westbrook:

Another tough decision was putting Russell Westbrook over Chris Paul. The two point guards couldn't be further from each other in terms of skill set with Paul being more of a 'true' point guard, a better shooter, and a vastly superior defender. Russell Westbrook has the reputation of being a stat padder (which, imo, he is), but Russ is one of the 5-6 players who can take over the game and will his team to victory. I wish he could play the defense people thinks he plays due to his athleticism and also I want him to share the ball more, especially late in the game, but he was not put in a position to succeed last year with a bunch of non shooters, so it'll be interesting how he'll perform this year.

Russell is a monster of a player, but he doesn't facilitate an offense the way Curry does. In my own opinion, Westbrook is only a better rebounder and defender with insane athleticism when compared to Curry.

Westbrook is a really difficult one. I probably dis-like his game more than most. I think it's very very hard to build a team around him as the #1 player that can win an NBA finals, or even get there.

  1. Steph Curry, The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors

Top comment: Sleepy Freud

1. Curry

2. Stephen

3. Steph

4. MVP

5. SC30

6. Wardell

7. Chef Curry

8. Golden Boy

9. Splash Brother I

10. Human Torch

Honorable mention

Why no Harden? Click here.

Have thoughts on the results? Let us know in the comments.

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