Over the last few years, the point guard crop in the NBA Draft has been weak. While budding superstars like Kyrie Irving and Damien Lillard have been lottery picks, most teams have opted to pursue other needs and prospects rather than select their floor general. While general managers league-wide prefer bigs over point guards when it comes to drafting philosophy, it’s undeniable that the NBA is a point guard driven league now.
With the changes the NBA has mad to defensive rules, point guards are more important than ever before. Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Rajon Rondo are just a few examples of the point guards that are able to dominate and control the outcome of games.
Speed is certainly an important factor to being a successful point guard, but NBA teams also need players that can hit open jumpers, create their own offense, and have excellent court vision. As the June draft approaches, NBA teams are scouring the globe to find the top point guards available and while up to this point they have not found a transformational prospect in the mold of Irving, they may find some serviceable prospects that can do several things well enough to help a team. Here are the top point guard prospects for this year.
C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh
While there certainly are some who believe McCollum is more of a combo-guard or shooting guard, I see him as a Steph Curry type in the NBA. With McCollum’s scoring prowess and ability to take and make big shots he can easily transition to the NBA game. McCollum has to be everything for his team to win, and once surrounded by a talented cast should be able to facilitate some, but as it stands, he is exceeding his career efficiency marks in nearly every offensive category. On a side note, McCollum did break a bone in his foot that will likely sideline him until the conference tournament, but regardless of how his collegiate career ends, he is a sure-fire lottery pick.
Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Smart, one of the most impactful freshmen this season, has burst onto the scene and seen his draft stock rise dramatically. Looking at Smart, he is a physical specimen that will be able to bulldoze through most NBA point guards, but who still has the athleticism to get by his defender as well. While Smart is not the shooter that others on this list are, he plays very good defense and fills up the stat sheet. For teams wanting someone in the mold of a Russell Westbrook, Smart may be that man, but also has more bulk. It’s not inconceivable that some NBA GMs will view Smart as a shooting guard. As long as Smart doesn’t have a massive letdown in play over the final two months of the season, he should be a lottery pick.