Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

Report Cards for Every Team Halfway Through the NBA Season (Eastern Conference)

We have reached the halfway point of the NBA season. LeBron James continues to put up MVP numbers, the Golden State Warriors sit atop the Western Conference, and most of the same bottom-feeding teams already find themselves fighting for the top pick. With that being said, SFE is here to break down the opening stanza of the NBA season and grade each team’s performance heading into the second half starting with the Eastern Conference.

 

Atlanta Hawks

The expectations were not very high for the 2017-2018 Atlanta Hawks as this season was the beginning of a rebuild. Top players Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap departed in the offseason leaving behind Dennis Schroder and an unproven supporting cast. Schroder has put up decent numbers as well as Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince providing serviceable production on the wing. John Collins has also been very impressive in his first year in the NBA averaging 11 PPG and 7 RPG thus far. Still, this Hawks team sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and will look to grab one of the many talented players at the top of the draft.

1st Half Grade: D+

 

Image Credit: nba.com

 

Boston Celtics

So far, Kyrie Irving has looked pretty comfortable being the franchise player on a contending team. He’s averaging 24 PPG and 5 APG and with help from a good supporting cast including Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics sit at 33-10 atop the East. Tatum has really stepped up his game in his rookie season, Brown has improved his outside his shot, and Boston has some nice pieces off the bench with Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. While LeBron James’ Cavaliers look to reach the NBA Finals yet again, the young core of Irving-Tatum-Brown will make things very interesting for years to come.

1st Half Grade: A

 

Brooklyn Nets

The story of the 2017-2018 Brooklyn Nets changed after the first game of the NBA season. After finishing with the worst record in the NBA last season, Brooklyn looked to lean on veteran Jeremy Lin as well as the talented youngster D’Angelo Russell. Well, it turned out that these two would not be the story as both have spent their seasons on the sidelines. Lin is out for the season and Russell has played in only 12 games. With these injuries becoming a factor, it forced some young players to take on bigger roles. Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have grown into some pretty good NBA players. Brooklyn will look to Dinwiddie, RHJ, and the rest of their young players to keep improving as the rebuild continues.

1st Half Grade: C

 

Charlotte Hornets

This Hornets team has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the league this season. Kemba Walker has been doing his thing once again (22 PPG, 6 APG) and Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double in his first season in Charlotte. All the signs would point to this Hornets team as a trendy playoff team in a weak Eastern Conference but it hasn’t worked out. This isn’t a very good passing team and they can’t let the ball get stuck in Walker or Howard’s hands every possession. Charlotte’s role players will need to gel with Howard and be much more consistent in the second half to compete for a playoff spot.

1st Half Grade: D

 

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are one of the very few teams that sit just about where we thought they would be midway through the season. Albeit not in a good position, but it was clear to see this team is in a rebuild. Chicago looks like one of the more underrated young cores with an improved Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday, and rookie Lauri Markkanen. With Nikola Mirotic back from his injury (punched in the face) and Zach LaVine about to return, the new-look Bulls will be both fun to watch and have a top ten pick.

1st Half Grade: C+

 

Image Credit: thesource.com

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

For the last seven years, the Eastern Conference has been LeBron James’ playground, reaching an unprecedented seven straight NBA Finals. Now at age 33, he is still at his career averages of 27 PPG, 8 RPG, and 9 APG and even playing point guard until Isaiah Thomas’ recent return. Kevin Love looks to have found his All-Star form and Dwyane Wade has resurged playing with LeBron again. Currently, James and the Cleveland Cavaliers sit in the third seed behind the surprising Toronto Raptors and former Cavalier Kyrie Irving’s Boston Celtics. We do know their so-so record doesn’t reflect their place in the Eastern Conference and Cleveland is using this stretch to gel with Thomas and prepare for the playoffs.

1st Half Grade: B

 

Detroit Pistons

Off of a hot start, Detroit found themselves in a seven game losing streak which stopped their early momentum. Still, this Pistons team is sitting in the 7 seed and has to be content with their 1st half. The starting five has been tremendous most of the season, led by Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, and trade acquisition Avery Bradley. The X-Factor will be if Detroit can get consistency from their bench down the stretch. Should this team make the playoffs, they would not be a tough out. The Avery Bradley move could prove to be very important as he brings great perimeter defense. Drummond will need to make his free throws though.

1st Half Grade: B

 

Indiana Pacers

Another team that has to like where they sit currently is the Indiana Pacers. The story in Indiana is clearly the emergence of Victor Oladipo. Taking over as the go-to guy for Paul George, Oladipo is averaging 25-5-4 and leading the Pacers to the 8 seed thus far. Oladipo and center Domantas Sabonis playing well, it looks as though the Pacers have won the trade to this point. This team also shows good depth, with six players averaging double figures. The next step for this team is for Myles Turner to take the next step if they want to compete this season.

1st Half Grade: B+

 

Miami Heat

And here’s ANOTHER team that loves where they’re at to this point. In the first half, Miami has taken advantage of some disappointing Eastern Conference teams on their way to the 4 seed. The Heat have used a balanced scoring attack and suffocating defense to fuel a strong first half. Currently with eight double digit scorers, anyone can beat you on any given night. However, heading into a playoff push, Miami will need someone to step up as the go-to guy. This could be Goran Dragic, Hasaan Whiteside, or even Dion Waiters. All in all, Miami has to love where they’re at but they will need to stay consistent to host a playoff series.

1st Half Grade: A-

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken the next step we all knew was coming. The Greek Freak is currently averaging 29-10-5 and is a clear-cut MVP candidate. Alongside him are wing Khris Middleton and the super athletic Eric Bledsoe, giving them somewhat of a “Big Three”. The talent hasn’t really translated into a top team in the East leaving them with a 22-18 record. A playoff spot is a near lock, but fans in Milwaukee should be wanting more which starts with consistency. While the Greek Freak deserves an A, the Bucks as a team have been slightly disappointing.

1st Half Grade: C

 

Image Credit: espn.com

 

New York Knicks

The problems in New York were very clear. Aside from the GM/Ownership’s inability to quality players to New York, the Knicks needed to move on from Carmelo Anthony. His ball dominance was stunting Kristaps Porzingis’ growth and not helping win games anyways. Now that this is KP’s team, we have seen glimpses of what this team can become. Porzingis is averaging 24-7 while handling all the publicity in New York while a plethora of role players are helping contribute. Heck, even Michael Beasley looks serviceable. Unlike in previous years, the Knicks have a real future with KP, Frank Ntilikina, and Enes Kanter leading the way. With that being said, they are not ready this year.

1st Half Grade: C+

 

Orlando Magic

Life is difficult for me as an Orlando Magic fan. It just seems like this franchise plays their way to being just outside the top 3 pick in the draft every year. Aaron Gordon when healthy has looked as close to a star as Orlando has (19 PPG, 8 RPG) and free agent acquisition Jonathon Simmons has been a good pickup. Health has been the biggest issue for Orlando as the entire starting five hasn’t played together in months. The Magic look like they need to trade one of Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, or Elfrid Payton and shake this roster up because they still aren’t close.

1st Half Grade: D

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have lived up to the hype and look like perennial All-Stars. Although, first round pick Markelle Fultz hasn’t touched the floor since the first week of the season. The Sixers’ young core (Simmons, Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz) appear to be a year away. While “trusting the process” has almost payed its dividends, the Sixers need to learn how to consistently win. Alongside Simmons and Embiid, Philly has some veterans in JJ Redick and Amir Johnson to help the youngsters through the second half. I had them as a borderline playoff team as they are so it will be interesting to see how they play in the second half.

1st Half Grade: B-

 

Image Credit: TSN

 

Toronto Raptors

“The Six” should be very happy with their hometown team’s first half. The Raptors are 28-11 and have a 14-2 record at home this season, a start that Toronto fans had been hoping for for years. DeMar DeRozan could be a darkhorse  MVP candidate, averaging 25-4-5 alongside the core of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Complementing the big three, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and CJ Miles have been playing very well and converting close games into wins. The question in Toronto is of course: Can they play at a high level into the postseason?

1st Half Grade: A

 

Washington Wizards

The Nation’s capital has been one of the most unlucky markets in sports with little postseason success in recent years. The Wizards have been no different, representing one of the Eastern Conference teams that can’t get over the hump in the playoffs (somewhat due to LeBron). John Wall is doing what he does averaging 19-9 and Bradley Beal is averaging a career-high 24 PPG. Although, Washington hasn’t made any necessary moves to get over the hump and it is showing in their record. Sitting in the 5 seed, the Wiz have been beating good teams but not taking care of business against sub-.500 teams. Something needs to change if they want to ever get to the Finals.

1st Half Grade: C-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 15 Small Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Small Forwards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

As the All-Star game comes closer, let’s take a look at who’s playing the best at the 3 in the NBA so far this year. Note: Gordon Hayward, Kawhi Leonard, and Danilo Gallinari will not be included In the list as they have missed significant time due to injury.

 

Honorable Mentions: 

DeMarre Carroll

Trevor Ariza

Josh Richardson

Andre Iguodala

Rudy Gay

 

 

15. Bojan Bogdanovic – Indiana Pacers

Bojan Bogdanovic driving on Shabazz Muhammed..

Photo Credit/hoopshabit.com

 

After stints with Brooklyn and Washington in the past few years Bogdanovic finds himself having a great season as an offensive weapon on the Pacers. The Croatian forward regularly gives Indiana 10 plus points a game and also shoots some healthy percentages to back it up. Though defense is a problem with his lack of quickness and athleticism, Bogdanovic is a deserving starter and above average offensive player.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

14. T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns

T.J. Warren dribbling.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

Warren, now in his 4th year with the lowly Suns, has turned into one of the most dangerous scorers on the team. His size and ability to finish and shoot from in close allow him to average nearly 20 points a game and turn in some outstanding offensive games from time to time. Though he is progressing, Warren currently has an abysmal 3 point shot and is very inconsistent, sometimes bringing down the whole team with miss after miss. The NC State product has the ability to become one of the top scorers in the league, but needs to work on his jumper and efficiency to achieve that status.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

13. Joe Ingles – Utah Jazz

Joe Ingles dribbling.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

Despite low scoring numbers and playing time, Ingles consistently showcases his elite playmaking and shooting ability. He currently has one of the best 3pt percentages at around 43 percent and also has a solid percentage from the field. After the recent news of an injury that could have Rudy Gobert sidelined for a while, Ingles could see a few more touches and minutes.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

12. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins running down court.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

Wiggins, now 22, is clearly one of the most athletic forwards in the league and has the ability to transform into an All-Star someday. While he has the potential to be great, Wiggins has yet to develop much on offense, despite an encouraging start to the year this season. He’s shooting a very low percentage from the field and is again failing to make many plays for his teammates, averaging under 2 assists. While his numbers are understandably down due to how loaded the Wolves offense is, it’s still been a disappointing start for Wiggins.

Previous Ranking: 8

 

 

11. Taurean Prince – Atlanta Hawks

Prince taking the ball down the floor.

Photo Credit/soaringdownsouth.com

 

After being slowly brought along by the Hawks in his rookie season, Prince has taken the offseason to drastically improve his jumpshot and is now starting for Atlanta. Along with an improved 3-pointer, Prince is a very solid on-ball defender and has improved his playmaking compared to last season. The Texas native is an important piece in the Hawks rebuild and should be part of their future if he keeps developing.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

10. Robert Covington – Philadelphia 76ers

Covington celebrating after a 3.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

Covington is one of the few core pieces of the Sixers that went through “The Process” actually playing instead of on the bench. The 27-year old went undrafted in 2013 before bouncing from the Houston Rockets to Philly. From being a reserve to a placeholder and now an integral part of the 76ers future, he’s earned his spot as a top ten small forward in the league. While his defense was always there, his shot and all-around game just keep getting better. Currently, Covington is hovering around 10th in the NBA in real plus-minus, up there with some of the league’s best. He’ll be a key player for Philadelphia on both ends of the floor as they continue to develop as a whole.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

9. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum throwing it down off a fast break.

Photo Credit/masslive.com

 

Though he’s just a rookie, Tatum is much farther along on the offensive end than most expected, despite being possibly the most highly touted offensive prospect leading up to the draft. His length, explosiveness, and shooting touch make him the future star he’s set to be. The 19-year old currently has one of the top 3pt percentages in the NBA and is shooting around 50% from the field. While his playmaking and consistency need polishing, Tatum is already recording highlights and scoring efficiently for Boston.

Previous Ranking:: Not Ranked

 

 

8. Will Barton – Denver Nuggets

Will Barton shooting a free throw.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Barton, now in his sixth year in the NBA, has solidified himself as the best small forward on the Nuggets roster. After sharing minutes with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari over the past few seasons, he’s now having what’s likely the best year of his career. Barton has been a solid scorer for Denver in the past, but this year his playmaking has vastly improved as he appears to have hit his prime at 27. His future remains unknown as he’s a free agent this summer, but don’t be surprised if Denver is willing to spend on him seeing the season he’s having.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

7. Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers

Brandon Ingram standing during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After an underwhelming but promising first year, Brandon Ingram appears to be coming along nicely in his sophomore season. He’s seen bumps in all his major stat categories, shooting much better from outside and making more plays for his teammates. While still fairly inconsistent and inefficient, Ingram has shown he’s not afraid to take shots late in games and demand the ball in clutch moments. He’ll be an All-Star down the road if he continues to improve.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

6. Tobias Harris – Detroit Pistons

Harris shooting a jumper.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Harris has had a tremendous start to the season in his 3rd year with the Pistons. Putting up around 18 a game at solid shooting percentages all around, you could argue Harris should be considered for the All-Star game with the way Detroit’s been playing. Though defense and playmaking are still below-average parts of his game, Harris is an outstanding scorer and important part of a Pistons team in the mix for a home playoff spot.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

5. Khris Middleton – Milwaukee Bucks

Middleton driving to the basket.

Photo Credit/slamonline.com

 

While Jabari Parker remains out for Milwaukee, Middleton has taken advantage of the opportunity and turned himself into a 20pt scorer. His 3pt shooting numbers are a bit down from years past, but he’s become a better all-around scorer and playmaker for the Bucks. Likely one of the most underrated players in the league right now, he’s part of one of the best trios in the East with Bledsoe and Antetokounmpo.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

4. Otto Porter Jr. – Washington Wizards

Porter driving to the basket.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Despite low statistical averages across the board, Otto Porter is one of the most valuable players in the NBA. Shooting an incredible 45% from 3 and nearly 50% from the field he’s as efficient as it gets for his position. As of now, Porter’s real plus-minus is an amazing 6th in the NBA. The player with the next highest net difference on the Wizards is Bradley Beal at #37. Though usually defaulting on the offensive end to the D.C. backcourt stars, Porter certainly deserves his max contract he received in the offseason.

Previous Ranking: 7

 

 

3. Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder

George facing up on offense.

Photo Credit/bleacherreport.com

 

While the Thunder have struggled mightily to start the season, George has had a solid start individually. He’s shooting a career-best 43% from deep while averaging 2.4 steals a game on defense. His usage and touches have decreased while his minutes have gone up on his new team. Though he generally defaults to Russell Westbrook to handle the ball now that he’s not alone anymore, he’s gotten his fair share of shots which is what some were worried about for OKC before the beginning of the season. It’s possible George is in a Laker jersey by February but as of now the Thunder need to make several offensive improvements to get to the top of the West where they should be.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

 

2. Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

Durant during a dead ball in an NBA game.

Photo Credit/sfgate.com

 

Durant is again having a spectacular season with the Warriors despite missing some time due to injury. Shooting over 50% from the field and averaging over 5 assists a game, KD’s offense hasn’t gone anywhere. Where he has improved his game this year is on the defensive side of the ball. He’s currently at the very top of the league in blocks per game, with 2.3. While the Warriors have little to worry about as we inch closer to the postseason, it’s clear their weakest position is at center. With Durant playing this kind of D it gives Golden State the inside presence they need to win another NBA title.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

1. LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James dunking in a game against the Pistons.

Photo Credit/ftw.usatoday.com

 

LeBron’s prime continues to seem never-ending as he’s putting together another MVP caliber season. Averaging some of the highest points and assists averages in the league, James is dominating on offense, having to carry lots of the ball-carrying and scoring load with Isaiah Thomas out for a few months to start the year. James is also shooting high percentages across the board, going for nearly 40% from 3 and 78% from the line. With the offseason trade with Boston and now the Isaiah Thomas injury, LeBron has had to deal with more disruptions than in most years, which may prompt voters to give him his 5th NBA MVP at season’s end.

Previous Ranking: 1

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guards Here

Top 15 Shooting Guards Here

 

Top 15 Shooting Guards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Nearly halfway through the NBA season, who are some of the best shooting guards in the league and how have they lived up to preseason expectations? Note: Zach Lavine and Tim Hardaway Jr. will not be on the list due to missing significant time so far this season.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Kent Bazemore

Caris LeVert

Eric Gordon

J.J. Redick

Jeremy Lamb

 

 

 

 

15. Evan Fournier – Orlando Magic

Evan Fournier during a game.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After officially becoming the shooting guard for the future in Orlando last season as a result the Victor Oladipo trade, Fournier has proven himself to be a solid starter for the Magic. Though still having some struggles on the defensive end, Fournier has the potential to be a 20 point scorer as scoring and shooting are clearly his best attributes.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

14. Avery Bradley – Detroit Pistons

Avery Bradley during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/wxyz.com

 

After a career year in Boston last season, Bradley has gotten off to a bit of a slow start individually in Detroit. Despite his low scoring and rebounding numbers, it’s clear the former Texas guard has made an impact with his new team. After missing the playoffs last year the Pistons are now sitting in the middle of the East and could possibly end up challenging for a home playoff spot. An offensive facet Bradley has been great in is his 3-pt shooting, where he’s posting a 41% clip from deep, 4 percentage points up from his career average.

Previous Ranking: 7

 

 

13. Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown attempting a layup on LeBron James.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Brown has played both the shooting guard and small forward positions for Boston so far this year and has excelled. After an underwhelming but promising rookie season, the California product is putting up over 14 points a game while shooting about 40% from deep. Paired with star point guard Kyrie Irving in the backcourt, Brown provides the Celtics with versatile defense, athleticism, and floor spacing for it’s stars.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

12. Tyreke Evans – Memphis Grizzlies

Tyreke Evans dribbling.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

After a chaos-filled previous year for Evans, he’s returned to his college city of Memphis and is thriving with the Grizzlies. The 28-year old is putting up nearly 20 points a game and has again made it clear his ability to distribute and make plays for his teammates. Despite a rare down year for the Griz, it’s obvious the signing of Evans was a steal for Memphis in the offseason.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

11. Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets

Gary Harris shooting in a game.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Though there’s been a slight drop in shooting percentages for Harris to start the season, he’s been more productive offensively and improved his defense greatly. Currently averaging nearly two steals a game, the Michigan product is starting to clean up a part of his game that needed work. Providing almost elite scoring ability to a deep Nuggets team with a facilitating big man in Jokic, Gary Harris is paired up with young PG Jamal Murray which could become one of the best backcourts in the NBA in the coming seasons.

Previous Ranking: 14

 

 

10. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchel during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/slcdunk.com

 

Currently having one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen in the past few years, Mitchell is already Utah’s go-to guy on offense and seems to be improving game by game. While big man Rudy Gobert continues to be sidelined for the Jazz, Mitchell is lighting it up, Currently averaging around 18 points a game while shooting some solid rookie percentages. Where the former Louisville guard is separating himself from other top rookies is on the defensive end. He’s quietly been a very good on-ball defender which was expected coming into the league due to his wingspan and athleticism, but he’s much farther along on that end than most would be in their rookie years. If he keeps this up without hitting a rookie wall, Mitchell can make an argument for ROTY.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

9. Lou Williams – Los Angeles Clippers

Lou Williams during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/clipsnation.com

 

Due to nagging injuries to Blake Griffin and suspicion about DeAndre Jordan’s future in LA, Lou Williams has emerged as the team’s most consistent player so far this season. After going from team to team the last few years the former Sixth Man of the Year is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, averaging nearly 22 points a game. After the Chris Paul deal in the summer, Los Angeles was without a star in the backcourt and was not assumed to be as strong as year’s past, but Williams has stepped in and been fantastic off the bench for the Clippers. If LA continues to win some could even argue Sweet Lou deserves a spot in the All-Star game.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

8. C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers

C.J. McCollum during a stoppage of play.

Photo Credit/youtube.com

 

Paired with star PG Damian Lillard in the backcourt, McCollum is having another good season with the Blazers. Though his scoring numbers are slightly down, he’s still shooting solid percentages and has cemented himself as a perennial top shooting guard. After being quietly thrown around in trade rumors last year, McCollum is currently helping Portland stay around .500 and will likely finish the season with his 3rd straight 20pt season.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

 

7. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal in a photoshoot.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Beal is again having a great scoring season alongside John Wall in the backcourt. Currently enjoying his second straight 20pt season, the former Florida guard is a prototypical scorer, being able to shoot and slash at a high level. Shot selection and a bit of a better 3-pt percentage would turn Beal into an All-Star, but he’s clearly one of the best guys at the 2 in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: 6

 

 

6. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/sports.yahoo.com

 

Booker has continued to improve offensively as his young career goes on, currently putting up around 25 a game for the Suns. Though defense and leadership are still problems for Booker, he’s clearly shown he can score and make plays with the best the league has to offer. After the Eric Bledsoe trade earlier in the season, it became clear who Phoenix was handing the keys to the franchise to. With size, confidence, and one of the best jumpers in the league, you can expect to see D-Book in the All-Star game soon.

Previous Ranking: 10

 

 

5. Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers

Victor Oladipo arguing a call.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

After being dealt to Indiana in the Paul George trade, Oladipo is back in his college state and having a career year. A short, one year stint in OKC with Russell Westbrook last season seems to have had an effect on him and he now finds himself as one of the top scorers in the league. Having already been a fantastic athlete coming into the NBA, Oladipo has now channeled his raw talent into an innate slashing ability and has also improved his jumpshot. With Dipo locked up for a few years contract wise, it’s safe to say the Pacers won their offseason trade.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

4. Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves

Jimmy Butler being guarded by Klay Thompson.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After being traded to the Wolves on draft night, it’s taken a while for Butler to become acclimated to the Minnesota offense, but he seems to have found his groove over the past few weeks. Still a lockdown perimeter defender, the former second round pick has been just what the Timberwolves need to surround their young core and move forward to the postseason. Where Tom Thibodeau may need to watch it is his starters minutes. Butler is averaging around 37 minutes a game and other starters on the team are playing significant minutes as well. In order to be ready for playoff time come spring, Minnesota may need to think about resting their stars from time to time.

Previous Ranking: 4

 

 

3. Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson celebrating after a shot.

Photo Credit/clutchpoints.com

 

Having another All-Star caliber season on both ends, Thompson comes in at #3 on the list. Where Klay separated himself from Butler was his efficiency on the offensive end. While staying the great defender he’s been in years past, he’s shooting about 45% from 3 and nearly hit half of his shots from the field. In what could possibly be his 4th straight 20pt season, Thompson has the opportunity to accomplish a 50/40/90 for the year.

Previous Ranking: 3

 

 

2. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors

DeMar DeRozan during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

After years of being known as a guard who can only play within 22 feet of the basket, DeRozan has picked up his shots attempted and accuracy from deep. Now shooting around 37% from 3 and nearly 50% on field goals, DeRozan is set to make his 4th All-Star appearance and has the Raptors looking solid as a top 3 team in the East alongside backcourt partner Kyle Lowry.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

1. James Harden – Houston Rockets

James Harden during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/complex.com

 

Despite recently tearing part of his hamstring which will sideline him for a few weeks, Harden has once again began his MVP campaign very early in the season. Averaging a whopping 30+ points a game to go along with around 9 assists, the superstar is leading a Rockets team to a presumed top 2 seed in the West. With a new star to help him out in Houston, Chris Paul, Harden and the Rockets look to be the only team in the league right now that honestly stands a fair chance against the Golden State Warriors in a seven game series.

Previous Ranking: 1

 

 

 

Top 15 Point Guard Rankings Here:

Top 15 Point Guards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

Top 15 Point Guards in the NBA at the Halfway Point

As we approach the midway point of the NBA season, who are the best floor generals in the league and what have they shown us in the first half of the year? Note: D’Angelo Russell, Isaiah Thomas, and Mike Conley will not be included in the list as they’ve missed significant time so far this season.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Ricky Rubio

Lonzo Ball

Austin Rivers

Jamal Murray

Dennis Smith Jr.

 

 

15. Goran Dragic – Miami Heat

Goran Dragic dribbling the ball in a game.

Photo Credit: thesportsbros.com

 

Dragic has underperformed so far this year with the Heat. With underwhelming shooting percentages and numbers he doesn’t look like the star he’s been in previous seasons. Miami’s roster is deep with average guards and has one of the best defensive players in the league in Hassan Whiteside, which seem to be the most accountable reasons for them hanging around in the East this season. Despite still being an above average guard in the NBA, Dragic could be a trade piece If Miami falls off.

Previous Ranking: 13

 

 

14. Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans

Jrue Holiday celebrating in a game.

Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

 

Though it seems Holiday has never fully jelled with the Pels since he landed in New Orleans, he seems to have found a groove to start the year this season. Currently averaging around 18 points per game, Holiday has been the backcourt threat the Pelicans need to pair with their dominant front court. It could be easy to see the 27-year old slow down as the season draws on giving his recent down and injury-prone seasons, but as of now, with Rondo and Moore in the backcourt as well, he’s performing the best he has in New Orleans.

Previous Ranking: 15

 

 

13. Kris Dunn – Chicago Bulls

Kris Dunn holding bal in photoshoot.

Photo Credit: nba.com

 

Dunn has been a bit of a surprise after coming over to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade. Since joining the Bulls, he’s improved his scoring average nearly 10 points from his rookie season and become one of the best defenders at the 1 in the league. Averaging nearly 2 steals a game, his length and athleticism give him the ability to cover either guard position after the return of Zach Lavine. Dunn still needs to improve his outside shot as he’s currently shooting about 33% from 3 on the year, but if his shot and decision making on the offensive end improve, he’s the point guard of the future in Chi-Town.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

 

12. Dennis Schroder – Atlanta Hawks

Dennis Schroder dribbling the ball during a game.

Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com

 

Schroder came into this season expected to be the man in Atlanta after the departures of Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard in the offseason. So far, the 25-year old German is putting up the numbers he was expected to, but at a cost to his team. Shooting a disastrous 30% from the arc, Schroder isn’t scoring efficiently enough to be considered a star. Though he is the number one option on his team, the Hawks won’t be anywhere near playoff contention until a few years down the road when some of their young prospects get going and Schroder enters his prime, hopefully with a better outside shot and decision making.

Previous Ranking: 12

 

 

11. Jeff Teague – Minnesota Timberwolves

Jeff Teague dribbling in a game.

Photo Credit: sportingnews.com

 

After a one year stint in his home state of Indiana, Teague now finds himself on a loaded Timberwolves team. With several elite offensive talents around him to dish the rock out to, he’s putting up solid assist numbers and providing the team with a reliable distance jump shooter to surround KAT inside. Being on a stacked roster and still putting up respectable scoring and assist numbers while doing so fairly efficiently puts Teague at number 11 on the list.

Previous Ranking: Honorable Mention

 

 

10. Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee Bucks

Eric Bledsoe dribbling in a game.

Photo Credit: espn.com

 

Bledsoe seems to finally be settling in in Milwaukee after being dealt by the Suns earlier in the season. The Kentucky product has recently rung up a few 20-plus point games and is fitting in with Antetokounmpo nicely. Though his numbers may be slightly down from his days in lowly Phoenix, Bledsoe remains an elite defender and is now an important piece of a Bucks team that should challenge for a top 4 playoff spot in the East.

Previous Ranking: 10

 

 

9. Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry dribbling in a game.

Photo Credit: uproxx.com

 

After a fairly slow start to the season, Lowry has since picked his game up and is now co-leading the Raptors to nearly the very top of the East along with Demar Derozan. While his scoring numbers are down from years past, he’s still shooting solid percentages across the court and distributing well on a roster in Toronto with plenty of weapons. Though Derozan is clearly the best player on the team now, Lowry has some All-Star level play left at almost 32 years old.

Previous Ranking: 8

 

 

8. Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker passing the ball in a game

Photo Credit: clutch points.com

 

Walker is still putting up over 20 a game, however he’s been inconsistent and inefficient so far this season on a Hornets team who’s underachieved and find themselves near the bottom of the East. Though he’s by far the team’s top scorer and best player, it’s hard to see Walker earning a repeat appearance in the All-Star game with the way Charlotte is playing at the moment.

Previous Ranking: 7

 

7. Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving during a stoppage of play.

Photo Credit: si.com

 

Though it’s fair to consider Irving an MVP candidate right now, he still lands at #7 on the list. Kyrie is currently having likely the best season of his career, shooting around 40% from deep and nearly 50% from the field. Leading the Celtics to the top of the East from the start of the season, Irving should be making another All-Star appearance this year. It’s possible Cleveland catches Boston towards the end of the season but the Celtics have shown they’re likely one of the top two teams in the East after upgrading their PG position in the offseason.

Previous Ranking: 6

 

 

6. Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons dribbling in a game.

Photo Credit: cbssports.com

 

Despite this being his first year on the court in the NBA, Simmons is already playing at an All-Star level. With his co-star Joel Embiid, the Sixers should be in the mix for a playoff spot this year. Simmons’ size gives him the ability to grab rebounds and get out on the break fast and view the court more easily in the half court offense. His playmaking ability has drawn rightful comparisons to LeBron James over the past few months as he continues to develop. If the former LSU forward is able to attain a jump shot over the next few seasons he could be at an MVP level soon, having already established himself as one of the best guards in the NBA.

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

 

5. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard dribbling in a game.

Photo Credit: cbssports.com

 

Dame has gotten off to another great start this year and remains one of the most underrated guards in the league. Though defense is still a relatively weak part of Lillard’s game, he can score and distribute as well as just about anybody in the NBA and currently has the Blazers hanging around a late playoff spot in the West. Despite his status as a star year after year, it’s likely he’s again snubbed from the All-Star game unless Portland can pick it up and push higher into the Western Conference standings.

Previous Ranking: 4

 

 

4. John Wall – Washington Wizards

John Wall during a dead ball.

Photo Credit: complex.com

 

Wall’s numbers are down just a bit this year as his Wizards are currently in the middle of the pack in the East. Still struggling with his jumpshot, Wall has yet to improve certain facets of his game enough to take Washington all the way to the top, despite being alongside Bradley Beal to form one of the best back courts in the NBA. Elite defense and playmaking keep Wall in the same breath as some of the best guards in the league but he has to be a better leader and shooter to get the Wizards to where they really want to be.

Previous Ranking: 3

 

 

3. Chris Paul – Houston Rockets

Chris Paul driving into the paint in an NBA game.

Photo Credit: si.com

 

Paul has missed a good amount of time due to injury this season but has proved that when he does play the Rockets are far more in sync. Despite the recent losing skid Houston has accrued they still remain a top team in the league and are one of the best two clubs in the West. CP3 is shooting around 40% from the arc this year which could largely be attributed to the spread out offense Mike D’Antoni runs in Houston. Once James Harden has returned with a healthy hamstring the Rockets should be cooking again with their two superstars.

Previous Ranking: 5

 

2. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook hanging on the rim after dunking.

Photo Credit: si.com

 

A slight decrease in numbers was expected for Russ coming into this season with the arrival of Melo and PG in Oklahoma City. While he has seen a decrease in scoring the reigning NBA MVP is nearly averaging a triple double so far this season. Possibly the best athlete ever at the point guard position, the former top 5 pick continues to fascinate and showcase his all-around game. The Thunder’s early struggles are likely to dissipate once the team jells more, but don’t expect a repeat MVP for Westbrook.

Previous Ranking: 2

 

 

1. Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry calling a play as he takes the ball up the floor.

Photo Credit: clutch points.com

 

Despite missing almost the entire month of December, Curry has been spectacular to start the season. Playing just 32 minutes a game, Curry is putting up nearly 27 points a game and shooting to the tune of around 40% from 3 and nearly 50% from the field. His off-ball play continues to be his most valuable attribute. His ability to set screens and draw defenders to the perimeter opens up the middle of the floor for Draymond Green and spaces the floor for Thompson and Durant. After going for 38 points and 10 3’s in his first game back from his injury, expect Curry to make his 5th All-Star appearance and lead the Warriors to their 4th straight Western Conference regular season title.

Previous Ranking: 1