Ranking season is coming to a close, I think. Or hope, even. But it’s easy content, and one of the best parts of being a sports fan is sitting down over a beer (or since it’s 9 a.m., maybe a coffee) with friends and arguing asinine things that don’t really matter and can’t really be determined, one way or the other.
And so we find ourselves debating yet another list. On the heels of SI’s Top 100 Players list, we have the very intelligent Sean Deveney of The Sporting News ranking the top 15 point guards in the NBA. This is a ranking that should hit home for Toronto Raptors fans, who have argued fervently over the last few seasons that Kyle Lowry belongs very high on that list.
Here’s how the SI and TSN lists compare:
|PG Rank||Sports Illustrated||The Sporting News|
|1||Steph Curry||Russell Westbrook|
|2||Chris Paul||Steph Curry|
|3||Russell Westbrook||Chris Paul|
|4||Kyle Lowry||Damian Lillard|
|5||John Wall||Kyle Lowry|
|6||Damian Lillard||John Wall|
|7||Kyrie Irving||Kyrie Irving|
|8||Mike Conley||Mike Conley|
|9||Kemba Walker||Isaiah Thomas|
|10||Isaiah Thomas||Giannis Antetokounmpo|
Leaving aside the interesting No. 1 from Deveney, the lists are pretty similar. More specifically, there appears to be a clear Tier One (Curry-Paul-Westbrook in some order), and a Tier Two (Lowry-Wall-Lillard in some order, then Irving-Conley). Raptors fans can take pride in the fact that neither site ranks Lowry behind Irving, who is a phenomenal offensive talent but doesn’t have nearly the defensive chops of Lowry.
The argument then comes down to where Lowry belongs in his triumvirate with Lillard, an otherworldly scorer and one of the best shooters in the NBA, and Wall, one of the most gifted transition playmakers in the league and a quality defender when the Wizards aren’t dying a slow death. Lowry had a better 2015-16 than Wall and has the significant defensive edge on Lillard, but he’s also older than both, and Sporting News may be pricing in a bit of decline for the coming season. Really, you can make a strong case for any of the three to rank as the league’s fourth-best point guard, and Cavs fans would surely argue Irving could nudge his way into that conversation as well.
So, we ask you, diehard Raptor fan, where perhaps the best player in franchise history ranks for the 2016-17 season among PGs: