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Around the NBA: Position Rankings


This week on Around on the NBA, I have put together a positional ranking of all the players left in the playoffs.  (Yes that is everyone minus the recently swept Knicks, so no Carmelo or Amare below.)  This is not a “Player Rater,” “Hollinger Rater,” or anything based off of stats.  It is a far more simple, yet debatable system, where I look at the players and slot them 1-10 on which player I would rather have on my team.   These rankings combine both the regular season and early playoff performances.

Point Guards:

  1. Derrick Rose, Bulls
  2. Chris Paul, Hornets
  3. Rajon Rondo, Celtics
  4. Russell Westbrook, Thunder
  5. Tony Parker, Spurs
  6. Jason Kidd, Mavericks
  7. Andre Miller, Trail Blazers
  8. Ty Lawson, Nuggets
  9. Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers
  10. Jameer Nelson, Magic

Chris Paul is fresh of a triple-double and a second win over the highly favored Lakers.  You might be able to make an argument that he is the best point guard in basketball once again, but there is no way I’m ignoring the entire season Derrick Rose put together.  Brandon Roy was a tough guy to rank.  He’s typically a shooting guard, but his new role in Portland has been back up point guard, and after Game 2 were he barely played, he has been a huge spark for the Blazers.  Young guys like Jrue Holiday and Mike Conley just missed the cut as did Kirk Hinrich.

Shooting Guards:

  1. Dwyane Wade, Heat
  2. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
  3. Manu Ginobili, Spurs
  4. Ray Allen, Celtics
  5. Joe Johnson, Hawks
  6. Jason Terry, Mavericks
  7. Wes Mathews, Trail Blazers
  8. Jamal Crawford, Hawks
  9. Jason Richardson, Magic
  10. James Harden, Thunder

The top 4 SGs on this list have combined for 10 titles.  I think Wade has passed Bryant, but it is still close.  Neither Kobe nor Manu are playing at 100%, but they are still better options than almost everyone else in the league.  Interesting to note that 3 of the Top 10 shooting guards don’t start for their teams (Terry, Crawford, and Harden) all provide scoring punch off the bench.  

Small Forwards:

  1. LeBron James, Heat
  2. Kevin Durant, Thunder
  3. Paul Pierce, Celtics
  4. Gerald Wallace, Trail Blazers
  5. Luol Deng, Bulls
  6. Danny Granger, Pacers
  7. Andre Iguodala, 76ers
  8. Shawn Marion, Mavericks
  9. Richard Jefferson, Spurs
  10. Trevor Ariza, Hornets

Call me crazy, but I still think Shawn Marion has something left in the tank.  He just had 12 points 11 rebounds in Dallas’ last game.  I know he’s not the 20-10 Matrix from the Suns, but compared to the rest of the Small Forwards still in the playoffs, he’s in my Top 10.

Power Forwards:

  1. Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
  2. Pau Gasol, Lakers
  3. Kevin Garnett, Celtics
  4. LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers
  5. Tim Duncan, Spurs
  6. Carlos Boozer, Bulls
  7. Zach Randolph, Grizzlies
  8. Chris Bosh, Heat
  9. Lamar Odom, Lakers
  10. Josh Smith, Hawks

Lots of talent at the Power Forward position, it seems as though every team has an All-Star at the position.  I know Pau, KG, and Duncan (who is a border line Center) have the Championship Rings but I think Dirk is still the best, he just has the least to work with.


  1. Dwight Howard, Magic
  2. Al Horford, Hawks
  3. Marcus Camby, Trail Blazers
  4. Andrew Bynum, Lakers
  5. Tyson Chandler, Mavericks
  6. Joakim Noah, Bulls
  7. Nene, Nuggets
  8. Marc Gasol, Grizzlies
  9. Kendrick Perkins, Thunder
  10. Roy Hibbert, Pacers

Ten big nasty guys right here.  Dwight Howard is head and shoulder above the competition at the Center spot.  The rest of the them are not exactly scorers, their job is more to irritate (Noah), and head the defense (Camby, Chandler, Perk).

Team Count:

Trail Blazers: 6 (wow)

Mavericks: 5

Celtics: 4

Lakers: 4

Bulls: 4

Spurs: 4

Hawks: 4

Thunder: 4

Magic: 3

Heat: 3

Grizzlies: 2 (Conley was close, and Rudy Gay would have been in)

Pacers: 2

Hornets: 2

Nuggets: 2

76ers: 1

  • Joel W

    Rondo ahead of Westbrook has no basis in reality. None. Also Tony Allen deserves to be in the top 10 of the shooting guards.

    • CsFanInArkansas

      Hilarious – Tony Allen over any of those other 10 SGs?!?! You're nuts.

      That's a seven syllable oxy-moron: Shooting Guard Tony Allen.

    • Seanthoughtwhat

      Actually, it really depends upon what type of team you want to be running. What is your offense? Defense? Who's your coach, and who are the rest of the players?

      Rondo shouldn't be on a team where he has to be one of the leading options for scoring. He should be on a team (like he is) where there are two or three proven scorers above him.

      My argument for Rondo over Westbrook? Take a look at how they both play. Rondo is a crazy-visioned player who makes spot-on passes, intelligently runs the offense, and is always looking to get his guy the shot. Yeah he makes the occasional bone-headed or pride-driven play, but for the majority of games, Rondo is exactly as they call him, a floor general.

      Westbrook shows flashes of brilliant playmaking, but he is the kind of guy who thrives on getting his shots. Probably more damning, as I watch him and hear him talked about, is that he often fails to incorporate other guys when the game gets close and starts playing "hero ball".

      So, what do you want for a point guard? I want a guard who is going to tell his players where to go on the floor and then get people moving, get the ball moving, and get his team a great shot. Basketball is at its best when the ball is moving well and guys are looking for the best shot. Second, when the defense is playing lockdown, which Rondo is considered a great defensive guard, well…

      Stop being crazy Joel and making statements that are just inflammatory. You contribute nothing to the conversation, only a seemingly purposefully dissenting voice.

    • Chris O

      19ppg, 7.3 rpg and 12apg in the Knicks series could be a basis….just sayin

  • Tom

    No Deron Williams?

    • Tom

      Probably should've noticed it was players left in the playoffs…

    • I_Love_Green

      Its for guys in the playoffs right now.

    • Lakersfan

      No Deron Williams.

  • #Likethiswriteup

    You will take Al Horford and Camby over Bynum?? have you been watching lately?..

    • Morpheus

      I'd have Bynum 2nd on my list. Maybe RK is wary of his knees…Horford would actually be on my PFs list.

    • Lakersfan

      Yea, As long as Bynum's knees as healthy as they've been lately, he's behind Dwight Howard.

      I would take Horford over Camby as he gives you more quality minutes over the course of the entire series. But if I need someone to hold down the fort for 1 quarter or even 1 game, I'll take Camby.

  • Batman

    Also Boozer should be #10

    • Lakersfan

      I would put him #10A

  • Zach

    Randolph should be ahead of Duncan and Boozer based on performance thus far in round 1

    • Robert

      I'd agree there. I'd definitely pick Randolph over Duncan and Boozer, if I had a choice. Zach has been a beast inside and he really has an uncanny knack for offensive rebounding. You can see that Duncan is doing all he can, but the meter is almost empty at this point and he's getting it done entirely on veteran savvy. Boozer definitely has skills but he's too inconsistent.

  • Dropstep

    I watch alot of Westbrook and alot of Rondo. Rondo is ahead of Westbrook.

    • Joel W

      Based on what? Blatant bias? Rondo is great. I love Rondo especially for his contract. I love his fit with this team. If you were starting a team from scratch, however, Westbrook goes ahead of Rondo for every GM in the league.

      • rtifishul

        You're gonna build a team around a point who takes more shots than his shooting guard?

        • Batman

          The ONLY reason a GM would take Westbrook over Rondo is because of their ages.

          • Lakersfan

            but doesn't that just mean Westbrook's potential is higher than Rondo.

            I seriously doubt Rondo will develop a jumper like Kidd did. Westbrook is already showing signs of life on the perimeter. Westbrook just needs more experience, which Rondo earned in his deep playoff runs.

            I wouldn't say age is the ONLY reason. Westbrook's ceiling is just higher than Rondo, albeit, not by much.

        • Dan

          Shefelosha is there for his Guard, not for his Shooting, so that's hardly surprising. The real shocker is that with Perk out there he isn't even the worst offensive player they start.

          • kricky

            Really tough to judge:

            The way RR played at the end of the regular season Westbrook and a lot of other guys were ahead of him.

            But the way he is playing now he may be at the very top of the list.

      • Zee

        westbrook leads the league in turnovers. #knowallfacts :)

        • Lakersfan

          Yea, Rondo makes less mistakes than Westbrook, although Westbrook does have more on his shoulders as he has less weapons to work with.

          Defense tips the scale in my book. Rondo > Westbrook

      • Lakersfan

        I'm unbiased… in fact, I like Westbrook as I grad'ed from UCLA. In fact, I hate Rondo.

        But right NOW, this moment, I'll take Rondo. Rondo defends better, controls the offense better, is a much better passer. The only major flaw in his game is that he's a worse jump shooter than many centers in the league (centers with better jumpers: Horford, Camby, Bynum, Yao Ming, Spencer Hawes, Darko Milicic, Bogut, Kaman, Jermaine O'Neil, do I need to go on?)

        I think due to his age, Westbrook's peak (which is years away) has a chance to surpass Rondo's peak (which I think is where we are now).

  • Robert

    I'd take Gasol over Dirk. Both are skilled, multi-faceted scorers but Gasol's ability to score in the low post is rarer and more valuable in the current NBA landscape. Plus Gasol's a better rounder, defender, and probably a better passer. Dirk obviously has more range and a better stroke but I want my big man to have big man skills.

    • Lakersfan

      Offensively, the numbers speak for themselves. Dirk is way ahead of Pau.

      But I would take Gasol solely on defense. Dirk couldn't guard his ugly ex-fiance on the court. Gasol gets you 2 blocks per game and defends the opposing teams' best post player.

      Pau also doesn't fade in crunch time like Dirk has done in numerous pressure moments

  • rondeezy

    no way pau is #2 with how he played like a little bitch in the first 2 games

  • SteveB

    Perkins number 9. Interesting after all we've been through the last few months.

    • diehardceltic

      Thats exactly what I thought….after all the Perk talk on this site, I would have expected sthng else!

  • http://comeupking.blogspot.com/ sam

    No way is Paul not 1. Rose had a great and probably had better season, but playing at their best it is Paul by far. He is the best in the NBA at making his teammates better and knowing when to take over himself offensively or get his teammates shots and give them confidence… And please, lets not talk about defense when it comes to the two of them. Put Rose on the Hornets I am sure he would average more points but they would even come close to making the playoffs..

    • Batman

      Uh I agree with u on most of ur points that u listed except that Rose isn't bad
      He's a top 10 player
      the hornets would most definitely make the playoffs with Rose

    • Lakersfan

      I'll take Chris Paul #1… especially in light of how he's scorching my Lakers… :(

      (yes, thank you, all PG's scorch the Lakers…)

  • Dan

    What do you mean by "well determined"? Was there a vote on this or something? The two are incredible different players, so comparing them is kind of stupid.

    If you go by PER. Rondo's career high (last year) was a 19. Westbrook's (this year) was a 23, a pretty huge difference. The efficiency ratings largely favor Westbrook – even the defensive ones, the Win Shares favor Rondo. Seems like by the numbers its a pretty reasonable debate?

  • TedL

    Paul's been awesome. I can see him as a 1.

    But you can't say Rose is struggling. He had a weak finish to game 4, after turning his ankle. But in the first three games he basically put his team on his shoulders and carried the entire offense. There must've been 20-30 possessions late in the 4th quarter where everybody in the arena knew Rose was going to have to create something off an isolation, he was double-teamed, and yet he managed to score or get to the line again and again and again.

  • Morpheus

    Wade definitely tops all sgs. I read somewhere he put up a line as the first sg ever to record 5 blocks, 3 steals, 10 rebounds, 23 points(something like that) that only dominant centers/pfs have put up.

    • Lakersfan

      That's awesome for your fantasy team. Let's see if that gets the Heats by the Celtics.

      I'm confused at the original article post, where it says Wade has surpassed Kobe. Does this mean right now because Kobe's injured and Wade is healthy? Or does not mean in overall player-worth-value-ability to win-intangibles-etc.?

      Wade is so far behind Kobe in that sense, that surpassing won't take place at least until next (or next next) year.

  • Morpheus

    I'd take Aldridge over Dirk and Gasol. He's shooting better, rebounding on the same level, neither Dirk or Gasol are rebounding well in the playoffs. He's giving Dirk fits in that series, hence Dirks poor FG%. He's 1-6 PFS, averaging at least 1 steal per game, an underrated defender.

    So LMA would be tops on my PF list.

    • Josh

      Ya, I gotta agree. Dirk is not that good. At least not good enough to be #1. He scores, and thats it.

  • Batman

    TOP 3?!?!?! WHAT

  • Zee

    A must read: ‘Why the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs are Overrated’ – http://is.gd/psMSrA

    • Lakersfan

      yea, I'm gonna click on a link that says is.gd/psMSra…

      farking spammer

  • CFW

    Dude, Jrue Holiday is outplaying Jameer Nelson.

  • I_Bleed_Green

    A lot of homers on this board…

  • I_Bleed_Green

    I usually like the articles on this blog but this ranking is a complete joke.

    • Tos

      The ratings, as he stated are for what HE would choose for his team. How is that ridiculous? Reading comprehension FTL.

      As a side note, Westbrook plays like a 2, Rondo plays like a true point guard a la Nash.

    • Batman

      They're a complete joke because you don't agree with them?

      • Lakersfan

        the standard by which we should all live by

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com W2.

    Agreed Z-Bo is too low. Camby is way too high. I like the point guard situation and really believe that the playoffs serve as an opportunity to remind all just how slick and competitive Rondo is.

  • greenman

    If Blazer's were not a small market team, we would be hearing and seeing a lot more about them and of course, they would go much farther in the playoffs. Too bad Stern ruined this Dallas/Portalnd series.

    • Batman

      Please tell me what Stern did now….

  • Chris O

    Duncan really needs to be gauged at the Center spot. I'm sick of him being the 'best power forward ever' when he has played virtually as much center in his career. Duncan is a center or power forward based on where people can 'fit him in' on their All-Star or All-NBA ballots. Mind you I am not trying to minimize Duncan but lets call it like it is, especially at this point in his career the dude plays the 5.

  • Josh

    First off, CP3 is waaaay better than Rose. Secondly, Deron should be on this list. Thirdly, CP3 is the best pg in the league. Lastly, how is Rose ahead of Paul?

    • Tos

      I give up.

  • bob

    where steve nash and wade over kobe wow

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