The Houston Rockets, via their poison-pill contract, have ensured that Lin will be one of the highest paid players in the NBA in 2014-2015, earning just under $15 million that season. While financially Lin’s presence will probably pay-off the contract, he’s not that good.
We counted 13 point guards we considered better than Lin, who peaked for a two month period under D’Antoni last season before Mike Woodson’s pro-Carmelo system kicked in. Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists last season, but there are plenty of other players who make or deserve to make that 8-figure salary that seems a bit much for an unproven player like Lin.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Rajon Rondo, unlike the other guys who usually get mentioned in the discussion for best point guard in the NBA, isn’t a 20-10 kind of guy. He’s possibly the best passer of the bunch, averaging an NBA high 11.7 assists per game last season and also possibly the best defender. He’s also the most versatile, while also waking up in the postseason by showing he can do pretty much everything, averaging 17.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 11.9 assists, being the current triple-double king of the NBA.
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
Like Rondo, Williams is a constant member of the discussion club regarding who’s the best point guard in the league. The problem for him over the last couple of years has been the lack of postseason basketball. He averaged 21 points and 8 assists per game for the used-to-be New Jersey Nets.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (When he’s back, we hope)
When he’ll comeback, which at the moment might be March, he should be one of the best in the league once again. I mean, we hope he’ll be, because ACL injuries often mean the player might not return to be as good as he was before. And before, Rose was the best point guard in the NBA in my opinion. Not the most versatile and not the best passer, but the Bulls, with Rose on the court, were the best team during the regular season. He’s also the 2011 NBA MVP.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
It didn’t take long for Cavs fans to find a new star to endorse. Irving isn’t LeBron James, but the Cavs are going in the right direction and were on a .500 pace for a long stretch last season. Irving won the rookie of the year award, averaging 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game.
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Lawson did really well in his first season as a full time starter for the Denver Nuggets, averaging 16.4 points and 6.4 assists per game, leading the fast paces offense that suits his style wonderfully. Lawson is only 5’11 which gives him problems defensively with some point guards, but he’s got good timing for steals which makes up for it.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Next season, if Curry manages to remain healthy for the entirety of it, we’ll be able to see if he can flourish without Monta Ellis next to him, stepping on his toes. Missed most of the 2011-2012 season, playing less than 30 minutes a night, averaging 14.7 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Right now, in my opinion, and for most of the last five years, Paul is the best point guard in the league. Had a fantastic first season with the Clippers, giving them an even better player to build around, if he does stay beyond 2013. Paul averaged 19.8 points and 9.1 assists.
Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have an elite point guard again. Don’t let Nash’s drop in points fool you. He’s still the best passer in the league, with a bit more options around him this time than in recent seasons with the Phoenix Suns, and a bit more useful defensive schemes to make up for his own defensive frailties.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
Jennings took a very big leap forward during his third NBA Season, also showing us more than a glimpse of what kind of player he is, taking more scoring duties on his shoulders, averaging 19.1 points and 5.5 assists per game. It’ll be interesting to see how he changes his game now alongside Monta Ellis for a full season.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
The main reason that the Minnesota Timberwolves are a team people care about again, outside of the state itself. Averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game before tearing his ACL, which didn’t stop him from finishing second behind Irving in the rookie of the year voting.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
The best athlete out of the point guard crop in the NBA, although not exactly a pure point guard in a sense that scoring is much more important to him, averaging 23.6 points per game playing alongside the best scorer in the NBA.
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Constantly under-appreciated according to some, many believe Parker deserved to be in contention for the MVP award last season. He averaged 18.3 points per game (his best since 2008-2009) and dished a career high 7.7 assists per game. He was even better in the playoffs with 20.1 points per game.
John Wall, Washington Wizards
He didn’t quite make the improvement many expected him to, as he hit the sophomore NBA year wall (no pun intended). That doesn’t stop Wall from being a freak athlete and the hope of the Wizards’ future, averaging 16.3 points and 8 assists per game.