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NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375537 Point of the story Point+of+the+story NBA

Last season Jeremy Lin (pictured) was the point guard who caught the NBA by storm, generating global Linsanity with his brilliant play for the New York Knicks. But while it helped Lin land a lucrative new contract with the Houston Rockets, hardly anyone considers Lin an elite point guard. That's no knock on Lin, just an acknowledgement that the position is the strongest and deepest in the league right now. Here's how we rank the top 10 going into the 2012-13 season.

Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375535 Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers Chris+Paul%2C+Los+Angeles+Clippers NBA

Paul was starting to get overlooked and undervalued in New Orleans as the team around him regressed. It took the bright lights of LA to remind everyone what a great point guard Chris Paul truly is. His masterful play helped the Clippers improve from 32-50 to 40-26 in his first season. He controls a game like no other point guard. And by several statistical measures, he's also the NBA player you most want with the ball in his hands at the end of a game.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375536 Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls Derrick+Rose%2C+Chicago+Bulls NBA

Coming off an injury-plagued season that ended with a blown-out knee, who knows if Rose will regain the explosiveness that made him so unguardable two seasons ago? For now, though, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Rose is just 24 and not far removed from his league MVP award in 2011. He'll miss at least a portion of this season rehabbing a torn ACL, but his work ethic and desire are second to none. He genuinely seems to be all about winning, not the trappings of fame, and it's hard to root against someone like that.

Mike DiNovo - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375534 Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets Deron+Williams%2C+Brooklyn+Nets NBA

Williams had to carry the Nets last season and, to be honest, he didn't carry them far. His frustration was apparent in loss after loss. But with the addtion of Joe Johnson, the return of Brook Lopez and the excitement of the team's move to Brooklyn, Williams should enjoy a return to relevance. He may be the league's most complete point guard in that he does everything well, if nothing spectacularly.

Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375539 Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder Russell+Westbrook%2C+Oklahoma+City+Thunder NBA

He'll probably never make basketball purists happy. He shoots too much. His assist-turnover ratio (5.5-3.6 last season) stinks for a point guard. He's not a poised, steady floor leader. But Westbrook brings such athletic ability and competitive ferocity to the court that his positives usually far outweigh his negatives. At 23, it's fair to say Westbrook has room to mature. But for now, the Thunder are happy to ride with their unique talent.

Larry W. Smith/Pool Photo - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375538 Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs Tony+Parker%2C+San+Antonio+Spurs NBA

After 14 successful years with Tim Duncan as their focal point, the Spurs became Parker's team last season and didn't skip a beat. Always an efficient scorer, the Frenchman elevated his game as a playmaker and leader as San Antonio finished with the best record in the West and won 20 straight games. As long as he stays at that level and Duncan remains a willing role player, the Spurs won't go away any time soon.

Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375542 Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics Rajon+Rondo%2C+Boston+Celtics NBA

Just when the Celtics were supposed to fade away with the decline of the Big Three, Rondo has allowed them to remain contenders. He put Boston on his back after the All-Star break last season and carried them to within a game of the Finals. He's a superb defender, passer and big-game performer. If only he could shoot, he might be at the top of this list.

Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375543 Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers Steve+Nash%2C+Los+Angeles+Lakers NBA

He's spent the last few years making guys like Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley look good. What's he going to do with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol? It will be largely up to Nash, the offensive maestro of his era, to make the Lakers' parts mesh. If he can do it, even while turning 39 this season, it may not matter that he's a turnstile on defense.

Cary Edmondson - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375544 Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie+Irving%2C+Cleveland+Cavaliers NBA

He hasn't made Cleveland fans forget about LeBron James, but he's done something even more important: given them hope for the future. Irving averaged 18.5 points as a rookie and showed better all-around skills than other gifted young point guards like John Wall, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings. He's a natural leader, too, and a competitor who wants the ball at the end of games. The best part? He doesn't turn 21 until March.

NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375540 Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets Ty+Lawson%2C+Denver+Nuggets NBA

Not only is Lawson one of the fastest players in the NBA, he's also an excellent shooter and the best short (under 6 feet) player in the league. The former North Carolina star broke out in his third NBA season, averaging 16.4 points and 6.6 assists. Lawson may never put up huge numbers in George Karl's share-the-wealth system, but he's the souped-up engine of Denver's high-octane attack.

Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 point guards 31375541 Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves Ricky+Rubio%2C+Minnesota+Timberwolves NBA

Rubio was everything the Wolves hoped he'd be last season after waiting several years for his services. Yes, he was a lousy outside shooter, as expected. But he was a charismatic leader, a solid defender and an extraordinary passer whose unselfishness changed the team's character. It's no wonder Minnesota's season fell apart after his knee injury.

Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports
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