That's right, we have another brutal Start/Bench/Cut on our hands and this time we're talking point guards. Three absolute monsters at their position who each bring something unique to the table. It didn't take me long to decide on who to start, but the bench/cut debate was much tougher the more I looked into it. Remember this is all at their peak, so while I know people may have forgotten about Wall because it's been a while since we've seen what that looks like, he's absolutely worthy of being the third guard in this exercise. Like always I'll give my picks and then the reasoning behind it.
Start: Damian Lillard
Pretty simple here, Damian Lillard is a problem. I'm not even totally sure we've seen his peak yet and what we have at the moment is already a top 3-5 guard in the NBA. No longer is he this player that gets overlooked and snubbed year after year. He's the best scorer of the three, yes even better than Kyrie. He's averaged at least 25 a game for the last 5 seasons, he's efficient despite taking over 8 threes a game in 4 of the last 5 seasons, he's CLUTCH, he has by far the best range as as shooter of the three and he's not too shabby as a passer, averaging 7.8 assists this season. I'd say 2019-20 is his "peak" and he's putting up 28.9/4.3/7.8 on 45.7/39% shooting with 2.9 3PM a night. Remember that run he had in January/February? Ridiculous
and a run that neither of those other guards ever did at their "peak".
Bench: Kyrie Irving
I'm sure there are some of you out there that thought I would cut Kyrie because of what he did to my favorite basketball team. Credit to me for putting my personal biases aside and looking at this objectively. He's not quite the scorer that Dame is, he's certainly not the passer that Wall is, but here's the thing with Kyrie. When he's locked in, there are few point guards more visually appealing to watch. He's big time efficient from the floor, even better than Dame. He hasn't shot under 47% from the floor since 2015-16 and had three straight seasons of 40% from three before this year's 39.4% in his 20 games. He also has the best handles too so that's something I would want on my roster just for the ability to break down a defense essentially all by himself.
We also know what he can do in the playoffs. Sure last year he boned the Celts by quitting on them against MIL, but I can't overlook what he did in CLE. He put up 25.2/3.0/4.7 on 47/44% shooting on his run to the title with CLE. He made one of the biggest shots in Finals history. He gets credit for that even though LeBron was also a monster in that Finals.
Cut: John Wall
I get it, this feels wrong on some level. Wall is by far the best defender and passer of the three. I'd say his "peak" was 2016-17 when he put up 23.1/4.2/10.7 on 45/32% splits. When he's healthy John Wall has proved to be a real problem for defenses. The only issue is, he's not better than the other two guards at their "peak". He has the most limited offensive arsenal compared to the other two, and once you get to the postseason his lack of outside shooting really hurts him. In his 4 career playoff seasons, he shot under 22% from three in 3 of them.
He plays pretty much every minute, and what we've seen over the years is that forces him to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. I look at it like this. If you are in a high pressure situation and you need a bucket, who are you choosing? I don't think you can go Wall given the other clutch level players on the list.
So that's where I stand. You could make a case for different variations if you want, but I think this is pretty solid. How would you go?