NBA point guard tier list: Where does Cavaliers’ Darius Garland rank?

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns. Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images /

NBA Point Guard Tiers: Tier 6 – Great players but….

  • 22. Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
  • 21. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers
  • 20. Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies
  • 19. Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks
  • 18. Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors

There are reasons to absolutely love each of the players in this tier, but at the same time there is that one thing holding each of them back. Reports out of Team USA’s training camp were that Cade Cunningham looked awesome, and his combination of size and passing ability are special; at the same time, he has only played 76 career games and shot just 30.9 percent from 3-point range for his career. Can he get through this season healthy and find a way to translate his shot into actual makes?

That same process can be applied to the rest of this group. Tyrese Maxey has plenty of offensive pop but needs to improve as a passer and prove he’s not a sieve on defense. Marcus Smart has the defense down but has to find his offensive role as he ages and on a new team. Dejounte Murray is a good defender, good passer, good scorer, but he doesn’t do any of it at an elite level and he failed to find a way to thrive alongside Trae Young last season.

Finally, Chris Paul has to face the music and fit in on a team that doesn’t need him to win; he’s always come in as the “savior” and now he is just a supplementary piece. Will he accept coming off of the bench? How much pop do his legs have left?

Tier 5 – Two-way fringe All-Stars

  • 17. Fred VanVleet, Houston Rockets
  • 16. Derrick White, Boston Celtics

Tier 5 is our smallest tier, trying to capture the unique lane these two players find themselves in. Both of these players have proven that they can play at a high level in the NBA Finals, the most difficult of proving grounds. Each also has struggled to be the primary offensive engine for their teams without the help of other on-ball creators.

Fred VanVleet landed a lucrative contract this summer with the Houston Rockets and leaves the infrastructure of playing alongside guys like Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam. When his shot is on he’s a dangerous weapon, but when he goes cold he struggles. Derrick White is one of the best defensive guards in the league and plays well as a tertiary offensive option, but if asked to run the show he would have a difficult time; he’s in a perfect spot with the Boston Celtics.