- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Staff Writer
Who would we pick if we were choosing up sides on the playground for a game today? Our midseason update of player rankings continues to address that question with the league's most loaded position: point guards. It's been written many times, but the way the professional game is played now, teams can't win without a capable offensive initiator. The defensive rules that open the floor and limit handchecking led to an explosion of pick-and-roll play. The proliferation of floor-spacing deep shooters has given the quick ball handlers working off all those ball screens room to operate.
Gradually, the pace of play has increased and lineups have gotten smaller. Teams began to seek smaller, quicker players who were as much of a scoring threat as they were a playmaker. Finally we reached a juncture where point guard became the most important position on the floor, even if you're a team that uses a non-traditional lead guard to run the offense. This season, once again teams are getting more value out of the point guard position than any other spot on the floor. (See chart.)
As a result, it's harder to crack the top tier of a rankings system like this if you're classified as a point guard. Because there are five positions on the floor, only 50 players can be named as top-10 players at their spot in this rankings series. Currently, 17 point guards rank among the top 50 in TrueWARP.
The summer's point guard rankings can be found here. Each player's "TrueWARP" calculation -- a blend of a player's preseason baseline forecast and his 2013-14 results -- is noted, along with each player's 2013-14 WARP and league-wide rank in WARP for the season to date. Because we're extrapolating from a half-season of real results, the methodology was a little bit different from our forecast-based summer rankings. See the explainer at the end of the article for how these rankings were derived.
7dEthan Sherwood Strauss