There's no ifs, ands or buts about it: the point guard positions in the NBA is one of the most valuable positions in all of sports. They handle the ball, generate offense, often serve as the point of attack on defense and, in many ways, serve as the quarterback on both ends of the court.
If you have a good one, you're probably made. The Warriors, Hawks and Thunder come to mind. But if you don't, then chances are, you may be the New York Knicks. And with the draft approaching, it may be time to go shopping for the point guard of the future.
This draft has plenty of them with varying skill sets, and with varying draft ranges dependent upon where your team is drafting. So consider the list below as a cheat sheet of sorts, and if your team is in the market to upgrade the position, this could serve as a handy-dandy guide for what to root for -- and expect -- come draft night.
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| USA | 6-6 | 180|
The top playmaking guard in this draft class because of elite anticipatory skills and vision to boot, LaMelo Ball figures to be a top-five prospect in this class and a contender for the No. 1 overall pick. Having just turned 19 years old, there's belief among NBA circles that he has All-Star potential if his shot shows improved and he grows into his tall, slender frame.
| France | 6-5 | 192|
A French point guard with a killer left-handed stroke, Killian Hayes has developed an incredible pedigree overseas and is garnering interest as a lottery prospect because of the combination of his size, scoring and passing abilities. He's long been considered an above average playmaker with good court vision, but he's added a stepback stroke to bolster his offensive arsenal and has a real chance of going inside the top five picks of the draft.
| Iowa St. | Soph | 6-5 | 175|
Teams love Tyrese Haliburton, the person. They're going to love Tyrese Haliburton, the player. He's a 6-5 lead guard with long, wiry arms who made 42.6% of his 3-pointers at Iowa State in two seasons and operated as the team's most active and dynamic playmaker on both offense and defense. His hyper-efficiency on offense -- particularly as a spot-up shooter -- opens up the possibilities of him slotting in an off-ball role next to a lead guard in the NBA.
| Alabama | Soph | 6-3 | 165|
A team feeling the need ... the need for speed ... may find a fit with Kira Lewis Jr. He's an all-gas-no-brakes point guard who pushes the tempo and was highly productive at Alabama despite being one of the youngest players in college basketball the last two seasons, averaging 18.5 points and 5.2 dimes per game last season. He needs to find another gear besides hyperdrive, but his speed and shot-creation are very real assets that have pushed his stock into the mid-lottery range.
| Stanford | Fr | 6-2 | 160|
Tyrell Terry is a non-traditional one-and-done prospect from Stanford with an interesting profile, case being he is a former four-star recruit with a diminutive 6-2 frame. But at Stanford he stood out as one of the most impactful freshmen in the sport because of his scoring punch and the ability to make shots off the catch, off the dribble and in motion. Ace scorer all the way around who probably needs some developmental investment from an NBA team but has real potential because of that elite skill.
| France | 6-4 | 174|
Another French point guard prospect with first-round potential, Theo Maledon had a strong season for ASVEL after overcoming a nagging shoulder injury and proved he has real upside as a lead guard in the league. Not the most explosive guard, but he plays with poise and confidence and has an improving jumper to boot. Very much like the idea of him as a combo guard in the NBA who can knock down 3-pointers and create offense. Still a teenager with room to develop into that -- and more.
| Charleston | Sr | 6-3 | 190|
There's not a ton of flash or appeal necessarily in drafting a four-year mid-major player, but trust me when I tell you that may be the one obstacle keeping your team from getting an absolute gem. Sure, Grant Riller, 23, is on the older side. And yes, coming out of the mid-major level presents some pause. But he's an illustrious shot-creator and shooter who can pull up and score just as easily as he can get to the bucket and finish. Polished scorer at every level who I'd wager winds up having a top-15 career among players in this draft even if he's not a top-15 pick.
| Arizona | Fr | 6-3 | 190|
Not the most athletic or explosive guard of the crop, but Nico Mannion can ball, full stop. High IQ point guard who can pass it and facilitate an offense but has some real scoring potential on top of that, too. His stock is down a bit from the time the college season started a season ago, but he nonetheless has top-30 potential in this draft. Teams like the Lakers and Knicks in the late-first make sense as potential landing spots given their need to either upgrade or add depth at the position.
| Duke | Soph | 6-3 | 185|
Instead of following the one-and-done path like his older brother, Tre Jones went two-and-through and delivered a breakout sophomore season in which he improved as a shooter and polished up his pro prospects in the process. Still not an elite shooter, and there's not a pizazz in Jones' game, but he's a great decision-maker with the rock in his hands who profiles as a reliable lead guard.
| Kansas | Soph | 6-2 | 185|
After earning consensus All-America honors as a sophomore last season, Devon Dotson, with incredible burst and speed, showcased why he may wind up as a late-first rounder in this year's draft. His quick twitch coupled with his playmaking and finishing ability really stand out, and I was impressed with what I saw from him on that front at the draft combine last season before returning to school. He doesn't have incredible measurables, but his production and speed are quality assets that may, and should, keep him from being overlooked.
| Michigan St. | Sr | 6-1 |185|
Cassius Winston is a two-time consensus All-American and a former Big Ten Player of the Year who made 108 starts at Michigan State over the last four seasons. But, like several others on this list, he's on the older scale of draft prospects, and adding to that, his 6-1 frame isn't easily projectable. Nonetheless, Winston's a winner who can nail 3-pointers as well as any guard in this draft and has the experience and smarts to stick.
| San Diego St. | Jr | 6-1 | 185|
A late-rising prospect from San Diego State, Malachi Flynn wasn't on the radar a year ago. But in a breakout junior campaign, he averaged 17.6 points and 5.1 assists per game while hitting 37.3% from 3-point range and 86% from the charity stripe. That, essentially, is his selling point: his offensive potential. His dynamic arsenal as a scorer running the pick-and-roll and pulling up to shoot unlocks his potential as a combo guard who can create and score it in the NBA.
Honorable mentions: I'd be remiss not to mention a few combo guards in Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton, who in the past have shown the ability to play on and off the ball and have enough positional flexibility to switch between the 1 and the 2. There is also a handful of experienced college guards who may be second-round steals, among them Ashton Hagans, Payton Pritchard, Markus Howard and Immanuel Quickley.