10. Reggie Jackson, Los Angeles Clippers - 17.5 ppg, 4 apg, 3.2 rpg
Reggie Jackson has carved out a very nice career for himself as a backup point guard. He was the backup on some very good Thunder teams, started on some very bad Pistons teams, then was the backup on some very good Clippers teams.
After playoff success last season, he was handed the keys to the offense and has done about as well as expected. His “me first” attitude is still present, but less so than it used to be. Unfortunately, his shooting numbers have taken a hit as more is expected from him, but at age 31, he’s having one of the best years of his career.
9. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers - 19.3 ppg, 8.7 apg, 8.4 rpg
Russell Westbrook is past his triple-double prime, but he’s still a serviceable point guard. His simple stats are actually very close to Murray’s, but his defense and efficiency are miles behind the Spurs’ young buck.
The Lakers went all-in on winning LeBron James a title, and having ball handlers like Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron, and Anthony Davis all playing seems to be a failed experiment, so for his role in that, Westbrook barely cracks the top ten.
8. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings - 19.7 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.3 rpg
For someone nicknamed “Swipa,” you’d expect him to average more than 1.4 steals per night, but his defense has dropped since last year. So has his shooting. So has his overall scoring. De'Aaron Fox should have been an All-Star last season, but I can’t say the same based on his play this year.
I’m worried he’ll bottom out as an inefficient gunner who never really learns to share the ball and space the floor. He is only 24 and balling out though, so there is still hope.
7. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers - 21.6 ppg, 8.1 apg, 4 rpg
Damian Lillard established himself as one of the best shooters in the league over the last few seasons and has been one of the most clutch players in the game. So why is he only shooting 29% from deep? Maybe he’s cold, or maybe he’s been figured out. Despite his underperforming season, he’s still a great scorer and is evolving to be a great facilitator as well, so he’s comfortably in the top ten still.
6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder - 20.4 ppg, 4.4 apg, 5.1 rpg
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the only decent player on his team, so his low assist numbers should be expected. Who will he pass to? But as the primary option on a team with no help, you have to score more. His 3-point shot is not falling this season, and his defense is not phenomenal, but he is leading an atrocious Thunder team to a play-in spot, which is miles ahead of what was expected. If he had decent teammates he could easily be averaging 25/7/5, but without help, he has to do it all by himself.