20 Best Backup Point Guards in the NBA 2019

A current list of the best backup point guards (min. 20 games played) around the NBA.

Best Backup PG’s 2018

20.

Tim Frazier – New Orleans Pelicans

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Frazier has been reliable in a backup role for New Orleans, getting others involved and hitting open shots when he has them. Frazier has career highs in field goal percentage (44.3%) and three point percentage (40%), to go along with 8.3 assists per 36 minutes played.

Despite being a wonderful distributor, the 28 year old Frazier has bounced around in his 5 year career, making his growth as a shooter a positive sign.

19.

Delon Wright – Toronto Raptors

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The 26 year old point guard is one the many contributors to a deep roster in Toronto. A slithery change of pace driver, Wright has a nice handle and variety of finishing moves.

Wright plays only 18 minutes per game behind starter Kyle Lowry and fellow backup Fred Van Vleet (#10) but he is a better player than his averages of 6 PPG/2.1 APG/ 2.5 RPG would suggest. In the final year of his rookie deal, Wright hits the open market next summer.

18.

Elie Okobo – Phoenix Suns

Elie Okobo is still establishing himself as an NBA player on a Phoenix squad that is full of young players. The first pick in the 2018 second round out of France, Okobo is 6-3 with NBA length and explosiveness.

It’s early for Elie, but he flashed sharp cutting instincts and a strong pull up game. For the season, Okobo is averaging 6.5 ppg /2.4 APG / 0.8 SPG on dismal shooting numbers from the field and three . Okobo doesn’t play every night, with only 20 career games under his belt, but he shown promise in NBA blowout mop up duty and during his time with the Northern Arizona Suns.

17.

Matthew Dellavedova – Cleveland Cavaliers

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The return to Cleveland hasn’t changed Delly’s contract, magnificent hustle, or glacier release from 3. More notably, Dellavedova’s play has improved back in the Quicken Loans Arena.

After the trade from Milwaukee on December 7th, the Aussie has averaged 9.5 PPG / 3.9 APG while draining 17 of his 37 threes (45.9%). Dellavedova will continue to back up rookie lottery pick Collin Sexton with the Cavs, who have a long path back to NBA relevance.

16.

Tyus Jones – Minnesota Timberwolves

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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Jones has regressed in what is only his age 22 season after being drafted 24th overall in 2015. Last season, Jones looked to be finding his way as an NBA player improving his scoring average and increasing his field goal percentage by four points.

This season his points per game (4.8) and efficiency (37.6%) have slipped, despite playing a career high 19.3 mpg. Nevertheless, Jones has a feathery touch from floater range and has been piling up assists recently.

15.

TJ McConnell – Philadelphia 76ers

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McConnell continues to be a solid backup point guard and another gift from ousted GM Sam Hinkie. McConnell has been masterful in the mid range getting to his spot and pulling up – shooting 59% on two’s.

Before going undrafted in 2015, McConnell was always a sharp passer at Arizona, bringing that same skillset to the NBA – averaging 6.2 per 36 this season. TJ and the rest of the NBA must monitor the perplexing Markelle Fultz situation, as the former #1 pick was replaced by McConnell in the lead backup PG role late November.

14.

Shaun Livingston – Golden State Warriors

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(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

Forever beloved in Dub Nation, Livingston appears to be slowing down at age 33. S-Dot’s Warriors tenure has been stocked with a heavy diet of his springy mid rangers and floaters. Livingston seemingly never missed these in years past, but this season they haven’t dropped nearly as often.

He is down to 42% overall and as ESPN’s Zach Lowe notes, “Livingston, an all-time midrange god, is shooting 31 percent on shots between 10 and 16 feet from the rim. Bonkers. He hasn’t been below 40 percent since his rookie season.”

13.

Patrick Beverley – Los Angeles Clippers

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(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Now in his seventh NBA season of scrappy,irritating, high motor play, Beverley’s numbers are down from his Houston days. Beverley still has that old school driving guard offensive game with the three pointer mixed in – blending nicely with the gritty Clippers squad.

Beverley’s issue is he isn’t scoring efficiently this season, down to 36.9% overall and 34.7% from three, both the lowest of his career. Long known for his defensive ability, Beverley’s steals are also down to 0.6 per game and Steph Curry lit him up for a 40 piece right before Christmas.

12.

Cory Joseph – Indiana Pacers

Toronto Raptors v Indiana Pacers
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Joseph is a reliable part of the Pacers second unit, racing through multiple pick and roll actions looking for an advantage. Joseph continues to improve as an outside shooter, shooting 37.5% taking over 2 per game.

All in all the 27 year old plays his role in a talented Indy squad, averaging 1.3 SPG, making plays, and hitting the open shot behind Darren Collison.

11.

Patty Mills – San Antonio Spurs

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Now in his tenth NBA season, Mills is once again striping it from downtown with San Antonio. Shooting 38.7% from three, Patty has been one of the premier spot up players in the NBA, shooting 60%, and scoring a league best 1.689 points per spot up possession according to Synergy Sports.

The Spurs have maximized Mills spot up shooting by pairing him next to DeMar DeRozan and preventing the defense from sending help towards All Star scorer DeRozan. This has expanded the Spurs offense and helped them get more spacing, despite Coach Popovich distaste for the three point obsession.

10.

Fred VanVleet – Toronto Raptors

It’s no surprise that the Raptors deep bench holds two good, young back up guards. VanVleet is having the best season of his three year career ,averaging 10.2 ppg / 4.4 APG / 1.0 SPG while canning 1.6 threes at a high 30’s clip.

The 24 year old F.V.V has been a success story for Masai Ujiri and the Raptors, as he has developed into a good young player and inked a fair 2 year 18 million dollar deal last July.

9.

Trey Burke – New York Knicks

NBA: New York Knicks at Washington Wizards
Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Burke, a former #9 overall pick, has reestablished his career in New York. Last year was a career year for Burke, averaging 12 points, nearly 5 assists, and shooting over 50% from the field and 35% from three – encouraging signs for what was his age 25 season. This season he hasn’t been quite as good, down to 11.0 ppg /2.9 APG while shooting a tick above 40%.

Much of Burke’s game is operating in the pick and roll, currently 49.5% of his possessions, where Burke looks to drill mid-range pull ups. Burke is scoring efficiently in the pick and roll, accounting for .986 (11th) points per pick and roll possession. Burke can make a greater impact if he improves his mid range success to look more like last year (57.7%) than this year (41.2%).

8.

Jeremy Lin – Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Lin is playing out the last year on his 13 million dollar player option, a lucrative contract he signed back in the crazy spending spree of 2016. After missing the 2017 season with a knee injury, Lin was traded to the Hawks to backup rookie college sensation Trae Young.

Lin is performing well returning from injury, averaging 10.6 points per game while only playing 18.5 minutes and attempting only 7.1 shots per game. If Lin continues to prove he can be trusted, he should once again be sought after by teams looking for depth at point guard.

7.

Shelvin Mack -Memphis Grizzlies

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After being waived by the Magic and agreeing to join his sixth team in eight NBA seasons, Mack has proven to be a great grab for the Grizz on a minimum contract. Mack gives the thin Grizzlies roster 24 minutes per game, contributing 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal.

The 28 year old from Butler is shooting his best career mark from three this season, up to 39.5% and taking 2.5. His biggest improvement has been shooting threes off the dribble in pick and roll, where the patient Mack has a nice chemistry with skilled big man Marc Gasol.

6.

George Hill – Milwaukee Bucks

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Hill hasn’t shot the ball well with Milwaukee in his ten games since his exodus from Cleveland. He is down to 28% from three after shooting 46% this season with the Cavs, though both are small samples. Hill is a career 38% three point shooter which should help him stay playable through the playoffs.

The combination of Hill’s defensive length, ability to work off the ball as a spot up shooter, and secondary play-making should prove valuable to a Bucks team that is rolling.

5.

Tony Parker – Charlotte Hornets

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Parker donning a Hornets jersey is becoming easier to process when watching his play look more like that of his younger Spurs days. Parker provides Charlotte a steady veteran play-making presence in the second unit, running pick and rolls on a whopping 54% of his offensive possessions. The Frenchmen still zips through the lane in a blink, always ready to unleash the quick spin move or even the euro-step and-1 finish to ice a recent game against the Nets.

Parker still looks spry at age 36, drains his midrange pull up with his usual ease, and has proven to be a successful find for Charlotte in the off-season.

4.

JJ Barea – Dallas Mavericks

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Barea has been a big part of the Mavericks second unit averaging 11.6 points and 5.6 assists per game. Barea has hit just enough of his high arching three pointers to keep the defense honest, averaging just over 1 per game on 33% – his lowest efficiency since his first season in return to Dallas (2014-15).

Barea still is excellent at manipulating his defender in the pick and roll or off hand offs, getting wide and keeping the defender “jailed” on his back hip until he can score, get fouled or create for his teammates.

Barea has Pat Beverley stuck after gaining an advantage off a screen

In his thirteenth season at age 34, Barea is providing strong backup play in Dallas.

3.

Monte Morris – Denver Nuggets

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After playing only 3 games last season, Morris has been excellent in the early going for the best in the West Nuggets. An established four year college player, Morris has started to translate his offensive game to the NBA. Morris, the 51st overall pick in 2017, is another strong find for the Denver front office, averaging 10.1 ppg / 4.2 APG /1.1 SPG on incredibly efficient 47% shooting.

Much has been made of Morris remarkable ball control, having dished out 143 assists to a mere 25 turnovers. The dependable play of Morris has helped him carve a nice role,though Denver expects the return of back-court play-makers Isiah Thomas and Will Barton.

2.

Dennis Schroder – Oklahoma City Thunder

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Dumping Carmelo Anthony for Dennis Schroder in the offseason has been a prudent decision so far for GM Sam Presti, one of many such decisions on his record. Schroder is still not a very efficient player but he is making threes at a career high rate and averaging 16 points per game in 29 minutes off the bench.

Schroder is still a speedy driver, sometimes revving up right away and going to the tin, others using a few fake starts before blowing by his defender. The 25 year old Schroder is maybe a little overpaid at over 15 million a year through 2021, but he can big piece for the Thunder going forward.

1.

Spencer Dinwiddie – Brooklyn Nets

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Spencer has been stellar this season, not only #1 backup point guard but the best #8 in the league and perhaps the sixth man of the year. Much of his success can be attributed to a big leap from three, now making over two a game on 37%, huge for the 25 year old. Dinwiddie has been bottoming triples both off the catch and off the bounce, including some absurdly difficult step-backs.

Additionally, Dinwiddie is getting to the line five times a game and using his big guard frame on his controlled basket attacks. His growth as an offensive player has turned him into one of the league’s premier pick and roll threats, scoring 1.051 PPP – third behind All Stars Damian Lillard (1.119 PPP) and Kemba Walker (1.051 PPP). Dinwiddie’s emergence led to a 3 year 34 million dollar extension in mid December.

2 comments

    • Christopher,

      At the time this was written D-Rose had started his last 5 games before 2 DNP’s. Certainly his play off the bench in February and March would have warranted a spot in the top 5. Averaged nearly 17 points a game on 50% from the floor.

      Like

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