Who's the best point guard In Texas?

Photo by Alonso Ramirez

I'm not a strong believer in set positions, but the state of Texas does have some really good players who fit in the category of "point guard," which for the purposes of this article, I'm defining as "a guard who serves as the primary facilitator for a team."

There are a lot of teams in this state, so we're not going to include every player in this discussion. Instead, I've narrowed it down to a handful of point guards and will look at the pros and cons for each one before coming to a decision.

So, let's set the field for which players are in this talk.

We've got to start with the point guards for the two best power conference teams in the state, Baylor and Texas. For Baylor, we're taking Jordan Lewis, even though you could also call Sarah Andrews a point guard. For Texas, we'll take Rori Harmon.

We're also taking TCU's Lauren Heard into consideration as the other Big 12 representative. As for the other major conference in the state, Jordan Nixon gets to enter the conversation for A&M, even though part of me thinks that Kayla Wells would be a better PG if she played the role.

So, those are our major conference contenders. But I've also chosen a few names from the mid-major ranks, just to give us a full picture: UTEP's Katia Gallegos, Texas State's Kennedy Taylor and...I guess SFA's Stephanie Visscher, though I'm going to begin by talking about her since the role of "point guard" might not really be the best definition for how Visscher plays.

So, let's start this convo: who is the state's best point guard?

Stephanie Visscher - SFA

I included Visscher here because she's the engine that runs the best team in Texas, but I don't really think she belongs in this conversation.

Visscher feels more like a playmaking wing than a point guard to me. She can run an offense, but she also transcends some of what we think of a point guard as. Maybe she's a point forward. Maybe she's a wing who has to handle the ball because of the way this team is built. Heck, maybe she's just a point guard and I'm reading her role wrong. But while Visscher is arguably the best overall player that I'm talking about in this piece, she doesn't necessarily feel like the right answer for "who is the best point guard in Texas."

Jordan Lewis - Baylor

Lewis is who you have to start with when having this conversation. She's one of 10 players on the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year list, the award given each year to the best point guard in the country. No other Texas player is on that list.

The former Alabama player has been huge for Baylor in her first season. She's only averaging 12.3 points per game. her lowest since the 2017-18 season, but she doesn't really need to be the lead scorer on a team with NaLyssa Smith. She just needs to be an offensive threat and to run the offense.

And, well, she is. 5.4 assists per game, the most of her career. 2.2 turnovers per game, giving her a 2.39 assist to turnover ratio, which ranks in the 98th percentile nationally. She's also shooting 37.9 percent from deep, which helps this offense run and opens up space inside for her team's bigs, which is another skill.

Looking at some on/off data, the Bears have a net rating of 27.3 when she's on the floor and 9.1 when she isn't. The lack of depth means Lewis isn't off the floor much, but it's still notable how the Bears are better on both ends of the floor when Lewis is playing. 

Rori Harmon - Texas

The only freshman on our list, Harmon's not yet at the level where she's going to win this imaginary title, but she's on the path toward one day earning it.

Harmon plays beyond her years. Watching her run an offense, you don't think of her as someone with 24 games of college experience. She's averaging 4.5 assists per game with 2.4 turnovers per contest, giving her a 96th percentile assist to turnover ratio.

But she isn't the offensive threat — yet — of someone like Lewis, as she's averaging 10.3 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting and is at 30.2 percent from deep.

Harmon is the best freshman in Texas. She's a gifted player who is going to wind up having a stellar career in Austin. If we revisit this exact same conversation next year, her name might land at the top of this list. But we're not quite there yet.

Lauren Heard - TCU

Heard deserves to be in this conversation, but she's regressed this year, dropping from 21.2 points per game to 15.5, from 4.8 assists to 4.1, and going from 3.6 turnovers per game up to 4.2.

Lauren Heard's a good player. She gets to the free throw line. She has quick hands on defense. She's a solid 3-point shooter. But she's also just not as good this season as she has been in the past.

Jordan Nixon - Texas A&M

Jordan Nixon's season has been disappointing. After her NCAA Tournament heroics, I thought this would be her year, that she would lead the Aggies to some major success in Gary Blair's final season.

Nixon averaged 10.6 points on 45.7 percent shooting last year. This season, her role has expanded, but her scoring is only up to 10.9 per game, largely due to a big efficiency drop, down to 36.7 percent.

Her assist numbers are up, as are her turnovers, but the assists are up more, giving her a 1.54 assist to turnover ratio, good for the 91st percentile.

Nixon's efficiency issues kind of take her out of this conversation, butn she's a really good ball handler who can definitely run an offense at a high level. If she can get her shot to drop next season, we could see a massive year from Nixon.

Katia Gallegos - UTEP

Heading into this season, Gallegos was my pick for the state's best point guard. As a sophomore, she averaged 13.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game and helped the Miners become one of the most interesting teams in Conference USA.

But this season, Gallegos seems to have regressed a bit.

After shooting 44.3 percent from the floor last year, she's down to 35.2 percent this season, which is partially a product of UTEP not having as much talent around her this season. Her assists per game have dropped to 3.6 and while her steals are up, an AST/TO ratio of 1.22 isn't great and represents a pretty key drop off from last year. Gallegos isn't going to be our answer in this article, but I do think she'll have a bounce back senior season.

Kennedy Taylor - Texas State

This is most interesting player in this whole article for me.

Taylor leads the state in assists per game at 6.7, which ranks third nationally. If we're looking exclusively at "does this player make high assist numbers," Taylor gets the nod.

But being a great point guard is about more than just that. Taylor turns the ball over four times per game, which is...not good. She ranks 3,304th in the country in turnovers.

Per CBB Analytics, the Bobcats are much better when Taylor is off the floor, but take that with a grain of salt, as she averages 36 minutes per game, so she's usually on the floor any time the team is in a competitive game, and the team does have a positive net rating when she's on the floor.

So, who's the best?

After weighing all the various things that go into being a point guard — playmaking ability, but also scoring and defense — I'm going with Jordan Lewis. I went into this really wanting Kennedy Taylor to emerge as the answer, but Lewis is just playing at such a high level against some really good competition.

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