The NBA has seen some phenomenal point guards over the years. From Magic Johnson to Steve Nash to Steph Curry, these players have dazzled audiences with their ball-handling skills and court vision. But who are the best point guards in the NBA?
Let’s be with Red’s Army get more interesting facts through this blog post.
Top 50 Best Point Guards Of All Time
50. Steve Francis
Steve Francis was one of the league’s top offensive facilitators in terms of scoring before his career took a turn for the worse at the age of 31, as he averaged more than 20 points per game over the course of three seasons and as much as 22 points per game in just his third.
Francis was a superb athlete who used his athleticism to drive and score against the taller front-court players at will. Francis was still a feared offensive danger from beyond the arc and in the paint despite only shooting 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from beyond the arc on average.
For six straight seasons, he averaged up to seven assists per game, at least five rebounds per game, and five assists per game.
49. Alvin Robertson
The only guard to ever record a quadruple-double, he did it in a 1986 game against the Phoenix Suns when he scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, had 10 assists, and had 10 steals. This happened in Robertson’s second season in the league, a year in which he would (obviously) lead the league in steals per game with nearly four.
The following season, Robertson would lead the league in steals per game and actually average three per game for four straight seasons. In 1991, when he led the league in steals per for a third time, he would go on to average three steals per game once more.
48. Baron Davis
We frequently overlook the fact that Stephon Marbury and Baron Davis were among the most feared players in the NBA during their primes.
Davis was a fantastic athlete with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Golden State Warriors before becoming a team cancer with the Los Angeles Clippers. He would take both teams to heights they hadn’t reached in a while.
In his final full season with the Hornets, Davis averaged up to 23 points per game and twice led the league in steals per game. In his first season with Golden State, he averaged nine assists per game. B-career Diddy’s peaked while he was a member of the Warriors because of how well he fit in with a team that liked to move quickly and play as little defense as possible.
The highlight of Davis’ career occurred during the 2007 postseason when he led the Warriors to a surprise victory over the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the playoffs.
47. Nate Archibald
Nate “Tiny” Archibald was one of the league’s top point guards throughout the 1970s despite weighing just 150 pounds. In only his third season, he led the league in scoring with 34 points per game and assists with 11 assists per game. Archibald was able to score points around the basket similarly to Allen Iverson or Isiah Thomas because he was sometimes too swift and athletic to be stopped.
Before completing his career as a ring chaser with the Boston Celtics, he would average over 20 points per game four further times.
Five times, Archibald would place among the top 10 in the MVP voting, with his third-place placement in 1973 representing his greatest performance.
46. Bob Cousy
The Boston Celtics’ Bob Cousy won a couple of titles in the late 1950s and early 1960s before passing the torch to Bill Russell. He revolutionized the point guard position for future generations and was one of the first players actually to implement a set offense to run by.
For nine straight seasons, Cousy would lead the league in assists per game, with his best year coming in 1960, when he averaged almost 10 per game.
Cousy was a great offensive coordinator who made the most of the abilities of his players. He started the Celtics dynasty by guiding them to their first six championships at the beginning of the NBA’s inception.
45. Micheal Ray Richardson
Micheal Ray Richardson was one of the most feared defensive point guards in the league before drug usage destroyed his career. He made it onto two All-Defensive First Teams and three times led the club in steals per game, with a career-high of three occurring in just his second season.
Richardson’s second season would end up being one of his greatest because, in addition to averaging 15 points per game, he also averaged a league- and career-high 10 assists.
Prior to his final retirement, Richardson would average up to 20 points per game in his second-to-last season.
44. Lenny Wilkens
Lenny Wilkens was a lifelong member of a St. Louis Hawks squad that was coming off its finest years with Bob Pettit. He was one of the NBA’s top point guards of the 1960s in a period when the league was dominated by players like Oscar Robertson and Bob Cousy.
Although Wilkens wasn’t averaging triple-doubles or winning championships, he was still one of the league’s most dependable players and made All-Star games. He once averaged up to 22 points per game and even led the league in assists per game in 1970 with nine.
Two years later, at the age of 34, he would have the highest assist rate of his career, with over 10 per game.
43. Derrick Rose
Although he has only played in the league for three years, any point guard who is 22 years old and earns an MVP award while helping his club achieve the NBA’s best record deserves to be listed among the top 50 point guards of all time.
Rose just guided the Bulls to an NBA-best 62-20 record and their first trip to the conference finals since 1998. Rose has guided the Bulls to their most successful seasons since the Michael Jordan era.
The current MVP is coming off an incredible season in which he averaged 25 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds while displaying incredible offensive prowess, with his drives and crossover being the best aspects of his game.
Rose, who just turned 23 years old, may very easily end up among the top 10 point guards of all time if he keeps getting better.
42. Kenny Smith
Kenny Smith, a former point guard for the Houston Rockets, helped the team win two titles in a row during a time when every team was aiming to contend for a championship after Michael Jordan’s death. He is currently a TNT analyst, who we all miss terribly right now.
Smith would average four assists a season in both championship seasons and convert on 48% of his shots to help the Rockets in their back-to-back championship victories when paired with players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler during one of those seasons.
After spending time with Sacramento and Atlanta the previous season, Smith would set new career highs with Houston, averaging 18 points and seven assists in his debut season with the Rockets.
41. Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson was never an anomaly in the data. In actuality, he never scored more than 15 points per game, and over the course of his career, he only shot the field at an average of 45% and the 3-point arc at 32%.
Jackson stood out from many other point guards because of his capacity to manage an attack well and keep his turnovers to a minimum.
Jackson averaged more than eight assists per game throughout his career, but he only committed two turnovers per game overall and just three times overall, with two of those seasons occurring in his first two NBA seasons.
Although Jackson wasn’t much of a scorer, he was a superb passer and led the league in assists per game in 1997, averaging 11 in his time with the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers.
40. Terry Porter
Terry Porter, a brilliant point guard who teamed up with explosive scorer Clyde Drexler to form quite the combination, helped the Portland Trail Blazers during a few championship runs.
In the first six years of his career, Porter set the pace for an elite Blazers team that was strong on both sides of the ball, averaging up to 10 assists per game and at least eight assists per game for five straight seasons.
For eight straight seasons, he would score more than 13 points on average, with his career-high coming in 1993 when he scored almost 19 points per game.
Porter only placed among the top 10 in the MVP voting, coming in ninth place in 1991.
Also read: best college basketball players
39. Mike Conley
Despite having just turned 34, Conley doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The longtime floor general is coming off a season in which he got his first career All-Star selection and shed the label of “greatest player never to make an All-Star squad,” health concerns notwithstanding (he did get hurt toward the end of the season).
Conley must be firing on all cylinders in April, May, and June for the Jazz to shed their same reputation as a “really solid regular season team, but wake me up when they actually win something.”
38. Jrue Holiday
You’re looking at NBA champion Jrue Holiday. The seasoned guard had an outstanding debut campaign with the Bucks, winning their first championship in 50 years. During the regular season, he shot a career-high 50.3 percent on field goals and 39.2 percent on 3-pointers while averaging 17.7 points, 6.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 steals.
Although Holiday’s offensive game is not as strong as some of the other point guards in this group, he is perhaps the NBA’s finest perimeter defender.
37. Sidney Moncrief
Sidney Moncrief, who is of the same caliber as Payton and Frazier, would have been far higher on this list if it weren’t for his short career.
Moncrief was among the top players in the NBA from 1982 through 1986, making All-NBA teams each year and winning Defensive Player of the Year twice. Sadly, injuries cut short his career and prevented him from ever regaining all-star form.
36. Terrell Brandon
Terrell Brandon, a point guard who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves before having his career cut short at the age of 31, helped both clubs to some of their best seasons in team history.
Brandon spent the first six seasons of his career with the Cavaliers, where he honed his skills and eventually averaged up to 20 points per game in his final campaign. Before joining Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, where he would aid the team to its first 50-win season in franchise history, he would play a few games with the Milwaukee Bucks.
For his whole career, Brandon would score 14 points, dish out 6 assists, and grab 3 rebounds.
35. Anfernee Hardaway
Penny Hardaway was set for greatness before injuries utterly derailed his career, and his career might have been so much more than just a few All-Star game appearances. Hardaway didn’t play in more than 60 games from the 1996–97 season until the 2000–01 season, and he never scored more than 17 points per game.
Compare that to the first three years of his career, when he had already guided the Orlando Magic to their first-ever participation in the NBA Finals while also establishing one of the most formidable teams in the league alongside Shaquille O’Neal.
Hardaway averaged 22 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and two steals per game in his final season of being healthy. At 6’7″, Penny was too big for the majority of the league’s point guards to handle, and he also had the excellent driving ability, a good mid-range game, and a ton of athleticism.
34. Ron Harper
Ron Harper was primarily recognized as the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls during their second three-peat, but he was also a top scorer and passer for the league when playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers.
Harper earned a spot on the All-Rookie First Team after a season in which he averaged 23 points, five assists, five rebounds, and nearly three steals per game. Before joining the Bulls and averaging more than 10 points per game only once more in his career, he would never again reach that point total and average less than 20 points per game.
Throughout his career, Harper would more than double his career average of assists per game.
33. Norm Nixon
Norm Nixon, who had a relatively brief 10-year career and averaged less than 10 assists per game, played his entire NBA career in California. He began by spending the first years of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won two championships, before moving to San Diego for one season and then returning to Los Angeles with the Clippers for the final three years of his career.
Nixon was one of the team’s most reliable shooters and role players, but his accomplishments were largely overshadowed by those of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He averaged between 17 and 18 points per game for four consecutive seasons while never shooting lower than 48 percent from the field.
In just his second season in the league, Nixon would average over three steals per game.
32. Maurice Cheeks
Maurice Cheeks, the longtime point guard of the Philadelphia 76ers, never averaged more than 16 points or 10 assists per game but took great satisfaction in his disciplined defense and his ability to manage the game’s pace without giving the ball away.
Cheeks averaged seven assists a game throughout the course of his career, compared to just two turnovers. He was also a prolific scorer, finishing his career with a 52 percent field goal percentage.
Mo was a vital member of some of the most successful teams in league history, including the storied 1983 Sixers squad that included legendary high-flyer Julius Erving and Moses Malone and his famous “fo’ fo’ fo’ prediction.”
31. Sam Cassell
Sam Cassell is a point guard who is underappreciated and more famous for his appearance than for his abilities. Despite playing for eight different teams, including Phoenix, Dallas, and New Jersey during the 1996–97 season, he was one of the league’s most reliable floor generals.
Cassell was a fantastic post player who was noted for capitalizing on his opponents’ inability to defend a post-up effectively.
Four times during his career, he averaged 20 points a game, and in the 2000s, he helped the Los Angeles Clippers make their lone postseason berth.
30. Gail Goodrich
Gail Goodrich, the top scorer for the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers team that won 69 games, eclipsed players like Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West by averaging a career-high 26 points per game while shooting a career-high 49 percent from the floor.
Given that Goodrich had just twice in the first six seasons of his career scored more than 20 points per game, it was quite a surprise to see him average so many points. Goodrich went on to score better than 20 points per game for three more seasons after scoring 26 points per game in 1972.
He was a good passer as well, and over his career, he averaged more than five assists a game.
29. Stephon Marbury
When Stephon Marbury played for Minnesota, New Jersey, and Phoenix, you actually had to take him seriously, so try not to criticize him too severely for his stint with the New York Knicks.
Marbury was actually one of the league’s most feared guards before the carnage that was his final years with the Knicks because of his propensity for scoring at a high clip. With a high of 24 points in 2001, he averaged more than 20 points per game for seven straight seasons. He also had a significant assist total, averaging more than eight assists per seven seasons.
Although Marbury was hindered by his negative attitude and problems with the Knicks organization, it’s important to remember that he had some of the best years in his early career.
28. Rod Strickland
Rod Strickland, an underappreciated point guard who played for nine different teams over the course of a career spanning more than 15 seasons, was able to fit in well with each squad he joined.
Despite only spending a little amount of time with San Antonio, Portland, and Washington, Strickland still managed to average at least eight assists per game for each team for at least two seasons.
While playing for the Wizards in 1998, Strickland also led the NBA in assists per game, with nearly 11 assists per game.
In the 1990s, he averaged more than 15 points per game while still being a reliable playmaker. His career high came in 1995 when he scored almost 19 points per game.
27. Tony Parker
Tony Parker, a veteran point guard for the San Antonio Spurs who has won three championships and has received the Finals MVP award, is still incredibly underappreciated despite being one of the league’s top scorers and barely having the range to be taken seriously from outside.
As he drives in amid the trees in the frontcourt without fear, Parker demonstrates his incredible talent in the middle. Due to his impeccable timing on his floaters and his deft ability to make a layup from seemingly impossible positions, Tony has been able to thrive so well in the paint.
He has scored up to 22 points on average and even 55 points in an overtime victory in 2009.
Parker has generally been a reliable passer, averaging six assists per game over the course of his career. He is coming off a season in which he almost averaged a career-high seven assists per game.
26. Reggie Theus
Reggie Theus was an underappreciated point guard who averaged more than 20 points per game on four occasions throughout his career and as high as 23 points per game in his final full season with the Chicago Bulls. He was also just as proficient a facilitator as he was a shooter.
Theus would surpass the eight-assist mark three times in a row, and he nearly reached the ten-assist mark in 1986, the Kings’ inaugural campaign in Sacramento.
He finished his career exactly as successfully as he had begun it, averaging 19 points per game for the New Jersey Nets in his 33rd NBA season. Read more: Best NBA Throwback Jerseys in 2022: Top Full Information
25. Mookie Blaylock
Mookie Blaylock, a former point guard for the New Jersey Net, Atlanta Hawk, and Golden State Warriors, was a superb point guard on both sides of the ball. He took great pride in his rigid perimeter defense, quick hands, and anticipation, which helped him lead the league in steals per for two seasons.
Blaylock was so effective defensively that he averaged more than two steals per game for 11 straight seasons. Only in his rookie season, when he mostly played off the bench, and in his final season, when he only played 17 minutes per game, did he fail to average at least two thefts per game during his career.
Blaylock was a reliable offensive player who could score up to 17 points and dish out around 10 assists every game. Between 1995 and 1997, he would shoot nearly three three-pointers per game for three straight seasons.
24. Lafayette Lever
Lafayette “Fat” Lever, a capable point guard who played on some of the best offensive teams in NBA history, including one that once scored 186 points, would regularly put up numbers close to Oscar Robertson while toying with the concept of averaging a triple-double.
Even though he didn’t come up a few decimal points short of doing so, averaging almost 19 points per game in the 1980s NBA, combined with 8.9 rebounds and 8 assists per game, is still quite the accomplishment. The offense was so quick that Lever was able to put up these figures; throughout a season, his team would score an average of more than 120 points every game.
For three straight seasons, Lever would average more than 18 points, seven assists, and eight rebounds per game, and he would possibly reach 20 points per game.
The 1980s were an odd decade, so it’s unclear how a person listed as 6’3″ could average nine rebounds per game.
23. Mark Price
Mark Price was essentially viewed by Cleveland as the LeBron James of his time since he placed in the top 10 of the MVP voting four times.
Although Price wasn’t as productive as James was, he did guide the team to some of its most successful seasons in franchise history before James over two decades later eclipsed those records.
Because of his reliability as a jump shooter, the point guard was able to thrive as an offensive threat. He shot higher than 40 percent four times during his career, with his career-high coming in only his second season. He also hit 40 percent from beyond the arc for his entire career.
He wasn’t a terrible passer, either; for five straight seasons, he averaged more than seven assists per game and up to 10 assists a game.
22. Dennis Johnson
Dennis Johnson, a point guard who was a part of the famed Boston Celtics dynasty in the 1980s, was essential to the team’s two championship victories in 1984 and 1986. Johnson would be a great addition to the squad because he would feed Larry Bird for his prodigious amount of points while also making fantastic entry passes to Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in the paint.
With the Celtics, Johnson could rack up eight assists every game.
With the Seattle Sonics, where he was voted the Finals MVP of the 1979 championship squad that also included Spencer Haywood, he would have some of his best years.
With Phoenix, he would score a career-high 20 points on average.
21. Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway, who possessed one of the most lethal moves in NBA history known as the “UTEP Two-Step,” would use his speed, dexterity, and ball-handling abilities to develop into an elite point guard who would guide the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors to some of their greatest seasons in franchise history.
Hardaway would guide the Heat to a 21-game improvement and its first trip to the conference finals in his debut season with the organization.
One of the first players in the NBA to make heavy use of the crossover, Hardaway was able to set up either himself or his teammates for simple scores as a result. Hardaway averaged a career-high 23 points per game in just his third season with the Warriors and 11 assists the following year.
20. Dave Bing
Dave Bing, a floor general with the Detroit Pistons for the first seven seasons of his career, was an underappreciated point guard who helped the Pistons franchise become significant early in its history.
Bing was a fantastic player who averaged up to 27 points per game in just his second season and seven assists per game the season after. He would place as high as third and twice finish in the top five in the MVP voting.
When paired with post-presence Bob Lanier, another Hall of Famer, Bing would excel in the inside-outside game they would play.
19. Ja Morant
Ja Morant had a brief run in the postseason as a rookie, but in Year 2, he suddenly came into his own, defeating Steph Curry in the decisive play-in game and then stealing Game 1 of a series against Utah.
The Grizzlies eventually ran out of gas against a far more skilled Jazz team, but watch out for Morant in Year 3. Defenses won’t have much of an opportunity to stop him if he can improve the consistency of his jump shooting. He already has an unguardable little floater in the center of the lane.
18. Kevin Johnson
Although Kevin Johnson is best known for his iconic dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon, he was a far better player overall and helped the Phoenix Suns to some of their best seasons in team history.
During their three-peat, he and the 1993 Suns would put the Chicago Bulls through their toughest test, and it would take a last-second block from Horace Grant to prevent a Game 7 in Phoenix.
Johnson was an outstanding point guard for the bulk of his career. He averaged more than 10 assists per game for four straight seasons, with a career-high of 12 assists per game in just his second season, when he also won the NBA’s Most Improved Player title.
That year would also be the first in which Johnson averaged at least 20 points a game; he would continue to do so for the next two seasons before repeating the feat twice more before his career came to an end in 2000.
17. De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox had his best season as a professional after signing a five-year maximum contract extension worth $163 million last offseason.
With rookie wonder Tyrese Haliburton, he formed a deadly backcourt duo that averaged 25.2 points, 7.2 assists, and nearly 48 percent shooting from the field.
Fox has all the skills necessary to be the best player on a championship team; yet, it hasn’t occurred in Sacramento yet, primarily due to circumstances beyond his control.
16. Russell Westbrook
Last year, Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the fourth consecutive season, helping the Wizards reach the postseason. He will try to win his first championship with the Lakers, teaming up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
In LA, Westbrook will need to be productive off the ball and at the perimeter, and those aren’t exactly his strong suits.
15. James Harden
James Harden is highly rated by sophisticated statistics. Whether it’s Win Shares or Value Over Replacement Player, Harden consistently ranks high on almost all lists.
He is one of the worst postseason performers in our lifetime, which is something those metrics don’t take into account. No superstar disappears as quickly as Harden does when it counts.
He’s also among the worst athletes to watch during the entire game. Fortunately for him, his regular-season body of work is simply too great to overlook. But wow, I wish I could have omitted him off this list.
14. Chauncey Billups
He is the generation’s most underappreciated player. As reliable as they come was Chauncey Billups.
Like Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry, he doesn’t have dazzling stats, but he consistently made the right decision. You want your team’s point guard to be able to step in when necessary, and Mr. Big Shot lived up to the moniker in that regard.
13. Allen Iverson
Although Allen Iverson is my all-time favorite basketball player, this is not a homer choice. Excellent, among the best scorers, ever was AI.
We frequently overlook Iverson’s total offensive prowess when discussing him; instead, everyone focuses on how cool he was and his relative inefficiency. Nobody was as fluid under the basket as The Answer; he had unmatched handling and finishing skills.
He managed to steal a game from a top-tier Lakers club while leading a team without any other scoring threats to the NBA Finals.
One of the biggest “what-ifs” in NBA history is his career.
What if his general manager was more adept at putting complimentary talent around him? What if his coach wasn’t so obnoxious? What if Iverson played alongside someone like Mike D’Antoni in a system that emphasized his passing and speed?
Was Iverson always going to fail, or was there a possibility for AI to achieve ultimate greatness? I’m not sure, but as I watched him dominate the court, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a better version than what we saw.
12. Gary Payton
Disney Frazier Despite being consistent and frequently even superb offensively in version 2.0, Gary Payton established himself as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history on defense. Nobody ever managed to stop Michael Jordan, especially not in the playoffs, but the Bulls were on the edge of their seats when the Glove shut him down in the 1996 Finals.
The only team to compete against that Bulls club was the Seattle SuperSonics, who are frequently regarded as the greatest team in history.
Payton was the best PG NBA history of the 1990s and had a legendary defense. His and Shawn Kemp’s Sonics teams continue to hold up on the YouTube rabbit hole today, making them the most thrilling duo of the decade.
11. Trae Young
Young improved in Year 3, scoring 28.8 points and dishing out 9.5 assists in 16 postseason games to lead the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals. The 23-year-old has an excellent court vision, a quick trigger from outside, and a deft floater and finishing package. The top-10 offense in Atlanta runs on him.
What’s the most frightful aspect? Young has a lot of room for improvement, especially on defense. Even if he can only become an average defender, he will become a far more well-rounded player. Gary Payton may never be his equal.
10. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is one of the ten players that have been most crucial in the last ten years.
Even when his teammates don’t, he consistently plays in the playoffs and has pretty much infinite range. Look at the teams he is carrying if you’re going to laugh at this rating; the Portland Trail Blazers have no business being as successful as they have been.
9. Walt Frazier
Walt Frazier is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time for a reason—he was a two-time champion and one of the best defenders of all time. When he scored 36 points and dished out 19(!) assists in 1970’s game seven against the Lakers, Mr. Cool had one of the best NBA Finals game sevens ever.
Three years later, he eliminated one of the greatest offensive players in history, Jerry West, and the New York Knicks won their second championship of the 1970s. You need your top guard to be able to step up his game during the playoffs, and Frazier was adept at doing just that.
8. Jason Kidd
There was no player throughout Jason Kidd’s career that a superstar would have preferred to play alongside. He didn’t score much individually, but he made the most of each player he played with.
Playing alongside J-Kidd, players like Kenyon Martin, Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson, Dirk Nowitzki, and many more enjoyed tremendous success. The New Jersey Nets teams that made consecutive finals appearances had no right to be so successful, yet it is why Kidd is regarded as such a tremendous player.
7. Steve Nash
Steve Nash played a significant role in the NBA that exists today. Beyond winning consecutive MVP awards, Nash’s position on this list is justified by his role as the forerunner of the modern age.
The Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns demonstrated that playing small and quickly may result in success in the NBA. They improved on the Run TMC Warriors of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The biggest criticism of Nash is that he appeared to run out of gas late in the playoffs. The advent of the current NBA might have been hastened a little bit if Nash had been as energizing as Curry.
6. Chris Paul
Speaking of playoff records, Chris Paul might be considered the best point guard of all time if he wins a few championships. Unfortunately, his dismal playoff performance overshadows his on-court prowess. Despite his unsuccessful efforts, he performed admirably in every playoff series until the Dallas Mavericks in 2022.
Every team CP3 joins improves right away because he is the ultimate floor raiser. When the Point God was in charge, even lousy teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder won 60% of their games; the season after CP3 left, they dropped 50% of their games.
It’s impossible to stress how much the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers all improved under Paul’s leadership. Don’t let a few difficult defeats make you lose sight of his great brilliance.
5. John Stockton
If you were a teammate of John Stockton, you were setting yourself up for some simple buckets. As fewer players play with their back to the basket these days, the entry pass is becoming a forgotten art. Stockton and Karl Malone worked well together because they were both excellent at getting the ball to their big men. Feed and score—over and over again.
In his first 13 seasons, he only missed four games while leading the league in assists for nine consecutive years. The regular season saw John Stockton appear. Then why is he lower down the list?
His postseason blunders go down in history. Because “the Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays,” Malone received a lot of criticism, but Stockton stood by him. He has played some of the worst playoff games ever by a star player, losing to the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls.
4. Oscar Robertson
Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson are diametrically opposed in many aspects. His numbers pop off the page, but his playoff record prior to being teamed with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was dismal. He was the first player to average a triple-double throughout a whole season, and he did so for the first five years of his career as well.
Unquestionably one of the NBA top 5 point guards all time, The Big O was a combination of Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. He could snag rebounds, lead a fastbreak, or slam turn-around shots from the elbow when things slowed down. While he was terrific, it’s difficult to say whether or not his teammates genuinely improved by playing with him.
3. Isiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas’ name doesn’t frequently surface when looking further into the analytics or overall metrics. He succeeds because he is the model of a point guard, and Thomas improved under the brightest lights.
From 1985 to 1992, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers, and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics competed against Thomas’ Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, one of the greatest teams in history the NBA. In the toughest period of the NBA, the Pistons competed against the best and took home two championships.
Even though his statistics don’t jump off the page like many of the other players on this list, there’s no denying that he improved everyone who shared the court with him. Despite some difficult defeats, his playoff record is outstanding when compared to the opposition.
2. Stephen Curry
You may contend that Stephen Curry is the greatest basketball player ever if the purpose of a great player is to tip the chess board in your favor. You have to consider him from midcourt to the basket when you’re playing the Chef.
Curry needs to be the focus of your defense whether or not he has the ball in his hands. Steph Curry will cause chaos on your defense if you don’t always know where he is, whether he is in the corner, above the break, or driving to the rim.
Curry destroyed the Boston Celtics’ defense, which was among the greatest in the last 20 years in 2021–22. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Gary Payton II, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins were all able to shoot above 50% in a game where Steph shot 0-9 from beyond the arc, and the Golden State Warriors prevailed.
Curry shot 0-9 from outside the arc, yet the Warriors still won by double digits. That doesn’t happen unless he strikes fear into the heart of the opposing defense. Curry was +15.
Curry’s never-ending motor is what makes his game so great. The idea that Steph is still going off screens at minute 44 is absurd, perhaps even more so than his ridiculous range. Curry is still moving at the end of a game when everyone is exhausted and the pace of the game slows.
Additionally, he improves everyone with whom he plays. What does Draymond look like without Curry to highlight his skills? When you combine all of those factors, you have one of the greatest point guards in history.
1. Magic Johnson
Everyone immediately thinks about Magic Johnson when the topic of “greatest PG ever” is brought up, and with good reason. Johnson, like Steve Nash, Oscar Robertson, and Stephen Curry, contributed to the basketball revolution and the point guard position in particular.
Magic was an anomaly, a 6′ 9″ point guard who could retrieve the rebound, sprint down the court like a gazelle, and hit his partner with a picture-perfect pass in the ideal location. He opened the door for players like LeBron James to defy the stereotype of the small-forward position.
Over the past ten years, the term “positionless basketball” has been drummed into our heads, and Magic Johnson was the beginning of that. He played center, and by doing so, the Los Angeles Lakers won the 1980 NBA championship! Read more Best Centers All Time NBA, The Best Position For Basketball: How To Create Space and Score More Points.
What made Magic Johnson exceptional was that he could compile this all-time point guard list and include players like Nikola Jokic or LeBron James on it without raising an eyebrow, in addition to being a five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time MVP, and nine selections to the All-NBA First Team.
Magic Johnson is the greatest PG of all time because he not only ranks among the top five in Playoff Value Over Replacement Player and Playoff Win Shares Per 48 but also because he is one of a select few athletes who can honestly say they transformed the game.
The NBA is full of talented point guards. Many of them are true floor generals, running their team’s offense and making everyone around them better. Others are scoring machines, capable of putting up points in bunches. And still others are defensive stalwarts, shutting down opposing point guards and making life difficult for everyone on the other team.
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