Point guards are the facilitators of the game. Usually.
But today, we see point guards evolving and they look nothing like their predecessors. Just look at Steve Nash and Golden State’s Marksman, Stephen Curry.
Both can dribble, shoot, pass, drain trifectas like crazy and finish tough shots.
So, what makes them different from one another?
The answer is this. Stephen Curry looks to score and Nash looks to make his teammates better. If Nash wanted to score 40-50 per night, he can absolutely do it. But the thing is, he wanted to control the game by his play making ability and let his teammates take care of the rest.
Hmm. So, you’re probably thinking, “What makes a point guard great?”
Is it the stats? The rings? The records? The Assist totals?
Let’s answer that question right now. Here are the Top 5 Greatest Point Guards of All Time.
Top 5 Greatest PG of All Time
Reminder: We are only ranking down the pure point guards so, you wouldn’t see Allen Iverson here on the list.
5. Jerry West – Los Angeles Lakers
The Logo. Mr. Clutch. Jerry-Jerry-Bo-Banana-Jerry.
This guy is one of the most iconic players in NBA history. Known for his clutch shots and deadly accurate shooting. He was a member of one of the best teams assembled in NBA history. With Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain and Gail Goodrich. They have the record for the longest winning streak in the NBA.
Too bad he’s not born a winner. With a staggering record of 1-8 in the finals, that surely tarnished his record for being the greatest point guard of all time. Maybe if he won 5 out of that 8 trips to the finals, we are having an entirely different conversation now.
- NBA champion (1972)
- NBA Finals MVP (1969)
- 14× NBA All-Star (1961–1974)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1972)
- 10× All-NBA First Team (1962–1967, 1970–1973)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (1968, 1969)
- 4× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1970–1973)
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1969)
4. Jason Kidd – Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks
“Huh? Jason Kidd?! This guy lost to the finals twice, one ended up with a sweep by the Lakers!”
Yes, Jason Kidd lost twice to the Big Three of the Spurs and the unstoppable duo of KobeShaq.
But if you look at the New Jersey Nets roster in these years, I think you can only name just 3 or 4 players in that team. Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Kerry Kittles and Kidd.
The good thing is, Kidd won his first ring with the Mavs alongside with Dirk and the gang. He can finally enter the championship discussion.
He is primarily known as a terrific passer and playmaker but he can also put the rock in the hole if he wanted to. His ability to make his unknown teammates better, even make it to the finals with that mediocre lineup, makes him qualified for this spot on the list.
- NBA champion (2011)
- 10× NBA All-Star (1996, 1998, 2000–2004, 2007, 2008, 2010)
- 5× All-NBA First Team (1999–2002, 2004)
- All-NBA Second Team (2003)
- 4× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1999, 2001, 2002, 2006)
- 5× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2003–2005, 2007)
- NBA Co-Rookie of the Year (1995)
- NBA Skills Challenge champion (2003)
- 5× NBA assists leader (1999–2001, 2003, 2004)
3. John Stockton – Utah Jazz
I’m gonna probably be roasted because of this. Knowing that Stockton has no rings.
But is it all about the rings? If that’s what you believe, then Brian Scalabrine, Brian Cardinal, Adam Morrison and DJ Mbenga is better than Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Reggie Miller and Patrick Ewing?
If you say yes, then go call the nearest mental institution on your neighborhood. There’s something wrong with you. You belong to the ones that believe the earth is flat.
So, moving on. The duo of Stockton and Malone played in the most competitive era of the NBA. There’s the Bulls with Jordan and Pippen. Orlando Magic with Penny and Shaq. The Houston Big Three consisting of Barkley, Olajuwon and Drexler.
Most of the teams are filled with All-Star players.
Stockton and Malone managed to go to the finals 2 times. But sadly, they lost in all of their outings. You’re probably asking why.
One word. Jordan.
They almost beat the Bulls in Game 6 and make themselves the first team to ever play game 7 in the finals with Michael Jordan. But with a crucial turnover from Malone and a clutch jumper from Jordan (it’s a push), the Jazz’s dream of having their first championship was crushed.
Stockton has the highest career assist total and steals. Don’t forget about that he’s the best pick and roll maestro of all time.
- 10× NBA All-Star (1989–1997, 2000)
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1993)
- 2× All-NBA First Team (1994, 1995)
- 6× All-NBA Second Team (1988–1990, 1992, 1993, 1996)
- 3× All-NBA Third Team (1991, 1997, 1999)
- 5× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1989, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997)
- 9× NBA assists leader (1988–1996)
- 2× NBA steals leader (1989, 1992)
2. Oscar Robertson – Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks
Majority of us haven’t seen the Big O live in action. But with Youtube, you can relieve the greatness of the human triple double machine, Oscar Robertson.
His height of 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) means that he is an oversized point guard. That usually spells trouble with his defenders. He can post you up, shoot a perimeter jumper and slash to the hole.
What made him great is the fact that he’s the first player to average a triple double in a season. Guess what, he didn’t win the MVP trophy that year.
He won a championship with Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar). His career average when he retired was 26,710 (25.7 ppg), 7,804 (7.5 rpg) and 9,887 (9.5 apg). Close to a triple double.
- NBA champion (1971)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (1964)
- 12× NBA All-Star (1961–1972)
- 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1961, 1964, 1969)
- 9× All-NBA First Team (1961–1969)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (1970, 1971)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1961)
- 6× NBA assists leader (1961, 1962, 1964–1966, 1969)
Before we go down to the number 1 point guard in NBA history, here are some names that are worth mentioning.
- Steve Nash
- Isiah Thomas
- Penny Hardaway
- Tim Hardaway
- Bob Cousy
- Kevin Johnson
- Gary Payton
- Walt Frazier
- Mark Price
- Pete Maravich
Last but definitely not the least,
1. Earvin “Magic” Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers
Arguably the best all around player of all time, Magic Johnson and his rival Larry Bird saved NBA from bankruptcy during its darkest days.
We don’t know if the NBA will still exist today if Magic and Larry Legend was not drafted in the league.
This guy is primarily known for his flashy passing and acrobatic shots. He can guard centers and power forward because of his height (6’9 for a point guard is huge). He can also guard the wing with his speed and tenacity.
He can score at will, dribble the ball, perform flashy passes and rebound like a center.
That’s what makes him the best point guard in NBA history. His rivalry with Bird was one of the most memorable stories in the NBA can offer.
- 5× NBA champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
- 3× NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987)
- 3× NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
- 12× NBA All-Star (1980, 1982–1992)
- 2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1990, 1992)
- 9× All-NBA First Team (1983–1991)
- All-NBA Second Team (1982)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1980)
- 4× NBA assists leader (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)
- 2× NBA steals leader (1981, 1982)
- J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1992)
- NBA Playoffs all-time assists leader
Do you agree with this list? Comment your thoughts below!