Top Five NBA Point Guards of All-Time

Top five nba point guards of all time

It seems just like everything else in life, basketball has come full circle. In a game where success once hinged on having a dominant center, today’s league features point guards more prominently than ever. In the early years, point guards were purely distributors but over time the position has changed to feature some of the game’s best scorers. Nevertheless, let’s see if we can narrow down the top five NBA point guards to ever play the game.

The Top Five Point Guards in NBA History

5. Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd was the ultimate floor general. He could see things develop before anyone else on the court. He is one of the greatest passers to ever play the game and also was a superb defender. Kidd possessed one of the most vital skills to the point guard position and that was making the game easier for his teammates. He led the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn) to improbable back to back Finals runs in 2002 and 2003. Even though they came up short both times, there is no question that Kidd was the driving force behind their overall success. When he was on the floor, everyone became a threat due to his ability to manipulate the game and always make the right decisions with the basketball. Very few in the history of the game had Kidd’s instincts and skills.

4. John Stockton

If you looked up the term “pure point guard” in the dictionary there would be a picture of John Stockton and his chiseled jaw staring back at you. Stockton was a maestro on the court. He was also the personification of grit, durability, toughness, and IQ. Stockton was an excellent shooter, a great passer, tremendous defender, and one of the greatest competitors at the point guard position in the history of the NBA.

He definitely doesn’t pass the eye test of what many would consider a great basketball player. This was evident by his ability to walk around Barcelona during the Dream Team days in virtual anonymity; despite wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with his image as a member of the team. But once he stepped in between the lines, his diminutive stature didn’t stop him from dominating. Stockton also led the Utah Jazz to back to back Finals appearances but hit a very significant roadblock in his quest for a championship.

3. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson was the perfect combination of size, speed, strength, and skill. Robertson was really the first big point guard in the league at 6’5″, 210 lbs. But he still moved extremely well at that size. That coupled with his playmaking and scoring ability made him a nightmare for opposing teams. Robertson revolutionized the game with his style and paved the way for future point guards who played a more uptempo game. He rebounded the basketball at an unusually high clip for a point guard and kicked the ball ahead to teammates for easy baskets. There wasn’t anything Robertson couldn’t do on the basketball court as he is widely considered to be one of the most versatile players ever.

2. Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas was one of the fiercest competitors the league has ever seen. He could score like Allen Iverson and pass like Chris Paul. In a time where most NBA talk was dominated by the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and some young guy with the Chicago Bulls named Michael Jordan. Thomas and the Detroit Pistons crashed the party. He was able to lead his team to the promised land twice during what was possibly the toughest era in NBA history.

Thomas also gave us one of the most memorable moments in playoff history when he decimated the Lakers to the tune of 25 points in the 3rd quarter of Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Pistons eventually lost the game and the series but those are the moments that propel players to legendary status. The fact that Thomas led them to two titles in the following two years helps as well. Anyone who questions his place in history needs to check the tapes.

1. Magic Johnson

This pretty much goes without saying. Magic Johnson is the standard by which all point guards are now judged. Johnson impacted the game in a way few have before or since. The conductor of the “Showtime” incarnation of the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson brought a flair and excitement to the game no one had ever seen before. There were likely many times his teammates didn’t even realize they were open until one of his trademark no-look passes hit them squarely in the hands for an easy basket. His rivalry with Larry Bird helped salvage the league in the ’80s. He had a commanding presence on the court and he seemed to always find a way to win. Johnson changed the way the game was played and set an unachievable standard that everyone after him is measured against.

Oscar Robertson might have been the first big point guard but Magic Johnson was the biggest point guard. At 6’9″, Johnson wasn’t like anything opposing players had seen before. His brilliance and creativity with the basketball are unmatched to this day. He was the superstar the NBA needed at a time the game was desperate for severe revitalization. He provided that and much more. Magic Johnson was the ultimate evolution of the point guard and is considered one of the greatest players not only at his position but of all time. He will most likely remain perched at the summit of NBA point guard rankings forever.

Honorable mention: Stephen Curry, Pete Maravich, Jerry West, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Gary Payton, Bob Cousy

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