Top 5 Point Guards in NBA History
As basketball continues to evolve, so does each position. Point guard is no exception to this. Originally, the role of the point guard was to distribute the basketball and essentially be a quarterback on the hardwood. Now, we see players who play this position look to score as much as anything else. With this evolution brings an interesting question as to who the top 5 point guards are of all time. Here’s our list:
Magic was absolutely incredible. He and Larry Bird brought life back into the NBA and in many ways saved the league. Think I’m exaggerating? The NBA finals were on freaking tape delay when they were drafted. Now look at the worldwide popularity of the game. That was on the back of Bird and Magic. But they were anything but just hype. Magic was a winner. In a 4 year stretch, his team won the high school state championship, the NCAA championship, and the NBA championship. He was named mvp in each of those championship stages. Only Bill Russell can claim he has done anything similar. Once the Lakers started running the offence through him, he averaged 20 ppg, 12apg, 7 rpg, 2 spg. He was the first (and only, unless if you include penny hardaway) 6’9 pg. His perimeter defence was above average, which is a weakness when you’re at this standard, but besides that, he didn’t have a weakness. He (along with Kareem) changed the Lakers culture. Remember, they couldn’t beat the Celtics before those guys arrived. People like to call Michael Jordan the greatest leader. I dispute that. Jordan was the greatest do-er (if that’s a word). He saw something that needed to be done, and he’d go ahead and do it. Magic, and Bill Russell, empowered their teammates to do great things through leadership. He finished his career prematurely because of the A.I.D.S virus, but still ended up with 5 championships, 3 mvps, 3 finals mvps, 12 time all star, 10 time all nba selection, and was the all time assist leader before John Stockton shattered that record. If he never contracted that virus, we would’ve had about 5 more years of great years from him. Who honestly knows what he would’ve done?
2. Isiah Thomas
Zeke doesn’t have the numbers of a John Stockton or an Oscar Robertson, but sometimes you have to beyond numbers. As soon as he was drafted by the Pistons, a team he desperately wanted to avoid (compare that to Dwight Howard and Carmelo who complained their way out of situations for money or whatever), he did whatever it took to bring in a winning culture. And despite all the roadblocks in the way, he succeeded when there was no space to do so. Isiah not only played in the Magic/ Bird era, but also the Jordan era. He is the only guy who can say that he’s beaten Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson in a playoff series (and he would’ve done it in one year, 88, had it not been for one of the softest calls in league history). You take that one call away, and that one unbelievable steal by bird in the 87 conference finals, and the pistons were two plays away from a 4 peat. Think about that. While you ponder that, here are some stats; from his second season until his body began to break down, he averaged 20/10/4/2. He raised his game in huge moments. Chuck Daley was quoted saying “I don’t think there’s ever been a tougher player, physically or mentally, in our league.” There also hasn’t been a more overlooked player in the history of the game.
3. Oscar Robertson
We all know (or we all should know) that the Big O averaged a triple double in his second season, which is a feat that hasn’t been done since. Now, some players have come close: Magic Johnson in 82 (19 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 9.5apg), Michael Jordan in 89 (32/8/8) and Lebron James in 2010 (29/7.3/8.6), but nobody has yet to do it. Now get this, in Oscar’s first 5 seasons, he averaged a triple double (30.3 ppg, 10.4apg, 10.6 rpg). So it wasn’t just one season that he was a walking triple-double, it was over a 384 game stretch. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been quoted as saying that Robertson was the best player of all time. That’s massive praise from a titan of the game, and whilst I won’t go that far, I will say that he is impossible to rank. Those stats are unbelievable, but his team was garbage. He did win with Kareem Milwaukee, but his numbers dropped big time. Was he boosting his numbers? Probably. But the fact remains that he’s one of the very best to lace up a pair of shoes. He was mvp in 64, a 12 time all star (3 times mvp), 11 time all nba, a gold medallist, hall of famer. The list goes on and on.
4. John Stockton
Maybe a touch overrated by most NBA fans, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a spot here (or a 2pac beat for his video for being such a gangster. Who said I don’t have a sense of humour…). The Stockton / Malone duo was such a joy to watch. Pure basketball artistry and fundamentals at its best. I love how the floor would clear, the defense would collapse and they’d still get a layup out of it. I don’t like making excuses, but had this Utah team made back to back finals against anyone else in the history of the game, they’re going to walk away with at least one championship. But enough of the hypotheticals and let’s look at facts; Stockton is the all-time assists and steals leader, 11 time all nba player, 10 time all star, 2 gold medals. From when he became a starter in 1987 until he suffered his first significant injury in 98, he averaged 16 ppg, 13 apg, 2.6 spg. But perhaps his biggest flaw was in fact his unselfishness. He could score. His career average of 13 ppg doesn’t stand out, but 52% (39% 3) is eye opening. Isiah Thomas admitted that they game planed to allow Karl Malone to get the ball easier than normal to get it out of Stockton’s hands. That to me is mind blowing when you consider the difference in overall scoring between Stockton and Malone.
5. Steph Curry
I thought long and hard about this one. It came down to Curry, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Walt Frazier. I must of changed my mind about 10 times before going with Steph. In my opinion, he’s the best shooter I’ve ever seen. He’s the only guy to lead his team to the title as a shooter. Reggie Miller was close in 2000,but they lost in 6 to the lakers. Ray Allen in 2008 was not the first option, and quite frankly, played like garbage that playoff run. In this year’s playoff run, he averaged 28 ppg, 6apg, 5 rpg and set a NBA record for threes in a postseason. And oh yeah, he also broke his own NBA record for threes in a season en route to claiming the NBA mvp season. His combination of shooting (whether it’s off the dibble, catch and shoot, or facing up), handles, and finishing at the rim is what makes him unguardable and ultimately what took golden state to the championship. Yes, I know. Only 6 seasons in the league. But right now, I’ve got him at 5. He could go up in rank, or drop.