There is an NBA school of thought revolving around the idea that the ball should always be in the hands of your best player. The idea is that anytime your best player is on the floor, the offense and primary decision-making should run through him. Well, I am here to tell you that this is nothing more than a myth...
Top 10 NBA Point Guards of All Time
There were so many questions with this list that revolved accounting for the era we are in with score-first point guards, directly opposing the preceding era of pass-first point guards. Defensive contributions were also accounted for along with overall championship pedigree.
We could not agree so it was split into two.
Ryan's rankings can be found in RED, they take into account how players of the past would fare in today's game.
Victor's rankings are in BLUE, his only criteria is to eliminate all achievements prior to the ABA-NBA Merger of 1976.
Enjoy. Let us know what you think.
10. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook is a controversial figure in today's game; he's the only player to average a triple-double in 2 different seasons, but questions have been raised on whether or not he's capable of leading a team through the playoffs. Despite these legitimate concerns, Westbrook is still the 2017 MVP, 2-time scoring champion, and 7-time All-NBA player. If he had ever developed a consistent jump shot, the sky would have been the limit for him. Unfortunately, he's likely phasing out of his prime now, and his athleticism-based style of play is not conducive to successful twilight years in basketball.
9. Jason Kidd
Kidd's scoring was never anything special, but he did everything else so well that he had to be included in this list. Kidd was a 9-time All-Defense player and 6-time All-NBA selection. His size helped him become a tremendous rebounder for his position, topping out at 8.2 RPG during his best rebounding season. His passing was excellent, as seen by his place as a 5-time assist champion. He even added a 3-point shot in the second half of his career which helped him tremendously when it came to scoring.
8. Gary Payton
Payton is commonly referred to as the best defensive point guard of all-time, and deservedly so. He made 9 All-Defense teams and won a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1996, a rare achievement for a point guard. While his overall scoring numbers don't look too impressive, he still had 7 seasons averaging at least 20 PPG.
7. Oscar Robertson
The original "Mr. Triple-Double", Robertson was an 11-time All-NBA performer and was the 1964 MVP. Big O was the first player to average a triple-double over an entire season, and he was also one of the best ever at getting to the free throw line. Robertson was also a 1-time scoring champ, showing he was the complete package as a player.
6. Jerry West
West has one of the more special stat-lines you'll see from a basketball player: 27 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 6.7 APG. You don't get to be the logo of the NBA by being a scrub. He may have only won a single championship during his career, but he racked up plenty of individual accolades. He was a 12-time All-NBA selection and 5-time All-Defense, further showcasing how versatile he was as a player. West is also the only player to earn a Finals MVP award, despite his team not winning the championship.
5. Isiah Thomas
Zeke is a 2-time champion as a member of the Bad Boy Pistons, and is regarded as one of the best playmakers of his generation. With career averages of 19.2 PPG and 9.3 APG, Thomas was a perennial All Star and 5-time All-NBA member. He may have rubbed some players the wrong way, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more reliable point guard.
4. Steve Nash
Stephen Curry may be the man who popularized how the game is played today, but Nash is still the prototype for the sometimes frenetic pace at which the game is played today. Under coach Mike D'Antoni, Nash orchestrated the famous "7 Seconds or Less" offense with the Phoenix Suns. His success with that system awarded him 2 MVP awards and proved him to be one of the best passers to play the game. He is a member of the 50-40-90 club, making the cut an NBA-record 4 times.
3. Stephen Curry
It may seem premature to include Curry in the top 3 of this list, but it's definitely warranted. He is the reason behind the 3-point revolution in today's NBA, and his status as the greatest shooter of all-time is already sealed. His rise to superstardom coincides with the Golden State Warriors' current dynasty, and he's already won 3 championships with more likely to come. A 2-time MVP and 5-time All-NBA performer, Curry already has the resume of a borderline top 10 player ever.
2. John Stockton
Stockton may have never won a championship, but his individual talent as a player is too good to ignore. He is the all-time leader in total assists and it's not even close, and all-time leader in steals (also not close.) His elite, borderline bullying defense perfectly exemplified 80's and 90's basketball, and he was rewarded with 5 All-Defense honors. Stockton and Karl Malone's pick-and-roll combo remains one of the deadliest offensive threats to this day.
1. Magic Johnson
Magic had style and substance on and off the basketball court, headlining the Showtime Lakers and winning 5 NBA championships. His most incredible basketball feat actually came during his rookie year during the NBA Finals, when he had to fill in at center in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In his place, Magic put up an astounding 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. This was as a rookie...playing center when his primary position is point guard. No other point guard would able to accomplish this feat. He also managed to claim 3 MVP awards and 10 All-NBA selections. Had he not been forced to sit out 4 seasons due to his HIV diagnosis, it is possible that he would have been considered the greatest basketball player of all-time.
10. Rajon Rondo
Number 10 on this list was either going to be Kyrie Irving or Rajon Rondo. Both have an All-NBA Third team recognition to their name but its Rondo who's made the All-NBA defensive teams four times. At his peak, Rondo was a game breaking point guard capable of jaw dropping statistics on any given night, take the Celtic game against the Knicks in 2012 where Rondo recorded 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists to bring Linsanity to a screeching halt. Not to mention, Rondo's moniker/alter ego, 'Playoff Rondo' in recognition of Rondo's tendency to perform much better in the playoffs. There are some understandable gripes against his disruptive nature but Rondo is one of the greatest true point guards the NBA has ever seen and deserves his spot on this list.
9. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook joins the list for his ability to generate jaw dropping stat lines. However, at some point we have to consider whether those numbers actually contribute to winning. Since Durant left, Westbrook is yet to make it out of the first round of the playoffs but Westbrook defenders will be quick to bring up his statistical accomplishments. At some point Westbrook needs to prove he can win as the best player on the team.
8. Chris Paul
Don't let this last season's struggles fool you, Chris Paul is an all-time great. 8 All-NBA teams, 9 All-NBA Defensive Teams and a career average of 19 points and 10 assists a game. CP3's only downfall is his lack of success in the playoffs. Up until last year, Chris Paul had never made it past the second round of the playoffs which is unacceptable considering how great of a player he was. Hopefully CP3 gets himself a ring and climbs up this chart.
7. Jason Kidd
Think CP3 but with playoff success. Along with winning a ring, Jason Kidd finished his NBA career with 6 All-NBA selection and 9 All-NBA Defense nominations. Kidd was the quintessential definition of a point guard, someone whose main priority is to facilitate the team both offensively and defensively. Jason Kidd did what ever it took to win games.
6. Gary Payton
Gary Payton was a different breed of player, someone who took great pride in shutting down his opposite number. The glove used that defensive thirst to fuel a career that totaled 9 All-NBA Defensive First Team selections . . . that's right FIRST team NINE times. Payton wasn't bad on the other side of the ball either, topping over 20 points a game on seven different occasions. Payton was also an All-NBA selection 9 times and won a ring late in his career. Oh, I almost forgot, Payton was the first and only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the year award.
5. Steve Nash
Say what you want about how Steve Nash won his MVPs but two MVPs are two MVPs. This was a player who dominated and pioneered a new age of point guard play for the likes of Steph Curry and Damian Lillard. Nash was D'Antoni's greatest master piece before he met James Harden and together they dominated the Western Conference for a good period of time. Steve Nash wasn't anywhere near the rest of the list defensively but Nash sets him self apart as a four time member of the 50-40-90 club.
4. John Stockton
Coming in at number 4 is another great point guard who never got his championship. Stockton is far and away the career leader in assists and there's no better representation of that than the 89-90 season where he averaged nearly 15 assists a game. He also has three of the top 5 single game assists records. Stockton also made the All-NBA team 11 teams and the All-Defense team 5 times, Stockton has a true claim for the greatest player to never win a championship.
3. Stephen Curry
The greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen. A three-time champion probably going on his fourth, and two MVPs, including the NBA's first ever unanimous MVP. Steph Curry does not need much introduction and he will probably finish his career higher on this list.
2. Isiah Thomas
The original IT slides in at number two. What Isiah Thomas did for Detroit basketball can never go unsaid, he was the face and the leader for a cultural revolution that led to two championships in an era of Jordan, Bird, Magic and Kareem. Despite been undersized at the smallest position of the court, IT paved the way for point guards like CP3 and Gary Payton in the decades to follow. 2 championships, 1 Finals MVP and a career average of 19 and 9, IT did it all.
1. Magic Johnson
Who else would have been number one but Magic Johnson, Mr. Showtime himself. 5 rings and 3 finals MVP, Magic helped kick start the golden age of the NBA with his captivating personality and rivalry with Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics. Magic is far and away the best point guard in NBA history so his only competition goes beyond the position into the realm of every man who as ever touched a basketball. Magic would have had more of a say in the 10 greatest players of all time if his career were not cut short.
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