The NBA has been rich in its history. Franchises have created dynasties and players have made their mark over the years. The point guard position has seen a plethora of stars, many leading their respective teams to victory. It’s one of the most important positions on the court and has been one of the most storied positions in the NBA. With that being said, there are a select few that should be given the title of legend. Here are the top five point guards in NBA history.
Top Five Point Guards in NBA History
Chris Paul (2005-present)
For me, Chris Paul just missed out on my top five. Paul fits the mold of point guard to a tee. His passing ability is unmatched, as his signature lobs to Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan have been engraved in NBA history. His ability to pretty much score from anywhere on the court mixed with his defensive capabilities makes a well-built two-way guard that any team would love to have.
He’s been one of the better point guards in the league for the past 15 years, but his lack of success has definitely hindered his ranking and therefore has rendered him outside the top five point guards in NBA history.
Steve Nash (1996-2015)
Another fantastic and game-changing point guard that just missed the cut. Nash was able to complete a 50-40-90 (FG%-3P%-FT%) season three times, a feat that is extremely hard to accomplish.
But again, his lack of success in terms of a title do rank him a bit lower than others. Still, Nash could literally do it all and he’s got to be acknowledged for that.
The Top Five
5. John Stockton (1984-2003)
Stockton very well could be rated by some as high as number two on this list. His vision and passing ability led him to nine straight seasons atop the NBA in assists. In addition, Stockton leads the NBA by far in total steals with 3,265, nearly 600 more than 2nd place Jason Kidd.
Stock was met with the unfortunate time period for his prime, as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen made it nearly impossible for any team to grab that title during the early-mid 90s. However, Stockton along with Karl Malone did take the Jazz to two finals appearances during that time.
Stockton’s run in 1998 was absolutely historic. Stock and Malone knocked off the Olajuwon Rockets, the Duncan/Robinson Spurs, and finally the Shaq Lakers. All be it, Olajuwon was a shell of himself by ’98, but all three of those teams posed a challenge.
He’s one of the greatest passers this game has ever seen. He was an absolute dog on defense. He helped lead the Jazz through two great playoff runs. He’s without a doubt one of the top five point guards in NBA history.
4. Isiah Thomas (1981-1994)
Isiah Thomas was the most important piece in both of the Detroit Pistons championship runs. The captain of Detroit led the Bad Boys to two straight titles, knocking off the Drexler Blazers and the Magic Lakers. IT was a 12-time all-star who shared the court with some other outstanding players and still shined.
Thomas averaged 19 points and nine assists in his career, along with just under two steals per game as well. In the ’84-’85 season, Thomas totaled 1123 assists (13.1 per game), good enough for fifth all-time now. Back then, however, that was a feat that no one really came close too prior.
The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ was no joke on the court. Some even say he was the epitome of the “bad boy” mentality by the Pistons in the 1980s-1990s. Although Stockon’s passing ability is superior to Thomas’, Thomas portrays a higher scoring ability and had his abilities translate to titles. IT barely beats out Stockon in the top five point guards in NBA history.
3. Oscar Robertson (1960-1974)
Oscar Robertson was so ahead of his time. Robertson starting his career off strong, winning rookie of the year and nearly averaging a triple-double (31/9.7/10). He was able to grab MVP in just his third season in the league and easily could’ve won it the previous year with a 31/11/13 stat line if it weren’t for Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain who averaged nearly 50 points per game. He truly was something the NBA had never seen.
Robertson’s speed mixed with his height was hard for many teams to control. At 6’5”, he was taller than every point guard in the league. The average height for a point guard in 1960 was 6’1”. That means Robertson had a distinct advantage over nearly every guard in the league.
Now, Robertson was unsuccessful in winning a title until the NBA leader in points came around to somewhat carry him through that season. Robertson was nearing the end of his career while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was just beginning. Still, Robertson did provide Abdul-Jabbar with a solid second scorer and was obviously key in knocking off Wilt Chamberlain in the conference finals and Earl Monroe to win the title.
Bottom line, Robertson was so many future game styles combined into one. He was the Russell Westbrook of the 1960s with a little more success, which is more than enough to place him this high on the list.
2. Stephen Curry (2009-present)
Steph Curry is known for two things during his NBA career so far; shooting and winning. That’s usually a recipe for success.
Curry is currently ranked third on all-time three-pointers made and is more than likely going to pass both Reggie Miller and Ray Allen by the time his career is over. In every healthy season he’s played (besides his rookie year), Curry has been able to average right around 300 three-pointers per season. If he’s able to continue that trend, that’ll put him over 3000 for his career, something that has never been done. I don’t really need to go on about his shooting ability. because everyone is well aware of his game-changing performances from behind the arc.
Curry’s MVP season is one of the best ever, as he made a record number of three-pointers (402) and still maintained a 50/45/90 shooting split. That is insane. Not to mention, he led that Warriors squad to the best record the NBA had ever seen, and would have been the most historic run ever if not for Lebron James.
Nonetheless, Curry has three titles under his belt, one of which he was the true leader on the squad. If you even sniff the label of greatest scorer ever, you’ve made it. Curry is without a doubt my number two on the top five point guards in NBA history.
1. Magic Johnson (1979-1990,1995-1996)
A lot will see this pick as rather obvious. At least I did. Magic did it all. He has the greatest vision this sport has ever seen and brought the Lakers to FIVE championship wins in the 1980s. Johnson had three MVP seasons to go along with three MVP Finals performances.
The man could literally play any position, evident when he posted up at center during game six of the Finals in 1980. He truly did change the game of basketball with his style of play. For 11 straight years, he was a top-five player and was the best point guard without a doubt. You could even get away with saying his prime lasted that long, and it was very unfortunate that he contracted the HIV virus that kept him out for three seasons. Without that hiatus, we could’ve seen even more MJ-MJ matchups and possibly a flawed finals record from Michael Jordan. Either way, Magic certainly missed out on some fantastic seasons and possibly even the title of greatest of all-time.
Magic currently sits first in assists per game for his career and is fourth in offensive rating. Magic literally had it all. His bouts with Jordan and Larry Bird have gone down in history as some of the best games this sport has ever seen. He is respected, cherished, and ranked highly because of it. Magic Johnson is without a doubt the best point guard this game may ever see.