They’re the ‘floor general’, the ‘offensive steward’, the ‘catalyst’ and on basketball courts in cities across America and beyond, they’re the H.N.I.C. Still stumped? In polite company you can refer to them as the point guard of a basketball team. At any level, from the lowest to the highest levels of the game of basketball, the importance, influence and impact of the point guard is paramount to a team’s success on the court. NBA Basketball fans around the globe have been blessed in witnessing some of the greatest point guards the game has ever known. Each of them brings a uniquely amazing style to the position. No two are alike and each individual contributes to their team in a different way, some are distribution strong, some are scoring strong, many have a unique combination of the the two. Idiots Guide presents a list of the ‘Greatest NBA Point Guards of All-Time’. We hope that you enjoy the retrospective as much as wee did! “Now, go find the open man!”
#12. Kevin Johnson / Career Assists: 6,711 / Points Per Game: 17.9 / 13 yrs.
Over the course of his successful 12-year NBA career, it became obvious that Kevin Johnson was an exceptional point guard. Solid. Smart. Rarely turned the ball over. Those among the most important virtues of the position. Kevin was a 3-Time All-Star and a 4-Time second team All-NBA selection. He led his teams with intelligence and grace, he is one of the best point guards to ever play in the NBA. But there are others…
#11. Jason Kidd / Career Assists: 12,091 / Points Per Game: 12.6 / 21 yrs.
….Like Jason Kidd for example. The current Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks was a thrilling NBA floor general for the better part of two decades. Jason brought an exceptional flair that was as pretty as it was effective. Never known to be a great shooter from the outside, he improved his FG% in successive years through hard work. His court vision was transcendent, his passes laser precise. Jason always gave fans the impression that he was born to play the position of point guard. As was the next man on our list…
#10. Bob Cousy / Career Assists: 6,955 / Points Per Game: 18.4 / 14 yrs.
….Bob Cousy’s floor vision and passing ability are legendary and not just in the New England section of the universe. The level of the Boston Celtics success while he was the point guard speaks for itself. Cousy didn’t become a 6-Time NBA Champion (1957, 1959-1963) on accident. He was a consummate floor general who guided the offensive to a position to be successful and that’s exactly what they were. Many of you probably never got to see him play, myself included but thank God for YouTube, right? This next guy played long enough and recent enough for most of you to have….
#9. Gary Payton / Career Assists: 8,966 / Points Per Game: 16.3 / 18 yrs.
…..Seen the hard-nosed defensive toughness that defined Gary Payton’s game and career. The 2nd overall pick in the 1990 didn’t disappoint throughout his 18 year career. He managed one NBA Title (2006), to go with his 9 All-Star appearances and 9 Defensive 1st Team selections and his Defensive Player of the Year Award (1996). Don’t get it twisted, Gary could also hit the big shot. He was as solid as you can get during crunch time, well most of the time anyway. This next guy probably never thought that…
#8. Steve Nash / Career Assists: 10,335 / Points Per Game: 14.3 / 18 yrs.
….He would ever win the NBA MVP Award in back to back seasons, but he damn sure did! Not bad for a white player born in South Africa who claims Canada as his homeland. Canada being that basketball hotbed…Oh wait, that’s hockey. In any case, Nash was named an NBA All-Star 8-Times in his career to go with being named ALL-NBA 7-Times. This of course in addition to his 2 NBA MVP Awards (2005, 2006). Steve was quick, smart and tough all excellent attributes of an effective point guard. He led a prolific Phoenix Suns offense for years and man, they were a joy to watch! Steve’s career was awesome, speaking of awesome, this next man…
#7. Allen Iverson / Assists: 5,624 / Points Per Game: 26.7 / 17 yrs.
….Was called the ‘Answer’ and with very good reason. Allen Iverson was a one of a kind athlete, basketball player and human being. By ‘one of a kind’ I mean that he changed the culture and style of the NBA in ways that will never be duplicated. Just like there’s only one Thomas Edison and one light bulb. Iverson played the game with the kind of heart and toughness that belied his modest stature. He single-handedly took an average 76er’s team all the way to the NBA finals, where they were finally bested by an immensely talented L.A. Lakers team. In his prime, Allen Iverson amazed fans on nightly basis. True story. Over his 17 year career he was an 11-Time All-Star and voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2001. He was also a 4-Time NBA Scoring Champion, as a point guard. Allen was an exceptional talent, much like this next man that the called….
#6. Pete Maravich / Career Assists: 3,563 / Points Per Game: 24.2 / 11 yrs.
….’Pistol Pete’, what an exciting basketball player. What a spot up shooter. Maravich was an amazing floor general, dazzling fans and his opposition alike with his otherworldly passing ability. Did I mention that this guy could really shoot the basketball? I guess with a nickname like ‘Pistol’, you probably figured that out by now. Pete was the NBA Scoring Champion in 1977. He was also a 5-Time All-Star (1973, 1974, 1977–1979), as well as a 2-Time All-NBA First Team selection (1976 1977). For those who were lucky enough to see Pete play NBA ball live and in color, he was something to behold (See: YouTube, Cool Uncle Brian). Where Pete had to play in places like Utah, this next ‘Amazo’ got to shine his light in the city that never sleeps. The ‘Big Apple’ was home to….
#5. Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier / Assists: 5,040 / Points Per Game: 18.9 / 13 yrs.
….Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier and his early 1970’s powerhouse New York Knicks teams. Trust me I know it’s strange to imagine the Knicks as a ‘powerhouse’ given their current state of affairs, but trust me, they used to be great. Especially in 1970 and 1973 when ‘Clyde’ led the Knicks to 2 World Championships in 3 years! He was also a 7-Time NBA All-Star (1970–1976). Walt brought an infectious style to the game on and off the court. Not only was he great, he made it look easy and he made it look good. When he was teamed up with guard Earl “the Pearl” Monroe in 1971, they became known as the ‘Rolls Royce Backcourt’. No argument here. Hopefully the Knicks will be great again and hopefully the ‘lamb chop’ sideburn comes back when that happens. The heart of a point guard means a great deal and this next all-timer arguably had the biggest and bravest of them all, they called him…
#4. Isiah Thomas / Career Assists: 9,061 / Points Per Game: 19.2 / 13 yrs.
….’Isiah’ and he was special in every sense of the positive. His height was listed as 6′ 1″ but we all know that he was closer to 5 ‘9″ which makes his accomplishments all the more amazing. Thomas made his living running, passing and shooting amongst the trees. His champions heart, laser focus and determination earned him 2 NBA World Championships (1989, 1990), an NBA Finals MVP (1990) and 12 All-Star nods (1982–1993). As well as the admiration of analysts and his peers, as he was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Quite an honor when you understand how good you have to be just to play in the NBA, forget being one of the all-time greats. Speaking of all-time greats, this next man made helped make the ‘assist’ a sexy word. He knew how to get he ball into scoring position better than basically anyone before. Who am I referring to?
#3. John Stockton / Career Assists: 15,806 / Points Per Game: 13.1 / 19 yrs.
That would be John Stockton. Hall of Fame, John Stockton. All-Time NBA ‘Assists’ leader and All-Time NBA ‘Steals’ leader, John Stockton. The 10-Time NBA All-Star (1989–1997, 2000), John Stockton. You heard of him? This legendary point guard out of Gonzaga created a career that is virtually unmatched in productivity. How hard is it to win an NBA Championship? John Stockton didn’t win one. True story. Not for the lack of trying or focus mind you, there was a man named Michael Jordan always stealing his wedding cake. Basketball can be a cruel mistress. Nevertheless, the likes of John Stockton might never come around again, at least not exactly. He was truly a transcendent player. Much like the next man up the man they called…
#2. Oscar ‘Big O’ Robertson / Assists: 9,887 / Points Per Game: 25.7 / 14 yrs.
….The ‘Big O’ Oscar Robertson. How good was the ‘Big O’? As of today, he is the only player in the entire history of the NBA to average a ‘Triple-Double’ for an entire season. When you take a minute to process that statistic, it is awe-inspiring, isn’t it? I could just stop right there, but there’s more like his NBA World Championship (1971), his NBA MVP (1964), and his 12 All-Star nods (1961–1972). Oh, I forgot to mention that he led the NBA in ‘Assists’ 6-times (1961, 1962, 1964–1966, 1969). Any questions? His name is ‘Oscar Robertson’ (Repeat like ‘Fight Club’).
#1. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson / Assists: 10,141 / Points Per Game: 19.5 / 13 yrs.
Each and every point guard on this list is considered to be among the best ever. Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson actually is the very best ever. What makes that even more amazing is the fact that Magic could and did play all 5 positions on the floor. He was that versatile. He was that talented. His play was exactly what his nickname suggests…Magic. His list of accomplishments are dizzying, starting with 5 NBA Championships (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987–1988), 3 NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987), 3 NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989–1990) and 12 All-Star nods (1980, 1982–1992). There is actually much more, but by now you understand what I’m talking about, right? Frankly, when it comes to point guards, there’s Magic Johnson and everyone else. I state that even though I have some personal criticisms of him (Think ‘Phony’). Regardless, his greatness is undeniable. The best floor general in NBA history.