The point guard dominates the modern NBA. On a typical “top 25 players” list, you’re bound to see more point guards on the list than any other position. This evolution of the most important position in basketball inspired me to compile a list of the greatest point guards in NBA history in order.
From the original triple-double king Oscar Robertson to the greatest three-point shooter ever Chef Curry, let’s take a look at these legendary players and where they rank at the PG position, to me. Let’s get to it.
10. Walt “Clyde” Frazier
2x NBA Champion, 7x All-Star, 6x All-NBA, 7x All-D Selection
Career Stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.9 REB, 6.1 AST
Walt Frazier — a fashion icon in the NBA long before the world had even heard of a Russell Westbrook. Frazier was the quarterback for the dominant early ’70s Knicks teams, one of the most undervalued championship teams in NBA history. Walt was an incredible two-way point guard whose flashiness on and off the court embodied the city in which he played. Walt once tallied an incredible 36 points, 19 assists, and 7 boards in a title clenching game 7. Unbelievable.
9. Russell Westbrook
2017 MVP, 2x Scoring Champion, 7x All-NBA, 7x All-Star, 2018 AST Leader
23.0 PPG, 6.6 REB, 8.2 AST
Russell Westbrook is debatably the most intriguing player on this list. As fascinating a player as he is, he is just as frustrating. With every glass shattering dunk and high flying rebound comes an ill-advised three or back-to-back turnovers that were caused due to his stubbornness with the basketball. Russ is a GREAT basketball player. His combination of size and speed makes him a nightmare for opposing guards, but his weaknesses are arguably his biggest downfalls — self awareness and basic basketball IQ.
Russ averaged a history 5 TOs a game during the ’16-’17 season and 4.8 this past season, and that’s with playing alongside star Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Russ is an incredible player, he really is, but he could be even better if he tweaked the most simple things in his game. It’s not asking too much for a point guard to move the ball more, take care of it, and to get more engaged on defense, but sadly, after 10 years in the league, these are issues that will likely never be fixed.
I don’t want to rag on Russell though. He’s had a great career, and the only thing that is missing from his resume at this point is an NBA championship. However, with the rise of other teams in the west such as Utah and Denver, and factoring in the Warriors reign, it looks like that’s nowhere close to ending. In fact, it’s very likely that Russ ends up just like a few other guys on this list — ringless.
8. Steve Nash
2x MVP, 8x All-Star, 7x All-NBA
14.3 PPG, 3.0 REB, 8.5 AST
Steve Nash led the resurgence of the Phoenix Suns in the mid-2000s, capturing two well deserved MVP awards, and in the process, becoming one of the most exciting players in NBA history. For nine consecutive seasons, Nash’s teams led the NBA in offensive rating, and it’s difficult to imagine just how great he could’ve been. In this era of spacing and three-point shooting, he may have jumped from number 8 on this list to the top 5.
To this day, Nash’s most impressive achievement has to be giving birth to this new era where guys like Steph Curry dominate as Steve did long before anyone knew what was coming.
7. John Stockton
10x All-Star, 11x All-NBA, 5X All-Defense
13.1 PPG, 10.5 AST, 2.2 SPG
Michael Jordan once said that no one gave him more fits defensively than John Stockton. That’s high praise coming from the GOAT, himself. John was a perfect point guard. He could defend like a pest, he was a terrific passer, he was highly efficient, and he took care of the basketball. What more could you want from your PG?
Stockton is the all time leader in career assists and steals, and I don’t foresee anyone surpassing his marks in either category for a long time.
6. Jason Kidd
10x All-Star, 6x All-NBA, 9x All-Defense, Co-ROY
12.6 PPG, 6.3 REB, 8.7 AST
Jason Kidd did everything well. A stout defender who could wreak havoc on both guard positions due to his size, he could shoot lights out later in his career, becoming one of the best spot up shooters in the league. He was also a great rebounder (again, due to his size) and arguably the most gifted passer in league history. His most defining career moment may be taking those early 2000s Nets teams to the NBA Finals where they lost, but Kidd would eventually capture his well-deserved ring when the Mavericks took down the Miami Heat big 3 in six games.
5. Chris Paul
9x All-Star, 8 All-NBA, 9x All-Defense, 4x AST leader, 6x STL leader
18.7 PPG, 4.5 REB, 9.8 AST
I wanted to put CP3 higher on this list so badly because to me, he may be the most complete point guard ever. He can defend at an elite level, he’s an elite passer, he can shoot, he can score, and he can even rebound pretty well considering his small stature. His only weakness is honestly his size, as it limits how far he can take a team into the postseason. In the history of the league, we’ve only seen one lead a team to a championship, and that’s Isaiah Thomas almost 30 years ago.
Paul’s lack of championships is what forced me to only put him at number 5, but best believe if he’s able to capture a championship or two before his career is over, he will move a couple of spots higher on this list.
4. Oscar Robertson
MVP, 12x All-Star, 11x All-NBA, Rookie of the Year
25.7 PPG, 7.5 REB, 9.5 AST
Mr. Triple Double, the ORIGINAL triple double was far ahead of his time. He was the forerunner to players like Magic and Lebron, who both have the utmost respect for the big O. Averaging a triple double during the 1961-1962 season cemented his legacy as one of the most impressive players in league history and number 4 on my all-time point guards list.
3. Stephen Curry
3x Champion, 2x MVP, 5x All-Star, 5x All-NBA, 1x Scoring Champion
23.1 PPG, 6.8 AST, 4.4 REB
Steph’s rise to the top came more quickly than arguably any star in recent NBA history. Already the greatest shooter ever, a 3x champion, and a 2x MVP, the guy is only 30 years old and has only been in the league nine years. Yet, he already has a whole career’s worth of accomplishments to his name.
I would argue that no one in the league makes the players around him better than Steph does, and in my lifetime, I’ve never seen a more efficient player than him, and that even includes Lebron James. With the addition of Kevin Durant to the Dubs, you can book it that he’s likely to win several more rings and will surpass everybody’s favorite player in ring count. That includes Lebron, Kobe, Duncan, Shaq and who knows? He may even surpass the GOAT someday.
No, this won’t automatically make him a better player than the guys mentioned above, but it will look great on his already impressive resume.
2. Isiah “Zeke” Thomas
2x Champion, Finals MVP, 12x All-Star, 5x All-NBA
19.2 PPG, 3.6 REB, 9.3 AST
Zeke — the last “little guy” to lead a team to a championship. Small and feisty as they come, Thomas is the most admirable player on this list. He was the leader of the bad boy Pistons, who led them to back-to-back titles and is probably most well-known for being the one guy who consistently kicked Michael Jordan’s you-know-what. Thomas is the shortest Finals MVP in league history, and there are currently only two guys with more 20-point and 10-assist games in their career — Oscar Robertson and the number one player on my list….
1. Magic Johnson
3x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 12x All-Star, 10x All-NBA, 5x Championships
19.5 PPG, 7.2 REB, 11.2 AST
Magic Johnson (maybe, with the exception of Lebron James) is probably the most unique player in NBA history. A 6’9″ guard, who moved just as gracefully with the basketball as any typical point guard who led the showtime Lakers to multiple titles during the ’80s would. Probably the most exciting player in NBA history to watch, Magic drew the eyes of every basketball fan in the world every time he laced up. A showman on and off the court who will always hold the spot as the greatest point guard ever for at least another 30 years.