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Who are the top point guards from the past 25 years? I never saw Bob Cousy or Oscar Robertson play, so why try to compare them to those I did see. The Top 10 separated themselves from the rest of the pack fairly easily; I also included 5 Honorable Mention selections, with two of them ready to crack the list following a couple more good seasons, especially my pick for the MVP this season, Chris Paul. If you disagree with any of my picks let me know, and let the debate begin. These are, in my eyes, the best point guards of my lifetime.
Chris Paul : Knocking on the door, should be on this list, and jumping over most of the names if he keeps his play at this insane level. Just too soon to put him up there right now.
Deron Williams : Only Paul is playing better than him this year at the position. But let’s wait for him to make an All-Star team before putting him in the same class as this distinguished group.
Gilbert Arenas : Certainly scores more than any other point guard on this list (career 22.9 ppg), and he definitely qualifies as a PG unlike Allen Iverson in my opinion. At 26, and with 3 All-Star games under his belt, time will tell if he can make his teammates better and achieve team success like all great floor generals.
Penny Hardaway : Without question was on his way to being on this list. Made more All-NBA 1 st Teams (2) than the players I selected 7-10, but had really only 3 very good seasons. Trailed off dramatically and even Lil Penny can’t help him crack the top 10.
Baron Davis : If healthy this guy would have to be on this list. The 5 years prior to this season Davis could not stay on the court. When he was on he was great. Everyone saw the performance against the Mavs last year, and that’s one reason I hope the Warriors make the playoffs again.
With the exception of Penny the other 4 point guards all have a chance to surpass the bottom portion of this Top 10. Many of these guys are still playing making it difficult to truly compare their careers. But let’s get it going in reverse order.
10. Chauncey Billups : 3- time All-Star, Finals MVP (1), All-NBA 2 nd Team (1), 3 rd Team (1), All Defensive 2 nd Team (2), NBA Titles (1).
Career Averages: 14.8 points, 5.5 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1 steal
Top 10 in MVP vote (1)
Mr. Big Shot has been a staple for the solid and consistent Detroit Pistons. Good thing the Celtics gave him a chance to play point. His defense combined with his scoring ability has him on the list for now, but Paul, Williams, and Arenas could pass him by the time its all said and done.
9. Mark Price : 4- time All-Star, All-NBA 1 st Team (1), 3 rd Team (3),
Career Averages: 15.2 points, 6.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (4)
Best Free Throw Shooter in NBA History: 90.4%
Don’t put Price on the free throw line, shot over 90% for his career. Who knows how much he would have won if he didn’t have to play against Isiah’s Pistons and Jordan’s Bulls.
8. Kevin Johnson : 3- time All-Star, All-NBA 2 nd Team (4), 3 rd Team (1).
Career Averages: 17.9 points, 9.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (2)
KJ is definitely underrated when discussing best point guards of all time. A career 18-9 guy coupled with his dunk on Hakeem, he has a place on my list.
7. Tim Hardaway : 5- time All-Star, All-NBA 1 st Team (1), 2 nd Team (3), 3 rd Team (1).
Career Averages: 17.7 points, 8.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (3)
His homosexual comments brought him back into the headlines, but during his playing days his killer crossover got all the attention. Could score and set up teammates, and like Price and KJ they might have been looking up at the man guarding them, but always left them picking up their jock.
6. Jason Kidd : 9- time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, All-NBA 1 st Team (5), 2 nd Team (1), All-NBA Defensive 1 st Team (4), 2 nd Team (5), All-Rookie 1 st Team.
Career Averages: 14.2 points, 9.2 assists, 6.7 rebounds, 2 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (5)
Maybe should be higher on this list. The Top 6 are head and shoulders above the rest. A triple- double waiting to happen every time he’s on the court. A championship has eluded him, he wasn’t going to get it with the Nets, and now he may not even get a chance with the Mavs. Still one of the best I’ve ever seen.
5. Steve Nash : 6- time All-Star, MVP (2), All-NBA 1 st Team (3), 3 rd Team (2).
Career Averages: 14.3 points, 7.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 0.8 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (3)
The hardest guy to rank, is 5 to high or to low? Can’t play defense, but he’s the only guy on the list to win the MVP not named Magic. It’s hard to say Kidd hasn’t had a better career, but Nash won 2 straight (should have been 3 straight) MVP awards. I’ll give him the nod here.
4. Gary Payton : 9- time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year (1), All-NBA 1 st Team (2), 2 nd Team (5), 3 rd Team (2), All-NBA Defensive 1 st Team (9), All-Rookie 2 nd Team, NBA Titles (1).
Career Averages: 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (8)
The last 3 or 4 years has hurt the Glove’s legacy. People forget just how great he was in Seattle. 9 times 1 st team all defense? He was defensive player of the year, in a season where he put up close to 20 points and 7.5 assists a night. I almost want to put him higher, but these 3 guys aren’t going anywhere.
3. John Stockton : 10- time All-Star, All-Star Game MVP (1), All-NBA 1 st Team (2), 2 nd Team (6), 3 rd Team (3), All-NBA Defensive 2 nd Team (5).
Career Averages: 13.1 points, 10.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (5)
All-Time leader in assists and steals
Everyone runs the pick-and-roll and everyone wants to run it like Stockton. Also to have more assists and steals than anyone else in the history of the NBA is just astonishing, not to mention, along with Magic, the point guards for the Dream Team. Next stop for Stockton is the Hall of Fame in Springfield.
2. Isiah Thomas : 12- time All-Star, Finals MVP (1), All-Star Game MVP (2), All-NBA 1 st Team (3), 2 nd Team (2), All-Rookie 1 st Team, NBA Titles (2), Hall of Fame.
Career Averages: 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (4)
His post playing career has been, in a word; awful. But he won’t be penalized for that on this countdown. Isiah was simply incredible with the ball in his hands. Plus give him credit for snatching up 2 titles sandwiched around Bird, Magic, and Jordan. Maybe if he never got involved with the CBA or the Knicks people would still be talking about him on the court and not off.
1. Magic Johnson : 12- time All-Star, MVP (3), Finals MVP (3), All-Star Game MVP (2), All-NBA 1 st Team (9), 2 nd Team (1), All-Rookie 1 st Team, NBA Titles (5), Hall of Fame.
Career Averages: 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals
Top 10 in MVP vote (10, 9 top 3 finishes)
Doesn’t matter if this list is the best point guards of the last 25 years or 125 years your winner is going to be Magic. 3 MVP awards, 5 NBA titles, and less than 3 rebounds shy of averaging a career triple double. He was more than just a point guard, but when he was running the show there was no one better. (Unless it was the Magic Hour). He and Isiah are both already in the Hall, and I expect many of the other names on this list to join them as well.
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