The 20 Best Point Guards of all time

Best Point Guards of all time: The point guard is a crucial position in basketball, often handling the ball the most and directing the team’s offense. Elite point guards excel in both scoring and playmaking, bringing something unique to their position. Here’s a list of the six best point guards in NBA history, including those widely known, highly anticipated, unexpectedly successful, recently prominent, and the oldest names. This comprehensive list is sure to spark debates, considering players who may be seen as more guards than point guards.

Best Point Guards of all time

Now, let’s break down the top 20 point guards in NBA history.

1. Magic Johnson

  • NBA Rank: 7 in assists, 23 in steals, 84 in scoring, 148 in rebounds

Magic Johnson is considered the best point guard of all time. He played for the Lakers and is one of the greatest in both Lakers and NBA history. His incredible vision of the game and unpredictable passes set him apart. He holds the record for the best average of assists per game in his career, with an impressive 11.2 per game.

Best Point Guards of all time
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What makes Magic Johnson even more remarkable is that he played his entire career with a single team, the Lakers, and won 5 NBA championship titles with them. He achieved numerous accolades, being elected MVP of the season three times and MVP of the finals three times as well. Johnson is also the second player with the most career triple-doubles, totaling 138. Known for his versatility, Magic Johnson was a complete player, and his impressive stats serve as evidence of his greatness.

Top Awards:

  • Five NBA titles
  • Three Finals MVPs
  • three MVPs
  • nine All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 12 All-Stars

2. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson ranked second among the best point guards of all time, had a stellar career with 12 All-Star selections, 11 All-NBA Team nods, and one MVP award in 14 seasons. In 1962, he became the first player to average a triple-double for a season.

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Notably, he played a key role in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 1970–71 NBA title win. Facing racism during his career, Robertson made history and earned multiple Hall of Fame inductions. His impact on and off the court led to significant NBA reforms, and he was honored on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • one MVP
  • nine All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 12 All-Stars

3. Stephen Curry

  • NBA Rank: 38 in scoring, 45 in assists, 58 in steals

Ranked third among the best point guards of all time is Stephen Curry, who has played for the Golden State Warriors since 2009. Widely considered the greatest long-range shooter in basketball history, Curry holds multiple three-point records, including breaking the NBA regular season three-point shot record in 2021.

Best Point Guards of all time
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His remarkable career with the Warriors includes four NBA championships, eight All-Star selections, two league MVPs, and one Finals MVP. Curry is known for leading the league in points per game during the 2015/16 and 2020/21 seasons.

Top Awards:

  • Four NBA titles
  • one Finals MVP
  • two MVPs
  • four All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • nine All-Stars

4. John Stockton

Ranked fourth among the best point guards of all time is John Stockton. Playing exclusively for the Utah Jazz in the NBA from 1984 to 2003, Stockton operated as a point guard.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Known for his consistency, reliability, and exceptional passing skills, he is regarded as one of the best point guards in NBA history. In recognition of his contributions to the sport, Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Top Awards:

  • 11 All-NBA selections
  • 10 All-Stars
  • five All-Defensive 2nd Team selection

5. Jerry West

  • NBA Rank: 23 in scoring, 34 in assists, 238 in rebounds

Ranked fifth among the best point guards of all time is Jerry West. During his Lakers tenure, he formed a significant duo with Elgin Baylor. Despite facing the Celtics in five finals, West and Baylor fell short until 1972 when they secured a championship.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Known for personal struggles, West became the first player from the losing team to be named Finals MVP in 1969. His impact on the Lakers, marked by resigning in 1974, saw him as their all-time leading scorer until Kobe Bryant surpassed him in 2010. Despite never winning the MVP award, West is often considered the best “non-MVP” in NBA history.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • one Finals MVP
  • 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 14 All-Stars
  • four All-Defensive 1st Team selections

6. Isiah Thomas

  • NBA Rank: 10 in assists, 17 in steals, 68 in scoring

Ranked sixth among the best point guards of all time is Isiah Thomas. His most recent affiliation was with the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA. Standing at a height of 1.75 meters, Thomas plays as a point guard.

Best Point Guards of all time
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His most successful period was with the Boston Celtics, where he achieved two NBA All-Star selections and an impressive scoring average of 28.9 points per game in the 2016/17 season.

Top Awards:

  • Two NBA tiles
  • one Finals MVP
  • three All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 12 All-Stars

7. Steve Nash

Seventh on the list of best point guards is Steve Nash, active in the NBA from 1996 to 2015. He played primarily with the Phoenix Suns, also spending time with the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Standing at 1.91 meters, Nash, known for his playmaking skills, is considered one of the best point guards in NBA history.

Best Point Guards of all time
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He earned the MVP award in 2005 and 2006 and led his teams to the Conference Finals four times. Nash was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in March 2018.

Top Awards:

  • Two MVP awards
  • seven All-NBA selections
  • eight All-Stars

8. Bob Cousy

Ranked eighth among the best point guards of all time is Bob Cousy. Playing in the NBA from 1950 to 1963, he dedicated his career to the Boston Celtics. Standing at 1.85 meters, Cousy is widely regarded as one of the best point guards in history, often mentioned alongside legends like Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, and Magic Johnson.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Cousy’s contributions to the game earned him a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

Top Awards:

  • Six NBA titles
  • one MVP
  • 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 13 All-Stars

9. Jason Kidd

Ranked ninth among the best point guards is Jason Kidd, who played in the NBA from 1994 to 2013, including a championship-winning stint with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Kidd holds impressive records, being second in career assists and steals, fourteenth in three-pointers converted, and fourth in triple-doubles. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018, he is widely considered one of the best point guards in NBA history.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • five All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • 10 All-Stars
  • nine All-Defensive selections

10. Chris Paul

Ranked tenth among the best point guards of all time is Chris Paul, currently under contract with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. Standing at 1.83 meters, Paul played for the New Orleans Hornets from 2005 to 2011 and later for the Los Angeles Clippers for six years.

Best Point Guards of all time
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In addition to his NBA career, Paul has had success with the USA national team, winning a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships in Japan and gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Top Awards:

  • 11 All-NBA selections
  • 12 All-Stars
  • seven All-Defensive 1st Team selections

11. Lenny Wilkens

  • NBA Rank: 16 in assists, 82 in scoring

Ranked 11th among the best point guards is Lenny Wilkens, a three-time Hall of Famer inducted as a player (1989), coach (1998), and part of the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” (2010). Named to the NBA 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, he is also one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in NBA History.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Wilkens, with 13 NBA All-Star Game appearances as player and coach, won the 1979 NBA championship as coach of the Seattle SuperSonics and an Olympic gold medal in 1996. Setting the record for coaching wins in the 1994–95 season (1,332 victories), he received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2010–11 NBA season. Despite having the most losses in NBA history, Wilkens is a highly influential figure in basketball history.

Top Awards:

  • Nine All-Stars

12. Gary Payton

Ranked 12th among the best point guards of all time is Gary Payton. Active in the NBA from 1990 to 2007, Payton spent 13 years with the Seattle SuperSonics. Widely regarded as one of the best point guards and defenders in NBA history, he made history in 1996 by becoming the first point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Best Point Guards of all time
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In the 2005/06 season, Payton secured an NBA title with the Miami Heat.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • nine All-NBA selections
  • nine All-Stars
  • one Defensive Player of the Year award
  • nine All-Defensive 1st Team selections

13. Walt Frazier

NBA Rank: 71 in assists, 133 in scoring

Ranked 13th among the best point guards is Walt Frazier, who played in the NBA from 1967 to 1980, mostly with the New York Knicks. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history for the league’s 50th anniversary.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Standing at 1.93 meters, Frazier, nicknamed “Clyde,” played as a point guard, winning championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973. He holds the Knicks’ all-time assist record, was a four-time All-NBA First Team selection, and a seven-time NBA All-Star. Known for his defensive prowess, Frazier was elected to the All-Defensive First Team seven times. In 2018, he became a brand ambassador for Puma, the sports goods manufacturer.

Top Awards:

  • Two NBA titles
  • four All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • seven All-Stars
  • seven All-Defensive 1st Team selections

14. Nate Archibald

Ranked 14th among the best point guards is Nate Archibald, who played in the NBA from 1970 to 1984 for teams like the Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City Kings, New York Nets, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks. Standing at 1.83 meters, he was a point guard and the first player to lead the NBA in both points and assists in a season, achieving this in the 1972–73 season with averages of 34 points and 11.4 assists per game.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Archibald, a three-time All-NBA First Team selection, made six NBA All-Star appearances and won the All-Star Game MVP in 1981. He secured his only championship with the Boston Celtics in 1981 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991, with the Kings retiring his jersey number, 10.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • three All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • six All-Stars

15. Pete Maravich

  • NBA Rank: 119 in scoring, 160 in assists

Ranked 15th among the best point guards of all time is Pete Maravich. Playing in the NBA from 1970 to 1980 for teams like the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans/Utah Jazz, and the Boston Celtics, Maravich earned recognition as a five-time NBA All-Star, one-time NBA scoring champion, and a four-time member of the All-NBA team.

Best Point Guards of all time
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In 1987, Maravich was honored with induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His contributions to the game, marked by his scoring prowess and playmaking abilities, solidify his legacy as one of the most notable point guards in basketball history.

Top Awards:

  • Four All-NBA selections
  • five All-Stars

16. Tony Parker

Ranked 16th among the best point guards of all time is Tony Parker. Standing at 1.88 meters, Parker played for the San Antonio Spurs from 2001 to 2018, securing four NBA championships with the team. In 2007, he made history as the first European player ever to be named the Most Valuable Player in an NBA finals series.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Towards the end of his career, Parker spent one season with the Charlotte Hornets. Additionally, he was a key player for the French national basketball team until his retirement in 2016, leading them to a European Championship victory in 2013 and reaching the final two years earlier. Recognized as the best player in the history of French basketball upon his retirement in June 2019, Parker was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2023.

Top Awards:

  • Four NBA titles,
  • one Finals MVP
  • three All-NBA 2nd Team selections
  • six All-Stars

17. Russell Westbrook

Ranked 17th among the best point guards of all time is Russell Westbrook. He is under contract with the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA. Westbrook previously played for the Oklahoma City Thunder for over 10 years, earning NBA All-Star honors multiple times. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2017.

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Additionally, Westbrook led the league in points scored during the 2014/15 and 2016/17 seasons, showcasing his scoring prowess and all-around skills.

Top Awards:

  • One MVP
  • nine All-NBA selections
  • nine All-Stars

18. Kyrie Irving

  • NBA Rank: 125 in scoring, 139 in assists, 244 in steals

Ranked 18th among the best point guards of all time is Kyrie Irving. Since the 2019–20 season, he has been under contract with the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. Irving was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, earning the Rookie of the Year Award in the same year.

He played a key role in the Cavaliers winning their first NBA title in 2016, and he has been named an All-Star four times. Additionally, Irving earned a spot on the All-NBA team once. As a Team USA player, he contributed to winning the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the 2016 gold medal at the Rio Olympics.

Top Awards:

  • One NBA title
  • three All-NBA selections
  • eight All-Stars

19. Dave Bing

  • NBA Rank: 57 in assists, 77 in scoring

Ranked 19th among the best point guards of all time is Dave Bing. He played for the Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets, and Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and later served as the mayor of Detroit.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Standing at 1.91 meters, Bing was a multiple NBA All-Star known for his excellent scoring abilities. He has been a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1990 and was included in the list of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. Bing’s impact on the court and his contributions to the game have solidified his legacy among the basketball greats.

Top Awards:

  • Two All-NBA 1st Team selections
  • Seven All-Stars

20. Damian Lillard

  • NBA Rank: 59 in scoring, 67 in assists

Ranked 20th among the best point guards is Damian Lillard. After a standout college career, he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year. Known for clutch performances, he’s a seven-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA Team selection, setting a franchise record for the Trail Blazers.

Best Point Guards of all time
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Lillard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021 and won a gold medal with the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. Beyond basketball, he’s also a rapper, releasing several albums under the stage name Dame D.O.L.L.A.

Top Awards:

  • Seven All-NBA selections
  • seven All-Stars

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