The best point guards of all-time were a joy to watch in the greatest basketball league in the world – the NBA. They weren’t just the most important player on their team, but they were some of the best players of their generation and will be remembered for the greatness they achieved.
Point guards are often considered the ‘quarterback’ of the team. They’re responsible for bringing the ball up the court, calling the play, making sure their teammates are in the right spot and getting everyone on the same page on defense. They’re built to be the ultimate teammate.
Finding a point guard isn’t easy today – they’re everywhere. With that said, finding a quality point guard that can make your team better is a much more difficult task. The franchises that find one must do their best to keep them around as long as possible. If not, things can go south quickly.
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Who Are the Best Point Guards of All-Time?
The best point guards of all-time were each unique in their own way. Some of them made their presence known with elite passing and dribbling, some of them made a killing on the defensive end, some of them could score at will, and others could do a little bit of everyone on the court.
Of all the things a point guard does well, perhaps the most important is putting their team in a position to win. After all, that’s the ultimate goal for every basketball player and franchise – winning. Those that do it often are the ones that are rewarded the most, it’s that simple.
When you picture the best point guards of all-time, who comes to mind? Are they all retired players, active players, or a combination of both? Once you have your list ready, compare it with mine to see if two great minds think alike. Who knows, we might have similar lists!
25. Kevin Johnson
Years Active: 1987-2000 (12 seasons)
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Stats: 735 games 34.1 minutes, 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Kevin Johnson was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the seventh overall pick in 1987, but only played 52 games with the team before being traded to the Phoenix Suns. In his 12-year career, he averaged more than 20 points five times and more than 10 assists four times. He was a three-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA player, and one-time Most Improved Player.
24. Tim Hardaway
Years Active: 1989-2003 (13 seasons)
Teams: Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers
Career Stats: 867 games, 35.3 minutes, 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.1 blocks per game
Tim Hardaway was drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 1989. After putting up 14.7 points per game as a rookie, he averaged north of 21.5 points per game in the next three seasons. He missed the 1993 season to injury but averaged more than 13.4 points per game in the next seven seasons. He was a five-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA player.
23. Sidney Moncrief
Years Active: 1979-1991 (11 seasons)
Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks
Career Stats: 767 games, 30.2 minutes, 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Sidney Moncrief was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the fifth overall pick in 1979. He played the next 10 seasons with the team, averaging more than 20 points per game four times and double-digit points nine times. He retired in 1989 but returned for the 1990-91 season. He was a five-time All-Star and All-NBA player, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and Hall-of-Famer.
22. Penny Hardaway
Years Active: 1993-2008 (14 seasons)
Teams: Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Miami Heat
Career Stats: 704 games, 33.7 minutes, 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks per game
Penny Hardaway was drafted third overall by the Golden State Warriors in 1993 but never played for the team. He had an impressive rookie season and averaged more than 15 points per game in each of his first seven seasons – including more than 20 points per game three years in a row. He was a four-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA player, and 1993 All-Rookie player.
21. Dennis Johnson
Years Active: 1976-1990 (14 seasons)
Teams: Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics, Phoenix Suns
Career Stats: 1,100 games, 32.7 minutes, 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.6 blocks per game
Dennis Johnson was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the second round of the 1976 draft. After putting up 9.2 points per game as a rookie, he averaged double-digit points in the next 12 seasons and improved his passing each year. Not only is he in the Hall of Fame, but he’s a three-time NBA champion, one-time Finals MVP, five-time All-Star, and nine-time All-Defensive player.
20. Dave Bing
Years Active: 1966-1978 (12 seasons)
Teams: Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets, Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 901 games, 36.4 minutes, 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game
Dave Bing was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the second overall pick in 1966. He averaged at least 20 points per game in each of his first seven seasons – including at least 27 points per game twice. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990 and was a seven-time All-Star, one-time scoring champ, three-time All-NBA player, and 1966 Rookie of the Year.
19. Lenny Wilkens
Years Active: 1960-1975 (15 seasons)
Teams: St. Louis Hawks, Seattle Supersonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers
Career Stats: 1,077 games, 35.3 minutes, 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists per game
Lenny Wilkens was drafted sixth overall by the St. Louis Hawks in 1960 and averaged at least 10 points per game in each of his first 14 seasons – including more than 20 points per game three times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1989 and coach in 1998. He was a nine-time All-Star, led the league in assists once, and one-time All-Star MVP.
18. Pete Maravich
Years Active: 1970-1980 (10 seasons)
Teams: Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 658 games 37.0 minutes, 24.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists per game
Pete Maravich, also known as Pistol Pete, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in 1970. He averaged at least 20 points per game in all but two of his seasons in the NBA, including a league-leading 31.1 points per game in 1976-77. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA player, and one-time scoring champion.
17. Damian Lillard
Years Active: 2012-present (10 seasons)
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers
Career Stats: 711 games, 36.3 minutes, 24.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.3 blocks per game
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the game right now. He put up 19.0 points per game as a rookie, which earned him Rookie of the Year. Since then, he has averaged at least 20 points per game in nine consecutive seasons, including a career-high 30.0 points per game in 2019. He’s a six-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA player – he’ll continue to climb higher on this list.
16. Derrick Rose
Years Active: 2008-present (13 seasons)
Teams: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Stats: 672 games, 31.7 minutes, 18.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Derrick Rose would be much higher on this list if he wasn’t held back by injuries throughout his career. Still, he continues to remain relevant today, which is a great sight to see. He won Rookie of the Year in 2008 and MVP two years later. Rose averaged at least 20 points per game and six assists in three of his first four seasons. He was a three-time All-Star between 2009-2012.
15. Gary Payton
Years Active: 1990-2007 (17 seasons)
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 1,335 games, 35.3 minutes, 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Gary Payton was drafted second overall by the Seattle Supersonics in 1990. He averaged at least 20 points per game seven times, including 24.2 points per game in 1999. He also averaged at least two steals per game in eight of his first nine seasons. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-Defensive player, one-time champion, and one-time Defensive Player of the Year.
14. Tony Parker
Years Active: 2001-2019 (18 seasons)
Teams: San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets
Career Stats: 1,254 games, 30.5 minutes, 15.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks per game
Tony Parker was drafted 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs and spent his first 17 years in the league with them. He formed a powerful trio with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli, winning four championships with the Spurs – Parker was the 2006 Finals MVP. He averaged double-digit points in 15 straight seasons, was a six-time All-Star, and a four-time All-NBA player.
13. Nate Archibald
Years Active: 1970-1984 (13 seasons)
Teams: Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City-Omaha Kings, Kansas City Kings, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 876 games, 35.6 minutes, 18.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists per game
Nate Archibald, also known as Tiny, was dominant in his first seven seasons before suffering an injured Achilles that kept him out of the 1977 season. Up to that point, he averaged at least 20 points per game five times, including a league-leading 34.0 points and 11.4 assists per game in 1972. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, six-time All-Star, one-time champion, and five-time All-NBA player.
12. Walt Frazier
Years Active: 1967-1980 (13 seasons)
Teams: New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Stats: 825 games, 37.5 minutes, 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists per game
Walt Frazier was drafted fifth overall by the New York Knicks in 1967 and spent the next 10 seasons with the team. Over that span, he averaged at least 20 points per game in six consecutive seasons and was named an All-Star in seven consecutive seasons. He’s in the Hall of Fame, won two championships, and was a seven-time All-Defensive player.
11. Bob Cousy
Years Active: 1950-1970 (14 seasons)
Teams: Boston Celtics, Cincinnati Royals
Career Stats: 924 games, 35.3 minutes, 18.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists per game
Bob Cousy was drafted fourth overall by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in 1950 but began his career with the Boston Celtics. He was a part of the Celtics’ dominant dynasty in the 1950s and early 1960s. He averaged at least 18 points per game in 10 of his first 11 seasons and led the league in assists eight years in a row. He won six championships, one MVP, and was a 13-time All-Star.
10. Russell Westbrook
Years Active: 2008-present (14 seasons)
Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 980 games, 34.8 minutes, 23.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Russell Westbrook is the most versatile player in NBA history. He was drafted fourth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008 and made a major impact in his first two seasons. Since then, he has averaged at least 20 points per game every year. He led the league in scoring twice and assists three times. He has also averaged a triple-double in four different seasons.
9. Chris Paul
Years Active: 2005-present (17 seasons)
Teams: New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns
Career Stats: 1,125 games, 34.6 minutes, 18.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.1 blocks per game
Chris Paul was drafted fourth overall by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005. He has averaged at least 14 points per game every year he’s been in the NBA and is one of the most consistent players in NBA history. In an eight-year span, he led the league in steals six times and assists four times. He’s an 11-time All-Star, nine-time All-Defensive player, and 10-time All-NBA player.
8. Jason Kidd
Years Active: 1994-2013 (19 seasons)
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks
Career Stats: 1,391 games, 36.0 minutes, 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Jason Kidd is one of the most reliable and versatile point guards of all-time. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the second overall pick in 1994. Between 1998 and 2004, he led the league in assists five times. Although he never averaged more than 18.7 points per game, he was a 10-time All-Star, one-time champion, nine-time All-Defensive player, and 1994 Rookie of the Year.
7. Steve Nash
Years Active: 1996-2014 (18 seasons)
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks
Career Stats: 1,217 games, 31.3 minutes, 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks per game
Steve Nash was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 1996 but didn’t have his breakout season until 2000. From that point forward, he was among the best point guards in the league and averaged a double-double seven times. He led the league in assists five times, won two MVP awards, was an eight-time All-Star, a seven-time All-NBA player, and Hall-of-Famer.
6. Isiah Thomas
Years Active: 1981-1994 (13 seasons)
Teams: Detroit Pistons
Career Stats: 979 games, 36.3 minutes, 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Isiah Thomas was the second overall draft pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1981. He spent his entire 13-year career with the Pistons, winning two championships in that span. He averaged at least 20 points in five consecutive seasons, four of which were coupled with at least 10 assists per game. He was a 12-time All-Star, one-time Finals MVP, and led the league in assists once.
5. Jerry West
Years Active: 1960-1974 (14 seasons)
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 932 games, 39.2 minutes, 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists per game
Jerry West is featured on the NBA logo for a reason – he’s one of the best point guards of all-time. He spent his entire 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won the 1972 championship with the team. He averaged more than 30 points per game in four different seasons, including a league-leading 31.2 points per game in 1969. He was a 14-time All-Star.
4. John Stockton
Years Active: 1984-2003 (19 seasons)
Teams: Utah Jazz
Career Stats: 1,504 games, 31.8 minutes, 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
John Stockton is one of the greatest passers we’ve ever seen in the NBA. He was drafted 16th overall by the Utah Jazz in 1984 and spent his entire 19-year career with the team. He led the league in assists nine years in a row, averaging a double-double in each of those seasons. He was a 10-time All-Star, two-time steals champ, five-time All-Defensive player, and Hall-of-Famer.
3. Oscar Robertson
Years Active: 1960-1974 (14 seasons)
Teams: Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 1,040 games, 42.2 minutes, 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists per game
Before we had Russell Westbrook with the triple-doubles, we had Oscar Robertson. He was drafted first overall in 1960 by the Cincinnati Royals and averaged at least 30 points per game in six of his first seven seasons – he led the league in assists in five of those seasons. He was a 12-time All-Star, one-time MVP, one-time champion, and 1960 Rookie of the Year.
2. Stephen Curry
Years Active: 2009-present (13 seasons)
Teams: Golden State Warriors
Career Stats: 795 games, 34.3 minutes, 24.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Stephen Curry is the most lethal shooter the NBA has ever seen. He was the seventh overall draft pick by the Golden State Warriors in 2009 and has spent his entire 13-year career with the team. He has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the past 10 seasons and led the league in scoring twice. He’s a three-time champion, two-time MVP, and seven-time All-Star.
1. Magic Johnson
Years Active: 1979-1996 (13 seasons)
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 906 games, 36.7 minutes, 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks per game
Magic Johnson accomplished a lot in his 13-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers and would’ve accomplished even more if he wasn’t diagnosed with HIV. In his first 12 seasons, Johnson led the league in assists four times, led the league in steals twice, and averaged a double-double nine years in a row. He was a five-time champion, three-time MVP, and three-time Finals MVP.
Who Are the Best Point Guards Right Now?
Have you ever wondered how the best point guards in the league right now compare to the best point guards of all-time? Well, for starters, four of the players listed above – Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard – are among the top-10 point guards today.
Even Derrick Rose, who we mentioned above, is still playing today – albeit in a much different role than his earlier days. If you’re a fan of the NBA today, then you’re witnessing some of the best point guards of all-time go to work on a nightly basis – isn’t that exciting? I think it is!
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In addition to those five players, some of the best point guards in the league today include Luka Doncic, Trae Young, De’Aaron Fox, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kemba Walker, and John Wall.
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