Point guards are asked to do a lot on the floor, but no one knows how to do it better than the best point guards of all-time. They embodied and exemplified what it means to be a point guard, paving the way for future generations of points guards to come. They were a true joy to watch.
The point guard is often called the ‘quarterback’ of a basketball team. They’re generally the player bringing the ball up the floor, they call the plays, and they facilitate the offense. They’re tasked with getting their teammates involved, spreading the ball, and making plays on the floor.
A quality and productive point guard is what every franchise dreams of and that’s exactly what the best point guards of all-time were. They were versatile, they were creative, they were leaders, and they were fun to watch. They knew how to put their team in a position to win.
Who Are the Best Point Guards of All-Time?
You’re probably wondering who the best point guards of all-time are. In fact, there are likely several names that are already floating around in your mind and they’re likely on our list below. Before we get into that, however, we first want to mention some names that aren’t on the list.
Some of those names include Anfernee Hardaway, Damian Lillard, Maurice Cheeks, Mark Jackson, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Gilbert Arenas, Derek Harper, Andre Miller, Scott Skiles, Mike Bibby, Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, Kevin Johnson, and Baron Davis.
Those are some powerful names that played the point guard position and the reason we mention them is to put into perspective just how talented the best point guards of all-time are — because they’re more talented than the names listed above. Without further ado, let’s see who they are!
25. Lafayette ‘Fat’ Lever
Years: 1982-1994 (11 seasons)
Teams: Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks
Career Stats: 752 games, 31.7 minutes, 13.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Lafayette ‘Fat’ Lever was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 11th overall pick in 1982. He primarily played point guard early in his career and shooting guard later in his career, but that’s just a testament to how versatile he was as a basketball player. He did everything well.
After two years with Portland, Lever burst onto the scene with the Denver Nuggets. He spent six years with the Nuggets and averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.5 steals in that span. He wasn’t as effective in his final years with Dallas, but he still made a difference.
24. Dennis Johnson
Years: 1976-1990 (14 seasons)
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics
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 a second round draft pick by the Seattle Supersonics in 1976 and quickly improved over the next four seasons as the team’s shooting guard. He then spent three years with the Phoenix Suns where he played more point guard before landing with the Boston Celtics.
Johnson averaged at least 10.0 points per game in 12 straight seasons and became a much better passer as he aged — averaging 7.8 assists per game in 1987. He’s a five-time All-Star, three-time champion, one-time Finals MVP, nine-time All-Defensive player, and Hall-of-Famer.
23. Kyrie Irving
Years: 2011-present (10 seasons)
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets
Career Stats: 582 games, 33.9 minutes, 22.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks per game
Kyrie Irving was the first overall draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011 and spent the next six seasons with them. He would eventually win a championship in 2016 alongside LeBron James and left in the 2017 offseason following arguably his best season statistically at the time.
After two years in Boston, Kyrie Irving has spent the past two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets. Despite putting up impressive numbers when on the floor, he misses too much time due to injury, drama, personal reasons, and more. He’s unreliable, otherwise he’d be higher on the list.
22. Tim Hardaway
Years: 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, the father of current Dallas Mavericks’ shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., was drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in 1989. He spent the next six and a half years with the Warriors, averaging north of 20 points per game in four different seasons in that span.
He stayed consistent over his five and a half seasons with the Miami Heat before drifting away in the final two years of his career. He shot 36% from long range throughout his career, was a five-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA player, and was also named to the 1989-90 All-Rookie team.
21. Derrick Rose
Years: 2008-present (13 seasons)
Teams: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers
Career Stats: 664 games, 31.8 minutes, 18.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks per game
Derrick Rose was the first overall draft pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2008. His transition to the NBA went well, winning Rookie of the Year in 2008, being named to the All-NBA team in 2009, and winning Most Valuable Player in 2010. Unfortunately, injuries started to haunt him in 2011.
After missing the 2012 season, he slowly started to make his return despite several setbacks. When on the floor, he was an effective player. While he hasn’t returned to his MVP form, he’s a quality role player for the Knicks and would be higher on this list if it weren’t for the injuries.
20. Chauncey Billups
Years: 1997-2014 (17 seasons)
Teams: Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks
Career Stats: 1,043 games, 31.6 minutes, 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.2 blocks per game
Chauncey Billups was the third overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1997 NBA Draft. After playing well 51 games into his rookie season, Billups was traded to the Toronto Raptors where he finished the season. He then played in 58 games for the Nuggets over the next two seasons.
He started to earn regular playing time in 2000, started to really make a difference on the floor in 2001, and became a full-time starter in 2002. He remained a full-time starter until 2011 and averaged north of 15.0 points and 5.0 assists per game consistently over that time span.
19. Dave Bing
Years: 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, 44% field goal percentage
Dave Bing was the second overall draft pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1966 and spent the first nine seasons of his career with the team. He was a frequent 20+ points per game player and scored a career-high (and league-leading) 27.1 points per game in just his second season.
Bing averaged more than 40 minutes per game in four different seasons, was a seven-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA player, Rookie of the Year in 1966, and All-Star MVP in 1975. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990 and is easily one of the best point guards of all-time.
18. Lenny Wilkens
Years: 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 assists43% field goal percentage
Lenny Wilkens was drafted sixth overall by the St. Louis Hawks in 1960 and spent eight seasons as the team’s point guard. He was a consistent player, averaging 20.0 points per game for the first time in his final season with the Hawks and gradually improving as a passer.
He averaged a career-high 22.4 points per game in his first season with Seattle and a career-high 9.6 assists per game in his final season with Seattle (two years later). He quickly declined over the next three seasons, going from 20.5 points per game to 6.5 points per game.
17. Pete Maravich
Years: 1970-1980 (10 seasons)
Teams: New Orleans Jazz, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics
Career Stats: 658 games, 37.0 minutes, 24.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 44% field goal percentage
Pete Maravich was the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1970 NBA Draft. He only spent 10 years in the league, but he made it count by averaging over 24 points per game in his career. He should’ve won Rookie of the Year in 1970 after scoring 23.3 points per game.
By the end of the 1976-77 season, Maravich recorded a career-high and league-leading 31.1 points per game with the New Orleans Jazz. He was a five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA player, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He’s a legendary and iconic player.
16. Tony Parker
Years: 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
When the San Antonio Spurs drafted Tony Parker 28th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft, they likely didn’t think they were getting their franchise point guard for the next 17 years — but that’s exactly what they got. He was an immediate starter and remained in that role until the 2017 season.
After scoring 9.2 points per game his rookie season, Parker would average double-digit points in each of the next 15 seasons — including two seasons above 20.0 points per game. He’s a six-time All-Star, four-time champion, four-time All-NBA player, and one-time Finals MVP.
15. Gary Payton
Years: 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 and was named a starter right away his rookie year. He made his presence known his first two seasons, but truly exploded on the scene in his third season and continued to improve from that point forward.
Throughout his career, Payton averaged double-digit points in 13 seasons — including seven seasons above 20 points per game. He also averaged more than 2.0 steals per game in eight different seasons. He’s a nine-time All-Star, one-time champion, and one-time Defensive POY.
14. Tiny Archibald
Years: 1970-1984 (13 seasons)
Teams: Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City-Omaha Kings, New York Nets
Career Stats: 876 games, 35.6 minutes, 18.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks per game
Tiny Archibald was a second round draft choice of the Cincinnati Royals in 1970 and made an immediate impact, recording 16.2 points per game his rookie season. He followed that up with an impressive 28.2 points per game in 1971 and a career-high 34.0 points per game in 1972.
Over the next four seasons, Archibald averaged north of 20 points per game three times. He missed most of the 1976-77 and all of the 1977-78 season to an injury. He returned and played for six more years. While he wasn’t as lethal of a score, he was just as effective on the floor.
13. Russell Westbrook
Years: 2008-present (14 seasons)
Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 966 games, 34.8 minutes, 23.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks per game
Russell Westbrook was drafted fourth overall by the Seattle Supersonics in 2008 and became the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting point guard his rookie year. He would go on to play his first 11 seasons with the Thunder and averaged above 21 points per game in all but two of them.
In fact, Westbrook has averaged more than 20 points per game in every season since 2010 and he’s doing it again in 2021. He led the league in scoring twice and assists three times. He’s the best triple-double player in the history of the game and is just missing a ring on his resume.
12. Jerry West
Years: 1960-1974 (14 seasons)
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 932 games, 39.2 minutes, 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 47% field goal percentage
Jerry West was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall draft pick in 1960 and they knew exactly what they were getting. He made an immediate impact as a rookie and averaged 30.8 points per game in his second season — as well as 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
West spent his entire 14-year career with the Lakers and averaged more than 20 points per game in every season except his rookie year — where he put up 17.6 points per game. He’s a 14-time All-Star, five-time All-Defensive player, one-time Finals MVP, and Hall-of-Famer.
11. Allen Iverson
Years: 1996-2010 (14 seasons)
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies
Career Stats: 914 games, 41.1 minutes, 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Allen Iverson was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall draft pick in 1996. He didn’t take long to prove his worth in the league, averaging 23.5 points per game his rookie year. By his third season, he was leading the league in scoring with 26.8 points per game in 1998.
Throughout his career, Iverson was an 11-time All-Star, four-time scoring champ, three-time steals champ, one-time MVP, seven-time All-NBA player, Rookie of the Year in 1996, and led the league in minutes per game seven times. He’s one of the most iconic players of all-time.
10. Chris Paul
Years: 2005-present (17 seasons)
Teams: New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers
Career Stats: 1,111 games, 34.6 minutes, 18.3 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 and was immediately named the team’s starting point guard. Since entering the league, he has never averaged less than 14 points per game in any season and is consistently among the league leaders in assists.
Paul has led the league in assists five times and led the league in steals six times. He shoots 47% from the field and 37% from long range in his career, as well as 87% from the free throw line. He’s as consistent as they come and is one of the most vocal leaders in the entire NBA.
9. Jason Kidd
Years: 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 was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the second overall pick of the 1994 NBA Draft. With 1,391 games played over his 19-year career, Kidd currently ranks 11th all-time in most games played. From 1994-2007, he averaged double-digit points in each season.
Kidd led the league in assists three years straight from 1998-2000 and then did it back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. He consistently averaged around two steals per game and didn’t miss games too often. He was reliable, vocal, consistent, clutch, and a well-rounded player on the court.
8. Steve Nash
Years: 1996-2014 (18 seasons)
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers
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. He didn’t become a regular starter until he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, which was where he started to make a name for himself. He averaged north of 14 points per game in his final four years with the team.
In 2004, Nash made his return to Phoenix and continued to improve as a player. He would go on to lead the league in assists five times, including three-straight from 2004-2006 and again in 2009 and 2010. He was clutch, he was reliable, he was consistent, and he was a hard worker.
7. Bob Cousy
Years: 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 originally drafted by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks fourth overall in 1950, but never played a game for them. Instead, he began his career with the Boston Celtics and was instrumental in their rise to dominance in the 1950s and 1960s — even before Bill Russell came.
Cousy never averaged less than 13 points per game in his 13 seasons with Boston — including four seasons north of 20 points per game. He led the league in assists eight straight years from 1952-1957, was a 13-time All-Star, a six-time champion, one-time MVP, and Hall-of-Famer.
6. Walt Frazier
Years: 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, 49% field goal percentage
Walt Frazier was drafted fifth overall by the New York Knicks in 1967 and was immediately thrust into a role off the bench. Things took an exciting turn in 1968 as he earned a starting spot and averaged 17.5 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists in just his second season.
Over the following six seasons, Frazier would average north of 20 points per game each year. In addition to scoring, he was constantly grabbing rebounds, dishing assists, and stealing the ball. He ended his career as a two-time champion, seven-time All-Star, and eventual Hall-of-Famer.
5. Isiah Thomas
Years: 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 in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and he made his presence known immediately. After averaging 17.0 points per game his rookie year, he averaged more than 20 points per game in five consecutive seasons from 1982-1986.
Thomas was also known for his passing ability, leading the league in assists with 13.9 per game in 1984. He finished his entire 13-year career with the Pistons and was a 12-time All-Star, two-time champion, one-time Finals MVP, five-time All-NBA player, and eventual Hall-of-Famer.
4. John Stockton
Years: 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 was drafted 16th overall by the Utah Jazz in 1984 and they likely had no idea they were drafting the greatest passer of all-time. He would gradually improve his game over the next three years before finally displaying his true talent with an impressive 1987 campaign.
From 1987-1996, Stockton finished with more than 10 assists per game in 10 consecutive seasons — including leading the league in nine of those seasons. His career-high was 14.5 assists per game in 1989 and he’ll likely always be the NBA’s all-time assists leader.
3. Stephen Curry
Years: 2009-present (13 seasons)
Teams: Golden State Warriors
Career Stats: 782 games, 34.3 minutes, 24.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.2 blocks per game
Stephen Curry was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the seventh overall draft pick in 2009 after an impressive college career at Davidson. He made an immediate impact as the team’s starting point guard his rookie season and gradually improved over the next three years.
Curry’s breakout season came in 2012 when he posted 22.9 points and 6.9 assists per game. He has averaged more than 20 points per game in every season since then, led the league in scoring twice, and led the league in steals once. He’s a three-time champion and counting.
2. Oscar Robertson
Years: 1960-1974 (14 seasons)
Teams: Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks
Career Stats: 1,040 games, 42.2 minutes, 25.7 ponts, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 49% field goal percentage
Before the NBA world had Russell Westbrook with the triple-doubles, it had Oscar Robertson — the OG when it comes to triple-doubles. Robertson was drafted first overall by the Cincinnati Royals in 1960 and exploded onto the scene with 30.5 points per game his rookie season.
Robertson would go on to average more than 30 points per game in six of his first seven seasons — not including his 29.2 points per game in 1967. He also led the league in assists seven times in his first nine seasons and averaged a 30-point triple-double in 1961-62.
1. Magic Johnson
Years: 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 was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979 and spent his entire 13-year career with the franchise. His legacy would likely look even better if his career wasn’t cut short due to his diagnosis with HIV. Still, he’s one of the best point guards of all-time.
In addition to being a five-time champion and three-time MVP, Johnson led the league in assists four times and steals twice. He never averaged less than 16.8 points per game in his first 12 seasons and averaged more than 10 assists per game in nine consecutive seasons.
Who Are the Best Point Guards Right Now?
The best point guards of all-time have played an enormous role in the overall growth and development of the NBA — and basketball in general. They set the bar for all the future point guards that one day want to see their own name atop this list of the best point guards of all-time.
In fact, there are a few players in today’s NBA that could be well on their way to being considered one of the best point guards of all-time. The position has continued to evolve and we’re seeing point guards enter the league more versatile and athletic than ever before.
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For example, some of the best point guards in today’s game — aside from Curry, Westbrook, Iving, and Paul — include Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, Trae Young, De’Aaron Fox, Jrue Holiday, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, LaMelo Ball, Ja Morant, and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander.
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