Top 5 NBA point guards of all-time

Top 5 NBA point guards of all-time
– Bob Cousy revolutionized the game of basketball with his flashy style and impeccable passing skills, leading the Boston Celtics to six championships.

– Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history, with four championships and back-to-back MVP awards to his name, including the first unanimous MVP in league history.

– John Stockton’s pick and roll with Karl Malone was unstoppable, making him the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and a legend for the Utah Jazz.

Some of the greatest players to ever grace an NBA court have been at the point guard position. Also referred to as the One, the lead guard is responsible for running things on the floor, as a quarterback would in football. They’re responsible for bringing the ball up the court, organizing their offense and making sure the ball moves from player to player in order to find the best shot possible. It is one of the most difficult positions to play in basketball, which makes the successes of some of the greatest point guards in league history that much more impressive.

So, how does one determine who the best to ever play the position has been? Is it by the number of career assists? Championships? The eye test of being a premier floor general? With those factors and more, these are the guys who should represent the top-five point guards in the long history of the NBA.

Bob Cousy

Robert Joseph Cousy was born during the Great Depression, so he quickly learned the importance and kindness it took to be a giving person. That trait carried on with him until the last time he laced up his shoes and took to the NBA hardwood.

Cousy had a legendary career of dishing basketballs to his teammates. He had sizzle and style. He had so much flash that he was actually benched by his college coach for his unconventional style of play. Little did that coach know that Cousy would revolutionize the game of basketball when he made it to the pros.

How much did things change before he came to the Boston Celtics to the end of his career? After not picking him in the draft, Celtics coach Red Auerbach said of Cousy, “Am I supposed to win, or please the local yokels?” When Cousy retired, the team’s owner, Walter Brown, was quoted as saying, “The Celtics wouldn’t be here without him. If he had played in New York, he would have been as big as Babe Ruth.”

So, what happened in between those two diametrically opposed statements? Six NBA championships, the league leader in assists for eight consecutive years, and 13 straight All-Star appearances.

Cousy, also known as the Houdini of the Hardwood, rounds out the point guards who make up a Mt. Rushmore of those who graced us with their play at the position.

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry won the hearts of America when he led little known Davidson to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2008. He hasn’t stopped providing thrills since, be it with his passing or his three-pointers from way deep. The Golden State Warriors brass once had a plan – to create a new brand of basketball that was reminiscent of 1980s hoops, where scoring was high, and the fans’ excitement level was higher because of it.

Curry became a Warrior in the first round in the 2009 NBA Draft, and it took no time at all for him to make his presence felt around the league.

Stephen Curry – NBA Career Statistics

He does it all with a smile on his face, and a killer instinct in his heart. As the navigator of Golden State’s offense, Curry has been a part of four NBA championship-winning teams, also earning back-to-back MVP awards, including the first unanimous MVP in league history. He’s firmly established himself as the greatest shooter in NBA history, most notably after breaking Ray Allen’s three-point record in December 2021 at Madison Square Garden.

John Stockton

Two words: pick and roll. The pair of verbs was the embodiment of John Stockton’s legendary career. Only 6-foot-1 in stature, Stockton played big. He put the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the map in college hoops. He made players want to go to this previously unknown school. Many did, and he helped pave the way to what is now one of the best programs in the NCAA.

As the quintessential point guard for the Utah Jazz, the pick and roll became the team’s staple. Somehow, someway, even though opposing defenses knew it was coming, they couldn’t stop it. He and teammate Karl Malone perfected the art form. Malone is the NBA’s third leading scorer in history, and he owes a ton of those points to Stockton. Malone said of his point guard teammate of 18 seasons, “There absolutely, positively, will never ever be another John Stockton — ever.”

Stockton’s stat sheet includes 15,806 career dishes, the most ever in the NBA. To give context on how many more he has than the next highest assist leader, it would take more than three more seasons for Jason Kidd (second all-time) to pass Stockton… at Stockton’s league-best assists per year record.

At the end of his career, his number 12 jersey was retired by the Jazz, a statue of him was erected outside the arena he played in, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Oscar Robertson

Triple-doubles happen fairly often in basketball nowadays. But, to average a triple-double for an entire year? Unheard of, unless you’re talking about Oscar Robertson. The Big O was a triple-double waiting to happen every time he stepped on the court. In 1961, the Cincinnati Royals star did what no other player (4,374 hoopsters to start an NBA game all-time) has done. He put together a star-studded season, going for 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. That was in just his second professional season.

He set a single-season record with 41 triple-doubles, a record that would stand for over 50 years. His 9,887 career assists ranks him eighth all-time, but he played in far fewer games than six others who have more career assists. He left the game second in career points, behind only Wilt Chamberlain. Finally, 11 years into his career, Robertson won a championship, and he made his trip to the Finals count. The Big O went off for 22 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in beating the Baltimore Bullets. When it was all said and done, Robertson made the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-Time list, and was enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Magic Johnson

If there’s one undisputed face that would be on a point guard Mt. Rushmore, it would be Magic Johnson. Born Earvin Johnson Jr. on August 14, 1959, in Lansing, Michigan, this Hall of Famer seemed to be born to play basketball. You don’t become known as Magic without having done something incredible. Ironically, he was teased as a youth by neighborhood kids, who called him “Garbage Man.” The cruel moniker came due to the fact that he would often help his father work on his garbage route. Little did those bullies know that Earvin would forever end up being known by his much more appropriate nickname.

He attended Michigan State University, even though he was highly recruited by more traditionally iconic schools like Indiana and UCLA. As a sophomore, Johnson led the Spartans to a National Championship, besting Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979.

The Los Angeles Lakers knew they had a stud on their hands when they drafted him with the number one overall selection in 1979. Suffice to say, it was a very wise choice. What did Magic do as a rookie? He averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, led the team to an NBA title, while having to fill in at center for the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and became the only rookie to win NBA Finals MVP.

Magic went on to dazzle crowds with his signature no-look passes and clutch play. He won five NBA titles, averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists, which is the highest assists per game figure in league history over a single career. At 6-foot-9, he was not the prototypical size for his position. Nothing about him was common. His no-look passes and ability to get to the basket were things of beauty, moves that required fans to do a double-take, as in, “Did I just see what I thought I saw,” responses from those who saw him play. Magic, truly.

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