Top NBA Point Guards of All Time – Who Is the Best PG in NBA?
Last Updated: April 27, 2023
Over the years, the NBA has been home to some extraordinary players in the point guard position.
From unbelievable athletes who could finish at the rim, to players that can control the pace of the game with their talent, all of them could enchant the audience with their moves.
However, while all of them were great, the consensus is that Magic Johnson is the best PG of all time. But who else makes the list of the top 10 point guards of all time? We answer this question in this article.
10. Jason Kidd
Image courtesy of ESPN.com
- Career Stats: 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.9 steals
- NBA Teams: Dallas Mavericks (1994–1996, 2008–2012), Phoenix Suns (1996–2001), New Jersey Nets (2001–2008), New York Knicks (2012–2013)
- Accolades: 10x NBA All-Star, 6 All-NBA selections, 9x All-Defensive Team selections, 5x NBA assists leader, 1x NBA Champion
Jason Kidd is one of those point guards that had impeccable fundamentals that allowed him to control the game, make great decisions and prolong his career.
His on-court awareness could only be matched to that of Magic Johnson, and he is without a doubt one of the top 10-point guards of all time.
During his time in the NBA, Kidd led the league in assists per game on five separate occasions, with 11 assists per game being his record.
In addition to being the basketball mastermind on the offensive end, he is one of the rare point guards on this list who could defend on an elite level.
Early in his career, the teams he played on often underperformed, but Kidd can hardly be blamed.
He led the New Jersey Nets to two straight NBA finals, while also averaging a triple-double in the playoffs, before winning an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks.
He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in October 2021.
9. Chris Paul
Image courtesy of CNN.com
- Career Stats: 18.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 2.1 steals
- NBA Teams: New Orleans Hornets (2005–2011), Los Angeles Clippers (2011–2017), Houston Rockets (2017–2019), Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–2020), Phoenix Suns (2020 –present)
- Accolades: 12x NBA All-Star, 11 All-NBA selections, 9x All Defensive Team selection, 5x NBA assists leader, 6x NBA steals leader
Chris Paul is considered one of the best floor generals to ever walk the NBA hardwood. His basketball IQ and dribbling skills allow him to control the pace like few players in NBA history could.
One of the things that make Chris Paul great is his versatility, he has the necessary skill to always make the right play.
Whether it was shooting the ball from distance, find an open teammate or throw one of his signature floaters, he always found the way.
The best way to see how big of an impact Paul had on his teams is to look at how they played before he joined and their performance with him in charge.
In addition to his offensive repertoire, he is also a great defender. Paul holds the NBA record for most consecutive games with a steal.
Unfortunately, the only thing that is missing from his career is an NBA championship. This is the only reason he is not higher on our list. There is no doubt that he is a guaranteed future Hall of Famer.
8. Gary Payton
Image courtesy of NBA.com
- Career Stats: 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.8 steals
- NBA Teams: Seattle SuperSonics (1990–2003), Milwaukee Bucks (2003), Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2004), Boston Celtics (2004–2005), Miami Heat (2005–2007)
- Accolades: 9x NBA All-Star, 1x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 7 All-NBA selections, 9x All-Defensive Team selections, 1x NBA steals leader
Gary Payton is probably the best defender in the history of the point guard position. He held the record for being the only point guard in history to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award before Marcus Smart joined him in 2022.
While his defensive skills might separate them from all the players on this list, The Glove was also a great all-around player, who could assist and share the rock with the best of them.
Payton led his Seattle SuperSonics to the 1996 NBA Finals where they would fall to Jordan and the Bulls.
However, his longevity allowed him to win a ring in 2006 with the Miami Heat at the age of 37. Gary “The Glove” Payton was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
7. Steve Nash
Image courtesy of sportingnews.com
- Career Stats: 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 0.7 steals
- NBA Teams: Phoenix Suns (1996–1998), Dallas Mavericks (1998–2004), Phoenix Suns (2004–2012), Los Angeles Lakers (2012–2015)
- Accolades: 2x NBA MVP, 8x NBA All-Star, 7x All-NBA selections, 5x NBA assist leader
Steve Nash is one of the rare players on this list that have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award twice.
He is also one of the greatest shooter in the history of the point guard position and without doubt one of the best passers basketball has ever seen.
The back-to-back MVP was an instrumental part of Mike D’Antoni’s Seven-Seconds-or-Less Suns. This Phoenix team based their offense on finding the way to the opponent’s basket in seven or fewer seconds.
This offensive philosophy allowed Nash to showcase his full potential as one of the best shooters and passers in the league and capture two NBA MVP trophies.
Unfortunately for Nash and Phoenix, while they were dominating the NBA in the regular season with their run-and-gun style, they could not find the same success in the playoffs.
We can only imagine how lethal Steve Nash would be in the current era of the NBA where the 3-pointer is the bread and butter of so many players.
Steve Nash was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
6. Bob Cousy
Image courtesy of NBA.com
- Career Stats: 18.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists
- NBA Teams: Boston Celtics (1950–1963), Cincinnati Royals (1969–1970)
- Accolades: 1x NBA MVP, 13x NBA All-Star, 12x All-NBA selections, 8x NBA assist leader, 6x NBA Champion
Bob Cousy was a Maverick of the point guard position and one of the players that revolutionized not only how the offense is run but also the game of basketball as a whole.
Cousy was the first player to run a set offense.
The Boston Celtics star also led the NBA in assist nine years in a row and helped the Celtics become one of the first NBA dynasties.
Thanks to his vision and his basketball virtue he allowed his teammates to show their full potential. For this, he was rewarded with six NBA Championships, something that no player on this list has achieved.
The Houdini of the Hardwood was a model based on which all future point guards would develop their own game.
Bob Cousy was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
5. John Stockton
Image courtesy of NBA.com
- Career Stats: 13.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 10.5 assists, 2.2 steals
- NBA Teams: Utah Jazz (1984–2003)
- Accolades: 10x NBA All-Star, 11 All-NBA selections, 5x All Defensive Team selection, 9x NBA assists leader, 2x NBA steals leader
Aside from being one of the best NBA players of all time, John Stockton also holds two records that will probably never be beaten.
With 15,806 assists he is the NBA all-time assist leader, and with 3,265 steals he is also the NBA all-time leader in steals.
So what was his secret? If there is one thing that could define the Jazz legend, it is longevity. He has been great for such a long time, that this allowed him to set some unbreakable records.
The Jazz floor general also led the NBA in assists in 9 different seasons. Along with Karl Malone, he formed one of the best duos in NBA history.
They led Utah to two consecutive NBA Finals. Unfortunately on both occasions, they were bested by Jordan and the Bulls.
John Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2009.
4. Isiah Thomas
Image courtesy of NBA.com
- Career Stats: 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.9 steals
- NBA Teams: Detroit Pistons (1981–1994)
- Accolades: 1x Finals MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 5 All-NBA selection, 1x NBA assists leader, 2x NBA Champion
Isiah Thomas is one of the best point guards to ever play the game of basketball and he is also arguably the best player under 6-foot-1 to ever play basketball.
What Thomas lacked in size he more than made up with his competitiveness and craftiness, and this allowed him to achieve NBA immortality.
Thomas was the face of the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys and helped Detroit win back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. He was also named the MVP of the 1990 NBA Finals.
Isiah Thomas was one of those players who took their weaknesses and turned them into their strengths.
He did this by using his size and agile frame to find cracks in the defense. Thomas would then torch opponents with his off-the-dribble skills and his lethal mid-range jumper.
But he was not just a great scorer. Thomas also led the league in assists once and averaged over 10 assists per game 4 times in a row.
He is also one of the rare players that can say that he got the best of Michael Jordan. He and his Pistons defeated the Bulls in the postseason for 3 consecutive years.
Isaiah Thomas was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
3. Stephen Curry
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- Career Stats: 24.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals
- NBA Teams: Golden State Warriors (2009–present)
- Accolades: 2x NBA MVP, 1x Finals MVP, 9x NBA All-Star, 8 All-NBA selections, 2x NBA scoring champion, 1x NBA steals leader
Steph Curry is probably the best shooter in the history of basketball. The ease with which he hits 3-pointers has changed the perception of this shot in the NBA and changed how the game of basketball is played.
The Golden State superstar won back-to-back MVP trophies and was the first-ever unanimous MVP in the 2015-2016 season.
In the same season, Curry also led the Warriors to the best-ever regular season record with 73 wins and 9 losses.
Along with his shooting ability, Curry’s dribbling and off-ball movement skills have made him one of the most lethal weapons in the history of basketball. He is the NBA All-time leader in 3-pointers made, with 3,282 and counting.
In addition to being one of the best hoopers in the NBA, Chef Curry is also one of the most influential figures in the history of basketball. He is the player who inspired millions around the world to practice their shooting day and night.
With all that he did for the game of basketball, Curry is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer.
2. Oscar Robertson
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- Career Stats: 25.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 1.1 steals
- NBA Teams: Cincinnati Royals (1960–1970), Milwaukee Bucks (1970–1974)
- Accolades: 1x NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 11 All-NBA selection, 6x NBA assists leader, 1x NBA Champion
It is enough to take a look at the 1962 season alone, to see why Oscar Robertson is 2nd on our list of the greatest point guards in NBA history.
During this season, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game.
But what might be even more impressive is the fact that “Big O” came close to averaging a triple-double in five more seasons.
In his rookie year, he was 0.3 assists short; in 1963, he was 0.5 assists short. In 1964, he missed by just 0.1 rebounds.
For comparison, it took almost 60 years for another player to average a triple-double for a whole season (Russel Westbrook).
In total, Robertson led the NBA in assists in seven different seasons and he also managed to lead the league in scoring once.
Oscar Robertson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
1. Magic Johnson
Image courtesy of NBA.com
- Career Stats: 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.9 steals
- NBA Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (1979–1991, 1996)
- Accolades: 3x NBA MVP, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 10x All-NBA selections, 4x NBA assist leader, 2x NBA steals leader, 5x NBA Champion
In our number one spot on the best point guards of all-time list is Magic Johnson. One look at his nickname (Magic) and it is pretty clear how good he was with the basketball.
For reference, Johnson is the only player in NBA history to average at least 20 points and 12 assists per game in two seasons.
When it comes to the things that make a point guard great, whether it be team success or individual awards, Magic has won it all.
He won 5 NBA Championships, was the NBA leader in assist 4 times, and has 3 regular seasons and 3 NBA Finals MVPs.
In addition to being one of the most talented players of all time, Magic also came into the NBA at the right moment and on the right team.
His flashy plays, ball handling, and floor leadership made his generation of the Los Angeles Lakers one of the best teams in the history of basketball and revitalized the NBA.
Magic Johnson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.