Friday, May 25, 2012

Top 5 Point Guards Of All time

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Magic Johnson's skills, leadership, and determination make him the greatest point guard of all time.
After a debate with someone online, I'd like to make my case for the top five point guards of all time.

Honorable Mention: Steve Nash, Clyde Frazier, Allen Iverson, Tiny Archibald, Bob Cousy

5. Jason Kidd

Kidd has been the greatest point guard of the century. His height and strength (6 ft 4 in, 210 lbs) combined with his skills (13 points and nine assists per game) give him this prestigious rank. Kidd won co-Rookie of the Year with Grant Hill in '95. In addition, Kidd is a 10-time All-Star, six-time All NBA team member, and nine-time All Defense team member.

Kidd is second all-time in steals with 2,559, trailing only John Stockton. He is second all-time in assists with 11,842, and again only trails Stockton. Kidd has also made the third most 3-point field goals in history with 1,874. He won two olympic gold medals ('02, '08), and also won his first NBA championship last year with the Dallas Mavericks. When thinking about Jason Kidd, think about one of the most well-rounded point guards to ever play the game. He has over 100 career triple-doubles, and is still going strong at age 39.

4. John Stockton

Arguably the greatest point guard of the 90's once Magic retired, Stockton was the king of the pick and roll with teammate Karl Malone. Every year, Stockton and Malone's Jazz teams would find themselves in the top three of the Western Conference standings. Stockton was a 10-time All-Star, and even won All-Star Game MVP in '93. His lifetime averages are 13.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. How many guards can say they averaged a double-double for their career?  In addition, Stockton won two gold medals in the olympics in '92 and '96. Stockton's one problem was that he and Malone never won a championship. In all their years of winning 50+ games, the Jazz could never capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Stockton is the all-time leader in assists with 15,806, and also holds the record for the most assists per game in a single season with 14.5. He is also one of three players all time to have at least 1,000 assists in a season (in fact, he did it seven times). On the defensive end, Stockton is the all-time leader in steals with 3,265. Think of him as a smaller, and more efficient version of Jason Kidd.

3. Isiah Thomas

When the younger generation thinks of Isiah Thomas, they think of the terrible GM and head coach that ruined the New York Knicks (along with owner Jim Dolan). What the younger generation doesn't know is that "Zeke" was one of the greatest point guards ever.

Unlike the first two guards on the list, Thomas was one of the best scoring point guards to ever play the position. One could actually argue that Thomas was ahead of his generation, and that his playing style compares to the styles of guards today like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. Thomas' lifetime averages are 19.2 points and 9.3 assists per game. He was a 12-time All-Star and won All-Star MVP twice in '84 and '86. He was a five-time All-NBA team member, and was considered one of Michael Jordan's few rivals.

What separates Thomas from Kidd and Stockton was that he was a winner. Thomas won at the college level (Indiana Hoosier 1981 National Champions) and won twice as a pro. Isiah led the "Bad Boy" Pistons to two NBA Championships in '89 and '90. As Bill Simmons loves to write about, Isiah Thomas understood "The Secret". Thomas understood basketball better than anyone during his playing time, and used it to his advantage. Despite being just 6 ft 1 in and 180 lbs, Thomas was one of the toughest and feistiest point guards ever.

2. Oscar Robertson

Talk about playing ahead of his generation, Oscar Robertson was one of the most forward-thinking players to ever play in the NBA, regardless of any position. Statistically speaking, Oscar Roberston was the most talented point guard to ever play the game. Roberston's career numbers are 25.7 points, 9.5 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Big O was the most well-rounded player of all time. In fact, Robertson is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. Robertson averaged over 30 points per game in six of his first seven seasons, and also was in the top five for assists per game.

As for accolades, The Big O was a 12-time All-Star, three-time All-Star Game MVP ('61, '64, '69), and nine-time All-NBA team member. He won the 1961 Rookie of the Year award, and was awarded the MVP in 1964. Despite all his talent, Oscar only won one NBA championship.

Oscar was also a very special player because of what he had to deal with on and off the court. Robertson played in the '60s when racism was still very present in the US. He was harassed by opponents, hecklers, and even his own teammates during his career. Robertson's struggles off the court could have led to his temper on the court, which was the only negative part of his entire game.

The Big O should be remembered as one of the most talented players of all time. He won an olympic gold medal, an NBA championship, and almost every individual award The Association has. His playing style was decades ahead of his time, and his career averages were elite.

1. Magic Johnson

Was there any doubt in your mind that Magic WOULDN'T be #1? His leadership, skills, ability to win, and perseverance make him the greatest point guard of all-time. Magic dominated in college and in the NBA.

After winning an NCAA basketball championship against his lifetime rival Larry Bird, Magic entered the NBA and dominated from the start. He won his first of five NBA championships in his rookie season, and is the only player ever to win Finals MVP in a rookie season. Johnson along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ran the "Showtime Lakers"for a decade, winning five NBA championship together.

Johnson was a 12-time All-Star, and won All-Star Game MVP twice ('90 and '92). He was also a member of the All-NBA team 10 times. He won three regular season MVP's ('87, '89, '90) and three NBA Finals MVP's ('80, '82, '87).

Magic's career averages were 19.5 points, 11.1 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game. He holds the NBA record for most assists per game. If his career wasn't cut short due to being diagnosed with HIV, Magic's numbers could have been even more incredible than they already were. Magic won an olympic medal with the Dream Team in '92, after being retired from the NBA at the time.

At 6 ft 9in, and 255 lbs, Magic Johnson was the most unique point guard of all time. In fact, we may never see another point guard like Magic. Earvin "Magic" Johnson will go down as the greatest point guard to ever play the game of basketball, because of his incredible stats both individually and as a teammate, his leadership, and his determination both on and off the court.

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