NBA, Video / Apr 24, 2014 / 3:45 pm

The 10 Greatest Point Guards In NBA History

Steve Nash

Steve Nash (photo. Indochino)

Point guards. They are the quarterbacks on the basketball court, handling the ball, dishing it off, and they are frequently relied on to make the smart decisions. Not to discount other positions–each one has its own importance–but the point guard is arguably the most significant player on the floor. After counting down the ten greatest shooting guards and centers in NBA history, we now turn to the point guard position.

Without further adieu, here are the NBA’s ten greatest point guards of all time.

[RELATED: The 10 greatest shooting guards in NBA history]

[RELATED: The 10 greatest centers in NBA history]

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10. Maurice Cheeks (1978-93)
Career stats: 11.1 PPG, 6.7 APG, 2.8 RPG and 2.1 SPG
Similar to Payton, Maurice Cheeks was heavily relied on to guard the opposing team’s best player. He played on a Philadelphia 76ers team that made it to three NBA championships and featured all-timers such as Moses Malone and Julius Erving and while they provided the glamour, he provided the grit.

Cheeks, a four-time All-Star, was as efficient as they came, shooting over 52 percent in his career and averaging close to seven assists per game while turning the ball over just about twice.

9. Gary Payton (1990-2007)
Career stats: 16.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.9 RPG and 1.8 SPG

Gary Payton–otherwise known as the Glove–was a point guard who will forever stick out in the minds of basketball fanatics. He enjoyed the challenge of defense, and his quick hands and strength, combined with his swagger, led him to become the only one-guard to ever win Defensive Player of the Year.

As the nine-time All-Star’s career was coming to an end, there was one component still missing – a title ring. Finally, at the age of 37 while with the Miami Heat, Payton secured his first NBA Championship, and managed to play a significant role in the Finals, too.

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  • Walter Egy Herrmann

    the order of this list is ridiculous, putting kidd ahead of 2-time-mvp aka 50-40-90 nash is wtf. kidd never had 11+ apg while nash had it 4 seasons, kidd never had 17+ ppg while… etc etc. Not putting Stockton in the top two is also a giant wtf.

  • Saleem Rainman

    im the biggest nash fan there is, but Kidd has had a better career than Nash overall. Kidd’s place is deserved, and so in Nash’s in the top 10.

  • jaceking

    i think nash should be behind payton. no offense.. i love nash.. but i think payton was better overall and for a longer period of time..

    plus.. i guess im still salty on one of nash’s mvp trophies. def thought he stole it the first year he had it.. shouldve gone to jason kidd.. jason kidd brought a worse, less talented new jersey nets to the finals that year.. with pretty much the same stats. nash had a better ppg, but kidd with a better way better spg, and way better rpg. but i guess im bias here. hahah.. everyone has their own opinion i guess.

    nash def earned the second mvp tho.

  • Meredith Brownlee

    I’d put Stockton #2 and Thomas #4.

  • Jason Williams

    i prefer nash payton kidd/i.thomas and johnson. no particular order they are all fundamentally sound and effective

  • UncheckedAggression

    Nate Archibald belongs on this list over a least a few of these guys.

  • Jordan Stallings

    Stockton only has the most assist ever. That’s the stats that defines a point guard. He is number 1 in my book. And Big O is second. He averaged a triple double one season! I think they need to redo this list.

  • rodney

    wrong..Isiah is only second to Magic & maybe the BIg O..Stockton is overrrated..Steve Nash wis better

  • rodney

    Yes..how did they miss Tiny..Mo Cheeks
    should not be on this list ..Cheeks is top 25 but Tiny is top 10

  • rodney

    Good point I agreebut I;ll take Magic Zeke Oscar Kidd & Tiny in that order

  • rodney

    Stockton has the most assist ever because he’s played longer than most point gaurds That doesn’t make him better…Mark Jackson is 4rth on that list ahead of Magic Big O & Isiah does that make him better

  • Bojan Bugarski

    I’d include Tony Parker… dude is a true point guard

  • Kalen Bevy Lipsey

    Cp3 will bump someone off if he get a ring…

  • Kalen Bevy Lipsey

    no championship though

  • ERIC

    sorry I got Payton in front of Steve Nash anyday…

  • E Smooth

    Are you serious Nash is not even close to Jason as a floor general, captain kidd should legitimely be in front of Nash, by the way remember Kidd got robbed twice for the MVP title, 2002 & 2003, plus he went to the Finals thrice and won 1 out of three…what about Nash??? He only reached the Conference Finals once….please be for real…

  • squatty

    but he won’t

  • Daphne Slater

    We said NBA History. Where’s the history??? These lists only go back to the late 70’s. I thought basketball started before then.

  • Daphne Slater

    the real question is: Who impacted NBA basketball? Who started the behind the back passes, the crossovers, the elbow passes, the dunks. who changed the game??? Not that many and the list would definitely be shorter

  • hector

    robbed twice? you mean tim duncan who has 3 finals MVP and 6 finasl appearance should have lost both of his best years in the NBA to kidd who won a ring cus of DIRK? gtfo here!!!!

  • Casting Calls Canada

    This list is a joke. Thomas #2? Stockton #4?! Get real.

  • E Smooth

    well i’m askin’ you the question are you for real?? I guess you don’t remember what happened to the Nets who by the way was the worst franchise of the league leading by Marbury who was puttin’ up crazy numbers , but wasn’t getting his teammates any better. Next thing you know Kidd gets there, with pretty much the same team and take them twice to the NBA Finals 2002 & 2003, and you have to audacity to tell me that for you Duncan deserved it more, as a matter of fact Tim had a better squad we all know that…get ya facts right you gtfo here I guess…

  • hector

    TIm duncan had a better squad WTF??, david robins wasold scoring about 10 points a game. Manu was a rookie scoring about 7 parker was a layup only guard and had like 15 ppg, and stephen jackson was a shoot first 12 ppg guy who the nets yeah those nets rejected. that sorry ass team won the 2003 because the guy in the middle won the IBM award, MVP finals MVP, all nba defense all nba first team. had 25 12.9 2.3 3.0 ass one year and somethign similar the other. Yeah DUncan one of the Top all time players had two of his best season adn won the title in one of them of course he deserved it. The EAST was a joke you and I know it and nets got to the finals by default cus until the pistons with larry brown were formed the east was joke from like 1999 to 2003. I guess the winner is the guy who got the hardware

  • E Smooth

    I mean do you seriously believe that it’s fair to even compare the Spurs organization to the Nets…???Let’s be for real… hell no, Tim Duncan played hands down in a better team, along with if I remember a guy named the admiral Robinson, as a team they always been tough assignment to anyone…including the Lakers…on the other hand the Nets…idk about that…Kidd got robbed both years as I was sayin…plus why do you even throw Duncan in the debate since we’re talkib about pg’s..even shaq said it

  • hector

    I will agree with you on one thing maybe one MVP could have gone split, but telling me KIDD shoudl have two MVP and duncan zero… thats crazy almost as crazy as kobe having only won one. nah in fact NASH got two mvps probably only deserved one if nash gives kidd one of his in some weird time dsiplacement thing yeah i can also agree with that. KIDD had a few great years in a weak conference. Many and Tony where not many and tony of 2005 2006 or 2007 during those year they were rookies and Robinson had back problems and only touched the ball a few times a game. I can agree with one MVP possibly having gone to Kidd two, and leaving duncan with no mvp would be a disservice to nba history and duncan’s legacy. Look up the spurs numbers in most games during those years, duncan would lead the team in assist even sometimes he basically did everything the other guys were role players, even robinson at that stage in his career.

  • Kalen Bevy Lipsey

    he has a good chance next year the clippers will be in the playoffs for sure. and blake and paul still in their prime he will get one eventually maybe late in his career like j kidd if not he got to keep making first teams and win Olympic golds

  • Picklesdaddy

    I’ll assume that Isaiah and Magic were selected ahead of Stockton because they won championships and they scored more points than Stockton. If that’s the case, I have to point out that neither of them had to face Jordan in the finals. It’s also important to ask if a point guard is really out there to score. Stockton managed to take MJ to six games two years in a row. There has not been a better true point guard in the history of basketball.

  • Jason Wyman

    honorable mention: Kevin Johnson

  • Ednan Ahmed

    Magic, Cousy, Stockton, Kidd, Robertson top 5 boom

  • trung


  • Brandon

    1. Big O
    2. Bob Cousy
    3. Isiah Thomas
    4. Magic Johnson
    5. Stockton

  • osvaldo mendoza

    U guys r forgetting someone, JERRY WEST,MR. CLUTCH

  • Daniel Johnson

    Actually, Stockton remains UNDERrated.

  • Herk Derk

    I’d put him ahead of isiah though

  • rodney

    No way ahead of Isiah..Isiah lead teh league in assist for 4 years, during the magic era..isiah didn’t have a player like malone to pass the ball to. A lot of Stocktons assist we’re padded assit meaning give the ball to Malone, malone muscles his defender out of the way and scores…and Stockton gets the assist..If you look at thier over distribution..Isiah’s distribution of the bakll to multiple teammates exceeds Stocktons…clearly indicating his ability to make other players better..is supreriors to Stockton
    which largely explains why Isiah has 2 rings and Stockton has none

  • 48858

    Isaih beat MJ three years in a row during the playoffs. Isaiah is the ONLY one on this list with winning playoff records against MJ, Magic and Bird.

  • 48858

    Zeke knocked MJ out of the playoffs three straight years. Stockton could never even do it once.

  • YM Wong

    stockton play longer than most point guard and that’s y drop his career apg
    pls check , he held 5 out of 6 the highest apg per season
    and the 1 out of 6 is achieved by thomas

  • rodney

    Isiah did not have a karl Malone to give the ball to…thats an easy assist..give it to karl
    ..Karl muscles down in the post and scores..assist John Stockton
    Much of Isiahs career he had to be a scorer just for his team to be competitive..
    until he got help later in his career…with Dumars, Johnson, Dantley & Aguirre
    Stockton has never had that challenge..Stockton is a great point gaurd…but not even close to Isiah

  • YM Wong

    it’s pretty unfair to say stockton had karl malone to gain his assists
    magic johnson had kareem too , does it mean magic johnson is not a good pg then ?
    and i think the TO ratio does matter for passing 1st PGs like them , stockton has a quite pretty 2.82 TO per game , he had it lowest among these 3 great PGs
    magic johnson has 3.87 while thomas has 3.76
    i am not saying that stockton is the best PGs of all time, but he should have credited well.
    he doesn’t deserve to be said as : having the most assists among because he played long / he had karl…just saying

  • Guest

    Stockton had five of the top six assists seasons in NBA history ,the other belonging to Isiah Thomas.
    so please…as i said , give stockton some credits

  • rodney

    I’m not discrediting stockton by any means…stockton is one of the greatest point gaurds ever..top 5 for sure if not top 3
    Your argument regarding magic & kareem is valid…and the fact that magic has a 6’9″ advantage to look over other gaurds trying to gaurd him.I’m just saying isiah is better and had less of an advantage than magic and stockton…you could make the argument that isiah was bettr than magic considering the talent matchup of teams they played…both Utah & Lakers had more talent on thier teams…Detroit nhad good players like dumars, aguirre, lambier and jihnson..but nothing like lakers

  • Getonn Harper

    Magic was fu@*%ng amazing with the ball!!!

  • gjs524

    For the 2001-02 season, Jason Kidd arrived in NJ and played with this stating five – C: Todd McCulloch, PF: Keith VanHorn, PF (also) Kenyon Martin (second year -unrefined), Kerry Kittles, PG: Kidd.

    (Reserves: Jason Collins, Lucious Harris, Richard Jefferson [rookie] & Brian Scalabrine).

    Compare to San Antonio

    C: David Robinson, PF: Tim Duncan, SF: Bruce Bowen, SG: Steve Smith, PG: Tony Parker

    Don’t even reference Steve Jackson since three other veteran players logged more minutes per game (Antonio Daniels, Malik Rose, Terry Porter & Danny Ferry).

    Stop being a history revisionist. Spurs had a better squad than NJ -period.

    Jason Kidd deserved the 2001-02 MVP -one of the biggest turn arounds in NBA History. 2002-03 belonged to Duncan.

  • hector

    You are seriousky telling me that bexause sours had danny ferry a washed up steve smith whos only job was and ocational vall handling and old terry porter and guys like that spurs had a better team than nets ruchard jefferson and kenyon martin ect, really? Tony rookie who couldnt shoot freethrows or pasa, bruce bowen 8 ppg and he wasnt as good a stopper back then are you serious i’m the revisionist yet you telking me this with a straight face. Just because the spurs have a system tha constatly makes even old non arhletic guys look good by maximizing efficiency doesnr meanthe most prolific winner in terms or regualar season and one of the most prolofic winner in playoff history didnt deserve his merit for being in the same converation with shaq and kobes star filled and over powered super team, nets just did good in the EAST duncan was out there fightingneck and neck with one of the most overpowered team in history of the nba.