The 10 Best Point Guards Of All Time

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The NBA’s best point guards of all time were – and are – the coach on the floor, the general and many more metaphors for elite leadership.

Our top 10 list rewards team success because that metric is perhaps most closely associated with elite-level point guards.

The best NBA point guards of all time were able to score, pass, defend and use their influence to inspire teammates.

From No. 10 to No. 1, here is our countdown of the best point guards in NBA history.

10. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy
Image: Twitter/HoopsJunky

Key Career Statistics

  • 18.4 points per game
  • 5.2 rebounds per game
  • 7.5 assists per game

Bob Cousy, the Boston Celtics great, personified the prototype All-Star point guard.

Given today’s training techniques and associated advantages, Cousy  probably would have pushed inside our top five.

He was virtually incomparable to his point-guard peers for a decade, during which he made All-NBA First Team 10 seasons in a row and led his team to six NBA titles.

At the time, Cousy provided something most basketball fans hadn’t seen: a point guard with unparalleled dribbling ability coupled with the vision to lift his team with incredible passing.

Cousy spurred the idea of fast-break basketball, too, with his future-defining floor leadership and led the league in assists per game every season from 1952-60.

Had access been available to the best online sportsbooks during his playing years, we know he’d have been the center of many betting markets.

Called “Houdini of the Hardwood,” Cousy has a career mark of 7.5 assists per game and was even better in the playoffs, handing out 8.6 assists per game.

9. Jason Kidd

Steve Nash (left) and Jason Kidd
Image: Twitter/NBA.com/stats

Key Career Statistics

  • 12.6 points per game
  • 6.3 rebounds per game
  • 8.7 assists per game
  • 1.9 steals per game

Jason Kidd made his mark quickly, earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors and slowly but surely improving his outside shooting to become a 10-time All-Star.

After a rough first season from 3-point range (27%), Kidd worked hard to become a true threat, culminating in three consecutive seasons of 40% or better from long range (2007-10).

Kidd was the primary reason the New Jersey Nets reached the NBA Finals twice (2002-03), and star for the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks when he started 80 games during the regular season and all 21 playoff games – at the age of 37.

Kidd is perhaps the strongest player on our list of the best PGs of all time, possessing anticipation and sure hands that led him to be named to the NBA’s All-Defense team six times.

8. Chris Paul

Chris Paul
Image: Twitter/77gotnext

Key Career Statistics

  • 17.5 points per game
  • 9.4 assists per game
  • 2.1 steals per game

Having just completed his 19th NBA season in 2024, Chris Paul has compiled a top-10-worthy resume that includes three consecutive seasons on the All-NBA First Team (2011-14).

Pushing Paul’s candidacy is his elite defense, having landed on the league’s All-Defense First Team seven times (and twice on the second team All-Defense).

He led the NBA in steals per game for six seasons.

Including his first season, during which he was named Rookie of the Year, Paul started every game in which he played over his first 18 seasons (1,214 games) in the NBA before coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors this past season.

7. Jerry West

Jerry West
Image: Twitter/Hoop Herald

Key Career Statistics

  • 27 points per game
  • 6.7 assists per game
  • 5.8 rebounds per game

West, who retired in 1974, was a shining example of basketball greatness. As most NBA fans know, the league used West’s likeness as its logo (hence West’s nickname “The Logo”).

West loses a few points because he and the Lakers fell short of a title so many times, but very few times was it West’s fault.

In fact, West remains the only NBA Finals MVP whose team did not win the title (1969).

He made the All-Star team in all 14 seasons he played. 12 times he was selected an All-NBA player (10 of those were All-NBA First Team) and, very important for this list: He made All-Defense five times.

West, aka “Mr. Clutch,” stepped up during the postseason, scoring 29.1 points per game in his 153 playoff games.

6. Steve Nash

Steve Nash
Image: Twitter/Usher NBA

Key Career Statistics

  • 14.3 points per game
  • 8.5 assists per game
  • .428 3-point shooting percentage

Steve Nash did not make an immediate impression on the NBA after the Phoenix Suns selected him with their first-round pick (15th overall) in the 1996 draft.

He played only 10 minutes per game, averaging just more than three points.

Hard to predict that he’d become a Hall of Famer and one of the best point guards of all time, securing two NBA MVP awards along the way.

A late bloomer, Nash became an All-Star in Dallas and inspired Phoenix to pay big money to bring him back to the Valley of the Sun.

Nash was instrumental in the “Seven Seconds or Less Suns” (named for the team’s frenetic pace under Nash’s guidance), who were a perennial contender.

Unfortunately, none of Nash’s teams reached the NBA Finals, making it difficult for Nash to reach our top five.

Nash was a force in revolutionizing the point-guard position, introducing new forms of offensive execution.

An expert shooter, Nash is still the only NBA player in its history to shoot 50% on field-goal attempts, 40% on 3-point attempts and 90% from the free-throw line while posting 10 or more assists per game.

Nash is still No. 5 on the NBA’s all-time assists list and among the top 10 in assists per game.

As for on-court leadership, Nash made everyone better – especially on offense. His teams were No. 1 in the league in offensive rating for nine consecutive seasons.

5. Isiah Thomas

Michael Jordan (left) and Isiah Thomas
Image: Twitter/ontwerpy

Key Career Statistics

  • 19.2 points per game
  • 9.3 assists per game
  • 1.9 steals per game

Isiah Thomas isn’t among the game’s bigger stat compilers because his career lasted only 13 seasons.

But during those years, Thomas was an NBA All-Star in every season except his last and certainly became a household name during the postseason.

For his regular-season work, Thomas was named to the All-NBA First Team three times and twice to the second team.

It was the Thomas-led “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons who stopped Michael Jordan’s pursuit of his first NBA title – three different times.

Thomas’ teams won two NBA championships (1989-90), with Thomas named the Finals MVP in 1990.

4. John Stockton

John Stockton
Image: Twitter/Jazzlead

Key Career Statistics

  • 13.1 points per game
  • 10.5 assists per game
  • 2.2 steals per game
  • .384 3-point shooting percentage

John Stockton is synonymous with the Utah Jazz, the team for whom he played every one of his 19 seasons in the NBA.

So dominant was Stockton’s passing prowess – he’s easily No. 1 in all-time NBA assists – that the margin to the No. 2 player is wider than that of the No. 2-ranked player’s margin to the No. 12-ranked player.

Stockton is an 11-time All-NBA performer (twice on the first team), a 10-time All-Star and the league leader in assists nine times.

Defense is a big part of a player’s qualifications, and Stockton rates highly, having led the NBA in steals twice and being named to the All-Defense team five times.

As is the case with Nash, however, Stockton’s teams never won an NBA championship.

An early adopter of 3-point-shooting importance, Stockton hit 40% or better from long range in seven seasons and is among the premier marksmen on our list.

3. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson
Image: Twitter/NBAPolska23

Key Career Statistics

  • 25.7 points per game
  • 9.5 assists per game
  • 7.5 rebounds per game
  • .485 field-goal-shooting percentage

“The Big O” was the first overall pick in the 1960 draft and more than lived up to those high expectations.

He’s most known for averaging a triple-double in one season, 1961-62, putting up 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game.

And yet he finished third in the MVP voting behind NBA icons Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, who finished runner-up despite averages of 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game.

Robertson was another point guard who arrived before his time and long before online gambling sites became a thing. He was a powerful player who could mix it up inside as well as controlling the offense as a heavy usage guard.

Robertson was named Rookie of the Year, led the league in assists six times, was the league’s MVP for his 1963-64 season, was an All-Star selection 12 times and was named All-NBA 11 times – nine times as a first-team pick.

2. Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Magic Johnson
Image: Twitter/DrGuru_

Key Career Statistics

  • 19.5 points per game
  • 11.2 assists per game
  • 7.2 rebounds per game
  • .520 field-goal-shooting percentage

Earvin “Magic” Johnson wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but when he entered the NBA he certainly had an advantage.

The Lakers were poised to become a top title contender, and Johnson didn’t disappoint. LA won it all in Johnson’s rookie season, raising the bar of expectations for the rest of his career.

Johnson, surrounded by elite NBA talent, won four more NBA championships, was a three-time MVP (1986-87, 1988-89, 1989-90), a three-time NBA Finals MVP, an All-Star 12 times and a nine-time All-NBA First Team selection.

Johnson’s offensive contributions are indisputable. He pushed himself to expand on his role and became a much-improved shooter, hitting 31% and 34% in his last two MVP seasons.

Had his brilliant career not been interrupted at age 31 by HIV, he would have continued his scoring improvement and might have been able to reach the top of our best NBA point guards list.

 1. Steph Curry

Stephen Curry
Image: Twitter/30problemz

Key Career Statistics

  • 24.8 points per game
  • 6.4 assists per game
  • 4.7 rebounds per game

Candidates for the top spot on our list have placed an indelible mark on NBA history.

Curry changed the game by showing how being the best in 3-point shooting creates a domino effect for the offense.

Teams often send an additional defender at Curry, even when he’s 35-40 feet from the basket. That opens up the court and allows Curry to decide on the best of several palatable options.

Curry shouldered the scoring load for Golden State, and will carry a career scoring average of 24.8 points per game into the 2024-25 season.

His value becomes more enduring when the postseason numbers are considered. Curry owns a 27.0 career scoring average during the playoffs and has produced 5.3 rebounds per game.

He hit better than 40% of his 3-point attempts during three consecutive postseason appearances (2015-17), and that’s no small sample – it’s over a span of 56 games – but isn’t surprising because his career regular-season 3-point percentage is a staggering 42.6.

No one had ever won the NBA MVP award in unanimous fashion until Curry did it following the 2015-16 season, during which he also led the league in steals.

Finally, a point guard must push his team to great success.

Curry’s 2015-16 Warriors won 73 of their 82 regular-season games – the best-ever mark in league history – and his Warriors have won four NBA championships.

The most recent title, 2022, was Curry’s crowning achievement.

In winning the 2022 NBA Finals MVP award, Curry averaged two steals per game, scored 31.2 points, grabbed 6.0 rebounds and dished out 5.0 assists per game over that six-game Finals series against the Boston Celtics.

He also connected on almost 44% of his signature 3-point attempts and cemented his position at the top of our top-10 list of best point guards of all time.

Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.