Over time, there have been many wonderful NBA level guards. However even in such a proficient league, there are just a few gamers that may be thought of the perfect level guards of all time.
These athletes not solely performed properly, however modified how the purpose guard place – and NBA basketball – is performed without end.
1. Magic Johnson
On the prime of our listing is probably the most iconic level guard of all-time, Magic Johnson. Johnson is 6 ft 9 which made him the tallest level guard in NBA historical past when he entered the league in 1979.
Johnson didn’t simply depend on his peak to dominate the league. As a substitute, he managed video games with wonderful dribbling, taking pictures, and above all else, passing.
His unimaginable potential to search out an open teammate is demonstrated by his profession help complete of 10,141. However even this spectacular quantity fails to seize the great thing about his trademark no-look move.
Throughout his 13 yr profession with the Los Angeles Lakers, Johnson received 5 NBA Championships, was named the league MVP thrice and the Finals MVP thrice.
The primary of his NBA rings and Finals MVP awards got here in Johnson’s rookie yr. He was solely 20 years previous; a becoming begin to what could be a magical profession, and see him develop into the third wealthiest NBA participant.
2. Steph Curry
Steph Curry is the perfect level guard within the NBA who’s at present enjoying.
To place it merely, Curry is the perfect 3-point shooter the NBA has ever seen, and he has the stats to show it. He as soon as scored 402 3-pointers in a single season. That’s a mean of 4.9 over 82 video games.
Curry can also be the all-time NBA chief in the case of 3-pointers made. He has made 3,390 3-pointers within the 882 NBA video games he’s performed. Ray Allen, who is available in second of all-time, racked up 2,973 in 1,300 video games.
Curry’s distinctive 3-point taking pictures has led the Golden State Warriors to 4 NBA Championships. He has additionally been named the league’s MVP twice, and the Finals MVP as soon as.
From highschool to varsity, NBA and elsewhere, it hasn’t taken lengthy for gamers all around the nation to undertake Curry’s fashion of play.
As NBA coach Doc Rivers stated: “What he’s doing is revolutionary. Solely the greats can do this, go away their mark like that. Really, the great-greats. They alter the sport.”
3. Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson was a groundbreaking NBA participant that dominated the league in the course of the league’s star-studded ‘60s period.
Not like different level guards earlier than him, Robertson was not proud of simply facilitating others’ scoring.
As a substitute, he used his 6ft 5, 210-pound body to create scoring alternatives of his personal. Consequently, Robertson redefined what the purpose guard place could possibly be, and cemented his place as among the best level guards of all time. This would supply inspiration to the subsequent era of gamers, together with Magic Johnson.
Statistically, Robertson’s finest season got here in 1961-62, his second yr within the league.
Throughout this season, Robertson averaged 30.8 factors per recreation, 11.4 assists per recreation and 12.5 rebounds per recreation, making him the primary participant to ever common a triple-double on the season.
The subsequent particular person to common a triple-double on the season was Russell Westbrook over 50 years later.
Not like Westbrook, nonetheless, Robertson is an NBA champion. He lifted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in 1971 with the Milwaukee Bucks, the top of an unimaginable profession.
4. Chris Paul
You don’t get a nickname just like the Level God with out dominating the NBA for years. That’s precisely what Chris Paul has executed since getting into the league in 2005.
Like John Stockton, Paul has good imaginative and prescient distinctive to the perfect level guards. This has allowed him to make 11,501 assists.
His protection on the perimeter is aggressive, proactive and disruptive. Due to this, he has 2,544 steals in his profession thus far.
Scoring smart, Paul isn’t any slouch both. He makes use of his distinctive handles to create house, which means he can rating from anyplace on the courtroom. This consists of sinking buckets from the notoriously troublesome mid-range.
Whereas his expertise are exemplary, Paul’s biggest asset is his potential to enhance the play of these round him. This has seen him compete for the NBA Championship with a number of franchises. Though the Larry O’Brien Trophy has all the time slipped by means of his fingers, he was definitely among the best level guards within the NBA.
5. John Stockton
If you happen to needed to design the perfect level guard, you’d in all probability find yourself with somebody like John Stockton.
To start with, Stockton noticed the sport higher than anyone else. Over his 19 seasons within the NBA, he used his imaginative and prescient to create scoring alternatives for his teammates. In a single season he as soon as totaled 1,164 assists.
His profession help complete of 15,806 is the very best ever.
Stockton’s personal taking pictures was efficient and dependable. He had a profession taking pictures share of 51.5% and he was recognized for scoring below stress, like when he drained a 3 to ship the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals (above).
On the defensive finish, Stockton was a menace: he has probably the most steals of any NBA participant with 3,265.
Though he by no means received an NBA Championship, Stockton is rightly seen as among the best NBA level guards the world has ever seen.
6. Isiah Thomas
Though he’s solely round 6ft tall, Isiah Thomas was the purpose guard of probably the most feared workforce in NBA historical past, the Detroit Piston Unhealthy Boys. Thomas didn’t let his lack of measurement impression his recreation and was by no means one to draw back from battle.
It was this perspective that allowed him to remodel the Detroit Pistons from one of many NBA’s worst groups into two-time NBA Champions.
Thomas’ biggest second got here in Recreation 6 of the 1987-88 NBA Finals when he severely sprained his ankle within the third quarter. Taking part in on one leg, he went on to attain 25 factors in that quarter – an NBA document that rightfully helps place him as among the best level guards of all time.
Though the Pistons got here up brief in that sequence, they went on to win back-to-back Championships in 1989 and 1990. Thomas led the workforce on each events and was named Finals MVP in 1990.
Regardless of solely enjoying 13 seasons, Thomas turned the Piston’s all-time chief in factors, assists, steals and video games performed.
7. Steve Nash
Canadian-born Steve Nash was an eight-time NBA All-Star and the league’s MVP twice. Whereas recognized for his passing and taking pictures, Nash’s most lasting impression on the NBA was how he revolutionized the sport of basketball itself.
Whereas enjoying for the Phoenix Suns, Nash turned the important thing a part of the 7 second or much less offense, an offensive scheme that drastically sped up the league.
This remodeled the sport from the sluggish, systematic format fashionable within the Nineteen Nineties, right into a rip-roaring fast-paced recreation that prioritized the 3-point shot.
Nash’s expertise have been important to this offense as he needed to react to a workforce’s protection, improvise, and arrange a shot for his workforce in below seven seconds.
Nash is also referred to as one of the environment friendly shooters of all-time. His profession common free throw share of 90.4% is the very best ever. He additionally registered 4 50-40-90 seasons.
That is when a participant has a 50% subject objective share, 40% 3-point share and 90% free throw share on the season. This can be a feat that has solely been achieved on 10 events, and a stat that cements his title as among the best level guards of all time.
8. Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd was often called the final word ground basic. Throughout his lengthy profession, he managed the movement of the sport masterfully, studying defenses in seconds earlier than enjoying the suitable offense.
When enjoying for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns early in his profession, Kidd relied on his pace to get the job executed, slinging lovely passes whereas sprinting down the courtroom.
This athleticism and talent noticed him rack up the second largest assists complete of all-time with 12,091. He additionally achieved a formidable 107 triple-doubles.
As his athleticism started to fade, Kidd utterly recreated his recreation, remodeling his awkward leap shot right into a clean, dependable weapon. He was rewarded for his onerous work in 2011 when he received his solely NBA Championship at 38 years previous.
9. Walt Frazier
Walt Frazier is finest recognized for the 10-year stint he spent enjoying for the New York Knicks from 1967-77. Throughout this time, Frazier was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Workforce for seven consecutive years.
Frazier’s offense was simply as sturdy as his protection. In solely Frazier’s third season he led the Knicks to their first NBA championship scoring 36 factors and making 19 assists in an important Recreation 7 victory.
Frazier and the Knicks would win one other NBA Championship in 1973. He’s definitely among the best Knicks level guards in historical past, and was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 1987.
Even Frazier’s post-playing profession has been legendary.
For over 20 years he has sat alongside Mike Breen, calling Knicks video games for MSG Networks. In 2022, Frazier was celebrated by the Corridor of Fame once more, when he was awarded the Curt Gowdy Award for excellent broadcasting contributions to basketball.
10. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has not had the best time just lately, however his stint on the Los Angeles Lakers was only a blip in a wonderful profession.
Westbrook burst onto the scene in 2008 after being chosen fourth general by the Seattle Supersonics.
It solely took till March of his rookie season for Westbrook to log his first NBA triple-double. A triple-double is when a participant achieves a double-digit complete in three of 5 statistical classes (assists, blocks, factors, rebounds, and steals) over the course of a single recreation.
Quickly, securing triple-doubles turned Westbrook’s specialty.
Within the 2016-17 season, Westbrook set a brand new NBA document for the variety of triple-doubles in a season. Westbrook’s 42 triple-doubles handed Oscar Robertson’s 1961-62 season document of 41.
Westbrook additionally averaged a triple-double on the season, turning into solely the second participant in NBA historical past to realize the feat.
Unsurprisingly, Westbrook received the MVP in 2017. He then went on to common a triple-double over the subsequent three seasons. This makes him the one athlete to have averaged a triple-double for a number of seasons, and worthy of being thought of among the best level guards of all time.
Your Most Ceaselessly Requested Questions
The perfect level guard at present enjoying within the NBA is Steph Curry. Curry is the all-time NBA chief for 3-pointers, has been named the league’s MVP twice, and the Finals MVP as soon as.
The perfect level guard in NBA historical past is Magic Johnson. Johnson received 5 NBA Championships, was named the league MVP thrice and the Finals MVP thrice.
Sure, LeBron James performed level guard for the Lakers in the course of the 2020-21 season.
Sure, Michael Jordan performed level guard for the Chicago Bulls in the course of the 1988-89 season.
Maurice Cheeks has the very best subject objective taking pictures share by a degree guard, at 52.3%.
Lead picture: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons