Non-ballers may argue this. But, the most important player in the court, more often than not, has to be the point guard, a guy responsible for running the offense and making sure the coach’s system is on point.
‘Get out of my lawn’ ballers may argue that point guards were way better when they were actually focused on running the point instead of hogging shots, while new school guys would love Kyrie Irving’s game style.
Right or wrong, the game of basketball has changed a lot, and especially the point guard position. Today, we’re going to go way back, and take a look at the top 10 point guards of the past 2 decades.
Honorable Mention: Deron Williams
10. Rajon Rondo
Career: 2006 – Present
Teams: Celtics, Mavericks, Kings, Bulls, Pelicans, Lakers
Stats: 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.7 steals
Accomplishments: 4 x All-Defensive Team, 4 x All-Star, NBA Steals Leader, 3 x NBA Assists Leader, 1 NBA Championship
Rajon Rondo was one of the best defenders in the world during his Boston Celtics tenure, not to mention his incredible ball handling skills. He was never much of a shooter, but there were times he remembered us of a young, way more athletic John Stockton, with a much hard-nosed character.
Rondo found a lot of detractors over the course of his career due to his polemic personality and the fact that he doesn’t like to be bossed around, but you just can’t deny the fact that he was a stud in both sides of the hardwood during his prime.
9. Derrick Rose
Career: 2008 – Present
Teams: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves
Stats: 18.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 0.8 steals
Accomplishments: 3 x All-Star, Rookie of the Year Award, All-Rookie First Team, MVP Award
Derrick Rose was the closest thing to Allen Iverson when he first entered the league. He was strong, fast, athletic and a fierce scorer, and the only guy capable of actually dethroning LeBron James. Sadly, injuries pretty much sent his career right ahead to a dead end.
Rose has found a lot of obstacles over the course of his career, with several of them being all on his very own mind. He’s been questioned for his so-called lack of desire to play, and hopefully, he’s able to turn things around soon and prove that he’s still got it.
8. Gary Payton
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat
Stats: 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.8 steals
Accomplishments: Hall of Famer, 1 NBA Championship, 9 x All-Star, NBA Steals Leader, Defensive Players Of The Year, 9 x All-Defensive First Team
The Glove was one of the most dominant backcourt defenders in the league, while also being able to find the open guy, make the right play, and properly take care of the ball. Payton is arguably one of the most underrated NBA legends of all times, even though he won a ring.
Payton was a strong, physical, fast and underrated scorer, and his hands were as smooth as silk when forcing turnovers. Winning the DPOY as a guard is no easy task, but he was hands down an outstanding backcourt stopper.
7. Chauncey Billups
Teams: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers
Stats: 15.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1 steal
Accomplishments: 5 x All-Star, 1 NBA Championship, Finals MVP, All-NBA Second Team, 2 x All-Defensive Second Team
Chauncey Billups has earned a lot of respect for sure. Not only he took a struggling franchise back to Championship contention, but he also became one of the best defensive guards in the history of the league due to his extensive long arms and feel for defense.
Billups’ long arms made him deadly in switches and he could defend both guard spots and even some small forwards, and even though he wasn’t much of a good shooter, he knew how to find his sweet spots on offense.
6. Russell Westbrook
Career: 2008 – Present
Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 23 points, 6.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.7 steals
Accomplishments: MVP, 7 x All-Star, 2 x All-NBA First Team, 2 x All-Star MVPs, All-Rookie First Team, NBA Assists Leader, 2 x NBA Scoring Champion
You may say a lot of things about Russell Westbrook. Yes, he’s a stat padder, yes; he’s immature; yes, he’s self-centered, but I dare you all guys to at least try to do what he does one day of the week. You can’t, do you? He’s a top-tier athlete and a hell of a baller, so let’s get off his back.
Westbrook is strong and perhaps the fastest player on earth right now, but his -lack of- basketball IQ has gotten him into some troubles. Still, he’s a borderline Hall of Famer and has inked his name in basketball history forever.
5. Chris Paul
Career: 2005 – Present
Teams: New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets
Stats: 18.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 2.3 steals
Accomplishments: 9 x All-Star, 6 x NBA Steals Leader, 4 x NBA Assists Leader, 4 x All-NBA First Team, All-Rookie First Team, Rookie Of The Year, All-Star MVP, 9 x All-Defensive First Team
Ever since John Stockton, the league hadn’t seen such a dominant defender as Chris Paul, one of the peskiest point guards in the league, mostly because he was used to playing for a small contract. Even though CP3 is deadly in passing lanes, and we already know he’s the point god.
Chris Paul can do a little bit of everything in both sides of the hardwood, and he makes up for his lack of size with top-notch upper body strength and great positioning, not to mention he’s one of the smartest guys ever to set foot on an NBA court.
4. Jason Kidd
Career: 1995 – 2013
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks
Stats: 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.9 steals
Accomplishments: 1 NBA Championship, 10 x All-Star, Hall of Famer, 5 x NBA Assists Leader, NBA Co-Rookie of the Year, 4 x All-Defensive First Team, 5 All-NBA First Team, All-Rookie First Team
Jason Kidd is a walking triple-double threat. Kidd was strong, athletic, fast and incredibly smart, not to mention his ability to find the open guy when all passing lanes were shut. Kidd is one of the best to ever do it, even though he was never able to lead the Nets to the Chip when he was the team’s go-to-guy.
Young ballers may not remember prime Jason Kidd, but he was one of the craftiest ball handlers ever, and it just looked as if he had eyes on the back of his head. Also, he was extremely clutch even despite not being a good shooter.
3. Tony Parker
Career: 2001 – Present
Teams: San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets
Stats: 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 0.9 steals
Accomplishments: 6 x All-Star, 4 x NBA Championship, All-Rookie First Team, 1 Finals MVPs, 3 x All-NBA Second Team
Are you freaking kidding me? Tony Parker is one of the main bragging pieces Gregg Popovich has on his resume. He’s a one of a kind talent that completely changed the Spurs’ offense and that carried the team when it mattered the most, and we’re never going to get used to watching him on a Hornets uniform.
Tony Parker is one of the biggest Draft steals ever. A guy that may not flash you with stats but that could put defenders on skates with great ease. He’s got an extremely versatile offensive repertoire and was really clutch during the playoffs.
2. Steve Nash
Career: 1996 – 2014
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 14.3 points, 3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 0.7 steals
Accomplishments: 2 MVPs, Hall of Famer, 8 x All-Star, 3 x All-NBA First Team, 5 x NBA Assists Leader
Steve Nash makes this list after winning back-to-back MVPs and leading one of the most exciting offenses of the decade to playoff contention. If it weren’t for Mike D’Antoni’s run
and gun fast paced offense, there would be no Golden State Warriors. Nash completely changed the way the position was played.
Nash could pull up from three, go around three defenders, throw a floater and send skip passes as if he was playing on a different speed than his opposition, and he really made everybody around him much better.
1. Stephen Curry
Career: 2009 – Present
Teams: Golden State Warriors
Stats: 23.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.8 steals
Accomplishments: 3 NBA Championships, 2 MVPs, 5 x All-Star, 2 x All-NBA First Team, NBA Steals Leader, 1 x NBA Scoring Champion
And last but not least, Stephen Curry has to be the best point guard of the past 20 years. He’s been the best player of the best team of the decade, he’s broken a bunch load of records and he’s the great shooting ever, not to mention the first unanimous MVP, so… Shut it, haters!
Curry’s career got off to a bit of a late start due to some ankle injuries, but he’s grown to become one of the most prolific scorers of the decade. There’s literally no way of stopping him, and he’s still got a lot left on his tank.