Athleticism is a big part of the NBA game because basketball is a game built on physicality. Whether it’s running, jumping, or moving your feet; basketball requires a ton of energy spent on the court every night. That is why we are in awe when we see some players with exceptional athleticism because they do things that no ordinary human would be able to accomplish.
Basketball fans understand that most players are incredibly large, as they combine height with athleticism more than any other sport in the world. But beyond heigh in measurement, some select players are incredibly explosive and can literally jump out of the building. We currently see how massive superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant combine abnormal height with other physical traits that are unique to them. Of course, we are aware that a prime LeBron James might be the greatest physical force since a prime Shaquille O’Neal.
But when considering athleticism, we often forget about the little men. More specifically, we tend to overlook the point guards. Often responsible for handling the ball and leading their offense, point guards fly under the radar as terrific athletes. But not anymore, because we have seen some almost inhuman athletic feats come from the league’s most athletic point guards, and it’s time to rank them. Here are the top 10 most athletic point guards in NBA history.
10. Spud Webb
It is amazing how 5’6” Spud Webb could be an honorable mention because he is one of the shortest players in NBA history. The explosive little man made the most of it because throwing down dunks was not an issue for the 133-lb guard.
Spud Webb was the shortest player to ever compete in a Dunk Contest, winning the tournament in 1986 thanks to some impressive dunks. Even if he was incredibly undersized in the league, he was one of the most explosive players in NBA history pound for pound.
9. Steve Francis
Steve Francis looked smaller on the court than he really was because he stood at a full-sized 6’3”. Weighing 195 lbs, Francis made athletic feats look normal during his prime. Known as “Stevie Franchise”, the point guard made a habit of placing defenders on posters almost on a weekly basis. He just had a knack for entertaining fans of the game.
Francis not only brought supreme hops to the game but also lightning-quick speed. The point guard could get anywhere he wanted to go as quickly as possible, and it seemed to be a turbo boost for him because he was ready to explode at any given moment.
8. Gilbert Arenas
The streets will never forget Gilbert Arenas, a player who could have been a legend if he really wanted to. The point guard was known for his offensive ability and clutch shot-making, but he was a terrific athlete as well. “Agent Zero” made 3 straight All-Star Teams with the Washington Wizards, and his athleticism had a big part to do with it.
Standing at 6’4” and 191 lbs, Arenas was a perfect-sized point guard because he could elevate over opponents with ease and even shoot over them at times. The star point guard was also very explosive and always added power to his finishes around the rim that defenders fell victim to every night.
7. Nate Robinson
Despite standing only 5’9” tall, Nate Robinson played as if he was 6’3”. The point guard is easily one of the best dunkers in NBA history and he currently holds the record for most Dunk Contest victories with three. He is also one of six players to have won the Dunk Contest back to back.
Nate Robinson did things at a physical level that we haven’t seen from such a small point guard. He wasn’t supposed to be an impactful player in a big man’s league, but he was well-built at a muscular 180 lbs which allowed him to make up for his short height. Even if his recent undertakings as a boxer didn’t work out, Robinson is one of the most athletic players in NBA history at his size.
6. Baron Davis
Of course, we all remember Baron Davis’ infamous dunk over Andrei Kirilenko during the “We Believe “ season in 2007. Davis had that kind of athleticism in him, and we saw it during his prime years as an All-Star offensive guard. At 6’3” and 209 lbs, Davis was built like a pitbull and was one of the strongest point guards ever.
Combining physical strength with explosiveness and speed is a very rare thing to do, but Davis did it at an elite level when he had the basketball in his hands. At any moment, he could explode like a ticking time bomb and defenders were always wary of being put on a poster.
5. John Wall
John Wall might be the fastest point guard we have ever seen, although the likes of De’Aaron Fox and Russell Westbrook come close. The former Washington Wizards star could get from one end of the floor to the other in just a few steps, and he often looked like lightning when he has the ball on the fast break. The way John Wall burst onto the scene as an All-Rookie in 2011 was truly sensational.
At 6’3” and 210 lbs, John Wall was at a perfect size for a point guard. He could leap out of the gym, get anywhere he wants to go on the floor, and also had the physical strength to absorb contact around the rim. Unfortunately, injuries cut his prime short because he could have been a much greater player had he stayed healthy. Still, Wall is one of the most athletic point guards ever and his raw speed was the reason why.
4. Oscar Robertson
One of the most entertaining stars ever and the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double over an entire season, Oscar was a physical machine at his position. The 6’5” point guard had an advantage with his height, but he also combined hops and physical strength as well. Averaging a triple-double is one easy feat, and takes a physical toll on even the best athletes.
Robertson will go down in history as one of the all-time greats regardless of his position, but his height and solid weight (205 lbs) made him a dominant force when he had the ball. The game came so easy for Oscar and his physical gifts were one of the main reasons why.
3. Ja Morant
Ja Morant is simply an unbelievable athlete, what he is doing at only 22 years of age is incredible because he plays like a grown man every night. Morant is extremely confident at leading his team, and his fantastic athleticism has something to do with it. At 6’3” tall, Morant is a bundle of explosiveness.
His recent chase down block against the Lakers broke the internet because it was just one example of how the young man has rockets attached to his legs. Even in his 3rd season, he is drawing comparisons to the great Derrick Rose because his dominance at a physical level is unparalleled at his position right now.
2. Derrick Rose
Nobody can forget how dominant a prime Derrick Rose was with the Chicago Bulls. The youngest MVP ever, Rose captivates fans with his speed and our worldly athleticism. The young man was impossible to defend because he could speed past any defender with ease and once he reached the basket, look out.
Unfortunately for Derrick Rose, his prime did not last very long as injuries effectively robbed him of his explosiveness. During the 2-3 seasons when we witnessed him at his apex, Rose might have been the most physically dominant guard we have ever seen. Because of his short prime, the former MVP is behind one man as the most athletic point guard ever.
1. Russell Westbrook
Despite some stiff competition from a prime Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook has to be the most athletic player in NBA history. He has it all on a physical level, whether it’s explosiveness when he gets ahead of steam to brute strength over his opponent. We have seen countless occasions when Westbrook’s opponents simply have no answer for him on a physical level.
That is why pundits fear that Westbrook will not be impactful once he hits a certain age, because his athleticism gave him an extreme advantage even if he suffers through inefficient play. In terms of strength, explosiveness, and speed; Russell Westbrook is the most athletic point guard ever.