4 Different Angles: The 10 Best Guards to Ever Play in the NBA
Making lists are a hard thing to do. It's always so hard to recognize all of the players and make sure they all go where they deserve. So I figured, why try and make a list all by myself and miss some players that deserve to be on the list?
There have been many great guards that have played the great game of basketball. Here are the best in list form by 4 established writers on Bleacher Report. Me (TJ Zwarych), Michael Whittenberg, Joe Willett and Benjamin Weixlmann. Enjoy.
Benjamin Weixlmann's List and Points:Reggie Miller
Listen, I know I idolized Reggie growing up, but I think he deserves a spot on this list. He was quite possibly the finest outside shooter of our generation, and could pour in free throws with his eyes closed. Although he didn’t win an NBA championship, his legacy is cemented in the fact that he holds almost every NBA long-distance shooting record. In one of the most memorable sequences in NBA history, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to complete a miraculous playoff victory.
Iverson, although he was one of the most fearless players ever, will unfortunately be remembered for his mouth. AI had the best crossover the game has seen, and could do whatever he wanted with the ball. AI is a player that you can say with confidence, "He can score at will". He’s just that good. He has averaged a whopping 27.9 ppg during his career, but will always be remembered for what he did with the media, instead of his on-court play.
A 6’8" point guard with insane court vision? That could only be Magic Johnson. He was a five-time NBA champ with the Lakers, and averaged a career double-double with points and assists. His no-look passes reminded many of Maravich in his prime. "Showtime" as he was known, turned the Lakers into a dynasty, and one of the finest teams in NBA history. His unfortunate retirement due to HIV ended his career early, but Johnson was still considered a Top 50 Player of All-Time awarded in 1996.
You may have been wondering when a point guard would come up on this list, amidst mostly shooting guards, but Cousy is here. This guy was a hardwood legend, simply put. He was a thirteen-time All-Star, but more impressively, a six-time NBA champion. His jersey, 14, was retired by the best NBA franchise ever, the Boston Celtics. It is awfully had to ignore his career line of 18/5/7, points/assists/rebounds respectively. Cousy is in a close battle with Larry Bird as the greatest Celtic of all-time.
There is a reason that this man is the logo of the NBA, he epitomizes what it means to be an NBA player. He scored over 25,000 points, and was named to the NBA All-Star team thirteen times. West was one of the purest shooters the game has ever seen, and for that, he deserves an enormous amount of credit. We have seen such sharpshooters as Ray Allen and Reggie Miller in our generation, but neither of them get close to what West accomplished in his illustrious career. West was one of the best to put on the gold and purple, the second-most storied franchise in NBA history. His entire body of work places him as my number four guard of all-time.
I know many of you think Kobe is much better than Maravich, but I beg to differ. I think that a player should be evaluated by what they did for the game, and Maravich’s ability added to his creativity branded a whole new NBA style of entertainment-oriented sport. That being said, Kobe is one of the most gifted athletes the NBA has ever seen. He is closing in on his fourth NBA championship at the ripe age of 30, which would put him in some elite company. For my money, Kobe is the best player in the game today, bar none. But I still think that he won’t ever reach the expectations put forth of him by the media of achieving the greatness that Michael did.
If you think the high-flying NBA of the 21st-century is entertaining, watch some tapes of Maravich. He was the best showman the game has ever seen, because he truly enjoyed playing the sport of basketball. His 24.2 points per game average furthermore displays his greatness on the court. That’s not to mention that behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, Maravich is arguably the greatest college player of all-time. He won pretty much every award in the book, and has his jersey number, 7, retired.
1. Michael Jordan
Jordan is the gold standard by which we compare all great NBA players. He was the best player ever to lace them up, it is not even close. I am quite frankly sick and tired of hearing all of the comparisons to Kobe, because they aren’t even on the same level. We were lucky enough to live in the Jordan generation, and to see the most impressive basketball player ever to walk the Earth. From all the records he has set, to the magical moments he has created, Jordan stands alone on top.
Michael Whittenberg's List:
10. Pete Maravich
9. John Stockton
8. Clyde Drexeler
7. George Gervin
6. Jerry West
5. Isiah Thomas
4. Oscar Robertson
3. Kobe Bryant
2. Magic Johnson
1. Michael Jordan
Joe Willett's List:
10. Walt Frazier - 7 time All-Star, one of the great defenders in NBA history.
9. George Gervin - 12 time All-Star, Hall of Famer, 4 scoring titles (All-Star and scoring titles combined NBA and ABA)
8. John Stockton - 10 time All Star, all-time leader in assists and steals.
7. Bob Cousy - 13 time All-Star, 1957 MVP, Hall of Famer, led Boston Celtics to 6 titles including 5 straight from 1959-63
6. Jerry West - 14 time All-Star, Hall of Famer, "Mr. Clutch" is the only player to lose the NBA Title and be the Finals MVP
5. Isiah Thomas - 12 time All Star, Hall of Famer, scored 16 points in final 94 seconds of the 1984 Game 5 Finals, baddest of the bad boys
4. Oscar Robertson - 12 time All Star, 1961 ROY, 1967 MVP, Hall of Famer, averaged a triple-double the first 5 years of his career combined
3. Magic Johnson - 12 time All-Star, 3 time MVP, 3 time Finals MVP, could dominate anywhere on the court, one of the best at any position
2. Kobe Bryant - 10 time All-Star, 2007-08 MVP, fastest to 20,000 points, already one of the greatest and he is still playing
1. Michael Jordan - 14 time All-Star, 5 time MVP, 1985 ROY, 6 time Finals MVP, 1988 Defensive POY, greatest to ever play the game period
TJ Zwarych's List: * - Still Playing
10. Bob Cousy - One of our many point guards on this list, Cousy lead the NBA in assists 8 consecutive years. Cousy made 13 all-star teams, 12 NBA All-First teams, he won 6 championships and won the MVP award in 1957.
9. John Stockton - John Stockton and Karl Malone were won of the most potent dynamic duo's ever, so the guard half of that duo had to be on the list. Stockton is the NBA's all time leader in assists and steals. He was also a 10 time all-star.
8. Isiah Thomas - Thomas was elected to 12 all-star teams, which he was the MVP of twice. He was on 3 NBA first teams and 2 NBA second teams. Isiah has won 2 NBA titles where he won the finals MVP honour in 1990. Thomas was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
7. Clyde Drexler - Clyde the Glyde has always been on great teams which was taken some spotlight away from him. Being on teams with Hakeem Olojuwon and other fantastic players, you sometimes cannot get all the touches you deserve. Clyde made the NBA first team once, the NBA second team twice and the NBA third team 3 times, he also won 1 NBA title and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
6. George Gervin - Nicknamed "The Iceman" for his coolness and composure on the court, George Gervin definitely deserves to be on this list. Gervin was a 3 time ABA all-star, a member of the ABA top 30 team, a 7 time NBA All-First team, a 9 time NBA all-star and was the MVP of the all-star game in 1980.
5. Jerry West - The Logo, Mr. Clutch, however you put it, Jerry West is one of the best shooters to ever put on a Lakers uniform, and to ever play in the NBA. Jerry West won an NBA Championship in 1972, and is also the only player ever to be the Finals MVP without winning the finals. Mr. Clutch was a 13 time all-star, with 1 all-star MVP, a 10 time NBA All-First team member, a 2 time NBA Second team member and a 3 time NBA All-Defensive team member.
4. Oscar Robertson - Oscar Robertson was a walking triple double. He averaged a triple double for his first 5 years in the league combined. He was a 12 time all-star and a 9 time All NBA First Team member. He was an NBA champion in 1971 and the MVP in 1964. He also won 3 all-star game MVPs and was the rookie of the year in 1961.
3. *Kobe Bryant - Finally winning an MVP this year and getting to the finals again, Kobe definitely deserves to be this high on the list. Kobe was the fastest player ever to reach 20,000 points. Kobe is a 10 time all-star, a 10 time NBA first team member, 8 time all-defensive team selection, 3 time NBA champion (maybe 4, depends how this one unfolds), 2 time all-star MVP, 2 time scoring champ and the 1997 slam dunk contest champ.
2. Magic Johnson - Magic could literally play every position. He is widely considered the second best player ever and was the leader of the 1980's showtime lakers. Magic was a 5 time NBA champion, 3 time finals MVP, 3 time NBA MVP, 9 time all NBA first team member, a 12 time all-star and a 2 time all-star game MVP
1. Michael Jordan - Ok, I think we were all expecting this. Michael isn't just the best guard ever, he is the best player ever. Michael was a 6 time NBA champion, 6 time NBA finals MVP, a 5 time NBA MVP, 1 time Defensive player of the year award winner, 10 time all NBA first team member, a 14 time all-star, 3 time all-star game MVP and a 2 time slam dunk competition champ.
Honourable Mentions: Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd.
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