With it being the year 2010, and all sorts of controversy going on out there, I suppose I've decided to add in a little bit of my own. I've done some research and some remembering for the past 20 years of basketball, and made a list of the top 20 ranking point guards since 1990. Sure, there may be a few players that played a little before 1990, but the list is going to be players that played most of their careers anywhere from 1990 and forward. (Sorry, Isiah )
Once again, this is only my thoughts. Feel free to agree/debate and let me know who you think should be on this list as well!
Penny Hardaway (1994 - 2008)
Height/Weight: 6'7 - 195 ;bs
Career: 15.2 PPG, 5.0 APG
Teams: Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Miami Heat
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (1996), NBA All-Star (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998), NBA Finals Appearance (1995)
I'm not sure that everyone would put Penny on this list. For the first seven years of his career, he was an explosive over-sized point-guard that made him hard to match up against for smaller defenders. After injuries started to plague his play, his numbers dropped and he became more of a role player (much like Grant Hill) for contending playoff teams including the Suns and Knicks.
Hardaway's most remembered times were breaking out along side team-mate Shaquille O'neal in 1995, and more importantly, keeping the heart in the Orlando Magic by returning them to the playoffs the next year after Shaq left. Does anyone remember the Penny puppet?
Rajon Rondo (2007 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'1, 171 lbs
Career: 10.7 PPG, 6.8 APG
Teams: Boston Celtics
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (2008), NBA All-Star (2010), NBA All-Defensive 1st Team (2010), NBA All Defensive 2nd Team (2009), NBA All Rookie Team (2007), NBA Steals Leader (2010), NBA Finals Appearances (2008, 2010)
Given Rondo's achievements in the past three years, it would seem he would be higher on this list. But the fact of the matter is, he's only been playing for three years, and he's got a long way to go. He was arguably the best point guard in the league in the 2009-2010 season, but it takes more than that to be an all-time great. Granted I see him moving far up this list by the in the next few years, Rondo still has to work on his shooting.
The good thing is, he's already a seasoned champion and floor leader, and his jump-shot improves daily. Being a solid distributor, and a speedy basket attacker, I see Rondo becoming very much like the next Jason Kidd.
Mark Price (1987 - 1998)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 170 lbs
Career: 15.2 PPG, 6.7
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (1992), All-NBA 1st Team (1993), All-NBA 3rd Team (1989, 1992, 1994), NBA All-Star (1989, 1992, 1993, 1994)
Mark Price was the last great thing the Cavs had before Lebron. Price was one of the best distributors in the league, and was equipped with a deadly three-point shot. Most memorable for his speed and quickness to the basket, Mark Price could possibly be one of the most under-rated guards of the 90's.
Price never really got the chance to get the Cavs to finals after Michael Jordan nailed his team with the last second shot that plunged through the hearts of the Cavs for years to come.
Avery Johnson (1989 - 2004)
Height/Weight: 5'10, 175 lbs
Career: 8.4 PPG, 5.5 APG
Teams: Seattle Sonics, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors.
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (1999)
I know, I know...not flashy numbers, and not many achievements. However, Avery Johnson was the point guard responsible for running the floor and keeping the Spurs a constant threat in the West throughout the 90's. He was mainly a distributor to David Robinson and Sean Elliot, but also had several break through playoff performances of his own. After deep playoff runs through most of the 90's, Johnson was able to lead his team (with the twin towers of course) to the championship over the Knicks in 1999.
Stephon Marbury (1997 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'2, 180 lbs
Career: 19.3 PPG, 7.6 APG
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics.
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Bronze Medalist (2004), NBA All-Star (2001, 2003), All-NBA 3rd Team (2000, 2003), NBA Assists Leader (2004)
Starbury has certainly had his problems in the last three years, with being shunned by the Knicks, and cut after a small stint with the Celtics. He's decided to go try his luck in China, and hopefully can shake some rust off and return to the NBA soon.
Very few duos were as fun to watch as the Marbury/Garnett duo of the Wolves. The young (at the time) duo was energetic and took even the brute force of Lakers to the limit at times. Even after the Wolves, Marbury averaged well over 20 points for the years he was on the Nets/Suns, making his career PPG at a high 19.3.
Damon Stoudamire (1996 - 2008)
Height/Weight: 5'10, 171 lbs
Career: 13.4 PPG, 6.1 APG
Teams: Toronto Raptors, Portland Trailblazers, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs
Major Achievements: NBA Rookie Of The Year (1996), NBA All-Rookie Team (1996)
The little man known as "Mighty Mouse" wasn't as flashy as some of the others, but I don't believe he got as much recognition as he deserved. Stoudamire ran the Portland team that was labeled the "jailblazers" throughout the early 2000's, along with Rasheed Wallace and Scottie Pippen. Another unfortunate victim of the powerful championship Laker's three-peat team, he was never able to lead his team to a championship...but he came close.
Kenny Anderson (1992 -2005)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 168 lbs.
Career: 12.6 PPG, 6.1 APG
Teams: New Jersey Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics, New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers
Major Achievements: NBA All-Star (1994)
Once again, not flashy numbers, but one half of one of those most famous duos of the 90's when paired with Derrick Coleman. Anderson was small, quick, and could weave in and out of screens better than almost anyone in the league.
Although only a one-time all-star, Anderson averaged double-digit points in all but two years of his thirteen-year career. He even did it in his last year in the league. Anderson is also responsible for helping to bring the Boston Celtics get out of their 90's funk in the early 2000's.
Tim Hardaway (1990 - 2003)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 175 lbs
Career: 17.7 PPG, 8.2 APG
Teams: Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (2000), NBA All-Star (1991, 1992, 1993, 1997,1998), All-NBA 1st Team (1997), All-NBA 2nd Team (1992, 1998, 1999), All-NBA 3rd Team (1993), NBA All-Rookie Team (1990)
Tim Hardaway was an extremely talented point-guard, the fact that he is so high up on this list just goes to show you how many amazing guards were in the league.
Although there was a lot of controversy later in his career, he lead the Heat into some deep playoff territory. He had a dangerous three-point shot, and was constantly feeding super-stars Glen Rice, and then Alonzo Mourning over the years. He held the Heat record in assists...you know, until a guy named Dwayne Wade came along.
Derek Fisher (1997 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 200 lbs
Career: 9.2 PPG, 3.2 APG
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Golden States Warriors, Utah Jazz
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)
I think I would be ripped apart if I didn't add D-Fish to this list. I'm not a Laker fan, but when you run the point on a team that wins five NBA championships, you've got to be doing something right. Derek Fisher provides the heart and soul to the winning Lakers. So what if he doesn't have amazing numbers, he's got Kobe Bryant. Although Fisher has never made an all-star team, he's still hits big shots when the Lakers need them.
Deron Williams (2006 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'3, 210 lbs
Career: 16.7 PPG, 9.0 APG
Teams: Utah Jazz
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (2008), NBA All-Star (2010), All-NBA 2nd Team (2008, 2010), NBA All-Rooke Team (2006)
Deron Williams has taken over as the new leader of the Utah Jazz. Almost averaging a double-double, he's in arguments all over the country about whether he's presently the best point guard in the league. If you think this guy is great now? Imagine what he'll be like once he's a seasoned NBA veteran. He shoots better than Jason Kidd ever did, and his passing is right up there. I see D-Will taking the throne sooner rather than later.
Mark Jackson (1988 - 2004)
Height/Weight: 6'1, 180 lbs
Career: 9.6 PPG, 8.0 APG
Teams: New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets
Major Achievements: NBA All-Star (1989). NBA Assists Leader (1997), NBA APG Leader (1997), NBA Finals Appearance (2000).
If I wasn't full of common sense, I'd put Jackson higher on my list. If you watched him play, you would too, but like I said, there are just too many amazing point guards out there. Watching Jackson run a team was like magic. He always seemed to find the perfect person in the perfect spot. Small and powerful, he knew he wasn't the main offensive option, yet could seemingly get to the rim any time he wanted.
Sam Cassell (1994 - 2008)
Height/Weight: 6'3, 185 lbs
Career: 15.7 PPG, 6.0 APG
Teams: Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (1994, 1995, 2008), NBA All-Star (2004), All-NBA 2nd Team (2004)
I had thought about putting Kenny Smith in Sam's place, but then I did some research, and Smith really wasn't as sound as Cassell was career-wise. Not only was Cassell an integral part in all three championship runs, he was great at bringing veteran leadership to every team he played on in the end of his career. He even stepped up and hit some major shots in his final year, helping win one last championship.
Chauncey Billups (1998 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'3, 202 lbs
Career: 15.4 PPG, 5.6 APG
Teams: Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (2004), NBA Finals MVP (2004), NBA All-Star (2006, 2007,2008,2009,2010)
Coming into the league, no one thought Billups was going to turn into the excellent floor leader he is today. The five-time All-Star has been nicknamed "Mr. Big Shot" for the amount of crazy and game winning shots he's gotten to go down in favor of his team. Billups can pass, shoot, see the floor well, and is an automatic at the free-throw line. He's still kicking it with the Nuggets, and hopes to bring them deep into the playoffs, just as he did two years ago.
Kevin Johnson (1988 - 2000)
Height/Weight: 6'1, 180 lbs
Career: 17.9 PPG, 9.1 APG
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns
Major Achievements: NBA Finals Appearance (1993), NBA Most Improved Player (1989), NBA All-Star (1990, 1991, 1994)
One of the best things about KJ, was watching him slam it home. He could jump right out of the gym. KJ's career numbers are fantastic. Very few point guards have come as close to a 20-10 career as Kevin has. Definitely not as flashy when it comes to All-star appearances and such, it was still fun watching him block shots and dish it in to Sir Charles.
Gary Payton (1991 - 2007)
Height/Weight: 6'4, 180 lbs
Career: 16.3 PPG, 6.7 APG
Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat.
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (1996) NBA Champion (2006), NBA Finals Appearances (1996, 2004, 2006), NBA All-Star (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003), NBA Defensive Player Of The Year (1996), NBA Steals Leader (1996), NBA Assists Leader (2000)
Let this guy's achievements speak for himself. Gary Payton not only was one-half of one of the 90's most famous duos in Payton and Shawn Kemp, but Payton was as fierce a competitor as they come up until the day he retired.
Openly known for his on-court jabber and attitude, Gary Payton was probably the fastest guards of the the league in the 90's (aside from Bogues). Unfortunately, he never won a ring on the team he was most known for, but he came off the bench and provided great minutes in the Heat's 2006 championship.
Chris Paul (2005 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'0, 175 lbs
Career: 19.3 PPG, 10.0 APG
Teams: New Orleans Hornets
Major Achievements: NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (2008), NBA All-Star (2008, 2009, 2010), NBA Rookie Of The Year (2005), NBA Steals Leader (2007,2008,2009), NBA Assists Leader (2008, 2009), NBA All-Rookie 1st Team (2005), NBA All-Defensive 1st Team (2009), All-NBA 1st Team (2008), NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team (2008), All-NBA 2nd Team (2009)
Chris Paul is the closest thing we've had to Isiah Thomas since Zeke retired. He's led the league in steals and assists multiple times, and has already been labeled as one of the league's most popular players. He's this close to already averaging a double-double for his career, and by the time his career is over, he'll probably be at the top of this list.
Tony Parker (2002 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'2, 180 lbs
Career: 16.6 PPG, 5.6 APG
Teams: San Antonio Spurs
Major Achievements: NBA Champion (2003, 2005, 2007), NBA Finals MVP (2007), NBA All-Star (2006, 2007, 2009), NBA All-Rooke 1st Team (2002), All-NBA 3rd team (2009)
Everyone seems to be talking about how the Spurs are on the downfall, and Tony Parker's career is coming to end right in front of our eyes. Parker may have lost a step because of injuries in the last couple of seasons, but that doesn't change the fact that he's lead his team (along with Tim Duncan, of course) to three championships within five years of each other. Talk up Derrick Rose as much as you want this season, but expect Tony Parker to come out swinging for being counted out so soon.
Steve Nash (1997 -Present)
Height/Weight: 6'3, 195 lbs
Career: 14.6 PPG, 8.3 APG
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns
Major Achievements: NBA MVP (2005, 2006), NBA All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010), All-NBA 1st Team (2005, 2006, 2007), All-NBA 2nd Team (2008, 2010), All-NBA 3rd Team (2002, 2003), NBA Assists Leader (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010), NBA APG Leader (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010)
The last three guards on the list are in a special category all by themselves. They have never won a ring. Being too late for one of them, Steve Nash is one of the two that still has a chance. Just when people were writing him off as being too old and creaky, he comes out with a blowout season that rivals his MVP years. Nash will easily be inducted into the Hall Of Fame, and is probably the best shooting point guard in the last twenty years.
Jason Kidd (1995 - Present)
Height/Weight: 6'4, 205 lbs
Career: 13.6 PPG, 9.2 APG
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns
Major Achievements: Olympic Gold Medalist (2000, 2008), NBA Finals Appearance (2002, 2003), NBA All-Star (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010), NBA Rookie Of The Year (1995), NBA All-Rookie (1995), All-NBA 1st Team (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004), NBA All-Defensive 1st Team (1999, 2001, 2002, 2006), All-NBA 2nd Team (2003), NBA All-Defensive Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007), NBA Assists Leader (1999, 2001, 2003), NBA APG Leader (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004), NBA Steals Leader (2002)
Many would regard Jason Kidd as the best point guard to ever play the game. It was a very hard decision for me to put him at number two. His passing ability is still top of the league, and he can still see the floor like no other guard in the league. Although he was never a strong shooter, over the last few years he has developed a deadly three-point shot. Kidd has never won a ring, but being that he's had a long and healthy career, nothing says he won't in the upcoming years.
John Stockton (1985 - 2003)
Height/Weight: 6'1, 170 lbs
Career: 13.1 PPG, 10.5 APG
Teams: Utah Jazz
Major Achievements: NBA Hall of Fame, NBA Olympic Gold Medalist (1992, 1996), NBA Finals Appearance (1997, 1998), NBA All-Star (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000), NBA All-Star MVP (1993), All-NBA 1st Team (1994), All-NBA 2nd Team (1988,1989,1990, 1992, 1993, 1996) All-NBA 3rd Team (1991, 1997,1999), NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team (1991,1992,1995,1997), NBA Assists Leader (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991,1992,1993,1994,1995,1996), NBA Steals Leader (1989, 1992), NBA APG Leader (1988-1996), NBA SPG Leader (1989, 1992), NBA Career Assists Leader, NBA Career Steals Leader.
In my opinion, John Stockton is the best point guard to ever play the game period, not just the last twenty years. Nobody passed like him, nobody stole the ball like him. One half of probably the most famous duo in the 90's, Stockton was inducted into the Hall Of Fame last year. He could shoot like Nash, and pass like Kidd. There was just no one else like him, which is why he gets the #1 spot.