Magic Johnson was the do-it-all man when he played for the Lakers throughout the '80s, and few can debate that he is the best point guard ever.
Magic is just one of the 30 featured point guards who will follow this slide. Point guards can essentially make or break a team, and every team has had at least one of significance.
I will take a look at every team's greatest at the position and debate them against the rest of the notables.
With that in mind, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
Years as a Hawk: 1977-1986
Key Achievements: Two-time All-Star
"Fast" Eddie Johnson kicks off the list. To the youthful NBA fans out there, he might not be a household name, but back in the early '80s he was one of the league's best.
The former Auburn Tiger was a sharpshooting speed demon who spent the first nine seasons of his decade-long career in Atlanta, and it was there that he averaged 15.1 points per game.
Alas, the 6'2" Ocala, Florida native was booted from the league in 1987 for continually struggling to kick his drug addiction.
Years as a Celtic: 1950-1963
Key Achievements: Six-time NBA champion, 13-time All-Star, 1957 NBA MVP, 10/2/0-time All-NBA, No. 14 jersey retired
Regarded as the first great point guard ever, Bob Cousy made the Boston Celtics what they are today. Even in the year 2011, nearly 50 seasons after his retirement, "The Cooz" is still considered a top-five point guard of all-time.
The stats speak for themselves: 18.4 points, 7.5 assists and 5.2 boards per game, the last being an astounding statistic when you consider that Cousy was only 6'1" during his playing days. He also was selected to an All-NBA team in each of his first 12 seasons.
Cousy still holds the single-game record for most free throws hit in a game, with an astounding 30 conversions on 32 attempts.
Most importantly, his team won six titles while he was a member of the C's, and he played alongside Hall of Famers Bill Russell, K.C. Jones and Sam Jones when he hoisted the trophy.
By the way, there is no chance Rajon Rondo takes this spot any time soon. Cousy revolutionized the way point guards played; Rondo is simply a follower of the Cousy lifestyle.
Years as a Bobcat: 2005-2010
Key Achievements: None
Although the Charlotte Bobcats' history spans just seven years, they have already had one solid point guard in Raymond Felton.
The 26-year-old and former fifth-overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Felton is currently a Nugget in Denver, but his best full season came when he averaged 14.4 points and 7.4 assists for the Bobcats in 2007-08.
D.J. Augustin might be a few years from making this list, but in all likelihood it might take a decade before a challenger can overtake Felton.
Years as a Bull: 2008-present
Key Achievements: Two-time All-Star, 2009 Rookie of the Year, 2009 first-team All-Rookie
It may be hard to fathom, but 22-year-old Derrick Rose is already the best point guard in the franchise history of one of the NBA's most historic clubs.
He's considerably far down the path to the 2011 MVP, which would be his first, and it is well deserved during an incredible 25/8.4/4.2 season in the Windy City. His defense is much improved from previous years, when it was more of an afterthought.
Already the best point guard in the league, Rose may rank with the greatest when his career has concluded (and I am not just referring to Bulls' point guards), but at this point it's too early to compare him to the best of the best.
That doesn't mean he hasn't been fantastic enough to hold this spot.
Years as a Cavalier: 1986-1995
Key Achievements: Four-time All-Star, 1/0/3-time All-NBA
Mark Price was selected with the 25th-overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. A quarter of a century later, it is still safe to call him one of the greatest sharpshooters to ever step on the hardwood floor.
Perhaps one of the NBA's 10 best shooters ever, Price shot an incredible 90.4 percent from the charity stripe throughout his career, the second best number of all-time.
During his time in Cleveland, he solidified himself as the third member of the 50-40-90 Club, an exclusive group that includes Price, Larry Bird and Reggie Miller.
That's not to say he couldn't dish when he needed to. He currently holds the Cavs' all-time assist record, with 4,206 to his name.
Years as a Maverick: 1983-1994, 1996-97
Key Achievements: Two-time All-Defensive team
There are three primary reasons that Derek Harper's inclusion on this list is deserving.
For one, he played for the Mavericks for well over a decade, and upon returning to the club in 1996, he picked up where he left off. Longevity is a key reason why Harper is on the list, as opposed to active points Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. He played in 1,199 career contests, good for 21st all-time, and he donned Mavs blue in well over half of these battles.
The second reason he is present in the slideshow has to do with his strong defense. For years Harper was considered among the league's best in that category. He made the All-Defensive Team twice during his tenure in Dallas.
The final factor going into Harper's inclusion has to do with his numbers. He always produced steals and dished out assists, and he ended his career 14 years ago as 11th all-time in the former, and 17th all-time in the latter.
Years as a Nugget: 1984-1990
Key Achievements: 0/2/0-time All-NBA, two-time All-Star
Say what you want about the Denver Nuggets' offense-orientated teams of the 1980s, but Lafayette "Fat" Lever barely gets the nod over Chauncey Billups.
Fat Lever might be one of the best players you've never heard of, and I really can't imagine why he wasn't ever really a household name. In all honesty, he was probably the best stat-producing point guard since Oscar Robertson.
In fact, on multiple occasions he threatened to average a triple-double throughout an entire season. One season (in 1988-89, to be exact), Lever averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists.
Although just 6'3", Lever regularly led his team in rebounding. Now that is quite the accomplishment.
Lever is undoubtedly one of the best four or five players to ever toss on the Denver Nuggets uniform. Other than Alex English, David Thompson and Carmelo Anthony, who is there better than him?
Just seeing this all gets me a little worked up due to his severe under-appreciation. Expect an article from me soon entitled "Fat Lever: Denver's Forgotten Nugget."
Years as a Piston: 1981-1994
Key Achievements: Two-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Star, 3/2/0-time All-NBA, 1990 NBA Finals MVP, No. 11 jersey retired
No questions asked, Isiah Thomas is one of the greatest point guards ever.
He played in the late 80s and early 90s as a member of the "Bad Boys," with guys like Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman. As a team, they won back-to-back championships, the latest proving Thomas was clutch, something that factored into his winning the 1990 NBA Finals MVP trophy.
A prime model of consistency, "Zeke" started 971 out of a possible 979 games throughout his 14-year career.
He put up good numbers and he was a remotely fierce defender, too. Nineteen points, nine assists and nearly two steals aren't anything to shy away from. In fact, I'll take those!
On a side note, poor Chauncey Billups. In two consecutive slides, he is the runner-up. You have to feel bad for him, especially when you consider he is most likely headed to the Hall of Fame.
Years as a Warrior: 1989-1996
Key Achievements: Three-time All-Star, 1/1/1-time All-NBA
Before he found success in Southern Florida, Tim Hardaway shined in the Bay Area.
As apart of "Run TMC" with Warrior teammates Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, the team ran an offensive scheme that hadn't been seen in a long while. However, it didn't ultimately matter as they never exceeded playoff expectations.
Hardaway's second, third and fourth seasons in the league were rewarded with All-Star selections, the only such streak of the six-footer's career.
The things that kept Hardaway's pro career in Oakland afloat (aside from his scoring, in which he possessed a 19.8-point clip) were his excellent passing (he averaged a solid 9.3 assists) and tremendous one-on-one skills, an attribute that can be due to his great basketball IQ and love for the game.
Years as a Rocket: 1970-1983
Key Achievements: One-time All-Star, No. 23 jersey retired
Although Calvin Murphy's sole All-Star Game appearance was in 1979, he undoubtedly was a mainstay among the NBA's best one guards throughout his career.
He spent the entirety of his Hall of Fame career in Houston, and standing 5'9" and weighing in at a meager 165 pounds, he was one of the NBA's greatest undersized players.
His free-throw stroke was well-documented, and one season he drained a then-NBA record 95.1 percent of his foul shots.
He averaged 17.9 points and 4.4 assists for the Rockets during his tenure, and he was rewarded by having his jersey lifted into the rafters with the conclusion of his illustrious career.
Years as a Pacer: 1994-96, 1997-2000
Key Achievements: None
Although I will have some rebuttal regarding the selection of Mark Jackson, at least let me first explain why he deserves this spot.
His defense was phenomenal for starters. Sure, he wasn't a great shooter, but he sure as heck made up for it on the defensive side of the hardwood.
No one could deny Jackson's importance to the Pacers. After he was dealt to the Nuggets prior to the inception of the 1996-97 season, Indiana slowly regressed in the standings, ultimately hitting 10th place in the East before the deadline. General manager Donnie Walsh brought back Jackson, and the Pacers narrowly missed the playoffs.
Although he averaged less than double digits throughout his career, he almost nearly matched it with his crazy good ability to dish out assists.
Years as a Laker: 1979-1991, 1996
Key Achievements: Five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, three-time NBA Finals MVP, 9/1/0-time All-NBA, No. 32 jersey retired
Earvin Johnson, simply put, is the greatest point guard to ever play the game of basketball, even after his career was ultimately cut short by HIV.
In 12 full seasons, "Magic," which doesn't even really require asterisks, accomplished practically everything necessary to attain legendary status. He won multiple NBA titles (five), snagged multiple MVPs (three), was a frequent visitor to the All-Star Game (12 appearances) and had his jersey sailed into the rafters at the living legend that is the Staples Center. Last but not least, he was apart of the first-team All-NBA nine times.
All in all, Magic had great career numbers. He averaged 19.5 points, an unmatched 11.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game. Just as Fat Lever and Oscar Robertson had been previously, Magic Johnson was a legitimate triple-double threat as soon as he stepped on the floor.
Oh, and I guess I forgot to mention that his career field-goal percentage is 52 percent, completely atypical of someone who plays the point guard position.
Some consider the 6'9" Michigan State product, the tallest in NBA history at his respective position, to be the greatest Los Angeles Laker ever. To them I say: you may be right!
Years as a Clipper: 1983-89
Key Achievements: One-time All-Star
Norm Nixon is the only Los Angeles Clipper point guard to ever play in the NBA's All-Star Game, a feat he achieved in 1985.
Two years prior, Nixon, a fan favorite with the Lakers, switched uniforms but not arenas as he joined the Clippers. It was with them that he enjoyed the greatest individual success of his career.
In the 283 games he donned the Clips' red and blue unis, Nixon averaged better than 14 points and nine assists.
In a close contest, Nixon beat out the likes of Sam Cassell, Ron Harper and Baron Davis.
Years as a Grizzly: 2001-05, 2011-present
Key Achievements: None
Interestingly enough, Jason Williams was far and away the best point guard in Grizzlies history. His dazzling passes and ferocious defense made him an easy choice here.
Even more interestingly enough, he is currently in his 13th season in the NBA after a return to Memphis.
However, during his time there, Williams, whether you liked him or not, had some good seasons under his belt. His first as a member of the Grizz, in 2002, was his best, as he averaged 14 points and eight assists per game.
Years as a Heatle: 1996-2001
Key Achievements: Two-time All-Star, 1/2/0-time All-NBA
Tim Hardaway is the first of a duo who is mentioned more than once throughout the duration of this slideshow. Whatever that says about him, he was still one of the NBA's best when he suited up in Miami in the late 90s into the new millennium.
His crossover, also known as the "UTEP dub step," was to die for, and in his first season in South Beach he was selected to the All-Star Game and was voted to the NBA's first team.
Watch out for this guy's son, who although only a freshman at Michigan, has already displayed skills that reflect that of his father's.
Years as a Buck: 1970-74
Key Achievements: One-time NBA champion, two-time All-Star, 0/1/0-time All-NBA
Although he had seen his best days as a star in Cincinnati, Oscar Robertson was ready for a final encore in Milwaukee with the Bucks.
"Big O" finally won an NBA title in his first season as a Buck, and still put up solid numbers in all four campaigns in Southern Wisconsin.
Robertson just edges out Paul Pressey and Sam Cassell, who you will see later in this slideshow, to claim victory and win the title as the best Bucks point guard.
Years as a Timberwolf: 2003-05
Key Achievements: One-time All-Star, 0/1/0-time All-NBA
Just the pure sight of Sam Cassell in a Timberwolves jersey makes me, a beloved fan of the club, nostalgic.
The 2003-04 season, one that saw Minnesota lose to those darn Lakers in six games in the Western Conference Finals, belonged to the Wolves' three-headed monster: Cassell, Kevin Garnett and Latrell Sprewell.
Cassell was an All-Star and a second-team All-NBA that season, the only selection in both categories in his noteworthy career.
He spent just two full seasons on the roster, but when you consider the length of other Timberwolves' starting point guards (Pooh Richardson, Terrell Brandon, Stephon Marbury, Randy Foye) Cassell's inclusion makes perfect sense.
Years as a Net: 2001-08
Key Achievements: Six-time All-Star, 2/1/0-time All-NBA, two-time All-Defensive
Jason Kidd was one of the easier choices to select from on this entire list.
Being one of the best pure point guards ever, Kidd's skills were based on defensive intensity on the perimeter and some of the best instincts and basketball knowledge of any player, let alone a point guard.
Kidd always put up great numbers, and even then he couldn't be appreciated enough. Arguably his second-best season came when he sported the Nets unis back in 2003, when he averaged 18.7 points, 8.5 assists and seven rebounds in his second full season in Jersey.
No one can argue with how tremendous Kidd's career has been, except for one thing holding him back—a title. Today is his 38th birthday (Happy birthday!) and it might be his best chance this year, as a member of the Mavericks.
Does anyone actually realize how freakishly high his 6.8 rebounding career average is? Does anybody get that he's the best little rebounder since Oscar Robertson? Does anybody care that he averaged a triple-double over a postseason?
Years as a Hornet: 2005-present
Key Achievements: Four-time All-Star, 1/1/0-time All-NBA, One-time All-Defensive, 2006 Rookie of the Year
Well, this didn't take too long.
The organization's only other respectable point guard, the 5'2" Muggsy Bogues, was clearly not as good as the 25-year-old Chris Paul.
In just five-plus seasons, the Louisville native has established himself as a premier scorer, passer and defender. He really has the whole point guard package.
CP3 had one of the best statistical seasons in recent history during the 2008-09 season, where he averaged 22.8 points, 11 assists and shot better than 50 percent from the field. Additionally and remarkably, he snagged 2.8 steals per contest.
Wow, that is a fabulous season if I've ever seen one, and from a fabulous player, too.
Years as a Knickerbocker: 1967-1977
Key Achievements: Two-time NBA Champion, Seven-time All-Star, 4/2/0-time All-NBA, Seven-time All-Defensive, No. 10 jersey retired
Walt Frazier was undoubtedly the floor general of the New York Knicks during his time there. Additionally "Clyde" won just about every individual award one can pick up throughout the course of a season, except a season's Most Valuable Player.
While everyone remembers Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals as the Willis Reed Show, it was Frazier who ultimately won the Knicks' first-ever championship. He went a solid 12-for-17 from the field that day, an incredible 12-of-12 from the free-throw line, totalling 36 points, and chipped in 19 assists as well.
Three seasons later, he and Reed did it again, leading the Knicks to the 1973 NBA Finals trophy.
Clyde was not only an icon around the world, but quite possibly the most beloved Knick ever, except for maybe backcourt buddy Earl "The Pearl" Monroe.
In all honesty, no Knickerbocker point guard can even touch what Frazier did for the team. His career scoring average of 19.3 coupled with his six boards and assists per game tell you the numbers, but what you don't see on the stat sheet is the heart he brought to the Big Apple.
Years as a Super Sonic: 1990-2003
Key Achievement: Nine-time All-Star, 2/5/2-time All-NBA, Nine-time All-Defensive, 1996 Defensive Player of the Year
Throughout the 1990s, Gary Payton was considered quite possibly the best remedy to preventing Michael Jordan syndrome, which occurred every time the Bulls took the hardwood against their opponents.
"The Glove," as he was affectionately known, is the greatest defensive point guard in NBA history, and why he doesn't rank with the consensus top five point guards will always be a mystery to me. He had nine first team All-Defense selections, and was voted the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.
He could play offensively too, and he sported career averages of 18.1 points, 7.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
The one thing that was detrimental to Payton's career was his lack of a ring, something he would finally find years later as a member of the Miami Heat.
Years as a Magician: 1993-99
Key Achievements: Four-time All-Star, 2/0/1-time All-NBA
Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway was someone who I looked up to as a kid, and I can remember even at my young age what he did with the Orlando Magic in his six seasons there.
It was then that he was a routine All-Star, an awesome guy and a member of the Shaq-led Magic. Just thinking about it, a lot of the guys have ties to the Diesel, but that story is for another time.
In 1995, as a 24-year-old sophomore of the NBA, Penny and the crew flew to the NBA Finals, where the team promptly was swept. Although no one in Orlando believed it at the time, it would be their last appearance until the days of Dwight Howard.
His career averages of 19 points, 6.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds at this moment still trump Jameer Nelson, but if Nelson and Howard lead the team to a title or two, you could see Penny's name erased.
Years as a Sixer: 1978-1989
Key Achievements: One-time NBA Champion, Four-time All-Star, Four-time All-Defensive, 0/1/0-time All-NBA, No. 10 jersey retired
Before any one lashes out at me, understand that Allen Iverson was a shooting guard.
Okay, now that you have the truth, Maurice Cheeks, ladies and gentleman.
Before he was an NBA coach and a Star Spangled Banner-finisher, Mo Cheeks was a fine point guard in the city of Brotherly Love, and he helped lead the 76ers to their last title, which was all the way back in 1983.
He didn't have great averages (12.2 points, 7.3 assists) with the Sixers, but his shooting was fantastic (52.8 percent), and he mastered at the art of snagging steals (2.3 per game).
Additionally, Mo was one of the best defensive guards, and made the NBA's first All-Defense team four times throughout the 80s.
He was rewarded by having his No. 10 jersey retired in Philadelphia.
Andre Miller and Mike Gminski round out Philly's top three.
Years as a Sun: 1988-1998, 2000
Key Achievements: Three-time All-Star, 0/4/1-time All-NBA
When I was researching for Kevin Johnson, it seems that even now his NBA career is more noteworthy than that of his political one, despite the fact that he is the mayor of Sacramento, California, the 38th-largest city in this great country.
Politics aside, Johnson spent half a season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before ultimately playing parts of 12 seasons with Phoenix, and it was there that he became one of the most beloved players in Suns history.
In Johnson's first year with the club, he averaged 20 points and eight assists and was named the NBA's Most Improved Player. Despite not being the best individual player in Phoenix thanks to Tom Chambers and Charles Barkley, Johnson still made his mark on Suns' history.
Although he never won a ring, Johnson still should be considered the Suns' best point guard over Steve Nash. He could pass like Nash, and score better than the Canadian could.
However, give Nash a season or two and he will surpass Johnson.
Years as a Blazer: 1985-1995
Key Achievements: Two-time All-Star
In the 1985 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers trusted Terry Porter with the 25th overall pick, a guy who was out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a Division II school.
But he did not disappoint, and over the next decade he played alongside Clyde Drexler and the Blazers on teams that made it to the 1990 and '92 Finals.
He averaged 14.9 points, seven assists and shot nearly 39 percent from beyond the arc as a member of Portland's finest.
He narrowly edges out Damon Stoudamire for this spot, due to longevity and the fact that he was never an All-Star in the Rose City, while Porter got two nods there.
Years as a Royal: 1960-1970
Key Achievements: 1964 NBA MVP, 10-time All-Star, 1961 Rookie of the Year, 9/1/0-time All-NBA
The greatest statistical master of the point guard position ever, Oscar Robertson, or "Big O" as he was known, was a regular triple-double threat year in and year out, and in just his second season he did average a triple-double.
That season the numbers were astounding: 30.8 points, 12.5 assists and 11.4 rebounds per game.
He never averaged less than 24 points per game during his decade with the Royals, and all in all he averaged just over 29, as well as 10.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds.
He was LeBron James before LeBron James existed.
The one thing that terminated thoughts about calling Big O the greatest point guard ever was the missing jewelry on the fingers, and although he would win one later in his career as a member of the Bucks, as previously noted, he didn't play the star role as routinely as he did for the Royals in Cincinnati.
Like Denver's Fat Lever, an under-appreciation article might have to be in store for Big O.
Years as a Spur: 2001-present
Key Achievements: Three-time NBA Champion, 2007 NBA Finals MVP, Three-time All-Star, 0/0/1-time All-NBA
From the time Tony Parker joined the San Antonio Spurs in the summer of 2001, winning was on his mind as much as it now graces the thoughts of actor Charlie Sheen.
Three championship rings later, there's really no denying that. At 28, Parker is easily the best point guard in Spurs' history.
In 10 seasons, he has missed more than 10 games just twice, and has played in over 700 contests while wearing the Spurs uniform. He was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP after averaging greater than 20 points and six assists while being a member of the victorious Spurs.
He is third in assists in team history, and his career averages of 16.7 points and 5.7 assists are really solid for a guy who has played his entire career with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. His 49.3 career field goal percentage is extremely exceptional for a point guard.
Years as a Raptor: 1995-98
Key Achievements: 1996 Rookie of the Year
Many people recognize Damon Stoudamire as a second-tier point guard whose greatest success came in the City of Roses with the Trail Blazers. However, the 5'10", 170-pound wonder's best years came in his first two north of the border with the Toronto Raptors.
In his first season, his campaign was rewarded as he took home Rookie of the Year honors, and he put up 19 points and nine assists to go with a 39.5 percent clip from beyond the arc.
Although "The Mighty Mouse" had great longevity in Portland, it is in Toronto where he earned his individual success and hardware.
Year as a Jazz player: 1984-2003
Key Achievements: 10-time All-Star, 2/6/3-time All-NBA
John Stockton might have been the best pure point guard ever, but what it honestly comes down to is the fact that he and Karl Malone never won a championship together. He and Malone were the quintessential pick-and-roll duo, but at times they froze in their tracks and were seemingly "anti-clutch."
However, he dominated the 90s from a passing standpoint; nobody even came close to his abilities at that point, or any for that matter. He has more than 15,000 career assists, 4,000 better than his closest competition, Jason Kidd.
Stockton was also the greatest pickpocket of all time, and with 3,514 steals is the all-time leader.
I feel like I just named off reasons and made a case for why Stockton was great, rather than why he is the best Jazz point guard. Well, to be honest, Deron Williams doesn't even come close to the almighty Stockton.
Years as a Wizard: 2003-2010
Key Achievements: Three-time All-Star, 2/0/1-time All-NBA
While his first four seasons were spectacular in our nation's capital, Gilbert Arenas' final days as a Wizard were tarnished as a result of his stupidity.
"Agent Zero" took the nickname a little too seriously, and was maybe a little bit too attached to his pistol in DC.
Regardless, Arenas had some great years with the Wizards, and his best came during the 2005-06 season when he averaged an incredible 29.3 points per game to go with six assists and two steals, a year that saw him earn All-NBA team honors.
For now, he is still below 30, and if he gets his actions together, he may play well into this upcoming decade.
Joseph Fafinski is a 19-year-old, originally from Chaska, Minnesota.
He is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri pursuing a career in journalism.
He is a huge fan of basketball, football, baseball and golf, and is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also loves the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Twins.
You can follow Joseph on Twitter at @JosephFafinski.
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