New York Knicks: The Top 5 Point Guards in Team History

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIISeptember 22, 2012

New York Knicks: The Top 5 Point Guards in Team History

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    Since their inception in 1946 as one of the NBA's original teams, the New York Knicks have had plenty of great players walk through the doors of Madison Square Garden.

    The point guard position has had a complete overhaul this summer, and it has definitely been the main topic of discussion since April.

    Over the course of their existence, some fantastic point guards have put on the Knicks' blue and orange uniforms, and the new guys will have a lot to live up to when they eventually take the floor.

    Let's take a look back at just who exactly have been the Knicks' greatest performers at the 1 over the last 66 years.

5. Stephon Marbury

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    Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Stephon Marbury was a talented player.

    Now plying his trade in China, Marbury spent five seasons in his hometown of New York, where he was the center of attention on some terrible Knicks teams.

    As a Knick, Marbury put up 18.2 points and 6.9 assists per game, appearing for the blue and orange almost 300 times.

    Marbury never made the All-Star game with the Knicks, but he did put up some impressive numbers, and in 2004 he was selected to compete in the Olympics with Team USA.

    Despite not bringing home the gold, one thing Marbury did do over in Athens was break the Team USA single-game scoring record, which has since been beaten by current Knick Carmelo Anthony.

    Things didn't end well in New York for Starbury when new head coach Mike D'Antoni brought over Chris Duhon as point guard, but for the most part he was a bright spot in a very underwhelming decade for the Knicks.

4. Dick McGuire

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    As a head coach, a scout and a point guard, Dick McGuire was one of the more prominent figures in New York basketball in the '50s and '60s.

    During his playing days, McGuire was a playmaker extraordinaire, and consistently finished amongst the NBA's assist leaders.

    He made the All-Star game five times as a Knick and the All-NBA second team once, and now his No. 15 hangs from the Garden's rafters in his memory.

    Sadly, McGuire passed away in February 2010, but his legend still lives on as the first great point guard in Knicks history.

3. Mark Jackson

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    Now head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson also had success in the NBA as a point guard with various teams including the New York Knicks.

    Jackson was drafted in 1987 to help out Patrick Ewing and the struggling Knicks, and that he did, contributing to their first playoff berth since 1984.

    Even today, Jackson is the only non-lottery pick to ever have won the Rookie of the Year award, doing so after being taken 18th overall.

    His career numbers aren't particularly impressive, but when you look at his early years with the Knicks, it's clear to see there was a time when Jackson was among the best point guards in the game.

    Born in Brooklyn and developed at St. John's, Jackson was a true New York baller, and he brought with him a gritty style most often seen when he would back down opposition point guards.

    Like another point guard on this list, Jackson also spent time as a basketball analyst following his retirement, working with his former head coach Jeff Van Gundy on ESPN and ABC broadcasts.

2. Micheal Ray Richardson

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    Some may consider Micheal Ray Richardson to be more of a shooting guard, but with a career average of 7.0 assists, he certainly qualifies as a point guard, too.

    "Sugar Ray" will forever be remembered for being banned from the NBA as a three-time drug policy violator, but we shouldn't forget just how good he was when he was in the league.

    During his tenure with the Knicks in particular, Richardson played the best basketball of his career, making the All-Star game in three consecutive seasons before being sent away to Golden State.

    Richardson was known for his tough defensive play, as he made the league's All-Defensive First Team twice in 1980 and 1981.

    He finished his career with an average of 2.6 steals per game, after consistently wreaking havoc defensively against anyone who faced him on the perimeter.

    The former fourth overall pick was an assist machine too, and had a career high of 10.1 per game in the 1979-80 season—his first as an NBA All-Star.

No. 1: Walt "Clyde" Frazier

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    Known now as the voice of the Knicks on MSG, Walt "Clyde" Frazier first came to fame as the heart and soul of the franchise's two championship winning teams in 1970 and 1973.

    An absolute star himself, Frazier ran a team filled with Hall of Fame talent including Earl Monroe, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, Jerry Lucas and Dave DeBusschere.

    Even to this date, Frazier is known for his elaborate clothing, and as a rookie he developed the nickname "Clyde" for wearing a hat similar to Clyde Barrow's in "Bonnie and Clyde."

    His on-court play reflected his off-court persona, as Clyde was as smooth as they came when handling and passing the basketball.

    Of all the great moments Frazier had in his career, one in particular stands out, as Frazier put up 39 points and 19 assists against the Lakers in the seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals, to lead the Knicks to victory despite an injury to team captain Willis Reed.

    Some consider Frazier to be the greatest player in Knicks history, but even if you wouldn't go that far, there's no denying that he was their greatest point guard.


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