NBA History: 5 greatest playmakers of all time
In sports, a playmaker is an offensive entity who executes plays designed to put one or more teammates in a position to score. In basketball, the players who can make passes that directly lead to baskets are considered playmakers.
A playmaker requires the ability to pass the ball perfectly, quick decision making, positioning, high basketball IQ and great vision. These guys make their team better on the offensive end. Not everyone can master the art of passing but some players are truly gifted.
In this presentation, we will take a look at the five greatest playmakers in NBA history.
#5 LeBron James
LeBron James is often considered the best basketball player in the world right now and regarded by some as the greatest player of all time. He is a combination of speed, skill, and size. LeBron is great at making offensive plays for his teammates and himself.
King James is one of those playmakers who can score a lot of points as well as give a lot of assists every night. He averages more than 7 assists per game throughout his NBA career. James is the only player in NBA history to record at least 31,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, and 8,000 assists.
The three-time NBA Champion is one of the most versatile players of all time. While the opposition defense is trying to stop him, he comes up plays for his teammates. Even at the age of 34, when most players think of retirement, King James is trying to win an NBA Championship with the Lakers, where he is the undisputed star of the franchise.
#4 Chris Paul
Chris Paul is regarded as one of the best point guards in the league. He is primarily known for his passing, playmaking skills and high assist to turnover ratio.
Paul was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2005 NBA Draft. He played brilliantly for the Hornets for a total of six seasons. Later he moved to the Los Angeles Clippers where his performance and skills improved.
Paul currently plays for the Houston Rockets and signed a four-year contract with them in 2018. This season he passed Isiah Thomas to move into seventh on the NBA's all-time career assists list and currently has 9,181 of the same to his name.
CP3 is the most efficient passer and led the league in assist four times (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015). Apart from his assists, he is also a great mid-range shooter and a decent perimeter defender who also led the league in steals in six seasons. Paul has averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.7 assists, and 2.2 steals per game throughout his career.
#3 Steve Nash
Steve Nash is a player whose ball-handling and playmaking skills are exceptional. He also holds the second-highest free throw percentage in the NBA. He could find an open man easily on the court, his basketball knowledge and ability to get others involved was the reason he won the NBA MVP Award two times (2005, 2006) while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
Steve led the league in assists for five seasons (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011) and made more than 10,000 assists (third-most in the NBA) during his NBA career. According to a survey, Nash was rated as the best passer of the ball and the player possessing the best basketball IQ.
Steve Nash’s No. 13 was retired by Phoenix Suns, where he spent ten seasons during two periods. Currently, Nash is a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors and serves as general manager of the Canadian national team.
#2 John Stockton
John Stockton is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time. He is remembered as one of the most consistent and durable players of all time. The 10-time NBA All-Star was selected by the Utah Jazz as the 16th pick of the first round in the 1984 Draft and stayed with the franchise for 19 seasons and led them to their only two NBA Finals appearances.
Stockton's durability meant he rarely missed a game and his no-nonsense approach to the game improved the Jazz team - he remained a starter until his retirement. Although a playmaker is considered as an offensive role, John was equally strong in the defensive end as well. He could easily strip off the ball from any player.
Stockton holds the record for most career assists in NBA history with 15,806 assists and averaged more than 10 assists per game, it looks like this record won't be broken anytime soon. Apart from his assists, he also has the most steals in the history of the league (3,265).
#1 Magic Johnson
The first overall pick of the 1979 NBA Draft Earvin 'Magic' Johnson was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent his entire NBA career with the Lakers as a point guard.
Magic's addition to the LA franchise helped them win an NBA Championship in his rookie season and he became the youngest player ever to win the Finals MVP (a record that he still holds). Magic may have been one of the best ever at making teammates around him better.
Under Pat Riley, Johnson became one of the league's best all-round players and won five NBA titles. Magic Johnson led a fast-paced Lakers attack, he was great at running plays, passing ball to his teammates and even scoring with perfection. Magic has the highest assist average of all time (11.2 assists per game) and ranks fourth in career assists (10,141). He also holds the record for most assists in a playoff game, an NBA Finals game and in playoffs history (2,346).
If not for his early retirement in 1991 due to him testing positive for the HIV, he would have rivaled John Stockton for the most assists record in the league.