Over the last decade, the game has seen a lot of changes. It has moved from a period where point guards used to be at an average height of 5 foot 8 to an average right now which is above 6 feet. A decade back they were considered ball handlers, playmakers, assisting the taller players in scoring, creating space, opportunity and being a defensive liability.
In the current period, we see point guards running circles on other players, leading the scoring, taking on offensive rebounding responsibility and closing down fast breaks. Nowadays, point guards below 6 feet are not picked by teams because they are considered defensive liabilities.
In the 1950's, the revolution of the point guard position started with the development of driving to the basket and taking unmarked perimeter shots. A few years later, came the Pick-and-Roll offensive, which is very common nowadays. In the 90's a good perimeter shooter and a forward were the keys to a successive pick-and-roll. In the current timeline, we find point guards scoring from all corners of the court, running the offense and splitting defenses.
Between the 90's and the first half of the 21st century, the evolution of the point guard position took place on a larger scale with plenty of on-court influences during this period.
Up ahead are 10 of the top scoring point guards to ever grace the NBA along with a few special mentions:
#10 David Bing (1966-78, Career Points- 18,327)
Dave Bing, known for his versatility, was the second pick for the Detroit Pistons in the 1966 NBA draft. He was known for his shooting and would score more than his teammates in most of the games, averaging more than 20+ points per game for the first seven seasons in Detroit. He was a seven-time All-Star during his twelve-year playing career and won the All-Star game MVP in 1976. He was named Rookie of the Year with the Pistons and just after that, in his second season, he became the league's scoring champion.
Bing's #21 is retired by the Pistons.
He moved to the Washington Bullets after 10 years with the Pistons and continued for two years between 1975-77. He finally moved to the Boston Celtics, where he played the last year of his career. He has scored a total of 18,327 points throughout his career and in 1990 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dave Bing is not only successful on the court, he also is successful off the court. He is a very successful entrepreneur and politician. He opened Bing Steel which moved from manufacturing to the middleman business with their first major client being GM Motors. He was a multiple award winner winning the National Minority Small Business Person of the Year in the 1984 and in 2009 won the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his work in civil and human rights in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. He was the mayor of Detroit for one term between 2009-13. During his mayoral period, the city declared bankruptcy.
#9 Isiah Lord Thomas III (1981-94, Career Points- 18,822)
The Pistons continue their success of picking up and developing a few of the best Point Guards in NBA history. Isiah Thomas had nothing short of a phenomenal 13-year basketball career. He played for the Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA and also led them to the championship in 1981. He submitted his name for the draft the same year and was selected by the Pistons as the second overall pick. After a sensational first season, he made it to the All-Rookie First team and that set a precedent. In his 13 years, he made it to 12 All-Star Games.
Between 1988-90, he went to the NBA Finals all three times and won twice, both consecutively against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trailblazers respectively. He was Finals MVP in the 1990 Finals averaging 27.5 Points and 7.0 Assists per game. The Pistons continued their dominance after their championship run but always failed to shake off the emerging Chicago Bulls Dynasty. He retired one month before the end of the 1994 season because of a torn Achilles tendon. He still holds records with the Pistons for scoring, assists, and steals. His number 11 jersey was retired by the Pistons and he was also inducted into the Basketball hall of fame scoring in 2000.
Also read: Top 5 Point Guards in NBA history
Sometimes after many successful years in one particular field, it is difficult to move away. Legends of the game always come back as Coaches, Pundits and always keep ties to the game. Isiah came back as a basketball coach replacing Larry Bird as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, a team that had just won the Eastern Conference title the earlier year.
He converted the Pacers from a veteran-dominated playoff experienced team to a younger, less experienced team. He coached bright young players like Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest, Brad Miller along with the veteran leader Reggie Miller but failing to carry the team deep into the Playoffs, forced the franchise to relieve of his duties after 2003.
In 2006, he was also appointed as director of Basketball Operations by the New York Knicks and promised to build them a championship team offloading the veteran players like Steve Francis and Channing Frye but that experiment didn't work out as well and ended in 2 years in 2008.
#8 Aaron Jamal Crawford (2000- present, Career Points- 18,847)
Currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 18-year veteran has been a top scoring point guard throughout his playing career. He was born and played high school basketball in Seattle, after which he committed to the University of Michigan. He was picked up during the draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers but got traded to the Chicago Bulls on the same day.
He played his final of the four years for the Bulls as a starter and was traded to the New York Knicks that season. His scoring exploits and feuds with Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant are memorable, to say the least. He has always been a top competitor and was known for his deadly crossovers and perimeter shooting.
He is a very distinguished player and widely recognized as an asset to any team in the NBA for his ability to come off the bench and contribute to the score. He has scored 18847 points in his career so far and is still going strong in this aspect. He has won the Sixth Man Award three times with two different teams and holds the record for the most number of four-point plays. He is the only player on this list, with all his scoring exploits to have never appeared in an All-Star game.
#7 William Antony Parker Jr. (2001- present, Career Points- 18,911)
Tony Parker was born in Belgium but is of French descent. He has represented France in all major FIBA competitions since 2001. He played in the French league for two years before appearing for the draft in 2001. He was picked up by San Antonio Spurs who had the 28th pick and has been their starting point guard for the next sixteen seasons winning four NBA championships.
He was the Finals MVP in 2007, a six-time NBA All-star and arguably the most distinguished European player along with Dirk Nowitzki. He is the only player on this list who is not an American. He has scored a career total of 18,911 points and is still going strong after moving to a bench role for the Spurs scoring 8.1 Points Per Game and 3.8 Assists Per Game.
Tony Parker, over the years, has always been consistent for the Spurs. He has put forward unbelievable displays with his trickery, spin moves and fakes when driving to the basket. He has not been the most effective perimeter shooter. His best scoring performance came in 2007 against the Timberwolves, where he led Spurs to a victory scoring 55 points that game.
After being absorbed by the Spurs in 2001, he ended up forming a super team with Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. The recruitment of Kawhi Leonard furthered their chances of winning a championship and they beat the heavily favored Miami Heat in the 2014 Finals. He has been the wall and face of the franchise and will be difficult to replace on retirement.
#6 John Houston Stockton (1984-03, Career Points- 19,711)
John Stockton was easily one of the best playmaking point guard scores to ever grace the game. He is known for his intelligent plays, vision, and offensive displays. The 16th overall pick by the Utah Jazz in 1984, he played off the bench for the first three seasons at the Jazz.
He has appeared in ten All-Star games and shared the award for All-Star MVP with Karl Malone in 1993. He still holds records for assists and assists in the NBA with a career total of 15,806 assists and 3,265 steals, records which have continued to stand even today.
He was a visionary in terms of the game, with this offensive playbooks. The growth of the pick-and-roll to such prominence was his contribution. Karl Malone and he were regular users of this offensive play which won them many games because Stockton was a really good perimeter shooter and Karl Malone was the best bet when it came to playing on the low and high post.
He was a part of the Olympic Dream Team for the United States and won Gold in the Olympics both times in 1992 and 1996. His jersey number 12 was retired by the Jazz and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame twice, once because of being part of the dream team and the other on his own credentials. Post his playing career, he served as the Assistant Head Coach for the Montana State University Women's Team.
#5 Harold Everett Greer (1958-73, Career Points- 21,586)
Hal Greer was one of the best point guards of the 60's. He was a complete offensive phenom and was the picked in the second round of the NBA draft by the Syracuse Nationals, which went on to become the Philadelphia 76ers. After the franchise turnover, they had recruited Wilt Chamberlin. Both of them together took on the eight-year dominance of the Bill Russell led Boston Celtics in the 1967 NBA Finals. He was selected 10 times for the All-Star games and was said to be the third best point guard of his generation after Oscar Robertson and Jerry West.
Harold Greer hailed from a small town in West Virginia called Huntington. He is a local favorite and has a one and a half mile stretch named after him called Hal Green Boulevard. Over the course of his career, he scored 21,586 points, both his college and NBA team jersey numbers 16 and 15 were retired by Marshall University and the Philadelphia 76ers. His highest scoring performance has been against Bill Russell's Boston Celtics with him dropping 50 points that night.
#4 Gary Dwayne Payton (1990-07, Career Points- 21,813)
Gary Payton was highly regarded for his defensive prowess and was nicknamed The Glove. He is the only point guard, (considering the ones in the previous slides with all the defensive stats) to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award and was excellent at trash talk. He matured into a defensive player towards the end of his career but during his younger days, was the most complete ever player.
He played for different franchises through his career, his most notable being the twelve and half years with the Seattle SuperSonics. He still holds scoring, assists and steals records for the franchise. He was part of the Sonics team that reached the NBA finals in 1996 and lost to Michael Jordan the Bulls.
He was traded by the Sonics at the end of 2003 to the Milwaukee Bucks and the following year for Los Angeles Lakers and finally the Boston Celtics. During these three years, he was asked to curtail his game for the team in order to fit into the system especially at the Lakers with Phil Jackson at the helm.
After his one year stint with the Celtics, he moved to the Miami Heat in 2005. This team had a young Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Jason Williams and his former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. That particular year, he played as the backup guard to Jason Williams and was an integral part of the second unit which ran riot on teams that season. The team sparked incredible comebacks that season especially in the playoffs.
One to remember would be Dwyane Wade and Gary Peyton running the offense when they were losing to the Dallas Mavericks 2-0 in the Finals and sparked the incredible comeback saving them from a 3-0 deficit. It was his first NBA championship. Gary Payton is widely regarded as the complete point guard of the 1990's even after comparing him to the likes of Magic Johnson and John Stockton. He scored a career total of 21,813 points and won the Olympic medals with the US National Teams in 1996 and 2000 respectively.
#3 Allen Ezail Iverson (1996-2011, Career Points- 24,368)
Iverson, probably the biggest hit of the 21st century, was a player who grew up in a tough neighborhood. Growing up was not easy for him as his parents were not available for him but despite that, he was a dual-sport athlete and won various awards in both sports. He attended Georgetown University for two years and signed up for the draft in 1996. He was picked by the Philadephia 76ers in the first pick of the first round.
He was also named the Rookie of the Year in a stacked 1996 Draft, one that's considered among the greatest. Despite his small stature, he was still a scoring phenom, his crossovers and ball handling were idolized by the next generation of players.
Iverson enjoyed a whole lot of success in the NBA. He was seen as the face of the NBA during his period of dominance. He was the regular season MVP in 2001 and also made it to the Finals that year but ended up losing to the Lakers. The next year, the exited the playoffs in the first round, losing to the Celtics.
He was involved with a number of controversies during his period as a player. Disciplinary actions against him were taken multiple times and he was even fined because of the way he dressed. The only trophy missing from his cabinet was an NBA Championship. He had endured difficult spells in the NBA and in reality, was the most promising player in the NBA. He has scored 24,368 points in his NBA career which is the third highest by a point guard in the history of the game. The Sixers had also retired Allen Iverson's number 3 jersey. He was also inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
#2 Jerry Allen West (1960-74, Career Points- 25,192)
Jerry West was the biggest revelation of the point guard position. He leads the way with his offensive displays against a number of tough oppositions. He was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers, which later relocated to Los Angeles, as the 2nd overall pick of the first round in the 1960's Draft. He was widely recognized as one of the best clutch shooters of the game.
He is officially called Mr. Clutch and his 60 feet shot against the Knicks during the 1970's Finals of Game 3 to tie the game has a lot to do with that. His career could have taken many U-turns, appearing in a few Conference Finals and NBA Finals. He was injured a few times during the Playoffs, limping on the court but still put up huge numbers.
Throughout his playing career, he has scored 25,192 points, 5,366 rebounds and 6,238 assists throughout his playing career. He has been selected for 14 All-Star Weekends and was the All-Star Game MVP and an NBA playoff champion in the same year 1972. He played with Wilt Chamberlin to win his only NBA Championship.
His number 44 jersey was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. He also served as a head coach for the Lakers between 1976 and 1979 but failed to win anything. He then went on to served on the executive board of the Lakers and is responsible for bringing in Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Phil Jackson.
#1 Oscar Palmer Robertson (1960-74, Career Points- 26,710)
Oscar Robertson also called "The Big O", is the highest scoring point guard on this list. He was 6 foot 5 and dominated the basketball game for more than a decade. In the 1960's, he decided to place himself in the NBA draft, he was picked by the Cincinnati Royals. In his rookie season, he took the game by storm scoring almost a triple-double in every game. He was named the Rookie of the year and the next nine seasons he was part of the All-NBA first team.
He was the first player in the history of the game to average a triple-double in every game of the season. His road to the playoffs was always hindered due to the Celtics, a team led by Bill Russell.
In the 1970 season, he moved to the Milwaukee Bucks and that same year he won his maiden NBA championship. His scoring and defensive exploits still hold value and he is considered one the best point guards to have played the game. He made 12 All-Star appearances throughout his career and won three All-Star MVP awards. He was part of the USA team on multiple occasions. His number 14 and number 1 jersey's have been retired by the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks respectively. He was also inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame.
There are Point Guards who still not on the list but are very close to breaking these records set by these veterans. Some of the special mentions are:
1) Russell Westbrook, 29- 17,061 career points
2) Chris Paul, 32- 16,617 career points
3) Stephen Curry, 30- 14,434 career points
4) Kyrie Irving, 26- 9,698 career points
These point guards are still going strong in their NBA careers and consistently score in double figures which gives them a chance to break into the top 10. Within the next five years, we might be looking at new rankings.