The NBA has always been littered with a plethora of great point guards. From Bob Cousy to Oscar Robertson to Magic Johnson to Stephen Curry, each generation has its own definitive point guard.
A point guard is not just the engine of the team, they are also the extension of the coach on the court and with this being a golden age of point guards, the position has never been of more importance.
But which of them belong in the pantheon of the greats? Let's take a look at the top 5 point guards to ever lace them up.
#5 Isiah Thomas
Kicking off this prestigious list is arguably the greatest little man to ever play the game, Isiah Thomas. One of the purest point guards to grace the game, Thomas was the leader of the Bad Boys Pistons.
Commonly known as Zeke, he averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 assists over the course of an illustrious career. A career which included 12 All-Star selections, 3 NBA Finals trip, 2 NBA Championships and a 1990 Finals MVP among many other honors.
But he always brought out his best when the lights shone brightest: the NBA Playoffs
First, in the 1984 NBA Playoffs, while playing the New York Knicks and Bernard King in game 5 of the opening round, Zeke scored 16 points in 93 seconds to force the game into overtime.
Four years later, he followed the aforementioned heroics with a performance for the ages on the biggest stage the game can offer: the NBA Finals.
With the Detroit Pistons leading the series 3-2 against the Los Angeles Lakers and closing in on their 1st NBA Championship, their leader went down with an ankle sprain in the 3rd and quarter and had to be pulled out of the game.
What happened next was out of a storybook.
Just 35 seconds later, Isiah returned to the floor and blitzed the Lakers with 25 points in the quarter and gave the Pistons an 81-79 lead heading into the final frame.
In both instances, the Detroit Pistons lost the series, an NBA Championship in the case of the latter, but not without Isiah Thomas proving the old adage right: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
#4 Stephen Curry
Back in 2012, Stephen Curry making such a list would have been deemed impossible. Dealing with ankle injuries and critics aplenty, things looked bleak for the point guard of the Golden State Warriors.
Since then, the Carolina native has been cooking with some hot grease. Averaging 25.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds in the 5-year span, Curry has been on a meteoric rise.
Bending defenses to limits, making the court 94-feet wide and appearing as a real video game glitch on the floor, Curry has thrown conventional defense out of the window. Rarely has a player been more electric on the floor.
Not only is he stylish, he is effective. Especially from the long range. He has already obliterated the single-season record for most 3-pointers made with 402 makes in the 2015-16 season, a huge reason behind the Golden State Warriors recording 73 wins in the regular season, the most ever.
He also has collected hardware along the way, winning the league MVP 2 times, with the 2nd being the only unanimous choice in the history of the league while making 3 consecutive trips to the NBA finals and winning two NBA championships while at it.
The only way for Stephen Curry in this list is up!
#3 John Stockton
If there ever was a quintessential point guard, he would go by the name of John Stockton.
The NBA's all-time leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265), the Gonzaga product was a true floor general. Lead the Utah Jazz to 19 postseason trips in 19 years with 2 NBA Finals trip and 5 Western Conference Finals trip.
A 10-time All-Star and a member of the 1992 Dream Team, John Stockton always made teammates better on the court. For further proof of that, you would have to look no further than the fact that one point he had 10 consecutive seasons of double-digit assists per game in an NBA season while leading the league in assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons.
Forming one of the most feared pick and roll partnership with Karl Malone, the formidable duo terrorized the defenders for 18 years.
While playmaking was his strongest suit, a close 2nd was his capability to stay injury free as he only missed 22 games in his career while suiting up for 82 games in 16 of 19 seasons. As the saying goes, the best ability is availability.
And he showed off his clutch gene as he drained the buzzer-beating series-clinching shot in game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets to send the Utah Jazz hurtling towards their 1st ever NBA Finals appearance.
#2 Oscar Robertson
The original Mr. Triple-Double.
Oscar Robertson was the first player ever to average to triple-double in the 1961-62 season when he finished with the average of 30.8 points per game (ppg), 11.4 assists per game (apg) and 12.5 rebounds per game (rpg).
Not only that but for the first 5 seasons of his career, he averaged 30.3 ppg, 10.6 apg and 10.4 rpg. On top of that, the Big O also finished top five for points and assists in nine consecutive seasons.
A 12-time All-Star, 1961 Rookie of the Year and the league MVP in 1964, Oscar joined ranks with Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to the 1971 NBA Championship.
He also holds the record for the most number of triple-doubles for a career in NBA history with 181 while also having the 2nd most triple-doubles in an NBA season with 41.
Oscar Robertson transcended the play from his position like few players other have. Not only can Oscar Robertson lay the claim to being not only the most well-rounded point guard of all-time but the most well-rounded player in the history of the NBA.
#1 Earvin 'Magic' Johnson
Who else was going to be on the top of the list?
A 12-time All-Star, 5-time NBA Champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, 3-time league MVP, 2nd all-time in triple-doubles with 138 of them, averaged 11.2 apg over the course of his career which tops the league's history.
Not only does Magic Johnson has the resume for the greatest point guard of all time, his accomplishment matches up with anyone who has ever stepped foot on the hardwood floor.
As a rookie, a rookie Earvin 'Magic' Johnson started at center in the place of the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabaar in game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals and dropped 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and led the Los Angles Lakers to the NBA title while clinching the NBA Finals MVP.
To follow that up, he settled his rivalry with Larry Bird in the 1987 NBA Finals as he took a page out of his teammate Kareem-Abdul Jabaar's book and dropped a game-winning baby hook shot to seal game 4 and helped the Lakers take a 3-1 lead in the Finals.
Even the great Larry Bird had to admit that Magic Johnson was the greatest player he had ever seen. For now, Magic Johnson occupies the penthouse for the greatest point guards of all time.