The Great Point Guard Debate: The Best Of The Rest

Kevin Johnson

Over the past few weeks eight point guards took center stage to determine the best. The arguments were presented and I made my feelings known, but left you enough neutral data to formulate yours as well.

In the time spent researching these great players, some other players were seen and I want to make sure they are not overlooked. Some are champions of the record books and others are champions on the court. Either way, here are a few Golden Point Guard Nuggets of the past 60+ years.

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KEVIN JOHNSON – 12 Seasons with Cleveland and Phoenix
The Highlights: 18th all-time in assists and a three-time All-Star

KJ was the heart and soul of the Phoenix Suns during their consistent run as a contender in the ’90s. He will forever be known for the poster he put Hakeem Olajuwon in on May 14, 1995 in the Western Conference Semis. What he should be known for is his fearlessness and how he took his game to otherworldly levels in the playoffs, averaging 21.5 PPG and 9.8 APG in 83 games between 1989 and 1995.

His playoff success was highlighted by his dominance in 1993, leading Phoenix to the NBA Finals while averaging 23.6 PPG and 11.6 APG in 23 games, only to have his dream cut short by Michael Jordan.

DENNIS JOHNSON – 14 Seasons with Seattle, Phoenix and Boston
The Highlights: five-time All-Star, three-time NBA Champ, nine-time All-Defense and the 1978-79 NBA Finals MVP

Most remember DJ as the steady beat of the Boston Celtics great run in the ’80s, but before that he was an NBA MVP with the Seattle Supersonics. Through his career, he was a winner and did it with every team he landed on. He never averaged more than 19.5 PPG in his career and never averaged more than 7.5 APG in any season, but his impact was made on every team he played for.

MARK JACKSON – 17 Seasons with New York, Los Angeles (Clippers), Indiana, Utah and Houston
The Highlights: third all-time in assists and the 1987-88 Rookie of the Year

Jackson became the Robert Parish of point guards after he played long enough to begin to crack the top of some all-time lists. He was not the most athletic or fast guy. He was not the most dynamic player. But in the end he put in his time to get his name next to Stockton, Kidd and Magic.

ALVIN ROBERTSON – 10 Seasons with San Antonio, Milwaukee, Detroit and Toronto
The Highlights: 10th all-time in steals, four-time All-Star, 1985-86 Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year

As a point guard and defender, Robertson has few or no equals. He was never the elite scorer or distributer that other point guards were, but he could defend anyone.

Robertson was never able to gain the success in the playoffs playing for average San Antonio and Milwaukee teams.

ROD STRICKLAND – 17 Seasons with New York, San Antonio, Portland, Washington, Miami, Minnesota, Orlando, Toronto and Houston
The Highlights: ninth all-time in assists and 25th all-time in steals

Strickland had a long and relatively quiet career that spanned three decades. He had a career track similar to that of (Mark) Jackson, just not quite as prolific.

MO CHEEKS – 15 Seasons with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey
The Highlights: 10th all-time in assists, fifth all-time in steals, four-time All-Star and five-time All-Defense

Cheeks was the starting point guard on the “Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” Philadelphia team that swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1982-83 NBA Finals. He does not get a lot of respect in the conversation of great point guards despite being in the same class as Stockton, Kidd and Payton as all-time top 10 in both assists and steals.

He had a great career in Philadelphia that ended in a scattered effort to stay in the NBA with stints in San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey.

ANDRE MILLER – Seasons with Cleveland, Los Angeles (Clippers), Denver, Philadelphia and Portland
The Highlights: 14th all-time in assists

When all is said and done, Miller will be a legendary NBA Ironman and one of the top assist men in NBA history. That’s not what you think of when you think of Miller though. At one point he played for a Cleveland team that featured Ricky Davis, DeSagana Diop and Jumaine Jones. That season he led the NBA in assists.

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