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NBA - US Sports: Five greatest point guards in history

The point guard is the most specialized position in the NBA and some true legends of the game have played in this role over the years.

Point guards run the offense and they are expected to ensure the coach's game plan is followed. In this respect, they are almost the default captain of the team and are comparable to a quarterback in the NFL.

Vision and the ability to read the game while on the floor is perhaps the most important skill in a great point guard's arsenal, alongside passing and ball handling.

Typically, they are valued more for their assists than scoring - shooting guards shoulder that burden - but a good point guard will still have good points numbers.

These are not hard and fast rules, but it serves a purpose as a brief overview as to what we need to look out to come up with our five greatest point guard in the history of the NBA.

Special mentions go to Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Thomas, Steve Nash and Oscar Robertson, who all just missed out.

5. Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns)

Chris Paul is known as the 'Point God' and for good reason. The 12-time All-Star is the archetypal point guard and his ability to read the game is perhaps unrivalled, certainly among his peers.

The fact Paul is still one of the best in his position in the league at the age of 37 with Phoenix demonstrates just how good he is.

CP3 is also a prolific shooter and has a regular season average of 18.1 points-per-game (20.4 in the playoffs) but what really sets him apart is his defensive play, with Paul capable of running defense and offense simultaneously.

4. Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks)

Jason Kidd won the NBA Championship with Dallas in his second season with the team towards the end of his career, but it is the numbers he was posting earlier on that have really earned him a place on this list.

Before Russell Westbrook was recording triple-doubles for fun, Kidd had them nailed down and at the time he retired he ranked third all-time in the NBA with 118. He also ranks second on the all-time lists in assists and steals.

Kidd managed to adapt his game as his career progressed and winning the championship in 2011 helped to cement his legacy, but even if he'd retired without a ring he would still be among the true greats.

3. John Stockton (Utah Jazz)

John Stockton may never have managed to win a championship with Utah Jazz but he almost certain would have at least one had he not been playing in the same era as Michael Jordan at Chicago Bulls.

Stockton was an exceptional point guard in the traditional sense and he also had the ability to score three-pointers with what looked like relative ease.

Point guards are judged on assists, and Stockton is the all-time assist leader in NBA history with a whopping 15,806 to his name - Kidd is over 3000 behind him.

Those assists were in part due to Stockton's unrivalled feel for the pick-and-roll and link-up with Karl Malone.

Stockton set the benchmark in that regard, and in the 19 years since he called time on his career no one has even come close. Stockton is also the all-time leader in steals, a statistic that shows his ability to read the game.

2. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Golden State star Stephen Curry does everything a great point guard should do and posts incredible numbers in terms of scoring.

Curry, alongside his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, has revolutionized the game in the fact that now three-pointers are absolutely crucial.

It isn't simply the fact he can score from deep that makes him a true great, it is also down to how much of the opponents defense he occupies as even at a distance Curry sometimes requires a double-team defense - allowing more space for his teammates to operate and for him to pick his passes.

Add to that the individual honours (two-time MVP, Finals MVP, all-time three-point leader - the list goes on), and the Dubs talisman is right up there with the legends of the NBA.

1. Earvin 'Magic' Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers)

The numbers perhaps favour Curry and when his career is done maybe he will be regarded as the greatest ever to play in the point guard role.

However, while Curry had to wait until his sixth Finals appearance to get that Finals MVP award, Magic Johnson was coming up with the goods year after year for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s - winning that award five times between 1980 and 1988.

In his time, Johnson's passing ability and skills as a playmaker were unrivalled and you can still see his influence today in players like Curry, LeBron James, CP3 and countless others.

Johnson was a true basketball pioneer and as such he remains the best point guard ever to grace the NBA - for now at least.

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