Skip to main content

Three players who are currently ahead of Stephen Curry in the "Greatest Point Guards of All-Time."

All Time Great Point Guards

Is Steph Curry a top 3 point guard of all time?

Stephen Curry is undoubtedly the greatest shooter to ever live, and while he is still an active player, he already ranks in the proverbial list of top point guards of all time. Curry is a three-time NBA champion and the only unanimous regular-season MVP in the history of our game, and no one strikes fear in the hearts of opposing defenders like Chef Curry. A recent post from @dunk on Instagram posed whether or not Curry is already the greatest of all time at his position, and while Curry is a magnificent player, I believe the PG GOAT status is still far from his reach. This is not an indictment of Curry by any means, but we have been fortunate enough to witness many great point guards in our time. Quite frankly, the number of great point guards to play in the NBA leaves Steph outside of the top three, and here's why.

Personal Accolades Matter

Basketball is a team sport, but when judging the brilliance of players, individual awards do matter. Curry has two regular-season MVPs under his belt and is about to become the all-time leader in three-point field goals this season. However, with Curry's three NBA titles come zero NBA Finals MVPs, one of which went to Andre Iguodala and the other two to Kevin Durant.

Defense Matters

One might say the Golden State Warriors were one of the best defensive teams in NBA history during their dynastic years, employing a switching defense that stonewalled opposing offensive schemes. While this was a genius tactic by Steve Kerr, the implementation came partly due to Curry's deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball. The shot that cost them the championship during their historic 73-9 season was shot in Curry's face, and Cleveland was actively looking for a switch that would land Curry on one of their premier offensive players. It was a good contest by Curry, but in that situation, you want to force a contested two, not a rhythm three from Kyrie Irving. To be the greatest, you need to do it on both ends of the floor, which unfortunately is not the case for Steph.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

So if Curry isn't in the top three, then who is? Based on the criteria above, the mix of personal accolades and contributions to winning, here are the top three-point guards of all time.

3rd All-Time: John Stockton

Although he never won a ring, John Stockton teamed up with Karl Malone to achieve sustained excellence for around 20 years; that's impressive. Stockton's career included two NBA finals appearances in which they lost in six games to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, which by no means be considered a failure on their part. John is also the all-time leader in assists and steals, showing that he was a true court general on the floor that played both sides of the ball exceptionally well. Championships matter, but they are not the only measure by which we examine players' careers. It's hard to look at John's accomplishments and leave him out of the top three when he did the most critical things for a point guard at such a high level.

2nd All-Time: Isiah Thomas

Even if you did not witness Isiah Thomas's play, history shows that very few players controlled a game as "Zeke" did. Zeke also played tenacious defense as the leader of the Bad Boy Pistons, a team that was feared on the defensive end, and a back-to-back NBA champion. Zeke won the finals MVP in 1990, and more importantly, had the iconic game where he virtually played on one leg to help the Pistons secure a pivotal Finals win against the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, Curry has yet to come up big in the highest leverage moments, which we expect to see from him at some point in his career.

1st All-Time: Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird saved the NBA due to the flair with which they played the game of basketball. Magic was a 6'9 point guard, and unlike anything the game had ever seen, he was the conductor of the Showtime Lakers back in the 1980s. Magic also retired with five championship rings, but his career came to an abrupt end due to illness. He had much left in the tank when he retired, so who knows how successful he would have been if he continued to play. Johnson won three Finals MVPs and played against guys like Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, and Julius Irving, some of the greatest players ever to play the game. Despite not being known for his offense, Magic also scored the ball when it mattered most and lived for and delivered during the most pressure-packed moments.

It is likely that by the end of Curry's career, he will be in the top three or even at the top of this list, but as you can see, there is some stiff competition ahead of him. He may eclipse Stockton and possibly Thomas, but while Steph's impact on the modern game of basketball is undeniable, Magic was just a different kind of winner. Steph and the Warriors are off to a great start this season, so maybe he will get the chance to catch Magic's five rings, but even at five rings a piece, it would be hard to concede the top spot to Curry. Magic was always the team's clear leader, even when the Lakers had Kareem, which unfortunately hasn't always been the case for Steph. Does it hurt his legacy? Maybe, but without Kevin Durant, who knows if Curry would have had more than one ring? In the end, Curry may not be "greater" than these legends, but he is certainly the best show in basketball right now.

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler during media day

Is Jimmy Butler the ultimate troll or a business guru?

With Jimmy Butler moving towards the latter half of his career, it seems that he wants to start building his off-court brand.

Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan on Oprah Show

“He never understand what it takes to be a winner” — When Michael Jordan humiliated Charles Barkley on Oprah

It’s hard to tell if Jordan took Barkley’s joke personally, but what he said next changed the vibe and the entire atmosphere in a few seconds.

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

"I don't think I could truly be happy until I retire" - DeMar DeRozan pulls the curtain back on daily rigors of NBA life

There's one thing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is looking forward to the most when he hangs up his sneakers for good.

Venus Williams and Shaquille O'Neal

When Shaquille O'Neal lied about having affairs with Venus Williams, Cindy Crawford, and Aaliyah

Venus Williams issued a strong statement upon hearing Shaquille O'Neal's claims.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan is defended by Detroit Pistons center James Edwards

“The Bulls complained all the time” — Kevin McHale reveals why the Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons hated the Chicago Bulls

Unlike Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Kevin McHale believes the physicality the Bad Boy Pistons played with was valid and it made his Celtics even better.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook still does the same offseason workout he and Kevin Durant used to do in OKC — “It definitely helps”

Russell Westbrook revealed that he has been running on sand dunes for about eight years now every offseason and it has been helping him a lot.

New Orleans Hornets center Chris Kaman

How Chris Kaman got Player Exclusive "Air Sasqhatuces" from Nike in 2012

After he became an All-Star in 2010, Chris Kaman triggered a clause in his Nike deal that he’d get Player Exclusives