Associated Press

In the NBA, point guards are the maestros that orchestrate the offense and ensure their teammates are getting involved. If teams don’t have a great floor general running the show, they need a dominant big man or All-NBA-caliber alpha dogs (like Michael Jordan or LeBron James ) to compensate.

Point guards once again proved their invaluable worth throughout the 2014-15 campaign. Russell Westbrook was a voracious triple-double fiend—particularly during the second half of the season—finishing with 11 of them for the year. Chris Paul continued doing Chris Paul-like things for the Los Angeles Clippers , and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors took home MVP honors for leading a 67-win roster.

Those guys are three of the most impressive point guards to ever lace up sneakers. But on a team-by-team basis, which players can hold claim to being the best at their position in the history of a given franchise?

Not every NBA organization has had a masterfully elite point guard etch his name into franchise lore, but each team has solid representation regardless. Do you know your favorite franchise’s best point guard of all time?

Honorable Mention—Seattle SuperSonics: Gary Payton

Gary Payton Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

Sadly, the Seattle SuperSonics franchise went extinct and ushered in the era of the Oklahoma City Thunder, leaving basketball fans in Seattle without a pro team. As a way to pay homage to the franchise that had so much success throughout the 90s, we’ll include them as an honorable mention.

Frankly, the best point guard in Sonics history is a no-brainer. Gary “The Glove” Payton is synonymous with Sonics green; he, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf and head coach George Karl were the crux of team success at the peak of their powers. While with Seattle (12+ seasons), Payton was named to nine All-Star teams, nine All-Defensive First Teams and even won Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, minutes, points, assists, steals and total win shares.

Atlanta Hawks: Mookie Blaylock

Mookie Blaylock: Averages by Season | PointAfter

The life and times of Mookie Blaylock has taken a grim turn since his retirement. He’ll forever be tied to the demons that have come to define him, but basketball fans (especially those who follow the Hawks) will still remember how impactful he was on the hardwood.

The former No. 12 overall pick started his career with the New Jersey Nets before spending the peak of his playing days (seven seasons) with Atlanta. In that time, Blaylock averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. He was a respectable player on offense, but he made a name for himself on the less glamorous end of the court by playing tenacious defense on a nightly basis.

Boston Celtics: Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

Bob Cousy was the crème de la crème of point guards in the 1950s with the Boston Celtics. He spent his first 13 NBA seasons in Boston, nabbing All-Star berths in each of those 13 campaigns.

Additionally, Cousy was named Most Valuable Player in 1957, led the league in assists eight times, made the All-NBA First Team 10 times and won six championships. His track record is nothing short of legendary. And while critics will argue that “Cooz” wouldn’t have been able to compete in today’s NBA, he pioneered the point guard position for generations to come and dominated in his own era. That alone should earn fans’ respect and gratitude.

Brooklyn Nets: Jason Kidd

NBA/ABA Historic Teams | PointAfter

The Brooklyn Nets (formerly the New Jersey Nets) haven’t seen much success since moving from the ABA to the NBA back in 1976-77. With Jason Kidd running the show, however, the Nets reached the NBA Finals in back-to-back seasons (2002 and 2003).

Although J-Kidd wasn’t a very efficient scorer—he shot 39.7 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from long range as a member of the Nets—he did manage to average 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game during his tenure for New Jersey.

You could make a solid argument for Stephon Marbury in this spot. He averaged 23 points, 8.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game for the Nets, but he didn’t experience nearly the same team success and played far fewer seasons in New Jersey when compared to Kidd (three against seven). For those reasons, Kidd is the best point guard in Nets lore.

Charlotte Hornets: Muggsy Bogues

Muggsy Bogues: Averages by Season | PointAfter

The Charlotte Hornets franchise dates back to the 1988-89 season. But despite having a quarter century’s worth of games in the books, Charlotte simply hasn’t had many big-name talents making their way through the home locker room.

With that being said, fan favorite Muggsy Bogues was no slouch out on the hardwood. Although he was at a tremendous disadvantage by standing just 5’3”, Bogues racked up 5,531 points and 5,557 assists in 10 seasons for Charlotte. That equated to averages of 8.8 points and 8.8 assists per contest. Those numbers don’t exactly leap off the page, but his longevity with the franchise gives him plenty of clout here.

Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

Following multiple knee injuries and subsequent surgeries, Derrick Rose is no longer the player he once was—that much is clear. Still, the former MVP and No. 1 overall draft pick is the best point guard in Bulls franchise history.

If he was competing at the shooting guard or small forward positions, he’d be in a lot of trouble. As it stands, however, the Bulls simply haven’t had a collection of great point guards throughout the years. It makes perfect sense then that a former Most Valuable Player award winner would take this spot with room to spare.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Mark Price

Mark Price: Shooting Percentages by Season | PointAfter

Mark Price is one of the best pure shooters the NBA has ever seen. In fact, there have only been two players ever who shot at least 50 percent on two-pointers, 40 percent on three-pointers and 90 percent from the free-throw line throughout their careers: Price and Steve Nash. That’s an elite group breathing rarified air.

Price is also a member of the 50-40-90 club—players who shot at least 50/40/90 percent from the field, three-point line and charity stripe throughout a full season. He made that happen in 1988-89 as a member of the Cavaliers (his first of four All-Star seasons with Cleveland). He averaged 16.4 points and 7.2 assists per game for the Cavs during his nine-year tenure with the team—one of the longest stints of any player in team history.

Dallas Mavericks: Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

The man who ranks No. 3 all time in triple-doubles makes another appearance on the list of team’s best point guards—this time for the Dallas Mavericks.

While it may be surprising to see a name other than Steve Nash in this spot, consider that Kidd spent two more seasons in Dallas by comparison (eight versus six), so longevity helps his case. He also made the All-Star team just as many times while suiting up as a Maverick (three), and Kidd was an integral piece of the Mavs’ 2011 championship run. The then 37-year-old notched the most minutes of any player during the regular season and the second-most throughout the playoffs. He ranks third in Mavs franchise history in both assists (4,211) and steals (954).

Denver Nuggets: Fat Lever

Fat Lever: Great in regular season, less so in playoffs | PointAfter

Lafayette “Fat” Lever was more of a combo guard throughout his NBA career, spending significant time as a shooting guard. However, he suited up enough at the point for Denver to justifiably earn the label as best Nuggets floor general in franchise history.

An impactful all-around player, the Arizona State University product averaged close to a triple-double during his six years in the Mile High City—17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. All told, Lever ranks seventh, eighth and second for the franchise in those categories in total, respectively. He made two All-Star games for the Nuggets, but was snubbed in 1989 when he averaged 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.9 assists and more steals (2.7) than turnovers (2.2). He frequently underperformed in a postseason setting, but it’s tough to ignore his eye-popping regular season stats.

Detroit Pistons: Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas: Points, Assists and Steals per Game by Season | PointAfter

Isiah Thomas was the head of the snake for the Detroit Pistons during the “Bad Boys” era in the late 80s and early 90s. He spent his entire 13-year career in Motown, earning All-Star nods in the first 12 seasons.

“Zeke” led the Pistons to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. He averaged 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game for them throughout his professional tenure. Thomas is an easy choice for the “best point guard in team history” crown, but Chauncey Billups (AKA “Mr. Big Shot”) earns an honorable mention here for leading his own squad to a championship in 2004.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry: PER Throughout Career | PointAfter

This is the first NBA franchise on the list where there’s genuine competition for the spot of best point guard. Tim Hardaway spent six years of his pro career with Golden State, averaging a stellar 19.8 points, 9.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game in a Warriors uniform. Baron Davis was only around for four seasons, but he notched marks of 20.1 points, 8.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. “B-Diddy” also led a No. 8 seed Warriors team to a first round upset against the mighty No. 1 seed Mavs and MVP Dirk Nowitzki (one of the most exciting playoff series since the turn of the century).

Both of those guys stake a hearty claim to the throne, but it seems appropriate to give the nod to newly minted MVP Stephen Curry. The three-point sharpshooter was tremendous all season long for G-State in 2014-15, dominating opponents with lethal crossovers and scintillating dishes. Davis and Hardaway were both great for the Warriors in their own right, but Curry’s case is already rock solid. He’s only going to keep adding longevity to the résumé, so he’ll further cement his standing here as time goes on.

Houston Rockets: Steve Francis

Steve Francis: Averages by Season | PointAfter

Nicknamed “Stevie Franchise,” former No. 2 overall pick Steve Francis was just that for a Houston Rockets team transitioning from the Hakeem Olajuwon era. The University of Maryland standout spent his first five seasons in Houston, and while he was prone to turning the ball over, he was still a dominant scorer from Day 1.

Francis averaged 19 points, 6.3 assists and 6.0 rebounds in a Rockets uniform. Add a share of the Rookie of the Year award and three All-Star berths to the ledger and Francis easily beats out any other point guard in Houston’s history.

Indiana Pacers: Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson: Assists and AST/TO Ratio by Season | PointAfter

Mark Jackson boasted an impressive basketball IQ, which allowed him to read defenses and climb all the way up to No. 4 all time in career assists (10,334). That’s ahead of legends like Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and Gary Payton.

Despite his vast success dishing out dimes, Jackson became an NBA journeyman. He played for seven different teams over the course of 17 seasons. His longest stints were in New York (seven seasons) and Indiana (six seasons). His only All-Star appearance occurred as a member of the Knicks, but his standing in Pacers history benefits from a lack of competition. The former Warriors head coach averages 8.4 points, 8.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for Indy. In time, it’s fair to assume George Hill and his gritty two-way play will supplant Jackson here.

Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul

Chris Paul Overview | PointAfter

Throughout history, the Los Angeles Clippers have been the worst franchise in basketball. They’ve spent far more time toiling at the bottom of the standings than in the thick of a playoff race, but the acquisition of Chris Paul changed those fortunes dramatically and immediately.

CP3’s presence has translated into the most successful run for the franchise since their Buffalo Braves days in the 1970s. He’s only been with the team for four seasons, but he’s averaging 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game for “Lob City.” He’s arguably the best point guard of his generation, so it should come as no surprise that he’s the best in Clips history.

Los Angeles Lakers: Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Magic Johnson Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

If you were expecting to see Derek Fisher in this spot, we’re sorry to disappoint. In any case, if you’re looking to make an argument against Magic Johnson as the best Los Angeles Lakers point guard of all time, save your energy.

Johnson helped lead the “Showtime” Lakers to five championships while racking up 12 All-Star appearances, three MVP awards and three Finals MVPs. Many view him as the best point guard to ever play the game. He’s the best in Lakers lore by a comfortable (and we do mean comfortable ) margin.

Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley

Mike Conley Overview | PointAfter

The Memphis Grizzlies franchise has only been around since the 1995-96 season, when it resided north of the border in Vancouver. Since the sample size isn’t nearly as large as other organizations around the league, there’s slim pickings as to who can be deemed the “best” at any position.

The Grizz have had some solid players run the point—like Mike Bibby and Jason Williams—but their current point guard takes the spot. Mike Conley may not have the best raw statistical numbers, but he’s been with Memphis for eight seasons (the longest tenure of any player in franchise history) and has made his mark on the defensive side of the court where box score numbers don’t help paint a clear picture. He has yet to make an All-Star team in the loaded Western Conference, but his name has popped up in the “snub” category of late. There’s reason to believe the best is yet to come.

Miami Heat: Tim Hardaway

Tim Hardaway: Averages by Season | PointAfter

Tim Hardaway was simply too good throughout his NBA career to be left off this list (and that’s not to say we’re doing him any favors here). He could have been pegged as the best Warriors point guard ever, but Curry rose to the top with his MVP campaign.

Instead, Hardaway chimes in as Miami’s best point guard for his six-year tenure with the franchise. He averaged 17.3 points, 7.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game as a member of the Heat (earning two All-Star appearances in the process).

Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell: Averages by Season | PointAfter

Milwaukee Bucks basketball has employed two of the league’s best three-point shooters (Ray Allen and Michael Redd) as well as arguably the best center to ever play the game (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, formerly known as Lew Alcindor). But what about the point guard position?

Frankly, Milwaukee just hasn’t had many impact players at the position stay long term. Gary Payton played 28 games for the Bucks. Terrell Brandon played 65 over the course of a season and a half. Oscar Robertson suited up for them for four seasons, but that was at the end of his career when his skills were declining. Two Brandons—Jennings and Knight—were solid in limited time, but they don’t really stand out. As a result, the nod goes to Sam Cassell, who averaged 19 points, 7.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds with the Bucks during a four-plus-year stay.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Terrell Brandon

Terrell Brandon: Averages by Season | PointAfter

Terrell Brandon is one of the most underrated NBA players of his generation. Despite standing under 6-feet-tall at 5’11”, the Oregon product earned .147 win shares per 48 minutes. Per Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal , that mark ranks No. 15 among 50 of the top point guards in history.

Unfortunately for Brandon, injuries held him back and he was only able to play 724 games over the course of 11 seasons (missing nearly 200 contests in total). That would normally hurt his standing in the lore of any franchise, but the Timberwolves haven’t received much production from the point guard spot over the years.

The four-year stint Brandon played there during the latter half of his career is enough to place him as the best point guard Minny has suited up. He averaged 15.6 points, 8.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game for Minnesota while shooting 45 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc. Sorry, Ricky Rubio.

New Orleans Pelicans: Chris Paul

Chris Paul: PER Throughout Career | PointAfter

Chris Paul joins Jason Kidd as the only other point guard to be deemed best in franchise history for two separate franchises. Even though he isn’t facing stiff competition in either scenario, it’s fair to say he’d be out even some of the most formidable floor generals.

The New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the New Orleans Hornets), were incredibly fun to watch when the core of Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler were running pick-and-roll plays to perfection—especially with the added shooting chops of Peja Stojakovic and Morris Peterson on the perimeter. In six seasons spent in NOLA, Paul averaged 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.

New York Knicks: Walt Frazier

Walt Frazier: Averages by Season | PointAfter

Mark Jackson had the assists, Stephon Marbury had the empty stats for a losing team and Jeremy Lin had his incredible run of “Linsanity,” but Walt “Clyde” Frazier is the obvious choice as the best Knicks point guard ever.

Frazier spent the first 10 seasons of his pro career in the Big Apple before a disappointing three-year stint in Cleveland prior to his retirement. From age 24 to age 30, Frazier made seven consecutive All-Star appearances as a Knick. He averaged 19.3 points, 6.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds while calling Madison Square Garden home.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook Overview | PointAfter

Because we’re opting to separate the Seattle SuperSonics from the Oklahoma City Thunder, we need a point guard representative for OKC. The answer here should be quite obvious.

Russell Westbrook, who racked up a league-high 11 triple-doubles during the 2014-15 season (including four straight), is easily the representative here. As a reference, James Harden finished second in triple-doubles with four during the most recent season—the amount Westbrook collected in a row from February to March. In Westbrook’s time with the franchise, he’s averaged 21.1 points, 7.1 assists and 5.2 per game.

Orlando Magic: Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway

The Rise and Fall of Penny Hardaway | PointAfter

If Anfernee Hardaway had stayed healthy throughout his NBA life, he could have gone down as one of the best players ever. He was selected No. 3 overall by Golden State before getting traded to the Orlando Magic along with three first-round picks in exchange for No. 1 overall pick Chris Webber.

In his first six seasons (all with Orlando), “Penny” made four All-Star teams and two All-NBA First Teams. He averaged at least 20 points, five assists and four rebounds per game in three consecutive seasons.

Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson: Averages by Season | PointAfter

While we’re pegging Allen Iverson as the best point guard in Philadelphia 76ers history, this could (and perhaps should) stir up some debate. Iverson was always viewed as a score-first combo guard, if not an undersized shooting guard who did the bulk of his team’s ball handling. Nevertheless, he was still listed as a point guard for four-plus seasons in Philly, per Basketball Reference .

The late sports journalist Mike Kahn penned a piece in 2005 labeling A.I. the best point guard in the NBA (ahead of Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups when all three were in their primes). wrote a rebuttal to Kahn’s take, saying, “Allen Iverson is an absolutely incredible guard. But to call him the NBA’s best point guard is a slap in the face of the basketball gods.”

“The Answer” was never a point guard in the realm of Chris Paul or Steve Nash—two guys who always look to find teammates rather than score for themselves. But that factor alone shouldn’t strip him of point guard status (even in limited stints). If nothing else, Iverson is the best guard in Sixers history. If you’d rather see a “pure” point guard in this spot, the choice is Maurice Cheeks, who averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game over the course of 11 years for Philadelphia.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash

Steve Nash: Shooting Percentages by Season | PointAfter

Mark Cuban didn’t feel that Steve Nash, then a 30-year-old free agent, was worth the high price tag necessary to keep him Dallas. Because of that, the Phoenix Suns were able to swoop in and bring the South-African-born floor general back to the desert. The results could only have been better if it resulted in a championship.

Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006. He was a three-time All-NBA First Team member, five-time assists leader and posted four 50-40-90 seasons in a Suns uniform. Not only is he the best Suns point guard ever, he’s the best Suns player period when accounting for accolades and longevity with the team.

Portland Trail Blazers: Terry Porter

NBA Players | PointAfter

There are two legitimate point guard candidates who could be deemed best in Portland’s basketball history: Terry Porter and Rod Strickland. Below is the Trail Blazers résumé for each:

Porter: 10 seasons, 14.9 points, 7.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 47.0/38.5/84.6 shooting splits
Strickland: 4+ seasons, 16.2 points, 8.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 47.2/32.7/71.4 shooting splits

Either of these guys could be deemed the top 1-guard, but Porter earns the nod for playing double the amount of time in Portland compared to Strickland. Damian Lillard may overtake this position eventually, but the three-year sample size and lack of defensive prowess hinders his case.

Sacramento Kings: Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson Career Stats and Bio | PointAfter

You have to dive far into the archives—back to the Cincinnati Royals days of the 1960s—to find the best point guard in Sacramento Kings franchise history. Even with stiff competition from Mike Bibby, Reggie Theus and Tiny Archibald, Oscar Robertson is comfortably No. 1.

Throughout a 10-year tenure with the Royals (now Kings), “The Big O” nearly averaged a triple-double with 29.3 points, 10.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was as dominant a player as the league has ever seen, which makes it even more impressive given that he was a 6’5” point guard.

San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker

Tony Parker: Playoff Averages by Season | PointAfter

Even though Tony Parker’s regular season and postseason production have dropped steadily in recent years, he’s still the best floor general the San Antonio Spurs have had.

The Frenchman is a four-time champion, six-time All-Star, Finals MVP and three-time All-NBA Second Team member. As a guy who saw 27 players get picked before him in the 2001 NBA draft, he’s done quite well for himself to prove other teams were wrong for passing on him.

Toronto Raptors: Damon Stoudemire

Damon Stoudamire: Averages by Season | PointAfter

The Toronto Raptors are another team with a short-lived history. They’ve only been around since the 1995-96 season, and two of their biggest stars (Vince Carter and Chris Bosh) suited up at positions other than point guard.

Former floor general and NBA journeyman Mike James had a phenomenal year with Toronto in 2005-06 by averaging 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from beyond the arc. His stay with the Raptors lasted just one season and 79 games, though, so he’s a victim of small sample size.

Spaniard Jose Calderon spent eight seasons with the Raps, dishing out dimes and draining threes, but he wasn’t as dynamic a talent as Damon Stoudemire. The University of Arizona product nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” averaged 19.6 points, 8.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game in three seasons for Toronto. He never made an All-Star game, though, so Kyle Lowry could justifiably be handed this spot (certainly if he puts another solid year under his belt following a disappointing playoff showing in 2015).

Utah Jazz: John Stockton

NBA All-Time Assists Leaders | PointAfter

John Stockton’s standing as the best point guard in Utah Jazz franchise history is the biggest no-brainer on the list not named Magic Johnson. The Hall of Famer spent all 19 years of his career in Utah, collecting 10 All-Star appearances.

He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in both assists and steals, holding comfortable leads of 3,715 and 581 over second place in those categories, respectively. His No. 12 has been retired by the Jazz.

Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas

The Peak and Swift Decline of Gilbert Arenas | PointAfter

Without question, Gilbert Arenas left a sour taste in the mouths of Wizards fans as a result of his locker room incident with former teammate Javaris Crittenton involving guns, a rash of injuries that derailed his promising career and his behemoth contract that he didn’t live up to as a result. Nevertheless, his numbers still speak volumes about how incredible he was as a scorer.

“Agent Zero” played seven-plus seasons for Washington. In that time, he averaged 25 points, 5.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He made three All-Star teams with the Wiz and was named to the All-NBA Second Team in 2007. He was a clutch shooter who could always be relied on late in close games.

John Wall is on track to surpass Arenas if he continues playing for the Wizards—he’s already supplanted him in terms of character, and has two All-Star appearances to his name.