Length, height and wingspan are three things NBA scouts really take into account when taking a look at young prospects, considering how well their body could adapt and adjust in matchups against bigger and stronger NBA competition when they finally make it to the league.
More often than not, the point guard is by far the shortest player on the team but is also the most skilled with the rock on his hands, the better dribbler and passer and the guy called to use all those abilities to set up his teammates and run the team’s offense.
Obviously, that represents a huge disadvantage when it comes to posting up against bigger opposition, as well as trying to contain taller players when they get caught between screens and switches.
On top of that, most point guards aren’t good rebounders either, so having a tall baller running the point is obviously a huge advantage and creates a lot of mismatches in favor of your team, but just a handful of players have been able to succeed running the point and being over 6’6. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 best tall point guards in NBA history.
Honorable Mention: Doc Rivers, Michael Richardson, Michael Carter-Williams, Shaun Livingston
Honorable Mention This Season: Ben Simmons
Ok, maybe is still quite early to put Ben Simmons among all-time greats but truth to be told, the sky seems to be the limit for a young man that looks like a lock to win the Rookie of the Year and have an outstanding career as one of the most skilled point forwards ever.
Standing at 6’10, you just wouldn’t believe how much of a terrific passer and playmaker Simmons already is during his rookie season, as well as being a dominant scorer without even having a reliable jumper. Throughout his first campaign, he’s averaging 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.7 dimes for the Sixers.
10. Paul Westphal
Paul Westphal was a terrific 6’4 combo guard that could easily work as the team’s primary ball handler, play off the ball as a deadly shooter, and even come back to be a great defensive backcourt stopper on the very next possession, sharing the backcourt with Boston’s Jo Jo White for several seasons en route to an NBA Championship.
Averaging 15.6 points, just under 2 rebounds and 4.4 assists to go along with 1.3 steals per contest, Westphal is mostly remembered by his Phoenix Suns stint, where he led the team to the Finals with his prolific scoring. He would also play at Seattle and New York, making it to 5 All-Star games a well.
9. Ron Harper
Ron Harper spent most of his career playing as a shooting guard, but he thrived the most when given the ability to run the point as a 6’6 playmaker, but he’s mostly remembered for his ability to dominate opposing point guards in the defensive end of the floor.
Harper played a key role in 3 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, is perhaps the greatest and most effective triangle offense point guard ever. Later on, he would replicate that kind of success with the Lakers, winning a couple of extra rings before retiring. Over his career, he went on to average just under 14 points, almost 4 dimes and 1.7 steals per game.
8. John Wall
John Wall (6’4) is one of the best point guards in the league and probably the fastest player in the NBA. He never played in the Eastern Conference Finals, but with 18.9 points, 9.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, he deserved to be on this list as one of the best tallest point guards in NBA history.
We’ll see how many seasons he will play for the Washington Wizards, because he needs a better frontcourt and he will be even better if he has player like DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup.
7. Penny Hardaway
Penny Hardaway spent most of his minutes running the point, but he was also quite effective off the ball as the two guard and even as a small forward, standing at 6’7 and being the perfect complement for Shaquille O’Neal during his Orlando Magic tenure.
Sadly, injuries took a major toll on his career and he was never able to achieve his true potential, but he’s still one of the most prolific scorers of his era. Playing for Orlando, Phoenix, New York and Miami; he made his way to 4 All-Stars and 2 All-NBA squads, posting career averages of 15.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.6 steals a night.
6. Dennis Johnson
Standing at 6’4, we just can’t believe people don’t talk enough about Dennis Johnson, one of the most skilled two-way guards in the history of the game, a guy that never backed down and was constantly hitting big time shots when it mattered the most.
Johnson played for the Sonics and Suns, but it was with Boston where he found most success and established himself as a terrific defensive force for years. Averaging 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.6 blocks per game, Johnson made his way to 3 rings, 1 Finals MVP, 5 All-Stars and 9 All-Defensive squads (6 first teams and 3-second teams).
5. Gary Payton
And if we’re talking about great two-way tall guards, we just can’t leave Gary Payton “The Glove” out of the conversation, a 6’4 defensive specialist that could also light it up at will and either take matters into his own hands or just set the table for his teammates with ease.
Payton was the ultimate leader during the Sonics’ greatest years, as well as playing for the Bucks, Lakers and Heat (where he was finally able to win an NBA Championship. Throughout his career, Payton averaged 16.3 points, almost 4 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game, and he’s one of the few guards to have won the DPOY award. Also, he made it to 9 All-Stars and 9 All-Defensive teams.
4. Walt Frazier
Yet another two-way specialist makes our list, with the 6’4 Walt Frazier being number 4th thanks to his career averages of 18.9 points, 5.9 boards, 1.9 steals and 6.1 dishes per game, a 2 time NBA Champion, 7-time All-Star, and 7-time All-Defensive first squad as well.
Playing for the Knicks and the Cavs, he’s mostly remembered for his New York tenure, where he almost single-handedly led the team to a couple of O’Brien trophies. Up to this date, he’s still the all-time franchise leader in dimes, and he was one of the most dominant point guards in both ends of the floor during his prime in the Big Apple.
3. Jason Kidd
What can be said about Jason Kidd that hasn’t been said before? Kidd is by far one of the NBA’s most iconic point guards ever, a vocal leader, a great playmaker, a clutch scorer, a terrific rebounder for his size and a defensive stopper like few players have ever been in this league.
The 6’4 point guard was a triple-double machine throughout his entire career, and he’s by far one of the best players in Nets history. Also playing for the Mavs, Suns and Knicks, Kidd made his way to 1 Championship, 9 All-Defensive squads, 10 All-Stars, won the Rookie of the Year, averaged 12.6 points, 6.3 points, 8.7 dimes, 1.9 steals and ranks second in the all-time assists and steals list.
2. Oscar Robertson
Obviously, we can’t leave the Big O out of this list, as Robertson always played as the tallest guy among giants despite being “just” 6’5. Playing for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks, Robertson was the first player ever to average a triple-double for a full season, way before Russell Westbrook did so last season.
This triple-double machine was able to lead the Bucks to the Championship alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, posting career averages of 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game, also making it to 12 All-Stars and winning 1 MVP award.
1. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is considered by most as the best point guard in the history of the game because of how impactful he was in both ends of the floor, as well as how gifted and skilled he was as a 6’8 point guard that was constantly getting mismatches and could play and guard all 5 spots on the floor with great ease.
Johnson was perhaps the most impressive passer in the history of the game as well as a dominant scorer and a solid defender with his huge wingspan, and he posted career averages of 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 11.2 assists per game, being the league’s all-time leader in assists per game. Also, he won 3 MVPs, 5 rings, and made it to a dozen All-Star games.