Best Tall Point Guards to Play in the NBA
While the NBA is known for its tall players, the point guard position, generally seems to be exempt from the rule. And while many NBA point guards are still taller than the national average, standing in at an average of 6’2.5″, they remain shorter than the league average of 6’6″.
Notwithstanding, there have been some NBA point guards who have bucked the trend and have been able to play the number 1 position proficiently, even with their above-average height.
Below, we are going to look at the best tall point guards to play in the NBA and prove, once-and-for-all, that height does not disqualify any player from playing a position on the basketball court.
What is the Point Guard Position?
As a regulation game of basketball requires a minimum of five players to begin, teams typically look to recruit, develop, and train at least five players to represent them on the court. These starting five players are typically the best players on the team and are represented within the following positions.
- Point Guard
- Shooting Guard
- Small Forward
- Power Forward
And while all five positions play important and essential roles on the court, perhaps none are as important as the point guard. So called the 1 position, the point guard is considered to be the coach of the team while on the court. The most specialized role of any position on a basketball team, the point guard is expected to run the team’s offense by controlling both the ball and the flow of the offense.
Similar in positioning as an NFL quarterback, the point guard must be intimately familiar with the coach’s game plan and techniques in order to properly execute against them.
A point guard is expected to be one of the most versatile players on the court. And while their primary job is in handling the ball, they should primarily concern themselves with facilitating scoring opportunities either for themselves or one of their teammates.
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson
Is there any comparison to the formidable Earvin “Magic” Johnson when comparing the best tall point guards? One of the most popular and well-liked NBA players of all time, Magic Johnson ignited the league as one of the tallest point guards to play the position, standing in at 6’9″.
Magic Johnson played 13-seasons in the NBA and remained with the Los Angeles Lakers for the entirety of his career. Widely regarded as the best point guard of all-time, he was honored by the NBA as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 and selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
However, before entering the NBA, Johnson played for Michigan State and averaged 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game as a freshman.
In his sophomore season, Johnson helped lead Michigan State to the NCAA championship game and faced Indiana State, which was led by senior Larry Bird. In what was the most-watched college basketball game ever, Michigan State defeated Indiana State 75–64, and Johnson was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s.
Whether you love him or hate him, no one can deny that Ben Simmons is one of the most skilled basketball players currently in the league. Standing in at 6’11”, Simmons plays both the point guard and power forward positions.
Having played just one season for the LSU Tigers, Simmons would be named a consensus first-team All-American and the USBWA National Freshman of the Year. Selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons has shown bouts of greatness, including being selected as the NBA Rookie of the Year and to the NBA All-Star Game three-times.
However, injuries and personal reasons have seen Simmons off the court for the better part of a year and his future is uncertain on the Brooklyn Nets.
Oscar Robertson, nicknamed “the Big O”, played for both the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks. Standing in at 6’5″, Robertson was typically a bigger point guard than his peers back in his day.
Playing the point guard position, Robertson was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in 14 seasons.
In 1962, he became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. In the 1970–71 NBA season, he was a key player on the team that brought the Bucks their first NBA title.
Robertson is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been inducted in 1980 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1960 United States men’s Olympic basketball team.
In addition, in 1980, Robertson was named to the NBA 35th Anniversary Team. He was again voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
He was ranked as the 36th best American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. In October 2021, Robertson was honored as one of the league’s greatest players of all-time by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
Another great point guard and player standing in at 6’4″, Jason Kidd is the current head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Having led the New Jersey Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances, Kidd was a 10-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team member, and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team member.
Jason Kidd won an NBA championship in 2011 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks and was a two-time gold medal winner in the Olympics with the U.S. national team in 2000 and 2008.
He was inducted as a player into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In October 2021, Kidd was honored as one of the league’s greatest players of all time by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
Gary Payton Sr. is another great former player who stood in at 6’4″. Having played the point guard position, Gary Payton is widely considered one of the greatest point guards of all time.
And although Gary Payton played for multiple teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat, he is best known for his time with the Seattle SuperSonics.
Among his many accolades, Gary Payton was the first point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier
Walt Frazier was one of the best New York Knicks players to play for the team. Having led the Knicks to their only two NBA championships, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
A current color commentator for Knicks games on the MSG Network, Walt Frazier was honored as one of the league’s greatest players of all time by being named to both the NBA 50th Anniversary Team and the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
Walt Frazier was the eldest of nine children and attended Atlanta’s David Tobias Howard High School. Playing both football and baseball, he learned how to play basketball at an older age.
Accepting a basketball scholarship offer from the Souther Illinois University, he would become one of the best college basketball players in the country.
Drafted fifth overall by the New York Knicks, he would spend the majority of his time in the league with the Knicks, playing ten-seasons with them. Upon retiring he was a 2-time NBA champion, a 7-time NBA All-Star, an NBA All-Star Game MVP, a 4-time All-NBA First Team, a 2-time All-NBA Second Team, a 7-time NBA All-Defensive First Team, and an NBA All-Rookie First Team.
In addition, to honor his legacy, the New York Knicks would retire his jersey number.