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Heatcheck: Who plays point guard in an all-time starting five?

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Wednesday 3 June 2020 12:55, UK

Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles during a game played circa 1987 5:52
Mo and Ovie discuss who would fill the point guard position in an NBA all-time starting five

Heatcheck panellists Ovie Soko and Mo Mooncey were asked to pick a point guard for their all-time NBA starting fives and selected two of the game's greatest players.

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Over the next five episodes of Heatcheck, the first of which can be seen on Sky Sports Arena on Wednesday at 8pm, Soko and Mooncey will don their general manager hats and build their all-time NBA starting fives.

The pair started their team-building project with the point guard position and while Ovie took the traditional route, Mo was keen to think outside the box.

Magic Johnson in action for the Los Angeles Lakers
Image: Magic Johnson in action for the Los Angeles Lakers

For Soko, there was only one choice. "Magic Johnson! MAGIC JOHNSON!", he said. "Do you want to go by his titles, his MVPs, everything he did offensively, the fact that at 6ft 9in his size allowed the Lakers to do tonnes of different things defensively? Magic is the only option that makes sense.

"I honestly feel that there is no other point guard you could put up against Magic Johnson when you are talking about a point guard playing with four other all-time greats. You don't need a point guard who can shoot from 50 feet - you have four other guys to do that.

Magic Johnson sets to deliver a pass during a Lakers game 2:38
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"(Think about) Magic's ability to create plays, his impact on the league and what he achieved. It speaks for itself."

While Mooncey acknowledged Johnson's greatness, he decided to go with a modern-day Lakers superstar.

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"If you ask NBA fans to pick the greatest point guard of all time, 99 per cent of them will pick Magic Johnson," he said. "But I don't like to follow the crowd and I am going to throw a little curveball back at you.

"If we are picking an all-time starting five, think about what you want from your point guard. You want some scoring, you want some assists and you want some steals. Those are the three biggest factors.

LeBron James rises to the basket to score against the Grizzlies
Image: LeBron James rises to the basket to score against the Grizzlies

"I'm looking at NBA players who have over 18,000 points, 9,000 assists and 2,000 steals. There are three guys that fit that description. John Stockton and Chris Paul are No 1 and No 2 on that list but I'm not picking them. The third player on that list is the player I would pick to run the point on my all-time starting five. That man is LeBron James."

"I would have picked LeBron if he was a point guard by position," Soko interjected. "But (LeBron) is a point forward, not a point guard. Playing point guard and being the point guard are very different. There are combo guards who can play point guards. There are threes (small forwards) who can handle the ball. Magic Johnson played point guard throughout his career, LeBron James came into the league as a three who handled the ball. He is not a point guard."

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"Who is the Lakers point guard?" countered Mooncey. "Who did Lakers coach Frank Vogel say was the team's point guard when he took over the team? When it comes down to this, I am going to take the words of the Lakers head coach over the words of Mr Ovie Soko.

"When LeBron signed for the Lakers, they came out and said he would play point guard for them. He is leading the league in assists this year. The only reason, in your opinion, he is a point-forward is because he is tall. And if Magic Johnson played in the NBA today, you'd be saying the same thing about him. You didn't think outside the box!

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"Magic Johnson was a great player, no doubt. He also had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on his championship teams. He had James Worthy who was a Finals MVP. He had Michael Cooper who was a Defensive Player of the Year.

"And he played in a time where, as a 6ft 9in point guard, he was playing against guys who were much smaller than him. So of course he could see the court in front of him and make all those passes. He has a great Showtime Lakers team running with him.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat on the bench against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals 3:45
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"If I am picking my all-time starting five, I'm playing LeBron James at point guard. Look how he matches up against Magic Johnson. He is a much better defender. He is a fantastic facilitator of the basketball. He is playing point guard for the Lakers this season and leading the league in assists. He is the point guard on my all-time team."

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