It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Top 10 NBA Shooting Guards of All Time
This week we have bring you our top 10 players for each position. So far we have covered the top 10 Centers, top 10 Power Forwards, top 10 Small Forwards, and today we bring you our top 10 shooting guards. We could not agree on the lists so we decided to each make our own.
The shooting guards were a difficult set to pick, comparing raw numbers to championship potential and a whole number of issues came up but ultimately we relied on our criteria to bring you our individual top 10s.
Ryan's rankings can be found in Red. A large part of the criteria is how the player would perform in today's NBA.
Victor's rankings can be found in Blue. For this set of rankings, he retains the hard line of cutting off all NBA accomplishments prior to the merger of 1976.
10. Vince Carter
Vinsanity is on-track to play the most seasons for any player, likely participating in his 22nd season in 2019-2020. He was one of the most electrifying athletes in NBA history, wowing fans with a phenomenal 2000 dunk contest performance (which he ultimately won.) Other than that, his accolades aren't too extensive, as he was just a 2-time All-NBA selection and won Rookie of the Year in 1999.
9. Ray Allen
There was a time during the late 2000's when Allen was considered the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history. His laid back personality prevented him from becoming a major household name, but he was quietly one of the better all-around scorers in the league during his prime. His clutch shooting was a staple of his game, and he also was a 2-time All-NBA selection and 2-time NBA champion.
8. Clyde Drexler
Drexler was often overshadowed by Michael Jordan during his career, but that doesn't mean his career was any less significant. Clyde "The Glide" managed to be a 5-time All-NBA player, and he won a championship in 1995.
7. Tracy McGrady
McGrady was robbed of some of his playing career because of excessive injuries, but he still managed to have an excellent individual career. He never made much noise in the playoffs, but that was more so because of the low quality of the rest of his teams. In his prime, McGrady was arguably the best scorer in the league, and he earned the following achievements: 7-time All-NBA, 2-time scoring champ, and 2001 Most Improved Player.
6. George Gervin
The Iceman was one of the best scorers in his era, earning 4 scoring titles. He was also a 7-time All-NBA selection, and his overall complete game is respected by former players and analysts alike.
5. Allen Iverson
Iverson broke the mold of what it takes to carry a team to the Finals. Rarely will you see a championship contender with the best player being a guard, and Iverson not only led his team to a Finals appearance, he completed carried them. He's beloved as a shot-chucker, but his style of play isn't as effective today as it was in the early 2000's. Accolades earned by AI include: 4-time scoring champ, 2001 MVP, 1997 ROY, and 7-time All-NBA.
4. James Harden
The only player on this list still in the midst of his career, The Beard has already carved out a spot in the top 5 of all shooting guards. People will complain about the nature of his bucket-getting, but he's still one of the most prolific scorers you'll ever see. Harden has already managed a 2012 6th Man of the Year award, 2 scoring champ honors, 5 All-NBA selections, and a well-deserved 2018 MVP award.
3. Dwyane Wade
Wade had an interesting career, as an elite athlete without much shooting ability. Despite his shooting deficiencies, he managed to be the 2009 scoring champion of the league and was borderline unstoppable offensively during his prime. He managed plenty of feats during his time in the league: 3-time NBA champ, 2009 scoring champ, 3-time All-Defense, and 8-time All-NBA. He is also the best shot-blocking guard of all-time.
2. Kobe Bryant
Kobe closely modeled his game after Air Jordan, and the result is a second-place spot on this list. He's come under fire for his questionable leadership, but his numerous awards speak for themselves. He was a 5-time NBA champion (2-time Finals MVP), 12-time All-Defensive player, 2-time scoring champ, 15-time All-NBA, and 2008 MVP. Kobe is one of the most polarizing players in NBA history, and his impact on international awareness of the league was enormous.
1. Michael Jordan
The popular pick for the greatest player in basketball history (although the debate between him and LeBron is never-ending), Jordan inspired generations of players both in the NBA and around the world. MJ's list of accomplishments is simply jaw-dropping: He's an 11-time All-NBA, 6-time NBA champion (and 6-time Finals MVP), 5-time MVP, 9-time All-Defense, 1988 Defensive Player of the Year, 1985 Rookie of the Year, and 10-time scoring champion. His perfect success rate in the Finals further promotes his legendary mystique.
10. Mitch Richmond
The number 10 spot was the most tightly contested and it could have went to either Reggie Miller or Sidney Moncrief. Mitch felt like the more natural choice as a man who walked into the league averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists on route to winning the rookie of the year award. Richmond followed that up with 10 straight seasons of at least 21 points a game, earning 5 all-NBA nominations along the way. Richmond also closed out his career with a ring, something a lot of people on this list did not accomplish.
9. Tracy McGrady
T-Mac, the man some refer to as the most unstoppable scorer of his era. McGrady would have been higher had his peak not been cut short by some unfortunate injuries. Nevertheless, T-Mac put up 7 straight seasons of at least 24 points a game and was a two time scoring champion and seven time All-NBA selections. T-Mac was unstoppable in his prime.
8. Clyde Drexler
Next up is another Houston legend. Clyde steps in ahead of McGrady due to his contribution to the Houston championship winning team of 95. Clyde won most of his accolades in Portland which totaled 5 All-NBA teams. It's also a testament to Clyde's ability and longevity that he finished his NBA career by averaging a respectable 18 points a game in the 97-98 season.
7. George Gervin
The Iceman. Gervin only played 10 NBA seasons but in that time he was a 4 time scoring champion and made the all-NBA teams on seven different occasions. Gervin was the first great scorer the NBA had seen out of the guard position and that paved the way for guards like Jordan and Drexler in the decades to come. The Iceman could put the ball in the hoop anyway you asked and finished his NBA career with an impressive 51% from the field career average. No one else on this list even comes close to that.
6. Ray Allen
People forget the kind of baller Ray Allen was because he settled for a third option role as part of Boston's "Big Three." Before that, Allen was one of the league's elite scorers cumulating with a 26 points a game average in his last season for the Seattle Supersonics. Allen may not have the numbers some of the guys on this list though but there's no doubting his contribution to the two championship teams he played for. Allen also took what Reggie Miller did and turned into championship basketball, that cannot be understated.
5. James Harden
As much as I dislike Harden's playing style, there's no doubting his ability on the court. Harden is currently on the greatest seven year stretch of any shooting guard outside of Michael Jordan. Over the last seven seasons, Harden is averaging 29 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds a game. The problem is Harden gets those stats in an extremely inefficient manner, which is what some believe is underneath his playoff struggles that may never see him win a championship.
4. Allen Iverson
Speaking of championships, this guy never won one either but at least he got to a finals series. Despite been listed at a generous 6 feet tall, Iverson finished his career with an average of 27 points a game. Beneath that were 4 scoring championships and 4 seasons of at least 30 points a game. Iverson also got his points in an inefficient manner but he was a little better at winning than Harden is. 7 All-NBA Teams and a sole MVP in 2001 is how you get the fourth greatest shooting guard of all time.
3. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is one of the most complete and efficient shooting guards we have ever seen. I actually believe that in his peak, Dwyane Wade was a better player than Kobe but Kobe gets the edge because his peak lasted much longer. Wade finishes his career with a shooting percentage of 48% which is amazing considering some of the shot selection of his earlier days. Not to mention Wade has on his resume what some consider to be the greatest finals series performance in NBA history. Wade led the Heat back from 2 down to win the 2006 finals behind his 35 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists a game . . . No other teammate averaged more than 14 points a game in that series. 8 All-NBA Teams, 3 All-Defense and 3 rings. Flash would have been number two on this list had his prime lasted longer.
2. Kobe Bryant
Kobe didn't make my top 10 players of all time but at least he's in the top 3 greatest shooting guards of all time. Kobe made 15 All-NBA Teams, 11 All-NBA defenses and won 5 rings on route to a glorious 20-year career. However, Kobe only has 2 finals MVPs on his resume and never won a ring without the tutelage of Phil Jackson. Kobe was great at what he did but will always fall short to Michael Jordan.
1. Michael Jordan
11 All-NBA Teams, 10 Scoring Championships, 9 All-NBA Defensive First Team, 6 Rings, 5 MVPs. It may seem like I dislike Michael Jordan, but I have nothing but respect for his dominance. Jordan is in no doubt the greatest shooting guard to have ever played basketball, the man's CAREER scoring average is 30 ppg . . . He had more seasons scoring at least 30 a game than he had scoring under 30 points a game. Jordan was by far the most dominant player of his era and deserves the number one spot.
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