Top 20 Shooting Guards in NBA History

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The 20 Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Shooting guard is a glorious position in the game of basketball. The 'two' is designed for players that like to score. While SGs are counted on to be good passers and to help facilitate things for teammates, there's no doubt that the main part of the job is putting the rock in the hole.

Ideal SGs are taller than point guards and usually better shooters. They also are expected to slash to the basket and draw fouls or draw attention and then dish to open teammates. There's no doubt that a dynamic SG can make a good team great.

SGs almost need to have that killer instinct you hear so much about. The best ones are ruthless and will do whatever it takes to get a win. They're not afraid to take the big shots and when the game is on the line, you want your 'two' with the basketball. Because of this, SGs are often stereotyped as having big egos and as being ball hogs.

Not all SGs are great three-point shooters, but it's a huge bonus if they are. Typically, though, if a player can't shot, he's not going to be a two. The name of the position basically says it all. Another bonus is if the player can operate with his back to the basketball. It's an art that's tough to master, but it's something every SG wants to have in their bag of tricks.

So with all of these factors in mind, let's take a look at the 20 best shooting guards in NBA history:

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Jeff Hornacek

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Kirby-Lee-USA-TODAY-Sports

The current Suns head coach used to be quite the shooter back in his day. He spent time in Phoenix and most notably in Utah. For his career he shot 87% from the line and 40% from down town.

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Manu Ginobili

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USA Today Sports

Ginobili is a proven winner and without him, the Spurs probably wouldn't have reached the level that they did. For his career, he's a solid 14-4-4 guy.

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Vince Carter

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USA Today Sports

One of the best dunkers in NBA history, you also have to give Carter credit for his scoring abilities. He's never won anything, but there's no denying his talent.

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Tracy McGrady

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Richard-Mackson-USA-TODAY-Sports

Who knows how great McGrady would have been without all the injuries that he suffered. Still, he had a great NBA career and is undoubtedly one of the best SGs of all time.

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Hal Greer

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Howard-Smith-USA-TODAY-Sports

Greer was a beast for the 76ers from 1963-1973. During his time in Philly he averaged 20 points or more seven times. He was also a 10-time NBA All Star.

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Mitch Richmond

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USA Today Sports

Richmond is an underrated shooting guard that deserves more credit as one of the greatest of all time. During his 14-year career he averaged 21 PPG and shot 45 percent from the field. He was the 1988-89 Rookie of the Year and a six-time All Star.

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Bill Sharman


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Sharman is not a household name when it comes to shooting guards with today's generation, but there's no doubt that he's one of the best to ever play the position. He was a part of the legendary Celtics' teams from the 1950's and 60's and played alongside the great Bob Cousy. He's a four-time champion and one of the few people to be inducted into the hall of fame as both a player and coach.

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David Thompson


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Known as 'Skywalker', David Thompson earned his way into the basketball hall of fame after nine years in the ABA and NBA. He was a five-time All Star and averaged 22.7 PPG during his career. With just one view of the video below, it's easy to see how he earned his nickname.

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Joe Dumars

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USA Today Sports

Dumars was the dead-eye shooter for the Bad Boys of Detroit in the 1980's and early 1990's. He was a six-time All Star and a two-time NBA champion. He even took home Finals MVP honors in 1989. In 2006 he took his rightful place in the basketball hall of fame.

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Ray Allen

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USA Today Sports

There's no doubt Ray Allen belongs in the conversation with the greatest shooting guards to ever play. At this point there's no question that he's the greatest three-point shooter in history and one of the greatest free throw shooters. He's a 10-time All Star and a two-time NBA champion.

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Earl Monroe

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USA Today Sports

Earl the Pearl is a legendary shooting guard that was part of the Knicks' championship team in 1973. In total he played 13 NBA seasons, while averaging 18.8 PPG. He was a four-time All Star and is a member of the basketball hall of fame.

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Dwyane Wade

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USA Today Sports

People these days say that Wade has lost a step. That might be partially true, but his role on the Heat has also changed dramatically in the last three years. However, all you have to do is look to the first part of his career to known that he's one of the best slashers to ever play the game. His career is still going strong and there's a good chance he'll continue to climb the ranks of the greatest SGs to ever play.

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George Gervin

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USA Today Sports

The Iceman is known as one of the best pure scorers in basketball history. He played from 1972 to 1986 and averaged a whopping 25.1 PPG. He earned his nickname because of the cool fashion in which he carried himself on the court. He was a 12-time All Star and took his rightful place in the hall of fame in 1996.

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Reggie Miller

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USA Today Sports

Reggie Miller was the heart and soul of the Indiana Pacers for 18 years. He ranks second all time in three-pointers made (2,560) and ninth all time in free throw percentage (.888). The only glaring hole in his resume is that lack of a championship ring. Still, he entered the hall of fame in 2012 as arguably the greatest pure shooter of all time.

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Clyde Drexler

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USA Today Sports

The Glide was an athletic specimen on the basketball court. You don't earn a nickname like that without being able to absolutely fly. Drexler could do just that and shoot it at the same time. For his career he averaged 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 5.6 APG. He's an Olympic gold medalist, a two-time NBA champion and a hall-of-famer.

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'Pistol' Pete Maravich


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Although Pistol Pete played like a point guard, he was technically a shooting guard his entire career. During his ten years in the NBA he averaged 24.2 PPG and 5.3 APG. He had a style that was was ahead of its time, that no doubt influenced many that came after him. In 1996 he was named as one of the 50 greatest players of all time.

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Allen Iverson

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USA Today Sports

Although his career ended in less than spectacular fashion, there's no denying that 'AI' is one of the best scorers in NBA history. He averaged 26.7 PPG and 6.2 APG during his 14-year career. He was the NBA's MVP in 2000-01 and finished in the top-10 of the voting on five other occasions. He was never able to make it to the mountain top, but there's no doubt he'll enter the hall of fame one day.

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Jerry West

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USA Today Sports

'The Logo' is one of the greatest players of all time. He helped set the tone for future SGs by putting up tons up points from 1960-1974. West is known for being incredibly confident and clutch. Even though he wasn't as athletic as many players on this list, there wasn't anything he couldn't do on the court. West was a 14-time All Star and averaged 27 PPG during his lengthy career.

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Kobe Bryant

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USA Today Sports

The Black Mamba is the second greatest shooting guard in NBA history. He's a five-time champion, a 15-time All Star and a former league MVP. There have been very few players that have matched Bryant's determination and toughness on the court in his 17-year career. There's no shot he can't hit and no time in the game when he's not effective. Kobe is without question one of the most clutch players in league history. He's done it all, but he's still hell-bent on getting that elusive sixth ring.

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Michael Jordan

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USA Today Sports

There's no debate when it comes to the greatest shooting guard of all time, because Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in history. He wasn't the fastest, biggest or strongest player, but his competitive spirit has never been matched. Jordan wouldn't allow himself to be defeated. He thrived in pressure packed situations, especially when the game was on the line. He was a six-time champion, 14-time All Star, six-time Finals MVP and a five-time league MVP.


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