NBA’s Top Ten Shooting Guards
Introduction to Top 10 Shooting Guards
Over the years the NBA’s shooting guard position has been one of glamour, athleticism and big-time stats. From Jerry West in the 60’s, Julius “Dr. J” Erving in the 80’s, Michael Jordan in the 90’s and now most recently, Kobe Bryant, some of the league’s All-Time greatest players, ticket sellers and celebrities the NBA has ever seen were two-guards. In fact, Michael Jordan is still universally considered the greatest basketball player of all time and took the sport to the highest possible level, becoming an icon around the world.
Kobe Bryant is still among the league greats, but surprisingly the league has been relatively barren of many “elite” two-guards over the last half decade. But this is all about the change as there are a new collection of younger shooting guards that are rising among the NBA’s best players. In fact, the 2012 NBA draft class has quite a few potential star shooting guards, including Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers, but they are in no way ready to crack the top ten.
There are the previously mentioned fast-risers, past-their-prime and aging stars and everything in between. Although none of these players will ever be at the level of Michael Jordan, there is definitely a lot of talent at the position, currently in the NBA. So here is the list of the current top ten shooting guards in the National Basketball Association. Comment if you agree, disagree, hate the list, love it, or want to share any of your valued opinions.
# 10: Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin is one of the purest and most gifted scorers in the NBA. Injuries have affected him as of late, but few are better at putting the ball in the basket. He is a porous defender and will never be the best player on a playoff team and he is prone to poor shooting percentages and turnovers, but his world-class scoring skills helps him make the list. He is an elite scorer and can create his shot whenever he wants and can carry an offense on any given night, but his lack of defense holds back his position among the elite at shooting guard.
#9: Evan Turner
The former number two overall pick had a rough first year and a half in the NBA, as he had the adjust to not having the ball in his hands at all times, like he was able to in college. But his fantastic play at the end of last season and in the playoffs, showed that Turner could be a big time player in the NBA.
He is one of the top rebounders at his position and he is also a fantastic ball-handler, distributor and is able to run an offense if his team needs it. He is a below average defender, but his versatility has him rising the ranks of the top shooting guards in the NBA. With Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams gone, he will have a much larger ball-handling role and will be a much bigger part of the offense and should have a breakout year. He is great at getting to the rim, getting to the charity stripe and has an improved jump shot. If he ever hopes to become elite, he must develop a three-point shot, but he is one of the most gifted young players in the NBA.
# 8: Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis is one of the five most gifted scorers in the league, but his diminutive size, has made him a defensive liability throughout his career. Scoring 20 or more points is always impressive, but giving up just as many just does not make him elite.
He has improved his distribution skills over the last few years, but simply does not have the mindset of a point guard. He can also be quite the ball hog at times and his poor defense just does not warrant a higher selection. No team will ever be a contender with him as a top option and although he can score better than anyone on this list other than Bryant and Wade, his weaknesses hold him back.
# 7: Paul George
The scary thing about Paul George is that he is just scratching the surface of his potential, but he is already one of the top defensive players in the NBA and is showing a very complete offensive game.He has become a very efficient three-point shooter and with his athleticism, can get to the hoop whenever he wants. What separates him from purer scores like Ellis and Martin is his All-NBA level defense. Scoring is not the only thing that matters and his elite defense sets him apart. No player has shown the ability to slow down Derrick Rose like George and with further improvement he could become a star in the NBA. The sky is the limit and his overall game is what has him at number seven.
# 6: Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili has declined and is not the player he was five years ago, but he is still one of the top shooting guards and backups in the league. He has run the second unit of San Antonio for years and has kept them among the top among the league’s best for a long time.
The fact that he spent most of his prime as a bench player without complaint, says that he is devoted to winning and doing everything in his power to help his team compete. He is slowing down, but his effort is still among the top in the NBA and his motor is unrivaled. He is still a fantastic scorer and is one of the best at his position when it comes to passing and ball-handling.
He also has more rings than any player on this list, other than Kobe Bryant and was the second or third best player on three champions. He is one of the top international players in the history of the NBA and still one of the most productive shooting guards in the league. The future Hall-of-Famer should still be a top ten shooting guard for the foreseeable future.
# 5: James Harden
James Harden simply has a complete NBA game and does not have a weakness. His beard alone moved him up a few spots. All jokes aside, there is nothing that Harden cannot do on the basketball court; he is a fantastic scorer, passer, ball-handler, shooter and rebounder and is a plus defender.
As long as he stays in Oklahoma City he will be the number three scorer, but because of his versatility and unselfish attitude, he is the perfect third option on a championship team.
He has also been quite clear that he wishes to stay in Oklahoma long-term, despite the fact that he could be the top offensive player on a number of team. This proves that winning means everything to him, and that he is willing to sacrifice stats and accolades for team success, which is very rare for such a talented young player.
# 4: Eric Gordon
Most peg Eric Gordon and James Harden as the top two, under 25 shooting guards in the NBA, but Gordon gets the nod here for a few reasons. Gordon is simply the better scorer between the two, scoring over 20 points per game the last two seasons, although he did only play in a handful of games last year, due to injury.
Gordon is an elite shooter, but is also quite good at getting to the hoop and can create a shot wherever and whenever he feels like it. He is also a capable passer and an above average defender and has the attack mindset that Wade and Bryant have. This is a very big year for Gordon, as he will be the top option in New Orleans and he will be responsible of being the go to player for his team. With Gordon’s offensive talents, it should not take long for him to make his first All-Star game.
# 3: Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson may be third for now, but that could change by the end of the year, as the younger players will keep improving. Johnson is only ahead of Gordon for the simple reason that he has been the best player and go-to player on numerous playoff teams, which Gordon has yet to do. Although he has lost a step, he is still an incredible all around talent. He has scored at least 18 points a game for seven straight years and has been one of the more consistent players in the NBA over that span. He may be vastly overpaid, but it is not his fault that Atlanta threw 120 million his way. This year will be the first year in a long time, that Johnson will not be the top dog on his own team, as Deron Williams holds that title in Brooklyn, but he will finally be able to settle into his more natural, second fiddle role.
# 2: Dwayne Wade
Dwayne Wade may be only the second best player on his team, but he is still the second best shooting guard in the league and by a very wide margin. He is one of the top ten players in the NBA and still an elite two-way player, giving his all on both ends. He is one of the top pure scorers in the league, despite a lack of a three-point game.
He is also an elite ball-handler, distributor and floor leader and is one of the top rebounding guards in the entire league. Besides his jump shot, he simply has no holes in his game and the only negative thing that can be said, is that he plays too hard; as his reckless regard for his body could shorten his career.
# 1: Kobe Bryant
Although Kobe Bryant is now 34, he is still the class of the shooting guard ranks in the NBA. There is not another player on this list that any rational person would choose if they needed one player to win them a game or come through in the clutch. Although Bryant may not be the most efficient player in the world at this stage or this career, he is still one of the league’s top scoring and best big game players and the top overall two-guard in the NBA.
He also has five rings, which is the exact total combined of the other nine players. (3 for Ginobili, 2 for Wade).