In the NBA‘s heyday, we were accustomed to seeing dominant shooting guards reign supreme throughout the league. Players like Penny Hardaway, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller and Mitch Richmond dazzled NBA fans all across the world in the 90’s. Since those glory days, the shooting guard position has become bleak and the future looks even more dark.
In today’s NBA, there are a limited amount of superstar shooting guards. You could make the case that there is only one active player who is considered a star at the position, and that would be James Harden of the Houston Rockets. Kobe Bryant would normally be atop that list, but the world is waiting to see if he still has what it takes to be considered an elite player in this league.
The NBA is still flourishing without dominant shooting guards, but it takes away from the excitement, because some of the most athletic and talented players in history have come from the guard position. Does the NBA need great shooting guards to continuously bring great entertainment to its fans? No, but it would be great to see some of those classic battles between elite players again.
Now, the NBA is dominated by swingmen at the small forward position. Players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Paul George carry the weight of the league and there’s nothing wrong with that, but they don’t have much competition throughout the league. The other shooting guards are solid players. Names like Klay Thompson, Monte Ellis and O.J. Mayo are great talents, but they could not ever pose a threat to the legacy of the NBA’s elite.
There was a time where shooting guards were the focal point of NBA drafts and free agency, but those days are sadly behind us. Even the top prospects in college and high school are bigger forwards or point guards. The art of great shooting guards seems lost, but I really wish the NBA would find a way to develop top talent at the position once again. The guards today are just solid role players who can shoot three-pointers or play solid defense. They are not the ones taking the last shot or making the headlines, unless your name is J.R. Smith and you have a thing for untying shoelaces when players are on the free-throw line.
Right now, the shooting guard position in the worst position in the entire league, and there seems to be no hope in sight. One day, I believe things will change and we will be reminded of what the most important position in the league truly is. The shooting guards today are undersized and have limited athleticism. The NBA is still great and always will be, I just miss the days when you knew there were solid competitors at every single position. Years ago, the center position was extremely thin. Now, the big men are stepping up and becoming more dominant. Let’s just hope that equality will return one day, rekindling the glory of the 90’s NBA.