By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on March 12, 2014
When NBA All-Star Weekend rolled around this year, there was a bit of discussion about the shooting guard position, particularly with Kobe Bryant being injured and unable to participate. Many people talked about how there is a lack of talent at the position in the modern NBA. However, there have been plenty of special year-long performances from shooting guards this season. Who have been the 10 best this year?
Joe Johnson is often maligned because he doesn’t exactly live up to his massive contract, but the veteran has been big for the Nets this season and big part of their late-season run towards the postseason. Johnson has given them a consistent force offensively and a guy they can rely on late in tight games.
I was of the school of thought that Manu Ginobili might be done after how he performed in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. However, Ginobili has been a force for the San Antonio Spurs this season. Sure, he’s been getting his rest to keep his old legs fresh, but he’s been productive when on the floor and has helped lead San Antonio to another successful run.
As he still qualifies, Jamal Crawford is my pick to win Sixth Man of the Year. However, it’s how he’s been able to fill whatever cog the Clippers have needed filled this season that has made him quite great. Whether they need a veteran leader, a ball-handler, or a scorer, Crawford has delivered at a high level.
While Klay Thompson may have not made the leap that some expected him to this season, he’s still been a solid contributor in Golden State. People obviously love what Thompson brings with his scoring ability, but he’s also a big part of the Warriors’ sneaky-great defense this season.
Gerald Green’s comeback definitely hit a snag with the Pacers last season, but Jeff Hornacek and the Suns have put him in a terrific position to succeed and he has done so. He’s been a big threat from the perimeter, has given Phoenix consistent offense, and—of course—is always good for some impressive highlights.
With the Miami Heat playing it safe with Dwyane Wade, they’ve allowed the three-time champion to regain a lot of his former self when he’s been on the floor. His case is certainly hurt by the number of games that he’s played, but you can’t deny that he’s been much closer to the superstar that he once was now that he’s getting ample rest.
Monta Ellis has quietly been one of the biggest surprises of this season in his first year with the Dallas Mavericks. Ellis has emerged as the second option behind Dirk Nowitzki and has taken large strides in terms of his shot-selection and decision-making under Rick Carlisle. The talent has always been there, but it’s nice to see Monta put it all together and come closer to actually having it all.
The Indiana Pacers have been the best team in the NBA for much of the season and they wouldn’t be in that position without Lance Stephenson. He’s not the team’s star, but the way he can affect the game on both ends of the floor in numerous ways is huge for this team. He’s struggled since Evan Turner arrived, but I’d suspect that they’ll look to get the ball in Stephenson’s hands more down the stretch.
You could make a case that DeMar DeRozan has been the best two-guard in the league this season, especially for what he’s done since Rudy Gay’s departure from Toronto. DeRozan is just oozing confidence at this point and his performance has reflected that. As the Raptors are headed toward the postseason, DeRozan is one of the guys leading the charge.
You can’t deny James Harden what is clearly rightfully his. In his second season with the Houston Rockets, the bearded-one has continued to flex his chops as a lethal and versatile scorer and a leader for this team. Sure, he plays defense like a bullfighter trying not to catch a horn, but his offense is so fantastic that he deserves the nod as the best at the position.
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