The Five Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History
I am back with another article regarding the NBA.
This time, I am writing about the Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History.
I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised by my number-one shooting guard ever in NBA history, but maybe someone might not agree with the other four.
So here I go with my ranking of the top five shooting guards in NBA history, starting in reverse order down to number one.
Number 5: George “the Iceman” Gervin – 14-year career
The Iceman’s resume speaks volumes, even though he retired as the 14th-leading scorer in NBA history, if you include his four ABA years, those stats would have moved him up to seventh, passing such notables as Hal Greer, Jerry West, John Havlicek, and Elgin Baylor at the time of his retirement.
He, along with Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, is the only player to win four or more NBA scoring titles, including three in a row.
Ice scored in double figures in more than 400 straight games and twice finished second in the balloting for MVP.
He was an All Star for 12 straight seasons, including five straight as all-NBA first team. Another little-known fact is that he participated in the first ever slam-dunk championship while playing in his last season in the ABA.
The other contestants in this contest included David Thompson, Artis Gilmore, Larry Kenon—and the winner, some guy named Julius “Dr. J.” Erving.
Gervin finished his career as a better than 50-percent shooter, a remarkable accomplishment for a shooting guard. In the 1977-78 season, Gervin entered the final game of the season needing to score at least 58 points to surpass David Thompson and win the scoring championship.
Thompson had scored 73 point earlier that day, at the time the second-most ever scored by someone not named Wilt Chamberlain. Ice scored 33 points in the second quarter, passing a four-hour record that David Thompson had set that afternoon by scoring 32 in the first quarter of his game.
Iceman finished the game with only 63 points, but it was enough to pass Thompson for the scoring championship, 27.22 to 27.15. Gervin finished second that season to Bill Walton for the league’s MVP award.
In 1996 Gervin was named to the NBA’s list of 50 greatest players, as well as being voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Number 4: Kobe Bryant – 12-year career (still active)
Kobe is well on his way towards the top of this list and could easily wind up in the top two when it is all said and done. A product of the straight-out-of-high-school club, he justified his early entry into the NBA by being voted an All-Star starter in just his second season.
Kobe then teamed with Shaq in Los Angles to win three straight NBA titles during the 1999-2001 seasons. Kobe also led the Lakers to the finals in the 2007-08 season, losing to the Boston Celtics in a revival of the Celtic/Laker championship battles.
He also won his first MVP in the '07-08 season, and on January 22, 2005 he became just the second player in NBA history to score 80 or more points in a game, going off for 81 points against Toronto.
Kobe is one of only three NBA players (Chamberlain and Jordan) to put together three straight 50-plus point games, doing so during the 2006-07 season. He has also been named to the all-NBA first team six times during his first 12 seasons. He was the youngest player to reach the 20,000 point total, and currently ranks 24th in NBA history.
Kobe has finished in the top 10 in scoring eight times in his 12 seasons, including leading the league twice and finishing second three times.
Number 3: Clyde “the Glide” Drexler – 15 year career
A charter member of the University of Houston’s Phi-Slamma-Jamma great teams of the mid-'80s, Clyde Drexler was, without question, the second-greatest shooting guard of his era, trailing only Michael Jordan.
He was a very similar player to Jordan in that he had great leaping ability and long arms that allowed him to extend above most players that he faced. He was drafted and played the majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, twice leading them to the championship, only to lose to the Detroit Pistons one year and then to Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
He was traded during the 1995 season to his hometown Houston Rockets, where he was reunited with a fellow college “frat-brother” Hakeem Olajawon. Together they achieved what they were not able to do as college teammates, win a championship, as the Rockets won their second-straight title in the 1995 season, sweeping the Orlando Magic in four games.
When Drexler finished his career in 1998, he joined only Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek as the only players to amass 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 3,000 assists.
He was a member of the 1992 Dream Team, was named as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Number 2: Jerry West, “Mr. Clutch” – 14-year career
Now the air is starting to get VERY RARE. These next two players epitomize what the NBA guard is suppose to be, given the fact that the number tw player on this list is the current NBA “Logo” and was given the nick-name that all players want to be known as “Mr. Clutch” Jerry West.
West is another of those players who spent his entire career with a single team, the Los Angles Lakers. While with the Lakers, West teamed with Elgin Baylor to lead the Lakers to the championship round nine times, but only winning one championship, mainly due to Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, who won eight straight championships during this period.
When he retired he held the record for scoring in the playoffs (later passed by Abdul-Jabbar) and the highest scoring average in a playoff series. Despite all these fantastic statistics, West never once won an MVP award. Again, this can be associated to the fact of playing during the same time as Chamberlain and Bill Russell, who each won the award four times each during Jerry’s career.
To show you his ability to rise above his normal game, in the 1965 NBA Playoffs, West averaged 40.6 ppg over 11 contests; his 46.3 ppg average against Baltimore in the division finals was a record for a six-game series.
He was the starting guard on the Los Angles Laker team in 1971 that won remarkable 33-straight games and finished the season with a then record 69-13 record, marched through the playoffs going 12-3 and winning his only championship.
Oh yea he lead the league in assist that year, averaging 9.7 per game along with 26 points per game. In 1974, the 36-year-old West left the game as the NBA's third-leading career scorer, behind Chamberlain and Robertson, with 25,192 points in 932 games. His average of 27.0 ppg game stands as the fourth highest among retired players, behind Michael Jordan, Chamberlain and Baylor.
His 31.2 ppg in 1969-70 (at age 31) is the highest average ever for a player over 30. While West may have only won one title as a player, he had fantastic success as a general manger for the Lakers.
He put together the “show-time” Laker teams of the '80s, winning five NBA championships and the again in the late '90s getting Shaq O’Neil and Kobe Bryant and winning three straight championships.
Number 1: Michael Jordan – 15 year Career
Gee...isn’t this a surprise, huh? Without a doubt, Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time and did things on the basketball court that everyone else can only talk about.
There was little evidence in high school and even in college that he would become the most single dominant player less than seven feet tall in NBA history, but that is what Michael did.
From leading the NBA in scoring seven-straight times, which matched Wilt Chamberlain's record; to twice leading the Bulls to three-straight NBA championships; to playing on the 1992 Dream Team, to winning Five NBA MVP’s; six-time NBA Finals MVP; ten-time All-NBA First Team; nine time NBA All-Defensive First Team; Defensive Player of the Year; 14-time NBA All-Star; Three-time NBA All-Star MVP; 50th Anniversary All-Time Team; and ten scoring titles...man am I tired after listing all of that!
Oh yeah—he also became a multi-mega-millionaire through the sale of his Nike Air Jordans and other endorsement deals. From his unmistakable style of play with his tongue wagging in and out of his mouth as he prepared to dominate his opponent to his almost unmatched will to win, Michael Jordan stood out from his peers.
In his second season in the league, Michael missed more than 60 games due to a broken foot. However, he came back late in the year to score a NBA playoff-record 63 points in a first-round game against the Celtics.
The Bulls lost that game 132-131 in double-overtime and the series in a sweep, but Jordan averaged 43.7 ppg in the series. If there were any doubters to that point about Jordan's ability, surely there were no more.
That performance prompted Larry Bird to state "God disguised as Michael Jordan played” in that game today. He was the leader of the 1996 Bulls team, two years after he retired that won an NBA record 72 games in his first full season back, led the league in scoring once again and the Bulls to the championship with a mark of 15-3 in the playoffs.
That season, Jordan won the All-Star Game MVP award, the league's MVP award, and then completed the triple play by winning the Finals MVP award, joining Willis crown in 1970 as the only players to accomplish that feat.
Well, that sums up the shooting guard in my top of the NBA by position articles. Stay tuned for the next article on the centers, coming soon. Thanks for reading.