Ranking the NBA's Top 5 Shooting Guards of 2013-14 Season
The preseason positional rankings continue, as we take a look at the NBA's top 5 shooting guards of the upcoming 2013-14 campaign. The 2-guard position is rather top-heavy, lacking the overall depth of the point guards. Most of the debate should stem from the ranking order of top three.
5. J.R. Smith (New York Knicks)
2012-13 Reg. Season Stats: 18.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, 5.3 RPG, 17.67 PER
Smith has found his comfort zone in New York, and despite his volume shooting, the energy he brings is a major asset. Not only did he display much more effort on defense, he proved to be a solid complementary scorer to Carmelo Anthony.
Smith should produce another quality season. He kind of has to, since he already penciled in the Knicks as the 2014 NBA champions.
4. Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
2012-13 Reg. Season Stats: 16.6 PPG, 2.2 APG, 3.7 RPG, 12.71 PER
Klay Thompson shined alongside Stephen Curry as the sharp-shooting duo carved up opponents from behind the three-point line. Thompson shot an efficient 40 percent from three. He has a knack for scoring the basketball, making him a perfect fit for the high-powered Warriors offense.
In his third season in the league, Thompson figures to only improve over the last.
3. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
2012-13 Reg. Season Stats: 21.2 PPG, 5.1 APG, 5.0 RPG, 24.04 PER
If healthy, Dwyane Wade would have topped the list. However, injuries have slowed him down in the last couple seasons—particularly in the playoffs. He did—quietly—have a great regular season, shooting 52 percent from the field, averaging nearly a block and two steals a game.
Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat have bigger fish to fry come playoff time, so look for head coach Erik Spoelstra to rest Wade just enough to keep him fresh for the April-June stretch.
2. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
2012-13 Reg. Season Stats: 27.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.6 RPG, 23.10 PER
Kobe Bryant suffered a devastating injury in the form of a ruptured Achilles tendon in April. If it were any other player, his ranking would be greatly affected.
But it’s Kobe.
While the Achilles injury can be a career-ender, Kobe will be on a mission to prove that he can still ball with the best of them.
There seems to be no definite return date set. However, rehab appears to be moving along smoothly. Per Jonathan Hartzell of NBA.com, Kobe recently told a group of media (while on tour in China) that he is making great progress with his rehabilitation. Ultimately, Kobe gets the nod over Wade due to the larger role he’ll play in the Los Angeles Lakers offense compared to Wade in Miami.
1. James Harden (Houston Rockets)
2012-13 Reg. Season Stats: 25.9 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.9 RPG, 23.00 PER
Yes, he is.
Harden erased the stink of the 2012 NBA Finals and broke out in a major way in 2012-13. He led the Houston Rockets to the postseason for the first time since 2008-09, doing a bit of everything on the court.
With the edition of a healthy Dwight Howard and an improved core, Harden’s game should open up even further. The No. 1 spot just seems like the natural next step in progression for him.