So, this is my second article in as many days discussing and ranking the top players at each position.
Today's position is the shooting guard spot.
The shooting guard spot is one of the most important positions, because the shooting guards are the ones that do the vast majority of the scoring for their respected teams, and if your team does have a talented scoring shooting guard, you could be in trouble.
So here is a list of the top ten shooting guards in the NBA.
Ones to Watch For Next Season
Marcus Thornton: New Orleans Hornets
Thornton is a pure shooter and scorer coming form the guard position. He possesses a lot of fancy one-on-one moves that allow him to blow by defenders with ease, and leave them in his tracks.
He is a great shooter and has unlimited range, he is really just a pure scorer and has an act for scoring at will.
James Harden: Oklahoma City Thunder
Harden is a crafty left-hander who can flat-out score. He is a great attacking wing player, and is always in the scoring type mentality. He is a good three-point shooter, and if you leave him open, it is almost sure to be an easy three.
Harden does have the ability to create for himself and his teammates. As next year comes along, he will get a substantial increase in playing time, which will allow him to more showcase his talents.
Overall Harden is an NBA ready offensive player, but he does need to pick things up on the defensive side. He is not quick enough to guard shooting guards, but not strong enough to guard small forwards.
J.R. Smith: Denver Nuggets
Smith is a sharp-shooting, attacking, hard-nosed player. He can light it up on the defensive side of things, but then come down the floor and just launch away at threes.
He never has lacked confidence in his career, even when his team is loosing, he will always be up in your face and thrash talking.
Smith is a great scoring guard, and the perfect second or third option. With Smith's talents, he could go off for 40 points on any given night.
Corey Brewer: Minnesota Timberwolves
Brewer is a long, explosive and very athletic wing player. Brewer has great height and speed to go along with it. He is not none as a shooter, but rather the slashing type player that is not afraid of contact at the rim.
He did suffer a ACL tear two years ago, which concerns many for future injury problems. But overall he is an athletic wing player that can score in bunches.
Lance Stephenson: Indiana Pacers (Rookie)
Stephenson could turn out to be one the biggest steals, if not the biggest steal, in this year's NBA Draft. He was selected 40th overall by the Pacers and an impressive summer league showing. Stephenson could come in and start right away, given the non-existence of shooting guards on the Pacers roster.
He is very athletic and very strong for a player at his position. He will back down from no one when he enters the lane. He runs the floor very well, especially in the open court. But he does tend to get a little over excited and turn the ball over.
Stephenson is an excellent attacker and has a bunch of moves that he possesses in order to blow by those defenders. Though in order for him to succeed in the NBA, he does need to improve his free throw shooting, and his shooting consistency in general.
The Top 10
10. O.J. Mayo: Memphis Grizzlies
Mayo is a pure scorer even this early into his career. He has shown some flashes of great scoring potential. He could make a case for being the top young scorer in the NBA.
Mayo is a fierce competitor that backs down from no one, and when critics talk about him being too small for the shooting guard position, he will shut them up in an instant by letting his game speak.
Mayo uses his quickness to blow past defenders. He also has a good shot that always keeps defenders on their heels.
His weakness is that he is a bit undersized as a two guard, which is why he is improving his point guard skills. He does commit a lot of unnecessary turnovers, too.
But with that being said, Mayo is an up and coming shooting guard that could be a top five point guard in a few years times.
9. Vince Carter: Orlando Magic
At one point in his Toronto Raptor days, he was arguably the best leaper in the history of the NBA. His dunks were speechless and his performance in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest was breathtaking.
He was one of the best players to watch, because you never knew when a spectacular dunk was coming.
But as he got older, he started to become more lazy and injury prone, and his production was decreasing.
That being said, Carter does still have some fuel left in that tank. Carter is still an elite scorer, and has shown flashes that he can still put up 30-40 points on any given night.
He is still athletic and has long arms that help him to elevate over defenders, as well as be able to shoot over the opponents.
Carter does have the tendency to take many ill-advised shots, especially from the three-point line when he could have drove to the basket for the easy lay-up.
8. Manu Ginobili: San Antonio Spurs
Ginobili is one of the best role players this game has seen. He could easily be starting for the Spurs, but is willing to give that spot up for the better of the Spurs.
Manu is a silky smooth player that is reckless and fearless when driving to the rim. He always as an act for making the bit shot, whether it is a key three or an off balance runner in the key, Manu always seems to make things happen.
Questions about his durability are always brought up when talking about Manu, because of his style of play and is always battling it out and taking hit after hit. It tends to play a big effect on Manu which leads to stupid turnovers he should not be making.
7. Gilbert Arenas: Washington Wizards
Arenas is a pure scorer that can put up 40, 50, 60 points on any given night, while being able to shoot from almost anywhere on the court.
He is a terrific player to watch. He uses his physical and fearless body take many bumps and bruises on his way to a hard earned basket.
Arenas has great size and physical toughness over small point guards, but with this transition to the shooting guard position, it could be hard for Arenas when guarding some of the best players on a regular basis, and then be asked to put up 30 points a game again.
In the few games that Arenas did play last season, he did averaged career numbers when it came to the distribution part of his game.
Lastly, Arenas is a clutch performer, as he has hit many game-winning threes from almost four feet behind the three point line on many occasions.
6. Stephen Jackson: Charlotte Bobcats
Captain Jack is a terrific leader and scorer. He is always the vocal leader on the court for every team that he has played for.
Jackson can do it all, he can score and is a very streaky scorer, sometimes the guy just can not miss.
He is a terrific passer and rebounder. He does shoot three more than what he should, because either the lane is wide open for the drive, or his skills are just so good, that it is a wast when he is just shooting up threes.
Jackson since coming over to the Bobcats has been the main reason, along with Gerald Wallace, why the Bobcats had such a great second half to the season, and marched their way into the playoffs. Before loosing in the first round.
Now, with Jackson going into his first full season as a Bobcat and being the vocal leader on this team, the Bobcats could make some damage next season.
5. Monta Ellis: Golden State Warriors
Monta Ellis is as much as a pure scorer as it gets in this league. Ellis is an electrifying player to watch. He can score almost at will at some times.
He just has the act to take over games when he wants to not. Ellis uses his explosive speed and first step to blow past defenders, and sky for the easy basket. He also does have the ability to pass the ball and find his open teammates.
Ellis as well is a great defender, and his hands always active when it comes to the turnover department.
Ellis' downfalls would have to be the turnovers that he commits. He does tend to make a lot of stupid turnovers when forcing the issue to much.
As well for a player that has the great explosiveness and the great one-on-one skills, he tends to settle for the perimeter shot a lot, and he frankly does not hit a good percentage of them. Lastly, even at his young age, and this early into his career, Ellis is becoming injury prone.
4. Brandon Roy: Portland Trail Blazers
Roy is a smooth player that can do it all. He does not get all the credit that he deserves for being a top shooting guard.
Roy is a great scorer, and can score from almost anywhere on the floor. He can shoot the three, he can drive to the basket, and he can hit the mid range jumper. Roy is also a player that can hit those shots in the clutch.
He is a great passer and is always looking to look for his teammates if they are open. He has good quickness and is a natural born leader even at his young age on this very young team.
Roy's weaknesses are that he is not a big time defender and he needs to shoot a better percentage from behind the arc to make up for the amount of threes that he takes.
3. Joe Johnson: Atlanta Hawks
Everybody needs to back off from the $119 million contract that Johnson just signed to stay with the Hawks, and appreciate the special player that he is.
Johnson is one of the few complete package shooting guards, along with the two in front of Johnson.
At 6'7 Johnson has excellent size to play both wing positions, but also has the ball handling abilities to play the point and overpower defenders. Johnson is one of the few players that can shoot the lights out from anywhere on the floor, but then also take his defender to the hole with no hesitation.
Johnson is a very underrated payer when it comes to athleticism and defense. He is a good defender but does put up the defensive stats that every known true fan who just looks at stats need.
Johnson is a clutch player and when you have two clutch players on your team, Johnson along with Jamal Crawford, it relieves the pressures off of Johnson and allows him to create and do his own thing.
2. Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat
Wade has the whole superstar package. He is a top scorer in this league, and score almost at will it seems on some nights.
But, at the same time, he is not a selfish player and is always looking to set of up other players if he sees them open. Wade is a good rebounder for his size, but he is always around the rim and the shots of the opposing team are being made.
Wade is extremely beneficial in the attacking game. He uses his explosive first step to blow by defenders, leave them in his dust, and rock the rim for the easy dunk. Wade also does have the great upper body strength to take it to the hole hard, draw the contact and still make the shot or lay-up.
Wade is also a phenomenal defender and is always active in creating turnover which leads to instant offense. He is a player that uses his physicality to overpower players on defense and just snatch the ball away from their hands.
Lastly, Wade is a fierce competitor who's drive for success and winning will always be there.
Wade's does have a few weaknesses that he must work on. He is not a very good three point shooter. And, when driving to the basket, Wade does take a lot of contact that causes fatigue and repetition of the same injuries.
Furthermore, he turnovers are huge with him, but turnovers are always huge with players who hand the ball majority of the time.
1. Kobe Bryant: Los Angeles Lakers
If there is any other answer for who is the top shooting guard in the league, you're simply on drugs.
No other player on this list has done what Kobe Bryant has done over his 14 career. Kobe is a superstar, what more is that to say?
He is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. Kobe has scored 25,790 points in his career, while averaging 25.3 points over those 14 seasons. Name me many other players on this list, who could average 30 points a game when playing with players like Shaq, Horry, Fisher, Rice, Payton, and Malone?
He is a five time NBA champion, he won the MVP award in 2008, and a 12 time NBA all-star.
Kobe is a exceptional athlete and he can make some ridiculous acrobatic shots. Kobe has one of the rare things a player could have, the intensity and the drive to just win. He is always out there working harder then the next player.
They said Kobe had no shot, he went out and proved all those critics wrong when he hit big shot after big shot. He had no post game. What does he do? Goes and works with one of the best centers of all-time, Hakeem Olajuwon and no can destroy smaller defenders in the post.
Kobe is capable of beating any defender to the basket, then stepping back and hitting his infamous turnaround fade away jumper from the corner.
Kobe is a natural born leader that has lead his Lakers for the past 10-12 years to numerous accomplishments. He has carried his team on his shoulders and has hit big shot after big shot, and is always ready to step up to the challenge, even if he is having an off game.
He is an underrated defender, but when he gets going on the offensive side, he will be all up in your face on the defensive side that its near impossible to get passed him.
His only weakness is that he does turn the ball over a lot, but then again so does every other player who has the ball 90% of the time in their hands. He does sometimes take ill-advised shots when he is having a bad game in order to get his rhythm back.