NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant & the 25 Most Overrated Guards in League History

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant & the 25 Most Overrated Guards in League History

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 06:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a 98-92 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dal
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Throughout NBA history, one thing people like to do is debate who is the best player, point guard, center, passer, dunker, personality, crazy person, illegitimate child haver, whatever. People like to put their opinions out there, and why not, right? It's a fun way to add some spice to a sometimes bland regular season.

    Well, that has led to some inflated memories of a few players out there, and the NBA is not short on overrated players, especially when it comes to guards.

    On the court, the guards are the guys that facilitate the offense and put up most of the shots outside of the paint, and on defense they are the first line of defense for the opposition rolling down the court toward them.

    They are the decision makers, and some players get the reputation of being great at it while it may not necessarily be deserved.

    So, I have thrown together a list of the most overrated guards in NBA history, so go ahead and sit back, click on and get angry at me for including Kobe Bryant.

25. Kobe Bryant

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench in the third quarter while taking on the New Orleans Hornets in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I have to start out by saying that you people are the reason I have to include Kobe Bryant on this list.

    Kobe has been arguably the best player of the past decade, and probably the most important as well, but he is not the best shooting guard of all time and he is certainly not the greatest basketball player of all time.

    Until the Kobe fanatics out there stop trying to argue that he is on the same level as Michael Jordan, then I have to consider him overrated, even if it is by just a few spots in the all-time rankings.

    Having said that, I also could claim that Kobe is underrated as well. There are people out there that would leave Kobe out of their top 25 all-time, which just seems silly to me.

    People have such extreme opinons of Kobe that he is one of the only players in the NBA that is both overrated and underrated; we just need to find a happy medium with the guy.

24. Reggie Miller

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 17:  Former NBA player Reggie Miller attends the game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Northern Colorado Bears during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in Tucson,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    One of my favorite players of the '90s is also a very overrated one.

    Reggie Miller was one of the best three-point shooters of all time, an insanely good clutch shooter and a good defender, but he could never help his team go deep into the playoffs.

    He was expected to be the franchise player for the Pacers for more than a decade, but his teams made it to the NBA Finals only once in his 18-year career.

23. Andre Iguodala

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    MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Andre Iguodala #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers walks off the floor during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida.
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    I have to give this guy props for his improvement defensively over the last year, and he has nearly made his way off this list.

    However, after Allen Iverson was traded from the 76ers, Andre Iguodala was supposed to be the next commander in chief of that team.

    The Sixers never made it out of the first round of the playoffs under Iguodala, who at times shot too many threes and was more known for his ability to dunk than his ability to lead a team.

22. Michael Finley

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    LOS ANGELES - MARCH 30:  Michael Finley #4 of the San Antonio Spurs holds the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 30, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Spurs won 96-85. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    My biggest beef with Michael Finley is that he never really lived up to what he was expected to be on any given team.

    If he was looked at to be the number two man, as he was when Steve Nash left Dallas, his shot percentages dipped.

    If a team wanted him to be a three-point shooter, as San Antonio did later hin his career, his percentages from behind the arc dipped.

    He was also never a good defender and at times a bit of a chucker, putting up whatever shot he very well pleased.

21. World B. Free

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    World B. Free was a fan favorite for many of his teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, where people still talk about him with great passion.

    Free had a peak where he scored nearly 30 points a game for two years, and he averaged 20 points a game for his career, but he was a mediocre ball handler, a bad defender and he only ever made one All-Star Game.

20. Dan Majerle

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    PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 13:  Phoenix Suns legend Dan Majerle plays during the McDonald's All-Star Celebrity Game held at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 13, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Nick Doan/Getty Images)
    Nick Doan/Getty Images

    The people of Phoenix love Thudner Dan, and with a nickname like his, who wouldn't love him.

    Majerle was a good three-point shooter for the most of his career, but after his first five years in Phoenix his field goal percentage dropped dramatically and hovered around 40 percent for the last nine years of his 14-year career.

19. Eddie A. Johnson

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    7 May 1997:  Eddie Johnson of the Houston Rockets stands on the court during a playoff game against the Seattle Supersonics at the Summit in Houston, Texas.  The Supersonics won the game 106-101. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Eddie Johnson, the one that didn't go to jail for a slew of cocaine-related incidents, was a decent combo-guard in his time in the NBA.

    He could score pretty well and could grab a bushel of rebounds from time to time, otherwise he was an average defender at his peak and never won anything more than the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1989.

18. Craig Ehlo

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    1989-1990:  Guard Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during a game. Mandatory Credit: Tim de Frisco  /Allsport
    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Be honest, the first thing you thought of when you read the name Craig Ehlo was Michael Jordan draining the series-clinching shot of the first round in the 1989 playoffs.

    It doesn't bode well when that is the first memory that you have as a player.

    The people of Cleveland still love Ehlo, as they tend to cling on to anyone that gives them their best, but that doesn't mean he was as good as they like to remember him.

    Ehlo was an efficient scorer, but he peaked at just 13 points a game, was a pretty averaged defender and a bad free-throw shooter for a 2-guard.

17. Chris Mullin

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    DALLAS - FEBRUARY 12:  NBA player Chris Mullin during the NBA All-Star celebrity game presented by Final Fantasy XIII held at the Dallas Convention Center on February 12, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
    Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    Chris Mullin peaked for five years between 1988 and 1993, averaging around 25 points a game for those years, rebounding well for that time.

    Afterward, injuries slowed him down, and he started to produce less and less as the years went along.

    His stats for the first half of his career were impressive, and he was a good guard, but he was getting 20 shots a game while the No. 1 option at Golden State, and a team that had him as the featured player never made it past the second round of the playoffs.

16. Gilbert Arenas

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards hanldles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Wizards 121-95. NOTE TO USER: User expr
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Gilbert Arenas had a peak that would be comparable to some of the best seasons by a point guard in NBA history, scoring 25, 29 and 28 points a game in three straight seasons.

    However, Arenas was getting 20 shots a game in those years and shooting no better than 44 percent in his best of those three years, and as low as 41.

    His career 42 percent field goal percentage isn't extremely impressive, and his five assists per game as a point guard isn't good either.

15. John Starks

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    John Starks was just another in a long line of overpaid, overrated guards for the New York Knicks to come after the 1990s.

    Starks really made his money as a defender, but the problem was that he wasn't a good enough ball handler or shooter to justify how much he was making.

    Starks was a 41 percent shooter for his career, 34 percent from the three-point line, and averaged just 3.5 assists for his career.

14. Michael Redd

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    OKLAHOMA CITY - OCTOBER 29:  Michael Redd #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket past Chris Wilcox #54 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Bucks won 98-87.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Michael Redd got the reputation of a great three-point shooter (which he was) early in his career, and Milwaukee decided to make him their franchise player.

    He got paid an outrageous sum of money by the Bucks in 2005 after his only All-Star Game in 2004.

    Redd is legitimately a great shooter, but that's about it; he isn't great with the ball, he is a bad defender and an average rebounder.

13. Joe Johnson

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 08:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER:
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Joe Johnson is a good player in his own right, but a superstar player he is not.

    At his peak he averaged 25 points a game while shooting the ball 20 times a game, and could never lead an Atlanta team that was well built past the second round of the playoffs.

    He is huge for a guard, but only grabs around four rebounds a game and is a spotty three-point shooter at best.

12. Steve Nash

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 13:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usi
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Steve Nash is easily my favorite point guard of my lifetime, and he has been great for his career, but he hasn't been as good as his accolades would make you think.

    First of all, Nash did not deserve to win back-to-back MVP awards—he just didn't.

    The worst part is that he almost won a thrid straight in 2007, as he finished second in MVP voting behind Kobe Bryant.

    Secondly, Nash is a very poor defender. For as how good he is offensively, he is equally as bad defensively.

11. Vince Carter

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    ATLANTA - MAY 10:  Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic reacts after a basket against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 10, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: Us
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    There is one thing I cannot deny about Vince Carter: He is easily one of the best dunkers of all time, and I would argue that he is the best.

    However, his career was highlighted with very few playoff appearances and teams that would defer to him too often, as he shot the ball nearly 20 times a game for his career, and is currently 32nd on the all-time list, despite playing in 925 games, 175th on the list.

    The most memorable moment of Carter's career didn't even come from an NBA game, when he dunked over the 7'2” Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics. It was an amazing dunk, but it isn't something that makes him a great basketball player.

10. Baron Davis

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: Baron Davis #85 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after his team scored against the Miami Heat during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    It's hard to put a finger on Baron Davis—people either remember him as the insanely impressive player he was when he first came to his teams or as the fat, lazy guy that was mostly a chucker when he got bored with a team.

    In his breakout years with the Hornets, the playoff years with the Warriors or the last half-season with the Clippers he was marvelous, but when he got bored, or his teams started to struggle, his field goal percentage dipped below 40 and his three-point percentage hovered around a miserable 30.

    There were years when he was a great defender, and years when he was too slow and chubby to do much of anything on defense.

    Davis was an enigma, and he was one of the best enigmas we have ever seen, but it's hard to call him a top-tier point guard.

9. Tracy McGrady

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 11:  Tracy McGrady #1 of the Detroit Pistons controls the ball while playing the Miami Heat at The Palace of Auburn Hills on February 11, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Tracy McGrady made it to the playoffs more often than his uber-athletic cousin Vince Carter, but he had far less success.

    McGrady was a regular season master, averaging 20 points, six rebounds and five assists a game, but when the calendar rolled around to May, his teams fell apart.

    McGrady's Raptors, Magic and Raptors made it to the postseason seven times; they made it to the next round of the playoff zero times.

    To be considered a good basketball player, especailly one of the best, you have to be able to lead your team in the postseason, something McGrady obviously couldn't do.

8. Jerry Stackhouse

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    MILWAUKEE - FEBRUARY 13:  Jerry Stackhouse #42 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during warmups against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 13, 2007 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.The Mavericks defeated the Bucks 99-93. The Mavs won 99-93. NOTE
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Coming out of college, Jerry Stackhouse was hyped as the next Michael Jordan. Obviously that didn't happen.

    Stackhouse was supposed to be the next big thing in the NBA, but he got traded in his thrid year and went on to peak nicely, but not without reason.

    In 2001, Stackhouse averaged neraly 30 points a game, but he shot the ball 24 times a game and shot just 40 percent on the season.

    In fact, for his career he shot just 40 percent, and, even worse, he shot 30 percent from the three-point line.

7. Jalen Rose

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    CHICAGO - MARCH 3:  Jalen Rose #5 of the Chicago Bulls drives around Gordan Giricek #7 of the Orlando Magic during the game at the United Center on March 3, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Magic won 104-89.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and a
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Coming out of Michigan as a part of the Fab Five, Rose was one of the players to get a lot of hype.

    He didn't get a starting job until his fifth year in the league and then he started cranking out decent seasons.

    His numbers started to rise and people started to talk him up, but his seasons were just slightly above average for his peak, with only his scoring numbers standing out against the league averages.

6. Spud Webb

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    Point guard Anthony (Spud) Webb of the Atlanta Hawks goes to the hoop while the defenders of the Los Angeles Lakers look on during a game at The Forum in Inglewood, California
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Little Spud Webb was awesome. He was the precursor to Nate Robinson and the other tiny dunkers in the NBA, and that got him his reputation as a good player all these years later.

    However, he was never really a great player beyond his dunking ability.

    Spudd's best season consisted of 16 points and seven assists a game, while his career numbers were at 10 points and five assists.

5. Penny Hardaway

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    LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 21:  Anfernee Hardaway #1 of the Phoenix Suns rests during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 21, 2003 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 107-101.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The first three years of Penny Hardaway's career was terrific, averaging around 20 points and seven assists for those years, but after that he fell apart.

    Injuries and the departure of Shaquille O'Neal led to Hardaway's numbers declining, yet people still remember him as some kind of demigod from the era.

    He played in more than 75 games just twice after his third season in the league and was wildly inconsistent for the rest of his career.

    Never a good three-point shooter, Hardaway shot just 31 percent from the three-point line in his career.

4. Latrell Sprewell

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    LOS ANGELES - MARCH 31:  Latrell Sprewell #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during a break in action against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 31, 2005 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Very few players go from the start of their career to the end of their career averaging double-digits, something Latrell Sprewell did do.

    However, Sprewell was such a distraction off the court that it can't be ignored that even after averaging 13 points a game, no team wanted to sign him because he was borderline crazy (probably not even borderline).

    Sprewell got in countless altercations on the court, and had endless problems off the court, including choking his coach P.J. Carlesimo when he was playing for the Warriors.

3. Damon Stoudamire

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    PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Damon Stoudamire #3 dribbles the ball of the Portland Trail Blazers during the Milwaukee Bucks versus Portland Trail Blazers game on November 19, 2004 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The 1996 Rookie of the Year had huge expectations after his first year that just continued to grow for the next few years.

    Then, after becoming the point guard for the infamous Trail Blazers of the early 2000s he never averaged more than 15 points or six assists again.

    He shot just 40 percent for his career and even in his best years was just an average defender.

2. Steve Francis

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 3:  Steve Francis #1 of the New York Knicks shoots against the Chicago Bulls on March 3, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Chicago won 108-101.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    With a nickname like Stevie Franchise, you would expect Steve Francis to be in the playoffs more than once in his career.

    Even more, you would expect that one playoff appearance to go deeper than five games.

    Francis peaked at 21 points a game in 2003, and after being traded to Orlando in 2004 he plummeted like a lead zeppelin.

1. Stephon Marbury

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    NEW YORK - JANUARY 11:  Stephon Marbury #3 of the New York Knicks leaves the court against the Toronto Raptors on January 11, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    There are so many bad things to say about Stephon Marbury that I'm not really sure where to start.

    Marbury was a bad three-point shooter, even though he shot nearly four a game for his career, and although he talked about defense a lot, he was an averaged defender.

    In 2007 he defended Michael Vick, saying that dog fighting was a sport, which people didn't seem to like very much.

    Marbury probably could have gotten a job a few years ago had he not gone half-crazy over the summer, eating vaseline online and just rambling without end.

    Aside from his many off-court issues, Marbury was brought to New York to be their franchise point gurad, but he ended up making it to the playoffs only once with the Knicks, getting wildly overpaid in the process and draining the life out of Knicks fans.