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NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 10 Greatest Shooting Guards of All Time

Imaz ACorrespondent IIAugust 10, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and the 10 Greatest Shooting Guards of All Time

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    The shooting guard position may be the most exciting to watch in the NBA.

    They’re expected to be the best defender, the best scorer and at times, they’re expected to be both.

    Throughout NBA history, there have been many legendary shooting guards. So many, that it’s quite difficult to rank the greatest.

    However, I decided to take the challenge and I ranked, in my opinion, the Top 10 shooting guards of all time.

    You may disagree, but that’s expected—everyone has their own list.

Honorable Mentions

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    These three players barely missed the cut:

    Earl "The Pearl" Monroe 

    At 6’3” and 185 lbs, “Black Jesus” was small, but his height didn’t hinder his success.

    In the late 60s and throughout the 70s, the four-time All-Star displayed his unique and entertaining ways of getting to the basket.

    Reggie Miller 

    Reggie Miller averaged 18.2 PPG in his career and he is second on the all-time 3-PT field goals made with 2,560 three-pointers.

    Although Miller never won a title, he will always be remembered for hitting all those big shots against the New York Knicks in the 90s. 

    Ray Allen 

    Silently, Allen has put up some big scoring numbers, averaging 20.2 PPG over his career.

    This past season, Allen passed Reggie Miller on the all time 3-PT field goals made list—he has made 2,612 three pointers in his career and he’s still going strong.

    The 10-time All-Star finally won an NBA Championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics.

10. Pete Maravich

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    Pete Maravich was a transcendent scorer in college, but he was also a great scorer in the NBA—he averaged a career high 31.1 PPG in the 1976-1977 season and 24.2 PPG in his career.

    But, Maravich’s ability to create plays for himself and others is what made him one of the most entertaining players in NBA history.

    His pump fakes, double-clutch lay-ups and no look passes were an amazing sight to see.

    If Maravich had been a part of a great team and won a championship, he would be higher on the list.

9. Joe Dumars

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    Joe Dumars is underrated by many, mainly because he played with one of the greatest point guards ever in Isiah Thomas.

    But Dumars deserves a place on this list because he was the ultimate team player on the Detroit "Bad Boys" Pistons team that won back to back titles in 1989 and 1990. 

    Dumars didn’t average a lot of points—he averaged 16.1 over his career—but he scored as many as the team needed him to.

    Also, Dumars was one of the best perimeter defenders ever. He was a part of five NBA all-defensive first teams and he was known as one of the only players to give Michael Jordan fits on offense.

    Dumars was one of the best shooters of his time, averaging 38.2 percent from the three-point arc in his career. He was even better during crunch time, which is evident by his 1989 NBA Finals MVP award.

8. Sam Jones

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    Sam Jones wasn’t a very flashy player which is why he is often overlooked when it comes to the "top shooting guard" discussion.

    However, during his days with the legendary Boston Celtics, Jones had one of the sweetest jumpers in the NBA and was one of the league’s top scorers, averaging a career high 25.9 PPG in the 1964-1965 season and 17.7 PPG during his career.

    What is exceptionally impressive about Jones is that he won 10 NBA titles with the Celtics, which is second all time to only Bill Russell.

    Although winning championships is a team accomplishment, Jones was an integral part of the Celtics’ success.

    During the playoffs, Jones averaged 18.9 PPG and a career-high 28.6 PPG in the 1965 playoffs.

    Jones was able to translate his great individual skill into team winning, which is vital when assessing a great player. 

7. Clyde Drexler

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    Clyde “The Glide” Drexler was a good scorer, averaging 20.4 PPG, and one of the most electrifying dunkers of all time.

    He could also rebound (averaging 6.1 per game), pass (averaging 5.6 assists per game), and defend (averaging 2.0 steals per game).

    The 10-time All-Star was a part of many great Portland Trailblazers teams, but he wasn’t able to win a title until later in his career with the Houston Rockets

6. George Gervin

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    Not only did the “Iceman” have one of the greatest nicknames of all time, but he is undoubtedly one of the best scorers in NBA history.

    In his career, he averaged 25.1 PPG and a career high 33.1 PPG in the 1979-1980 NBA season. He was also extremely efficient, shooting 50.4 percent from the field in his career.

    Using a variety of moves, Gervin could either shoot the ball with his sweet stroke or drive to the basket and finger roll the ball through the hoop, which was his signature move.

    It’s a shame that Gervin wasn’t a part of championship team in his career.

    However, he was, without a doubt, one of the most entertaining scorers in NBA history.

5. Allen Iverson

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    Despite his small size, Allen Iverson was one of the most dominant players in the NBA in the late 90s and 2000s.

    His ability to penetrate to the basket with his ankle breaking handles terrified opposing defenses, as he averaged 26.7 PPG over his career. 

    The one-time MVP and 11-time All-Star came extremely close to winning a championship in 2001, but wasn’t able to do it by himself.  

    Even though he didn’t win a title, he’s still, in my mind, one of the greatest guards of all time.

4. Dwyane Wade

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    Yes, I may be overrating Dwyane Wade, but I don’t care.

    Wade, to me, is one of the most comparable players to Michael Jordan, besides Kobe Bryant.

    Over his career, he has showed NBA fans that he is an elite scorer, averaging 25.4 PPG, as well as a very efficient scorer, shooting 48.5 percent from the field.

    In addition, Wade is extremely crafty. Using his exceptional handles, he is able to get by defenders and either dunk ferociously or make an incredible trick shot.

    Wade is great passer, averaging 6.3 assists per game over his career, as well as a great defender, averaging one block per game and close to two steals per game.

    What I also believe is significant about Wade is that he is one of the most clutch players in the NBA.

    The seven-time All-Star led his Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA title, coming from a 2-0 deficit. As a result of his magnificent performance, he was the Finals MVP.  

3. Jerry West

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    Jerry West is one of the most legendary players in NBA history. The fact that he’s the league's official logo attests to that.

    West was one of the best scorers in his day, averaging 27 PPG in his career. In addition, he was a good rebounder, averaging 5.8 per game, and passer, averaging 6.7 assists per game.

    What’s even more outstanding about West is that he was extremely clutch, hence the nickname “Mr. Clutch.”

    West was also a great defensive player, which is a quality that is often overlooked. He was on four NBA All-Defensive first teams and one NBA All-Defensive second team.

    It’s unfortunate that the 14-time All-Star won only one NBA championship in his career. If the mighty Celtics hadn’t come in his way so many times, he could be even higher on this list.

2. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant is the closest player that we’ve seen to Michael Jordan.

    He can shoot from anywhere and score at will—he has averaged 25.3 PPG over his career.

    In addition, Bryant is a good rebounder, averaging 5.3 per game, and a pretty good passer too, averaging 4.7 assists per game.

    Bryant is also known as one of the better defensive players in the game, as he almost always defends the opposing team’s best player.

    The 13-time All-star and one-time MVP has won five titles in his career and is known as one of the most clutch players of all time.

    Who knows, if Bryant wins two more titles, which is certainly possible, he could be known as the greatest player of all time, in addition to being the best shooting guard.

1. Michael Jordan

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    Undoubtedly, Michael Jordan is the best shooting guard of all time.

    There are no valid arguments against it.

    The 14-time All-star and five-time MVP is the league’s standard of greatness.

    “Air” Jordan could score at will, averaging an all-time high 30.1 PPG, fly through the air and slam it down on defenders. He could also completely lock down opposing offenses with his exceptional defensive prowess.

    Jordan was also one of the fiercest and most competitive players of all time, winning six NBA titles, while also being the MVP of each finals series.

    Jordan was invincible—we expected nothing less than victory and he certainly didn't disappoint.

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