NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant and 50 Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History
The shooting guard position is one that is always changing and evolving, from Jerry West to Kobe Bryant, the two spot has been asked to do so many different things.
It was once primarily a position for shooters and defenders to take their spots on the floor and keep a hard nose on their defenders.
Then, Michael Jordan came along and revolutionized basketball, and now the two-guard has to do all of that plus be uber-athletic and high-flying.
It's probably not the most important position in the game (I would give that to either the point guard or center, depending on the era), but it can definitely be a game changer.
So, for your entertainment and viewing convenience, I have compiled a list of the top 50 shooting guards in NBA history. I hope you enjoy it.
50. Terry Porter
Terry Porter was another guy that was constantly threatening to break the 50-40-90 mark in his shooting percentages, but just never quite breaking through.
He was kept from a championship by Isiah Thomas' Bad Boy Pistons and Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1990 and 1992, otherwise we might remember him as something better than he was.
His game was constantly improving, as he developed a sweet three-point shot a few years into his career and became a better defender as he got older.
49. Rolando Blackman
Along with having one of the coolest names in NBA history, Rolando Blackman was the number one or number two option for the only Dallas Mavericks teams to make the postseason and not have a big German named Nowitzki on the team.
He was a great shooter who could score with ease, and as his career wore on he developed a three-point shot to extend his life in the NBA.
48. Danny Ainge
Yea, he traded away Kendrick Perkins and lost the Celtics' edge this season, but he was a good player while he was with the team.
The starting two-guard for most of the 80s with Larry Bird's Celtics, Ainge could shoot the three-ball like nobody's business and was a hard-nosed defender, but back on Larry's teams you had to be or you weren't on Larry's teams.
47. Dick Van Arsdale
A tad to slow to be a guard and a bit to small to be a forward, Van Arsdale made do with what he had and people loved him for it.
He was the first player in Phoenix Suns history, being drafted in 1968, and was a tremendous shooter for his size, rivaling Jerry West's field goal percentages for much of the 60s.
Plus he had a twin brother with whom he would constantly play tricks with whenever they were together, and that has to count for something.
46. Austin Carr
Austin Carr is more recently known as the boisterous and sometimes befuddled voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He was a terrific player for his first three years in the league, averaging over 20 points, but a knee injury in 1974 would slow him down and shorten his career.
He never averaged single digits for the Cavaliers, his primary team, and he leveled out his sweet shooting with good, hard-nosed defense.
45. John Starks
Poor John Starks came around too early. Had he been born five or six years later the New York Knicks would have picked him up and given him a huge contract rather than actually being wise with him in the early 90s. He would have made four times as much money if born just a few years later.
Nonetheless, Starks was an excellent defender as a part of Patrick Ewing's Knicks teams and could shoot the ball with great skill.
He was a bit trigger-happy with the three ball, shooting over 3,500 downtowners in his career, but he did make a good hunk of them, so there wasn't much to complain about.
44. Steve Smith
Steve Smith is what we in the business call a team ho. He bounced around the league so much that it seems like every team got a piece of him at some point, so he doesn't have much of an identity for his 13 years in the league.
Smith was a decent defender, but he made his money shooting the ball, as he peaked from 1996 to 1998 scoring 20 points a game.
He led the league once in three-point percentage, shooting 47 percent from downtown in 2002.
43. Jerry Sloan
Many people now know Jerry Sloan as the buttoned-down, prim and proper coach that had coached the Jazz for what seems like 79 years.
He was a great two-guard in his days with the Chicago Bulls, however, making a name for himself as a feisty rebounder, an above-average scorer and a great defender.
Had the league recorded steals for his entire career (they didn't until his last three years), Sloan would have had a few seasons where he cracked three a game, something that has only happened 11 times in NBA history, and he could have made a run for four in his prime.
42. Allan Houston
Allan Houston, before he was wildly overpaid was a tremendous player.
He could shoot from anywhere on the floor with percentage averages of 44, 40 and 86 for his career from the floor, three-point line and charity stripe.
Houston missed a 50-40-90 season by just a few percentage points in 2003.
41. Byron Scott
The lean and mean looking coach touting the Princeton Offense with his high, sharp collars that look like they could cut diamonds was once a huge part of the flashy Showtime Lakers.
Byron Scott peaked at 21 points a game in the 1987-88 season, and made a name for himself with his hustle on defense and his silky three-point shot.
40. Jeff Hornacek
He was bland, he was white, and he played in the whitest town around (where his whiteness was overshadowed by John Stockton), but man was he good for a long period of time.
Hornacek would defend anyone on the court who wanted to have a go at him, and he was usually pretty good at it, plus he could shoot the long ball with relative ease, averaging 40 percent for his career.
39. Fat Lever
Another defensive wizard, Fat Lever averaged 2.2 steals a game for his career, but could shoot the ball amazingly well as well.
Lever had a short five year peak, but it was terrific, as he posted more than two steals a game and averaged over eight rebounds and 15 points for most of it.
38. World B. Free
If you disregard his hairline, which makes him look like a Chinese man during the Qing Dynasty, World B. Free was an impressive player.
He averaged over 20 points a game from 1978 to 1986, peaking with 28 points in '79 and 30 in '80, and was one of the few older players to eventually embrace the three-point line when it was created, shooting 34 percent from downtown for his career.
37. Dan Majerle
Dan Majerle is a bit overrated in my opinion, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good player who isn't worthy of a top 50 spot.
Thunder Dan was a good three-point shooter and just a hard worker overall for the majority of his NBA career.
36. Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones could score from the minute he got into the league, averaging in double figures for every season but his final two in which his minutes were drastically cut.
Along with that, he was a great defender, averaging nearly two steals a game for his career and leading the league with 2.7 in 2000.
35. Mitch Richmond
Mitch Richmond is a guy that kind of gets lost in the fray of good shooting guards from the 90s, probably because he was stuck on some bad teams.
Making the playoffs only four times in his career, Richmond played on the late 80s Warriors, the 90s Kings (before Chris Webber and everything) and the early 00s Wizards.
He did, however, average 21 points a game for his career, and finally got a ring in 2002 when he moonlighted for the Lakers.
34. Jo Jo White
Jo Jo White was a big part of the 70s Celtics, winning the 1976 NBA Finals MVP Award along the way.
He also made his way into seven all-star games, scoring 17 points a game and averaging five assists along the course of his career.
33. Jerry Stackhouse
Jerry Stackhouse drew comparisons (unfairly) to Michael Jordan coming out of college because he came out of North Carolina which he didn't live up to, but he still had a good career.
He led the league in scoring in 2001, averaging 29.8 points a game and was a good shooter for his career, despite being a bit overconfident from the three-point line.
32. Latrell Sprewell
Everyone remembers Sprewell for the choking incident and the "I can't feed my family" comment, but nobody ever seems to remember how good he was.
He may have been an off-and-on defender, depending on how crazy he was feeling on any given day, but he could score like nobody's business, averaging 18 points a game for his 12 year career, which could have been more had teams not given up on him for being such a jerk.
31. Hersey Hawkins
The tough guy out of Bradly came into the league in 1988 and made a name for himself with his ability to shoot the ball and man-up on his defender.
He averaged 15 points a game for his career and nearly two steals to go along with shooting percentages of 46-39-87.
30. Joe Dumars
Little Joe D was one of the tough guys from the Bad Boy Pistons and he could shoot the ball like nobody's business.
Dumars missed out on a 50-40-90 season by two percent in his field goal percentage in 1990, but made up for it by helping the Pistons to a second straight championship
29. Penny Hardaway
Penny Hardaway was a beast when he was playing with a certain dominant center named Shaquille, but injuries dragged his career down soon after he entered the league, otherwise he could have cracked the top 10.
He made it to four all-star games before his body started to break down and came in third in MVP voting in 1996.
Hardaway eventually refined his skills as a three-point shooter later in his career to stick around, and finished averaging 15 points a game.
28. Alvin Robertson
One of the defensive masterminds of the 90s, Alvin Robertson was a guy nobody wanted to match up against.
Robertson led the league in steals three times in his 10 year career and finished his career averaging 2.7 a game, good enough for the best in NBA history.
He made four all-star teams and the all-defensive team from 1986 to 1991 and owns four of the 11 seasons in which a player has averaged more than three steals a game.
27. Dennis Johnson
Dennis Johnson was one of the few good two-guards of his era that couldn't figure out the three point line, but he made up for it with the ability to get to the rim and score at will.
Johnson made five all-star games in his career and was the 1979 NBA Finals MVP with the Seattle Supersonics.
26. Hal Greer
Hal Greer was a great shooter for a guy that played the majority of his career in the 1960s, shooting 45 percent for his time in the league.
He won a championship with the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers, ending his career just shy of averaging 20 points a game.
25. Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili has such a unique game that I feel like I should have him higher.
He is like Dirk Nowitzki, only eight inches shorter in terms of the insaneness of the shots that he can put through the hoop and with the way that he throws caution to the wind with his body.
In eight years, Ginobili has become the leader of the San Antonio Spurs, won three titles and made two all-star games while averaging 15 points a game.
24. Drazen Petrovic
Drazen Petrovic was an amazing player in his short amount of time with us here in the NBA.
Once he ended up in New Jersey in his third year in the league and earned a starting spot the guy absolutely took off, averaging 20 and 22 points a game over the next two years with three-point percentages over 45 percent for both years.
Petrovic could have very well averaged 50-40-90 for his career but his untimely death will always leave us wondering what could have been.
23. Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was one of he most exciting players of the last decade, but there were a few problems with him that he couldn't seem to overcome.
He was great in the regular season, destructive at times, leading the league in scoring in two straight seasons, but he was unable to do much in the playoffs.
McGrady's teams appeared in seven playoffs, never advancing out of the first round in a single one, but still getting his stats.
22. Chris Mullin
The white guy with the crew cut on ESPN was an amazing player during his career, and had a peak that stretched as higher than many other basketball players in history.
At his peak he was averaging 26-6-5, which he neared for five years, he also could have put together a 40-50-90 year, but he just didn't put them all together in the same season.
21. Vince Carter
The latter half of Vince Carter's career, where he can be seen as a fat, lazy guy who writhes around on the ground for 20 minutes after each hard foul has given him a bad name.
The truth is that Carter is probably the best dunker in NBA history, and I would be hard pressed to change my vote.
Vince has averaged 22-5-4 for his career and was literally Half-man/Half-Amazing when he was promenading around Canada with the Raptors.
20. Sidney Moncrief
Another guy with an awesome name, and an even cooler nickname (the Squid) Moncrief was a force in the mid-80s.
One of the most versatile two-guards before the Michael Jordan Era, Moncrief averaged 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in his career, but had peaks where he averaged around 22, seven and five.
19. Paul Westphal
Another guy who is sometimes overshadowed by his coaching career, Westphal made five all-star games and three All-NBA First teams in his short career.
Westphal ended up averaging 15 points a game in his short career, shooting over 50 percent for his career.
18. David Thompson
David Thompson once signed the biggest contract in NBA history, but his persistent injuries and cocaine problems helped his career flame out quicker than anyone could have expected.
He played five years in the NBA (and one in the ABA) to start out where he averaged at least 21 points, and only once in those years did he averaged anything below 24 a game.
Thompson also shot over 50 percent from the field for five of those six years, but he took a turn for the worse after that.
In the three years that followed, Thompson played in more than 61 games just once and never averaged more than 16 point before retiring just nine years after entering professional basketball.
17. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller split time at the two and three spot, but he was good enough to be mentioned in either position.
Miller held the all-time three-point record until this season, and was one of the most clutch players of the 90s not named Michael Jordan.
We all know about how he torched the Knicks and killed Spike Lee, and how great of a three-point shooter he was, but he was also one of the few in NBA history to have a season averaging 50-40-90, which he did in 1993-94.
16. Earl Monroe
The Pearl, Black Jesus, Earl. Whatever you want to call him, (I prefer Black Jesus by the way) he was one of the most impressive two-guards ever.
He made four All-Star teams and helped the Knicks to their 1973 NBA Championship along with averaging 21 points a game for his entire career.
15. Ray Allen
The guy that took the record away from Reggie Miller this season was none other than Ray Allen, and for me that put him ahead of Miller in the rankings.
Allen can flat out shoot, obviously, but he is also a great defender and a wily old veteran, which is actually making him better as he gets older.
The scariest part about Ray Allen is that he has shown no real signs of tailing off in his old age, and even had one of his best seasons ever at 35 years old.
14. Bill Sharman
Bill Sharman was the original Celtic shooting guard, and if there is one guy that I would want to teach children how to shoot free-throws, it would be him.
He made eight all-star teams, won four championships and led the league in free-throw shooting percentage seven times in his 11 year career.
13. Gary Payton
The Glove was one of my favorite two-guards of all-time to watch.
He was a top-three defender at his position for nearly two decades and ended up averaging 16 points, four rebounds, seven assists and two steals a game for his career.
Thankfully he did finally end up winning the championship that he deserved in 2006 as a reserve with the Miami Heat.
12. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is slowly climbing his way up this list, and if you count brains in this operation he should probably be higher, as he seems like the guy that convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him in Miami.
Wade does things with the ball that people haven't seen from the shooting guard spot since Michael Jordan did them.
He is averaging 25 points a game for his career currently to go along with five rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.
11. Pete Maravich
The Pistol was a lot of flash, but he didn't do much in terms of leading a team deep into the playoffs, so I couldn't put him higher on this list.
He did some things that were inconceivable with a basketball at the time, and people loved to watch the guy. He was a cultural phenomenon in the basketball world.
Unfortunately he only played in 26 playoff games in 10 seasons and never captured that elusive title.
10. Clyde Drexler
The Glide was something else on the basketball court. He was the smoothest runner, passer, dunker, shooter and defender at his position, and if it weren't for MJ, he would be a top five contender.
Drexler averaged 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals a game in his career, making nine all-star games and finally winning a title in 1995 with the Rockets when Jordan was out of the league.
9. Sam Jones
Sam Jones was a huge part of the 1960s Celtics and the decade's worth of championships that they won with him.
Jones averaged 17 points, five rebounds and two assists a game for the his career, along with shooting 45 percent, which was great for a guard in the 60s.
8. Walt Frazier
Probably the most beloved New York Knick of all-time, Walt "Clyde" Frazier fit the role perfectly, mixing flashy with classy just enough to succeed in New York.
Frazier was a part of both the 1970 and 1973 championship teams in New York, making his way to seven All-Star games in the process.
He ended up averaging 18 points, five rebounds and six assists in his career.
7. Allen Iverson
Unless I am mistaken, Allen Iverson is the smallest guy on this list, and also if I am not mistaken he is one of the toughest.
Iverson made a career out of driving to the lane, right into the bigger player's chest not caring about the repercussions that could come of it.
For six years he was the most interesting player in teh NBA, and everyone in the country had an opinion on the man.
He finished his career averaging 26 points a game to go along with four rebounds and six assists and led the league in scoring four times.
6. George Gervin
The Iceman was a big guard for a guy that played during the 1970s and the way he played reflected it.
Gervin was able to take almost any defender one-on-one, as he was a few inches taller and could use his body to get room whenever he wanted it.
He is one of the few players to do better moving from the ABA to the NBA, probably because it allowed him to play against a more diluted league where the high-flylers were fewer and farther between.
Gervin averaged 26 points and five rebounds in the NBA, while making nine All-Star games in the league.
5. John Havlicek
The coolest cat to ever come out of the Ohio State Unviersity was also the most important Celtic during the transition from the Bill Russell Era.
Hondo was a part of eight championships with the Celtics, making 13 All-Star games and winning the 1974 NBA Finals MVP in the process.
He was tough, scrappy and just a downright great player.
4. Kobe Bryant
I had Kobe as low as fifth and as high as second in this ranking, but I finally settled on putting him in at number four.
He still has room to grow as his legacy grows on me, but right now I feel that number four is a good spot for the man.
Kobe was the Robin to Shaquille O'Neal's Batman for three of his championships, was a distraction for a few years after Shaq left, but finally became a team oriented guy when Pau Gasol fell into his lap.
He has career averages of 25 points, five rebounds and nearly five assists for his career and is still climbing his way up the all-time lists.
3. Oscar Robertson
The Big O did a lot of things that are unfathomable for a guy his size at this point in time, and he played in a different era to do them, but they are impressive nonetheless.
His sophomore season is legendary, in which he averaged 30 points, 12 rebounds an 11 assists, a triple-double.
It may have been a rebound happy era, but even guys his size weren't getting that many boards or assists, so it's hard to take it away from him.
For his career he averaged a stunning 25 points, 7.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists.
2. Jerry West
He is the NBA logo, he has to be a top five guy.
Jerry West was a man possessed in the years he spent in the NBA, going to 12 All-Star games, winning a championship in 1972 and even winning the 1969 NBA Finals MVP in a losing effort by the Lakers.
In his career, West averaged 25 points, five rebounds and six assists a game, and sank an uncountable number of clutch shots.
1. Michael Jordan
Was ther any question who number one was when you started reading this. If I would have picked someone else I would need a lobotomy.
Michael Jordan is by far the best basketball player in the history of the game, number two isn't even close although people like to debate it.
He peaked four times, left and came back twice easily slipping his way back into the flow of things upon his returns.
His averages are insane, at 30 points, five rebounds and six assists a game it seems like he played in the 60s and 70s even though he just dominated the 90s.
There will never be another Michael Jordan.