Top 10 Shooting Guards in NBA History
These guys main objective was to score a majority of their team's points. Today I rank the top 10 shooting guards in NBA history.
10. Earl Monroe
"The Pearl" was one of the pure scorers in league history.
The second overall pick in 1967 by the Baltimore Bullets, Earl Monroe was the NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 24.3 points per game. He became a cult hero for his ability to run the fast break and for his circus like shots. In 1971, Monroe was traded to the Knicks and formed the "Rolls Royce Backcourt" with Walt Frazier. While there were initial questions as to whether Monroe and Frazier could coexist as teammates, the duo eventually meshed to become one of the most effective guard combinations of all time, leading the Knicks to the 1973 NBA championship.
Monroe was forced to retire in 1980 due to severe knee injuries. In his 13 seasons, he was a four time All-Star, a 1969 All-NBA team, the 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year, and 1973 NBA champion. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.
9. Reggie Miller
"The Knick Killer" was one of the most accurate shooters in history.
The 11th overall pick in 1987 by Indiana, Reggie Miller gained a respectable reputation early in his career as he led the Pacers to become a perennial playoff team. He was known for his precision three point shooting, especially in high pressure situations. His clutch shooting and never say die attitude made him one of the most feared shooters in basketball. His late game heroics and inspired trash talking at film director Spike Lee made him a wanted man in Madison Square Garden. At the time of his retirement, he held the NBA record for three point field goals made with 2,560.
Miller retired after the 2004-2005 season. In his 18 seasons with the Pacers, he was a five time All-Star, three time All-NBA team, and the Pacers all time leading scorer. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
8. Ray Allen
He made more three pointers than any player in history.
The fifth overall pick by Minnesota in 1996, Ray Allen was immediately traded to Milwaukee. A true gentleman on the floor, he never made the game about him and was all business on the court. In his fourth season, he led the Bucks to an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2003, he was traded to Seattle where he achieved many individual accomplishments including 15,000 career points and a then record for most three pointers made in a season. Allen was traded to Boston in 2007 where he joined Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to form one of the best big threes in basketball. In his first season in Boston, he helped the Celtics win their first NBA championship in over 20 years. He joined Miami in 2012 where he won his second title in 2013.
In his 19 seasons with four teams, Allen was a 10 time All-Star, two time All-NBA team, the NBA's all time leader in three pointers, and two time NBA champion.
7. Clyde Drexler
"The Glide" was a raw athlete who lit up Portland.
The 14th overall pick by Portland in 1983, Clyde Drexler had an average rookie year before breaking out in his sophomore campaign. While his jump shot was average at best, Drexler electrified Portland crowds with his end to end high wire act. He was well known for his ability to throw down a thunderous tomahawk jam and swing the momentum of an entire ball game. As a Trailblazer, Drexler averaged more than 25 points per game and led Portland to the Finals twice. Midway through the 1994-1995 season, he was traded to Houston where he and Hakeem Olajuwon helped propel the Rockets to the NBA championship in 1995.
Drexler retired after 1998. In his 15 seasons, he was a 10 time All-Star, five time All-NBA team, the Portland Trailblazers all time leading scorer, the NBA record for most steals in a half with eight, the most career offensive rebounds by a guard, and a 1995 NBA champion. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.
6. Dwayne Wade
He is one of the most popular and respected players in the league today.
The fifth overall pick by Miami in 2003, Dwayne Wade quickly emerged as a productive player on a young Heat team. On offense, he has established himself as one of the quickest and most difficult players to guard, as well as one of the best slashers in the NBA. By his third season, he had developed into one of the most prominent players in the NBA while leading Miami to their first NBA championship in 2006. Be is best known for his ability to convert difficult lay ups, even after hard, mid air collisions with larger defenders. He also made a name for himself on defense with his ability to get steals and blocks despite being 6'4". After the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade helped the Heat to four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships.
In his 12 seasons in Miami, Wade has been an 11 time All-Star, eight time All-NBA team, three time All-Defensive team, the 2009 NBA scoring leader, the 2010 NBA All-Star Game MVP, the Miami Heat's all time leading scorer, three time NBA champion, and the 2006 NBA Finals MVP.
5. Allen Iverson
Pound for pound, he was one of the toughest men ever to play basketball.
The first overall pick by Philadelphia in 1996. Allen Iverson was the NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 23.5 points per game, 7.5 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game. Despite being only 6', he became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. During the 2000-2001 season, Iverson was named the NBA MVP after he averaged a then career high with 31.1 points, led the league in scoring for the second time, led the league in steals, and led the 76ers to an appearance in the NBA Finals. He had no regard for his own body. The relentless A.I. remained locked into attack mode from the opening tip. Love him or hate him, no fan could question Iverson’s tenacity, aggressiveness, and overall swagger. He spent his final seasons with Denver, Detroit, Memphis, again in Philadelphia, and in Turkey before retiring in 2013.
In his 14 NBA seasons, Iverson was an 11 time All-Star, seven time All-NBA team, four time NBA scoring leader, three time NBA steals leader, two time NBA All-Star Game MVP, the 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year, and the 2001 NBA MVP.
4. George Gervin
"Iceman" knew how to score at will.
After his first season and a half with the Virginia Squires, George Gervin was traded to San Antonio in 1974. With Gervin as the centerpiece, the Spurs transformed from a primarily defensive oriented team into an exciting fast breaking team that played schoolyard basketball. The high powered offense made the Spurs a very attractive to the NBA and they joined the league through the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Garvin had three straight seasons of leading the league in scoring and became one of the first player to perfect the finger roll. He spent his final years in Chicago and the international leagues before retiring in 1990.
In his 14 years between the ABA and NBA, Gervin was a nine time All-Star, seven time All-NBA team, four time NBA scoring champion, three time ABA All-Star, two time All-ABA team, and the 1980 All-Star Game MVP. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.
3. Jerry West
"Mr. Clutch" has been immortalized in history by his silhouette being featured on the NBA logo.
The second overall pick by the Lakers in 1960, Jerry West was the team's first draft pick after they relocated to Los Angeles. After initially feeling uncomfortable in his new environment, he soon impressed his teammates and coaches with his defensive hustle, his vertical jump, and his work ethic as he spent countless extra hours working on his game. On the floor, West scored 17.6 points, grabbed 7.7 rebounds and gave 4.2 assists per game. He was an all around great combo guard who could take the playmaking roles of a point guard and score like a shooting guard, while being equally strong on offense and on defense. He was a clutch player despite losing eight of his nine Finals appearances. And is the only player to lose a championship and be named the Finals MVP. West retired in 1974 and went on to be a coach and executive for 40 years.
In his 14 seasons in Los Angeles as a player, West was a 14 time All-Star, 12 time All-NBA team, five time All-Defensive team, the 1970 NBA scoring champion, the 1972 NBA assists leader, the 1969 NBA Finals MVP, and a 1972 NBA champion.
2. Kobe Bryant
He is a rare athlete that has exceeded all expectations since he came into the NBA.
The 13th overall pick by Charlotte in 1996, Kobe Bryant was immediately traded to Los Angeles. As a rookie, Bryant saw limited minutes, but as the season continued he began to see some more playing time. By 1998, he emerged as a premier shooting guard in the league. Along with Shaquille O'Neal, Bryant helped the Lakers win three straight NBA championships. With career averages of 25.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, he is considered one of the most complete players in the NBA. He was the first player in NBA history to have at least 30,000 career points and 6,000 career assists. One of the most dangerous scorers in league history, Bryant has the second highest single game scoring performance with 81 points and the record for the most three pointers made in a game with 12.
In his 19 seasons in Los Angeles, Bryant has been a 18 time All-Star, 15 time All-NBA team, 12 time All-Defensive team, two time NBA scoring champion, four time All-Star Game MVP, the Los Angeles Lakers all time leading scorer, the 2008 NBA MVP, five time NBA champion, and two time NBA Finals MVP.
1. Michael Jordan
Was there really any doubt? "MJ" is not only the greatest shooting guard of all time, but also arguably the best player in NBA history.
The third overall pick by Chicago in 1984, Michael Jordan quickly emerged as THE star of the NBA with his prolific scoring. He earned the nickname "Air Jordan" for his leaping ability, as demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line. A versatile player playing both guard spots as well as small forward, Jordan could dominate from just about anywhere on the court. He was known throughout his career for being a strong clutch performer. With the Bulls, he decided 25 games with field goals or free throws in the last 30 seconds, including two NBA Finals games and five other playoff games. His competitiveness and work ethic were well known as the Bulls built the franchise around him. Chicago management had to trade away players who were not tough enough to compete with him in practice. After winning three straight NBA championships, Jordan retired in 1993 to pursue a career in baseball. He returned to basketball in 1995 and helped Chicago win three more championships. He retired again in 1998 only to return to play two final seasons in Washington before finally calling it quits in 2003.
In his 15 year career, Jordan was a 14 time All-Star, 11 time All-NBA team, nine time All-Defensive team, 10 time NBA scoring champion, three time NBA steals leader, the all time NBA playoffs scoring leader, the Chicago Bulls all time leading scorer, three time All-Star Game MVP, the 1988 NBA defensive player of the year, five time NBA MVP, six time NBA champion, six time NBA Finals MVP. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.