Top 5: Shooting Guards in the NBA


A couple decades ago, the shooting guard position was the glamor spot, the one that featured the do-it all backcourt player.  He could handle the ball, score at will, pass from different sports on the floor, and hold his own against other tough 2 guards around the league.  Hall of Famers such as Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Reggie Miller, and Mitch Richmond highlighted the position during the ‘80’s and ‘90’s– the golden age for shooting guards.  Those days are gone, however.  The position has become a land of specialists, and there are only a few people left at the 2-man position who can truly carry the torch from the past.  Who are those players?  Find out below:


5.) Dwyane Wade

Points per game: 18.5

Assists per game: 4.5

Rebounds per game: 3.9

Field goal percentage: 46.0%

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is getting up there in age, but there is no doubt that he can still compete in the NBA at an elite level.  Wade places second in player efficiency rating and assists among shooting guards, along with still being extremely efficient with his shot selection.  Wade has worked hard to carry himself through a couple of tough years dealing with a bum knee, which has held back his marquee explosiveness that made him so deadly in his early days.  Wade turns 34 in a less than 2 weeks, it’s been proven that he’s still able to carry the Heat, demonstrated by their 21-13 record to start out the season.


4.) DeMar DeRozan

Points per game: 22.9

Assists per game: 4.1

Rebounds per game: 4.3

Field goal percentage: 44.5%

DeMar DeRozan tore a tendon in his leg in November 2014, which caused him to miss a significant amount of time last season, therefore causing his quality of play to notably decrease.  He bottomed out last February, when he shot 33.9% from the field and 12.5% from the 3-point line over the course of 11 games.  This started to lead to the rumors about whether DeRozan would ever turn into the great scorer that he looked poised to become in his early years. DeRozan has completely turn around his play this year, averaging 3rd in player efficiency rating among other shooting guards, and quickly becoming a lethal scoring threat around the NBA.  


3.) Klay Thompson

Points per game: 20.9

Assists per game: 2.3

Rebounds per game: 3.7

Field goal percentage: 46.6%

Thomson’s streaky shooting along with his quick and accurate release has him ranked as the second best three-point shooting guard in the NBA behind J.J. Redick, and the third best 2 guard in terms of field goal percentage.  Although Thompson got off to a slow start this season points-wise (mainly due to the inhumane like play of Steph Curry), he has been heating in recent games.  In Thompson’s past 10 contests, he has increased his scoring to 24.9 points per game.  His improved ballhandling and defending this year have earned him a third place spot on the list.

[Ezra Shaw/NBAE/Getty Images]

2.) Jimmy Butler

Points per game: 22.1

Assists per game: 3.9

Rebounds per game: 4.8

Field goal percentage: 45.9%

After establishing his credentials around the NBA as a lockdown defender, Jimmy Butler is in the midst of his second breakout year in a row.  When Butler suffered his elbow injury in the second half of last year, the Bulls went just 5-6 without his presence.  Besides injuries, his main challenge this year has been fitting in with point guard Derrick Rose, with whom he’s had a testy relationship with in the past.  Interestingly, the Bulls play better when Butler has a decent scoring game, but fails to score too much.   In fact, in games where Butler scores 30 or more points, the Bulls are 1-3. When Butler scores less than 29 points, the Bulls are 14-9.  With a bit of improvement at the offense end, Jimmy Butler could definitely make a case for best shooting guard in the league by the end of this year.


1.) James Harden

Points per game: 28.1

Assists per game: 6.7

Rebounds per game: 5.9

Field goal percentage: 41.7%

James Harden has been the best shooting guard in the NBA ever since he joined the Houston Rockets.  Harden is an expert manipulator of the pick-and-roll, and does an overwhelming share of the ball handling for Houston.  He is the 2nd leading scorer in the entire league behind Steph Curry, showing how much his team relies on him to produce.  Among shooting guards, Harden is also 1st in double-doubles and player efficiency rating.  If Harden would put a bit more effort into taking the raggedness out of his notably poor defense, he would be a prime candidate for the MVP award, and be in the conversation as one of the greatest shooting guards ever.


Honorable Mentions: Andrew Wiggins and C.J. Mccollum

Who is in your top 5?  Comment Below:



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