Best Shooting Guards of All Time
December 27, 2020
Few would argue that James Harden, Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday, and Devin Booker are some of the best shooting guards in the NBA today. As for who are the best shooting guards of all time, that is something that is up for debate.
If the only prerequisite is someone who scores lots of points, James Harden is the obvious choice. But many would argue that there is more to being the best than just scoring points.
Most of the debates about the best NBA shooting guards of all time tend to sound the same and involve the same names. Why? Their excellence is undeniable, but their rank as one of the best shooting guards of all time is just the writer’s perception.
So, rather than try to rank the best shooting guards of all time, here are the top ten in no particular order split into two groups:
Best Shooting Guards Of All Time, No. 10-6
While relatively small for an NBA player, he made up for it by being relentless and more athletic than most. He was rarely on a good team, so he never won an NBA title. But he did win MVP once and the scoring title four times which qualifies him as one of the best shooting guards of all time.
Gervin spent the bulk of his 14-year career in San Antonio (1974-85), where he made nine all-star teams. He won the NBA scoring title in four of his first five years in the NBA and averaged 20+ points a game every year of his career, but his last (in Chicago).
Allen, a two-time NBA champion and 10X all-star, is widely considered to be the best shooter of all time. He holds the record for most career three-pointers with 2973 and shot 40 percent from being the arc in his career.
Miller made the second-most three-pointers of all time and hit an incredible 39.5 percent during his career. He is one of seven players to ever shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent or better from three-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line for a season.
He was one of the top-scoring threats in the game during his day, especially when making bank shots. While he may not have made as many all-stars (six) or All-NBA teams (three) as some guys on this list, he won the second-most NBA titles in NBA history with ten (his teammate, Bill Russell, won 11).
Best Shooting Guards Of All Time, No. 5-1
A three-time NBA Champion, Finals MVP, 12X All-Star, and one-time scoring champ, Wade was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end of the court as well as offensive—with and without LeBron James on the roster.
Widely considered not one of the best shooting guards of all time but the best, his accolades speak for themselves—5X MVP, 6X NBA champion, six Finals MVPs, a career scoring average of 30.1 points per game, and a ten-time scoring champion.
Along with a relentless work ethic and legendary drive, his resume speaks for itself– 18-time All-Star, 15 All-NBA Team selections, 12-time All-Defensive selections, five NBA championships, 2X Finals MVP, and 2X scoring champion. He would not be one of the best shooting guards of all time but the best, if not for Michael Jordan.
He is one of the most prolific scorers of all time (and one-time scoring champion) and was named an All-Defensive Team selection five times. West was so well respected he is the only player to win NBA Finals MVP from the losing team.
He was one of the most prolific scorers in the game during his day. A 10 All-Star and five-time All-NBA Team selection, he won his first and only NBA title after getting traded to the Rockets (while Jordan was playing baseball).
Why is James Harden not one of the best shooting guards of all time?
Many lists do have him listed as one of the best shooting guards of all time, some inside the top five. However, while his scoring prowess and offensive accomplishments are undeniable, his deficiencies on defense are glaring. If he continues to post offensive stats as he has, he will deserve a spot in the top ten at the end of his career (but not the top five).
How vital are NBA titles in discussions about the best shooting guards of all time?
Titles can help a player get into the discussion for best shooting guards of all time, but they are not one of the more important things.
Should Manu Ginobili be considered one of the best shooting guards of all time?
His name does come up in the discussion for best shooting guards of all time. As important as he was to the four championship teams he was on in San Antonio, his low career scoring average is enough to keep him out of the top ten.
What is the difference between NBA shooting guards and point guards?
Point guards are usually the guys who facilitate scoring, while a shooting guard’s focus is typically scoring. Some of the best shooting guards of all time were adept at doing both.
How important is defense in the discussion about the best shooting guards of all time?
When it comes to who should be called one of the best shooting guards of all time, scoring is typically the first thing people look for. But those who were also good defenders tend to make the top five.