Historically, the shooting guard position is stacked with NBA superstars. Although many of the top tier shooting guards have been around in the past few decades, the legends of the past are not to be forgotten. Ranking the top-five NBA players of all-time is challenging, but ranking the top five for one position is a challenge in itself.
The Top Five NBA Shooting Guards of All-Time:
5. Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler was one of the most all-around players the shooting guard position has ever seen. Not only was Drexler a high-flying scoring machine, but he was a great passer and a great rebounder for his size. He led the Portland Trailblazers to two finals appearances in arguably the toughest era in NBA history. Drexler was an All-Star 10 times and made an All-NBA team five times. His 22,195 points, 6,677 rebounds, 6,125 assists, and 2,207 steals help cement himself as one of the best shooting guards to ever play.
4. Dwyane Wade
There’s no argument against Dwyane Wade being on this list. The three-time champion has an overwhelming amount of accomplishments that can’t be overlooked. Wade led the Miami Heat to a championship in only his third season, while also winning Finals MVP averaging 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1 block per game. He recorded a 48 efficiency field goal percentage and had a 33.8 player efficiency rating. This was deemed by many sports analysts as the best Finals performance since the ABA/NBA merger.
The rest of Wade’s career was nothing short of spectacular. He averaged at least 20 points for 10 seasons and won the scoring title for the 2008-09 season. He won two more titles with his best friend LeBron James and eventually climbed up the ladder to reach the second-most all-time blocked shots by a guard. Wade was a 12-time All-Star and earned a trip to an All-NBA team eight times. As his career came to a close, Wade spent the last few years helping young players develop. He acted as a great veteran and role model. Wade has gained a lot of respect from players in the league and from fans at home.
3. Jerry West
Although most fans never got a chance to see Jerry West play, he was an absolute monster. West was an All-Star every year in his career, and he won the All-Star game MVP once. West made the All-NBA Defensive First Team four times, and Second Team once. He was a 12-time All-NBA player and lead the league once in scoring and assists. West averaged 27 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists for his career. He was a true all-around player.
When Hall of Fame teammate Elgin Baylor went down with an injury in the first round of the playoffs, West stepped up. He averaged a mere 40.6 points after Baylor’s injury in the 1964-65 postseason. In the 1969 NBA Finals, the year that West won Finals MVP, he had another heroic performance. He averaged 37.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists. It was clear that West was the best player on the floor every night. When the Los Angeles Lakers lost in Game 7 to the Boston Celtics that year, West was still given the Finals MVP. West is still the only player in NBA history to have won the Finals MVP despite losing the series.
In the 1971-72 NBA season, the Lakers went on to win 69 games, the NBA record at the time. In the same season, they also had a streak of 33 straight wins, which is still a record today. The Lakers won the championship that year, with West still at the helm of the franchise. And in the last year of his playing days, the league initiated the statistic for steals. He averaged 2.6 steals as a 36-year-old. If that statistic would have been in place at the start of his career, he most likely would be one of the top steals leaders of all-time. West would end up accomplishing several feats after his playing days, including becoming the official logo for the league.
2. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is the epitome of hard work. He is the face of the Lakers franchise. He is a five-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, one-time MVP, 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA player, 12-time All-NBA Defensive player, and a two-time scoring champ. Bryant is widely regarded as not only one of the best shooting guards of all-time, but one of the best players of all-time.
Bryant averaged a career-high 35.4 ppg in the 2005-06 season, and also had an 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors the same year. He made it to the NBA Finals seven times in his career, going 5-2 in the process. He helped the Lakers three-peat in the early 2000s and led the team to win two more in 2009 and 2010. Bryant ended his career with the third-most points all-time. In his final game at Staples Center, Bryant scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz, outscoring the oppsoing team in the fourth quarter 23-21. Bryant is one of the most hard-nosed and hard-working players of all-time
The Greatest NBA Shooting Guard of All-Time: Michael Jordan
No surprise here. Michael Jordan was an All-Star 14 times, and an All-NBA player 11 times. He won the Defensive Player of the Year once and was on the All-NBA defensive team nine times. Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals. Jordan went to the NBA Finals six times and was a six-time NBA champion. He won the NBA Finals MVP for all six rings.
Jordan led the league in player efficiency rating seven times in his career. Looking at the top ten player efficiency ratings of all-time, Jordan has four of them. He is tied with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in win shares at nine seasons. Jordan led the league in plus/minus five times in his career. He has the record for the most blocked shots by a guard and is second on the all-time steals list.
The Chicago Bulls were extremely lucky to have him leading their team. Jordan led their team to a notable 72-win season (a record at the time), a 69-win season, and a 62-win season. Not only did he produce amazing personal statistics, but he also led his team in arguably the hardest era of basketball. Winning a championship in the physical ’90s era was hard enough, but winning six? Unparalleled.
Jordan was dominant in every aspect of basketball. With these statistics to back it up, he is no doubt the best shooting guard of all-time.
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