Continuing our “Best Ever” posts, here the top 10 shooting guards in NBA history, from the black and white days of Maravich and Monroe to Kobe Bryant who’s still dominating today.
Other Top 10 All Time – Top 10 Point Guards Top 10 Small Forwards Top 10 Power Forwards Top 10 Centers
Number 10 – Dwyane Wade
Yeah, he’s just started his eight season in the league, but Wade is clearly going to end up in the Hall when his career is over and he is undoubtedly one of the special talents to grace this league. He won a title in 2006, carrying the Heat and an aging Shaq on his back, while getting a little help from the refs, making him the only one out of the new “Super-Trio” in Miami with a championship ring. Career average of 25.4 points including one scoring title in 2008-2009 (30.2 per game), Six All-Star games, Two All-NBA First Team and Three All-NBA second defensive team and he’s just 28 – Wade has a place on this list.
Number 9 – Earl Monroe
The man with the coolest nicknames in the history of the NBA – Earl the Pearl, Black Magic and simply Jesus from his days on the Philly playground courts and probably the first player to bring the street into basketball, in a good way. I guess smooth is silk is the best way to describe the man. In high school he was called “Thomas Edison” for the moves he invented. In the NBA he was 50% of one of the best guard combos in the history of the league along with Walt Frazier, winning the NBA title with the Knicks in 1973. He finished with a career average of 18.8 points, made four All-Star games and one All-NBA first team. He’s in the hall of course, and part of the 50 greatest players in NBA history team.
Number 8 – Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller wasn’t versatile as Wade or many others on this list. He couldn’t play multiple positions. He wasn’t a very good defender. But he knew how to shoot the ball, probably better than anyone else who played the game. He has more three point field goals (2560) than anyone else in the history of the game, although Ray Allen should beat his mark this season or maybe the next. One of the greatest clutch players in the last 20 years, a true leader and one who always raised his game during the playoffs, Miller finished with a career average of 18.2 points, scoring over 25,000 points. He is one of only five players in NBA history to enter the 50-40-90 club: Finishing a season with over 50% from the field, 40% from the outside and 90% from the line. He led the Pacers to 15 playoff appearances and one Finals, losing to the Lakers in 2000.
Number 7 – Allen Iverson
Maybe the greatest “little guy” in the history of the league, Iverson will now take his talents to Turkey and play with Besiktas. If he ends his career over there or back in the NBA it doesn’t matter. Iverson’s 14 seasons in the NBA were quite incredible, winning one MVP award in 2001, leading Philly to the NBA finals against the Lakers. He lost, but he carried that team on his back from almost a decade. Iverson won the scoring title four times and has a career average of 26.7 points, sixth best ever. He made 11 All-Star games and three All-NBA first teams. He wasn’t all offense, and used his size to be one of the best in steals as well, leading the league in that category three times.
Number 6 – Pete Maravich
One of the greatest ball handlers in this history of basketball, Maravich was pretty much a legend when he left college, finishing four years with the LSU tigers averaging 44.2 points per game, without a three point line. Pistol Pete spent only ten seasons in the league and made the playoffs only three times, playing most of his career with the Hawks and the New Orleans later turned Utah Jazz, but that hurt his legacy only a bit. Five time All-Star, 2 All-NBA First teams, Hall of Famer and one of the 50 greatest. Maravich led the league in scoring once as well, averaging 31.1 points in 1976-1977. Not a lot, but there are quite a few, especially those who played with him, that consider Maravich to be the greatest offensive talent to play in the NBA.
Number 5 – George Gervin
Or maybe it’s this guy. Another one of those guys who had more than one way of scoring, the “Iceman” led the NBA in scoring four times during the late 70’s and early 80’s before leaving to play his last years in Europe. Gervin also played four season in the ABA prior to his NBA career. He finished his NBA career averaging 26.2 points, making nine All-Star games and 7 All-NBA teams. His finger-roll is one of the greatest signature shots in the league’s history, and he is also a Hall member and a part of the 50 greatest players team. He played his entire NBA career with the Spurs except for his final season in 1985-1986, playing with the Bulls, with Michael Jordan as his teammate. Gervin had another famous teammate back in the ABA’s Virginia Squires, one Dr. J.
Number 4 – Clyde Drexler
Another player with an awesome nickname (Clyde the Glide), Drexler had to wait 12 years, one Jordan retirement and one Hakeem Olajuwon reunion to win his only NBA ring. Drexler was a tad overshadowed by Michael Jordan during his time in the league, but being second only to him during the 80’s and early 90’s isn’t that bad. Drexler was one of the more exciting players to watch during his peak, making the All-Star game 10 times and was a member of the 1992 Dream Team. Drexler finished his career averaging 20.4 points per game and was still scoring over 18 while he was 35. He’s a member of the hall of fame and the 50 greatest players in league history and most of all, “Phi Slama Jama”.
Number 3 – Jerry West
How can the logo not be on here? The only player to win the NBA Finals MVP while playing for the losing side, one of the greatest shooters and scorers despite not having a three point line, West one only one NBA title (1972) and lost in eight NBA finals, having the misfortune of meeting the great Celtics of the 60’s time and time again. He played 14 All-Star games, made 10 All-NBA first teams and was a very good defender as well, making 3 All-NBA defensive teams. His career average of 27 points per game is fifth best in league history.
Number 2 – Kobe Bryant
A few months after his fifth NBA title (second without Shaq), Kobe’s place in the league’s history is cemented. He wants the number one spot in every one’s minds and not just the record books. Will he get it? Probably not, but he’ll throw everything he has in him to do it. Amazing clutch player, amazing defender, a true winner and a man blessed with terrific teammates when he wins. Just saying it. The man has talent around him. Still – 2 Finals MVP’s, one regular season MVP, two scoring titles. Twelve All-Star Games, 8 All-NBA First Teams, 8 All-NBA First Defensive teams. Career average of 25.3 points per game. Scored 81 points in a single game, second only to Wilt’s 100. The Lakers’ all time leading scorer. Second only, in history, to MJ.
Number 1 – Michael Jordan
The king himself. The greatest player in the history of the game – had it all. Score at will, guard anybody, beat anybody, healthy and ill. Took time off from the game and came back to rule it. Made a second comeback at the age of 38 and still averaged over 20 ppg for two seasons with the Wizards. Six NBA title, 5 MVP’s, six Finals MVP’s, 14 All-Star games, 10 All-NBA first teams and nine All-NBA first defensive teams. And he did all that without a center. All he needed was Scottie Pippen, the best Robin you can ask for, a Grant or a Rodman and a bunch of guys to hit open threes and hit people in the paint. The rest was all him.