There’s no denying that the shooting guard position is probably the weakest in the NBA (along with Center) and is at an all-time low when it comes to depth, although having Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat on top of the pyramid isn’t so bad.
We decided to go with Paul George, believing his potential to take another step; Monta Ellis to make the most of another bad situation; and James Harden, the best bench player in the NBA, as the guys completing the top 5, with players like Joe Johnson, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Martin on the waiting list.
Number 5 – Paul George, Indiana Pacers
The numbers still might not suggest that George is turning into one of the best in the league at his position, but just like he made big strides in his game last season, becoming a full time starter for the Pacers, we’re going to see the same trend upwards continue this year, as he becomes more and more of the focal point of this offense. He averaged 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, but he’s going to play more minutes and see more of the ball this time around.
Number 4 – Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks
Ellis got traded to the Bucks last season, finding himself in a similar situation to the one he had in Golden State, in a bit of an easier division. A point guard who loves having the ball and scoring and no front line. Still, it doesn’t mean Ellis can’t do some serious damage. One of the more exciting and unpredictable players in the NBA, Ellis saw a slight drop in his minutes last season as he did try and change a bit of his selfish style, averaging 20.4 points and 6 assists per game for both the Warriors and the Bucks.
Number 3 – James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
A backup shooting guard who is his team’s main ball handler. Sounds weird, right? Harden may be a sixth man, but he plays over 30 minutes a night, averaging 16.8 points per game during the regular season and a bit less in the playoffs. He’s the best passer on the Oklahoma City Thunder, and when he’s on the floor with Durant and Westbrook, there’s no better trio in the league in getting points on the board fast, with Harden taking over the point guard role. His defense can be better and his decision under pressure need a tweak, but Harden, at his best, is one of the best scorers in the league.
Number 2 – Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Maybe it was his injury last season, or maybe his risky kind of style on the floor has taken its toll on Wade’s body. He took a step back because LeBron James needed to be alone at the top of the pyramid, for the good of the team. Playing the second fiddle with pleasure, Wade averaged 22.1 points per game in the regular season and 22.8 points, getting a lot more playing time, during the postseason. At 30, it’ll be about staying healthy and keeping the same kind of level for Wade instead of taking the next step and dominating the position.
Number 1 – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
We’ve switched the places between Bryant and Wade over the last few years more than once, but last season, possibly on sheer volume alone, Bryant proved there’s still no one near him at the shooting guard position except for Wade, but he’s not at that level. Maybe it was because Bryant needed to do all the scoring on his own (or wanted to), but eventually, he posted big numbers for a guy in his 16th NBA season, averaging 27.9 points per game. In the postseason it improved to 30, but with awful shooting percentage from beyond the arc. This season? Bryant can take it a bit easier, as he got the upgrades he wished for in what might be his last two year window to win an NBA title as a leading player.