Point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and centres are the five positions that have been formed from our list. The caveat is that these players are now included in the positional rankings, so you can see who came close to making our Top 20 list but ultimately didn’t make it.
20 Best Shooting Guards in History
We now go on to our list of the top shooting guards in basketball history, starting with our GOAT choice, Michael Jordan.
1) Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan was selected as the top player by six of the eight voters, thus it wasn’t a unanimous decision but it was close. Furthermore, Jordan has the longest record of top-tier accomplishments (as of this writing) and the greatest peak of any GOAT contender, making it hard to contest that point as well. Jordan trained as hard as any NBA player has ever in order to get his physique in peak form to demolish opponents because he was a competition maniac.
He was an expert at face-ups, jab-steps, pull-ups, turnarounds, and fadeaways, among other mid-range moves. He was a fantastic athlete who could finish through contact and over a long distance. Jordan also had a clutch side, as he routinely produced game-winning baskets under the most trying conditions. Oh, and he was a superb defender as well.
For a while, Jordan served as the face of the NBA. His stardom outside of the basketball world was almost impossible to comprehend, and it still kind of is. Overall, our voters still consider him to be the GOAT at this time.
2) Kobe Bryant
His career has been one of impressively continuous brilliance while not reaching the same peak as other megastars. This is due to his virtually unmatched work ethic and dedication to his craft, which allowed him to grow into an explosive scorer from the mid-range and close to the basket as well as a high-impact perimeter defender. Before taking the lead for the Lakers and winning five championships overall—two of which he was named Finals MVP for—Kobe Bryant was originally Shaq’s sidekick. Bryant undoubtedly converted more people into basketball fans than any player other than Michael (or Earvin), finishing his career with more All-NBA 1st Team accolades than Jordan.
You might also be interested in reading this: The Top Point Guards for the 2023-2024 Season Are Ranked
3) Dwyane Wade
Although Dwyane Wade came close in 2008–09 and 2009–10, he never took home the league MVP trophy. He was also a capable passer and a strong defender, particularly in the area of shot-blocking, where he holds the record for the most blocks among players 6 feet 4 inches or less. Wade also exhibited amazing humility by letting LeBron have the spotlight as he chased championships later in his peak.
4) Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson has to be one of the most insanely explosive athletes the sport has ever seen, especially out of a man who is generously labelled as 6 feet tall. He is a cultural icon in addition to being one of the finest lead shooting guards of his period. Jordan will attest to how lethal Iverson’s crossover was, and during his heyday, his explosive scoring style made for exciting viewing.
5) James Harden
A place in the Basketball Hall of Fame has already been secured for James Harden because of his outstanding scoring and playmaking abilities. His crossover and stepback jumpers, as well as his strong shoulder on drives to the hoop, make it difficult to stop him once he gets going. He has an excellent chance to greatly enhance his legacy during the next years. But Harden, 33, is beginning to make losing in the postseason an almost unbreakable habit, so he may not have much time left to do it. Harden will have a great opportunity to alter that in 2022–23, even though the 76ers are stacked and might go on a lengthy postseason run under his leadership.
6) George Gervin
Despite not having much of a three-point shooting, George Gervin was a skilled wing scorer who could fill the basket with the best of them. He is well known for his exquisite finger-roll layup, which is still among the greatest techniques ever used by a player.
7) Clyde Drexler
For his position, Clyde Drexler was an excellent scorer, rebounder, and playmaker who also made good use of his quickness on defence.
8) Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller, one of the best shooters ever, is fourth in league history in terms of made three-pointers (2,556). In addition, he was incredibly precise with his shooting, as seen by the several game-winning threes from tense postseason games that appear on his career highlight reel.
9) Ray Allen
It’s interesting to speculate about Ray Allen’s statistics if his peak had occurred 20 years later since his explosive style of play, which included making plenty of threes, would have fit in well in the NBA of today. Allen was one of the finest shooters of all time, yet he nonetheless fashioned out a Hall of Fame career during his period.
10) Vince Carter
Vince Carter was a productive player for 22 years in addition to being one of the most explosive dunkers in league history, which was something few could have predicted given how dependent on athleticism he was at his best.
11) Earl Monroe
Earl Monroe, often known as “The Pearl,” was a skilled jump shooter and skilled ball handler who scored from the midrange. His accomplishments and output do not accurately reflect how highly regarded he was as a player since he was one of the first self-assured shooting guards to make creative baskets. He had a significant impact since many players in succeeding generations modelled their games after him.
12) Tracy McGrady
More longevity as well as a more successful postseason career (Tracy McGrady never advanced past the first round in his heyday) may have had a significant impact on Tracy McGrady’s rating. However, when he was at his best, McGrady was one of basketball’s most dynamic and effective all-around wings, and he would have dominated in the current NBA.
13) Hal Greer
Hal Greer, one of the finest and most underappreciated guards of the 1960s, was named to the All-Star team ten times during that decade and seven times to the All-NBA 2nd Team. Greer and Wilt Chamberlain, one of the league’s most underappreciated guard-big combos, helped the Philadelphia 76ers win the title in 1966–67.
14) Sam Jones
Sam Jones was the go-to scorer for the 1960s Celtics dynasty and a tremendously clutch player who always delivered in the postseason. Jones also possessed a highly accurate jump shot, which was uncommon among players of his day, even guards.
15) Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson missed two full seasons in the middle of his prime due to injury, but even with that, he has made five All-Star rosters, won four championships, and already ranks Top 20 all-time in three-pointers, which may have been the main reason he didn’t make the final NBA75 list. Thompson’s placement in the all-time rankings will rise if he is able to come back and finally recover his peak form.
16) Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili was a capable and confident scorer who could finish over big players, slice to the hoop, and even shoot step-back threes directly at his opponents. In his heyday, the Argentine southpaw, who had exceptional agility, was a natural leader on the floor and contributed to the NBA’s adoption of the Euro step.
17) Dennis Johnson
One of the best defensive guards in history, Dennis Johnson, was inexplicably omitted off the NBA75 list. At the combo guard position, Johnson was a great playmaker with a potent offensive approach. Despite his superstar talent, Johnson had the modesty to accept a supporting position in the Celtics dynasty of the 1980s.
18) Joe Dumars
Joe Dumars was a standout defender who played out of the backcourt for the Bad Boys Pistons, a dynasty that captured back-to-back championships in the late 1980s. Throughout his career, Dumars was a superb glue player for several top teams and a skilled mid-range jump shooter off the dribble. Likewise an underappreciated playmaker.
19) Bill Sharman
Bill Sharman, one of the earliest shooting specialists in the NBA, was a key component of several world-class Celtics teams during his peak and was capable of making jump shots from a distance. High basketball IQ as well, as seen by his success as a head coach following his playing career.
20) Gail Goodrich
Gail Goodrich was a superb shooter in his heyday who could finish at the rim frequently, especially for his time. Additionally, Goodrich consistently delivered when his team needed him. The Hall of Famer, though, was primarily an attacking player who contributed little on the defensive end.
These are the 20 Best Shooting Guards in History. Let us know your views in the comment section.