Fox Sports: Top 10 Shooting Guards Ever
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Michael Jordan may be untouchable at the top of this list, but a few sensational shooting guards are still active and competing to improve their NBA legacies. Dwyane Wade (3), still in his prime at 29, is on America’s most talented — and loathed — team in Miami, while 33-year-old Kobe Bryant (24) also should have a few more title shots with the Lakers despite the wear and tear of a long career.
Honorable mentions: Ray Allen, Dave Bing, Hal Greer, Sam Jones, Pete Maravich and Mitch Richmond.
- Michael Jordan
No need to justify his spot atop this list, but a few numbers should suffice: 30.1 points per game, 14 All-Star Games, nine All-NBA first-team selections, nine All-NBA defensive first teams, five MVPs (should have been more), six Finals MVP awards and six championships. Of course, his Hall of Fame career was about more than numbers. He transformed and transcended basketball as a global icon. His talent, charisma and passion were incomparable. No one’s ever played basketball better, and no one’s meant more to the sport than Michael Jordan.
- Kobe Bryant
Unlike other gifted players who have wilted under the burden of being “the next Michael Jordan,” Bryant relished the chance to chase MJ’s legacy. He’s shown similar talent and desire throughout his career, not to mention many of the same personality traits and on-court mannerisms. With five championship rings, he’s one short of Jordan’s bling standard. Even if he does win a sixth or seventh title, most fans won’t consider him Jordan’s equal. But Kobe is still in some pretty rare air.
- Jerry West
The greatest shooting guard of his generation, West made the All-NBA first team 11 times. Best known for his clutch shooting and prolific scoring (27 ppg), he also was an adept passer, outstanding defender and underrated athlete. He had the misfortune of playing during the great Celtics dynasty, so he won just one title as a Lakers player despite reaching the NBA Finals 11 times. Still, he later won seven rings as LA’s general manager, so at least he’ll always be known as a better GM than Michael Jordan.[youtube id=”n8oGUyREHcQ” width=”600″ height=”350″]
- George Gervin
While other shooting guards on this list seemed to work hard for their points, the Iceman made scoring look effortless. One of the smoothest players ever to lace up hightops, he poured in points with a flat jumper, floaters, scoops and his iconic finger roll. Averaging 26.2 points for his career on 51 percent shooting, he was impossible to guard despite his slender frame — or maybe because of it. After all, when you’re as skinny as a piece of paper, you can slip through the tiniest defensive crack.
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- Clyde Drexler
Playing in the same era as Michael Jordan didn’t help Drexler, who paled by comparison. But Clyde the Glide had a superb career in his own right. A 10-time All-Star, he was good in every facet of the game — defense, scoring, rebounding, passing — and tremendous as a finisher in transition. He won his lone title as a Houston Rocket in 1995, though his best years came as a Trail Blazer.
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- Reggie Miller
He never won a championship and he wasn’t much of a defender, but Miller clearly belongs in a discussion of the greatest shooting guards for one reason: He was a great shooter. The recent Hall of Fame inductee ranks second in NBA history in 3-pointers (2,560) and first in playoff 3-pointers (320) and four-point plays (24). He will be remembered as a cold-blooded assassin — at least by Spike Lee and the Knicks.
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- Allen Iverson
The last five years have sullied his legacy, and his NBA career is almost surely over, but Iverson’s phenomenal exploits in Philly shouldn’t be dismissed. A four-time NBA scoring champ and 2001 MVP, he carried the Sixers on his wiry shoulders for a decade. His fearless play and indomitable will endeared him to a generation of fans, though his pride prevented him from accepting a lesser role as his skills diminished. Still, he may go down as the greatest pound-for-pound scorer in league history, and maybe the toughest little dude ever to play the game.
- Dwyane Wade
Other than a sweet shooting touch, Wade has everything you’d want in a shooting guard. He can score, pass, rebound, defend and compete at an elite level. Having won one title with Shaquille O’Neal, he needs to win a few more with LeBron James to go down as an all-time great. But at 29, there’s no reason he can’t end up at No. 4 on this list (if not higher) by the time he’s done.
- Earl Monroe
The Pearl’s fluid but flamboyant game — spin moves, acrobatic shots, fancy passes — made him a fan favorite, especially among urban youths on the East Coast. But there was plenty of substance to go with the style. A solid defender and ultra-smooth scorer, he formed maybe the coolest backcourt of all-time with Walt Frazier, and the two led the Knicks to the 1973 championship.
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- Bill Sharman
Though overshadowed by Bob Cousy, Sharman was the other half of arguably the best backcourt in NBA history. The best shooter of his era, he was one of the first guards to shoot over 40 percent from the field. He also led the league in free-throw percentage seven times, including 93.2 percent in 1958-59, and was an excellent defender. He won four championships with the Celtics once Bill Russell joined the team, then gave way to Sam Jones as Boston continued its dynasty.