Top Ten NBA Shooting Guards of All-Time


Do you have the NBA Lockout blues?  We feel your pain and have a cure for you.  The Hoops Manifesto has gathered together Bloguin’s best basketball writers to rummage through the annals of NBA (and ABA) history (sounds dirty, but it’s not – honest) to bring you rankings of the best players to have ever laced them up.  Next up: Top Ten NBA (or ABA) Shooting Guards of All-Time.

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf & Dan Bonk from the TWolves Blog, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, Diego from Hot Hot Hoops, Don from With Malice and Ezra from the Purple and Gold Blog. 

10) Reggie Miller – Indiana Pacers – 1987 – 2005

Career accomplishments:

– sixth all-time in games played in NBA history
– sixth all-time in minutes played in NBA history
– second all-time in three-pointers made in NBA history
– ninth all-time in free throw % in NBA history
– five-time NBA All-Star
– three-time All-NBA selection

“One of the game’s purest shooters and most competitive player we’ve ever seen (not to mention one of the most prolific trash talkers as well).” – Ezra

“When you think about great shooters in the NBA, Miller’s name has to come up. Miller has become much more of a cultural icon than anything else because of his epic battles with the Knicks. But he made the three-point shot the weapon it is today. A lot of players owe their success to what Miller did for them from beyond the arc, in showing that a knock down shooter can be a deadly weapon in the NBA.” – Philip

“IT’S MILLER TIME!!!  Almost as much a marksman with his mouth as with the ball, Reggie Miller had some incredible match-ups.  None more so than with Knick superfan, Spike Lee… But for Jordan’s Bulls, Miller’s Pacers might have been known as one of the better teams of their era.” – Don

9) Ray Allen – Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics – 1996 – present

Career accomplishments:

– member of one NBA championship team
– all-time leader in three-pointers made in NBA history
– sixth all-time in free throw % in NBA history
– 10-time NBA All-Star
– two-time All-NBA selection
– NBA All-Rookie Team

“The prettiest looking (not to mention most effective) jump shot the world has ever seen.” – Jeff Fox 

“‘Jesus Shuttlesworth’ not only could shoot the three as good as anyone in league history but is also one of the better slashers. Not as dangerous as Miller with a hand on his face, but he certainly has one of the quickest releases ever.” – Ezra

8) Pete Maravich – Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans/Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics – 1970 – 1980

Career accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– five-time NBA All-Star
– All-Rookie Team
– four-time All-NBA selection

“Amazing and revolutionary. Was an awesome three-point shooter before there WAS A THREE-POINT LINE.  They introduced it his last year and he shot 67% from three.” – Dan Bonk

“‘Pistol Pete’ had one of the rarest combination of skill sets. He could score, pass and handle the ball like no one other than Magic Johnson. One of the truly unstoppable guys to play the game.” – Ezra

7) Dwyane Wade – Miami Heat – 2003 – present

Career accomplishments:

– member of one NBA championship team
– NBA Finals MVP
– tenth all-time in points per game in NBA history
– seven-time NBA All-Star selection
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– three-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection
– six-time All-NBA selection

“Wade is an incredible player and likely does not get the same love and adoration he deserves as other players of his generation (on his team no less). Everyone forgets the incredible performance Wade put on in the 2006 Finals, almost single-handedly willing the Heat out of that 2-0 hole and on to the franchise’s lone NBA championship. His health hampered him as his “get to the basket at all costs” method of scoring began to slow him down. But when he is healthy, he is about as unstoppable a scorer as anyone in the league.” – Philip 

“Remember when D-Wade was treated like the second-cutest girl at the bar during the summer of 2010? Upon watching the 2011 Finals, I know a good number of people who think the Heat would be better off without LeBron James and having Wade as the sole alpha dog. People always overlook him, but Wade is one of the best basketball players to ever walk his planet. He recklessly attacks the basket, is one of the top defenders in the league right now and has answered the bell on the biggest stage: The Finals.” – Diego

6) Clyde Drexler- Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets – 1983 – 1998

Career accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– member of one NBA championship team
– seventh all-time in steals in NBA history
– ninth all-time in steals per game in NBA history
– 10-time NBA All-Star
– five-time All-NBA selection

“How good was Clyde Drexler?  So good that Portland felt comfortable passing on Michael Jordan and selecting Sam Bowie instead in the 1984 NBA Draft.” – Jeff Fox

“For some reason, I feel like reflection upon his career has always been criminally underrated.” – College Wolf

“Clyde the Glide, electrifying on the fast break.  A pure scorer, Drexler was an amazing athlete – his ability to finish had no parallels.  He got his title when transferred to Houston to play with long time friend Hakeem Olujawon, winning in 1995.  No Jordan that year.” – Don

5) Allen Iverson – Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons – 1996 – 2010

Career accomplishments:

– tenth all-time in free throws made in NBA history
– fourth all-time in minutes per game in NBA history
– sixth all-time in points per game in NBA history
– seventh all-time in steals per game in NBA history
– 11-time NBA All-Star
– NBA Rookie of the Year
– one-time NBA MVP
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– seven-time All-NBA selection

“I like him and always have.  Too bad he never won a title, or he’d be in the discussion amongst one of the best players of his time.  And he’s probably still the best “little man” ever.” – College Wolf

“Iverson was not anywhere near perfect as a player. He came to represent an NBA counterculture that turned fans away and his career ended darkly with no team willing to touch him. But it is still undeniably the kind of player he was. He went all out at all times and simply knew how to put the ball in the basket. His ball-dominating ways may have kept him from winning a championship, but he knew how to play only one way and was unapologetic about it. History should look on Iverson a little more fondly than it will.” – Philip 

“At 6-feet and about 165 pounds, Iverson has so many built-in disadvantages. But The Answer proved he had game when he crossed over one of the greatest defenders of all-time in Michael Jordan. His signature moment remains him single-handedly taking the Sixers to the Finals after winning the MVP award. Although he came up short, his performance proved him to be a warrior.” – Diego

“I tried hard not to put Iverson in this list at all.  Very hard. But there’s no denying that Iverson deserves a position on this list, as I discovered.  Perhaps the toughest to ever play the game, Iverson’s will was indomitable… the only problem was he took that warrior’s mentality, that “me-against-the-world” attitude, off the court.  On it (the court), it worked wonders.  Off it?  He eventually fought himself out of the NBA.” – Don

4) George Gervin – Virginia Squires, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls – 1972 – 1986

Career accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– ninth all-time in blocks in ABA history
– seventh all-time in points per game in ABA history
– eighth all-time in points per game in NBA history
– 11-time ABA/NBA All-Star
– nine-time All-ABA/NBA selection

Kevin Durant before Kevin Durant was even breathing.” – Jeff Fox

“The inventor of the finger roll, “The Iceman” could light up the scoreboard like The Strip in Vegas. Simply one of the best scorers ever.” – Ezra

 “From anywhere.  That’s where the Iceman could score from.  And oh-so-often, did just that.  Gervin metamorphosed the position, forever changing the way the shooting guard position was viewed.  Averaging a mean 25+ points per, his finger roll is one of basketball’s signature moves.  George Gervin wasn’t cool… George Gervin was cold.” – Don

3) Jerry West – Los Angeles Lakers – 1960 – 1974

Career accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– member of one NBA championship team
– fifth all-time in free throws made in NBA history
– seventh all-time in free throws attempted in NBA history
– seventh all-time in minutes per game in NBA history
– fifth all-time in points per game in NBA history
– 14-time NBA All-Star
– NBA Finals MVP
– 12-time All-NBA selection
– five-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“If the Lakers could have just gotten past the dreaded Celtics a few more times in the Finals, then we might be arguing who is the best basketball player of all-time, Jerry West or Michael Jordan?” – Jeff Fox 

“If you ever wonder why the NBA picked West as their logo, all you have to do is look at his career and influence in the game. He’s well known for his scoring ability and solid leadership, but he’s probably the most underrated athletic player and defender ever.” – Ezra

 “If West had a three-point line, he might very well be the league’s all-time leading scorer. His 60-foot heave with the Lakers down by two in the Finals with the Knicks counted for only two points. There is a reason this guy is “The Logo.” He was a 30-point per game scorer for a good portion of his career and was the gold standard for scoring in the NBA for a very long time.” – Philip 

“An amazing scorer, most don’t realise that West was also a phenomenal defender.  Mr Clutch made nine Finals appearances, but only won one… continually running headfirst into the buzzsaw that was Bill Russell’s Celtics.  The only man to ever win a Finals MVP from the losing side.” – Don

2) Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers – 1996 – present

Career accomplishments:

– member of five NBA championship teams
– sixth all-time in free throws made in NBA history
– eight all-time in points in NBA history
– tenth all-time in points per game in NBA history
– 13-time NBA All-Star
– two-time NBA Finals MVP
– one-time NBA MVP
– NBA All-Rookie Team
– 13-time All-NBA selection
– 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection

“It kills me to put him at #2 overall of ALL-TIME, but I guess he deserves it… *grumble grumble*” – College Wolf

“He is damn good, and I truly respect him as a player. His focus and will to win is off the charts.  But I think he has a stigma as being such a winner, and so clutch…when he has had way more chances than anyone else, being on championship-contending teams talent-wise nearly every single year of his career.” – Dan Bonk

“‘The Black Mamba’ has more passion for and hunger to master the game of basketball than anyone who’s ever laced up shoes. Only MJ could match his salivation to be the one to strike the dagger into the hearts of the competition when the game is on the line. His swagger and unrelenting hatred for losing are both his greatest strengths and weaknesses, which is probably the reason why he’s one the NBA’s most polarizing athlete.” – Ezra

“If Jordan was the league’s first real killer, Bryant certainly was a decent copycat. Kobe had the same work ethic and drive to be the best like Jordan did.  Jordan alienated teammates with his obsession over basketball and had epic scoring years like Bryant did. And like Jordan, Bryant had to realize he needed to trust his teammates even as “The Guy” to win a championship. His five titles speak for themselves and he has done just about everything you can in a career.” – Philip 

“Although Shaquille O’Neal won three Finals MVPs, the Lakers would not have won any of those championships without Bryant. Shaq’s poor free throw shooting and foul trouble forced him to sit on the bench during a few huge playoff games, and Bryant had to deliver the dagger against the Indiana Pacers. After Shaq, Kobe’s 81-point performance was selfish and spectacular, but he didn’t truly cement his legacy until he won his fourth and fifth rings. Even with Pau Gasol, Bryant still had a bad shooting night in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals, hoisting up bricks for three quarters before validating himself. Kobe always wanted to be the man, and he never truly “got it.” But he learned to trust his teammates enough, and that’s why he’s this high on this list.” – Diego

“Blessed with a veritable arsenal of scoring moves, Kobe forever strives to better his game – as age removes something, he seems to have the ability to add something else.  No player, now or before, has remained as relevant 15 years into their career as Kobe Bryant is now.  Both to his team, and to the game.” – Don

1) Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards – 1984 – 1993, 1995 – 1998, 2001 – 2003

michael jordan 1998 bulls championship

Career accomplishments:

– basketball Hall of Fame
– member of six NBA championship teams
– fourth all-time in field goals made in NBA history
– fourth all-time in free throws made in NBA history
– eighth all-time in free throws attempted in NBA history
– second all-time in steals in NBA history
– third all-time in points in NBA history
– first all-time in points per game in NBA history
– third all-time in steals per game in NBA history
– 14-time NBA All-Star
– Rookie of the Year
– Defensive Player of the Year
– five-time NBA MVP
– six-time NBA Finals MVP
– All-Rookie Team
– 11-time All-NBA selection
– nine-time All-Defensive Team selection

“Say all you want about his athleticism, but the true quality that set Michael Jordan apart from all the rest was his mind – smart, crafty, driven to the max, ruthless, relentless, a perfectionist.  Jordan’s success can be attributed to his “intangibles” just as much as it can to his physical tools.” – Jeff Fox

“Highly regarded as the game’s greatest player of all time for his accomplishments and ability to score, shoot, dunk, defend and will his team to victory with or without a flu. Most of all, it was his absolute killer instinct combined with his talents that made him the most dangerous player of his era.” – Ezra

“Does this need an explanation? Jordan has come to define greatness as he constantly evolved his game to become an unstoppable scoring machine. He willed his team to victory on so many nights and was just simply better than his peers. No getting around it, Jordan is the best guard in league history.” – Philip

Previous Top Tens of All-Time: Point Guards