The shooting guard or two spot was very difficult for me to break down. Obviously the top of the list was really, really simple. The top three were no brainers, but when you get down to the bottom there are so many guys that are just so similar. There were more than 20 guys in contention for the last few spots on this list. Some of you may disagree with who I chose but like with anything in life, it’s all personal preference. You might like a guy and his style of play much more than I do. To be a great shooting guard you need to be able to do three things very well, shoot, score and defend. Players are placed on this list according to those criteria. There are more than a few notable names that just missed the cut from my top 25 that deserve mentioning before we start. They are, defensive stalwart Doug Christie, long range bomber Dan Majerle, slam dunk champ Isaiah Rider and one of the best sixth men in recent years, Jason Terry.
25. Jason Richardson- Most NBA fans have already forgotten how good Richardson was in his prime. He came into the NBA as a freak athlete who couldn’t shoot but has turned himself into a very impressive player. Richardson scored more than 15 points a game for nine straight seasons with a career best average of 23.2 in the 2005-2006 season while playing for Golden State.
24. Monta Ellis- Ellis has only been in the NBA for eight years but he’s already scored more 10,000 points. Not just a threat on the offensive end of the floor, Ellis has been top five in steals per game in three of the last four years.
23. Jerry Stackhouse- Stackhouse came into the NBA with huge expectations out of North Carolina. Although he never quite reached those lofty heights, Stackhouse managed to forge out an impressive career. Stackhouse averaged more than 20 points a game during five different seasons including a career high of 29.8 during the 2000-2001 season to place second in the league in scoring. Stackhouse was also underrated as a passer, averaging more than five assists a night during his two all-star seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
22. Eddie Jones- Jones played 14 seasons in the NBA for five different teams. He was a three time all-star while playing for the L.A. Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets. Jones was a great defensive player, making the all-defensive second team three times. Jones was also a good scorer, averaging more than 17 points a game in 6 different seasons. Jones’s best season came in 1999-2000 when he averaged 20.1 points a night to go along with 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.7 steals.
21. Byron Scott- Scott played 14 seasons in the NBA with his best 10 being as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Although Scott was never the number one option in L.A. he was an integral piece of three Laker championships. Scott finished his career with more than 15,000 points.
20. Ron Harper- Most people remember Harper as a defensive stopper for the Jordan led Chicago Bulls of the 90’s but he was much more than that. Harper averaged 18 or more points a game in seven of his first eight seasons in the NBA. During that same stretch he also averaged just under 5 assists and five rebounds. Throw in five seasons of more than two steals a game and you get a great all-around player who took a back seat with the Bulls just to help them win titles. Harper did the same thing in his last two seasons in the league as a member of the Lakers earning two more rings.
19. Jeff Hornacek- Hornacek spent 14 years in the NBA playing for three different teams. He was a great shooter and scorer but was also a very effective passer. Hornacek’s best statistical years came while playing for the Phoenix Suns when during a three year stretch he averaged more than 18 points, 4.6 rebounds, five assists and 1.7 steals a game while shooting over 51% from the field each year. After moving on to the Utah Jazz, Hornacek was key piece on two NBA finals teams.
18. Allan Houston- Houston Played 12 years in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks. Houston had one of the best pure strokes in the history of the league. Houston was a two time all-star who averaged more than 17 points a game to go along with 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists during his career.
17. Michael Redd- Redd only played in 629 games during his 12 year career but made the most of every minute he had on the floor. Redd’s best years came as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, where he averaged more than 20 points a game six years in a row and made an all-star team. During the stretch, Redd finished in the top ten in scoring four times. For his career, Redd averaged 19 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
16. Richard Hamilton- Hamilton has played 14 seasons in the NBA so far for three different teams. Hamilton’s best seasons came as a member of the Detroit Pistons were he made three all-star games and helped the Pistons win the NBA title in 2003-2004. For his career, Hamilton has averaged 17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
15. Joe Johnson- Johnson has been in the league for 12 seasons and is still going strong. Johnson’s career started off slowly with the Boston Celtics and he was traded to the Phoenix Suns during his rookie year. While in Phoenix he started to really find success but when he ended up in Atlanta his career really took off. Johnson was an eastern conference all-star in six of his seven years with the Hawks averaging more than 20 points a game in five straight seasons.
14. Drazen Petrovic- I’m sure Petrovic would be much higher on this list had he not died in a car accident following his fourth NBA season. “Petro” was just hitting the peak of his NBA career at the time of his accident. After being a dominant player in Europe for years he decided to test his skills against the best in the world. Drazen didn’t find success right away because of a lack of playing time in Portland but when he got traded to the Nets, he began to flourish. In his final two seasons in New Jersey, Petrovic averaged more than 20 points a game on over 50% shooting.
13. Reggie Lewis- another player that was taken in his prime, Lewis was a silky smooth guard who could do it all. Lewis spent six seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics before passing away at the age of 27 because of a heart defect. Lewis didn’t play much as a rookie but really came into his own in year two. Lewis averaged more than 17 points a game in every season of his career from that point on including back-to-back season of 20.8 points a night.
12. Manu Ginobili- the San Antonio Spurs have won three championships in the last ten years and Ginobili had a huge role in each of those. Manu has played 11 seasons with the Spurs making it to two all-star games even though he has come off the bench more than half of his career. Along with his three rings, Ginobili has been named to the all-NBA third team twice.
11. Brandon Roy- Roy didn’t last very long in the NBA because of chronic knee issues but when he was on the floor Roy was impressive. Roy played 326 games in his shortened career over the course of six seasons. During that time Roy was a three time all-star and made all-NBA second and third teams. Roy averaged 18.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists a game.
10. Joe Dumars- Dumars played his entire 14 career for the Detroit Pistons and was a key piece on two championship teams. This six time all-star made the all-defensive team five times as well as being named finals MVP in 1989. To top it off, Dumars was named all-NBA second team one time and third team another. For his exploits on the court, Dumars was named to the basketball hall of fame in 2006.
9. Reggie Miller- Miller spent his entire NBA career as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Considered one of the best shooters in the history of the game, Miller averaged more than 18 points a game in 12 consecutive seasons while make five all-star games. For his efforts, Miller made the all-NBA third team three times and was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2012.
8. Vince Carter- Young fans might not know how great Vince Carter was while in his prime but I for one have not forgotten. Carter has averaged more than 20 points a game in 10 different seasons while playing for the Raptors and Nets. He wasn’t a one dimensional player either as Carter’s career average in rebounds is 5 a night to go along with almost four assists a game. Carter has also amassed a huge list of awards. He was the Rookie of the Year and has been named to eight all-star teams. Carter was named all-NBA second team in 2000-2001 and all-NBA third team in 1999-2000.
7. Ray Allen- Allen has made the most three-point shots in NBA history but that is not the only thing he has done while on the court. Allen has always been a prolific scorer, landing in the top ten in scoring four different times during his illustrious career. This ten time all-star has also made all-NBA second team and third team one time each and brought home two championship rings.
6. Mitch Richmond- Richmond averaged at least 21.9 points a game in his first ten seasons in the NBA, finishing top ten in scoring in seven of those seasons. Richmond was also named to 6 all-star games to go along with winning a title late in his career. For his efforts, Richmond was named all-NBA second team three times and all-NBA third team twice.
5. Tracy McGrady- McGrady split his career between being a two and a three but since he spent more time at the shooting guard he is on this list. McGrady started his career in Toronto but only started 53 games over his three seasons north of the border. Orlando saw enough of his talents to offer him a huge deal and McGrady’s career really blossomed from there. While a member of the Magic, McGrady led the NBA in scoring in back-to -back years and was a perennial all-star. He didn’t slow down even after he was traded to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis. In all, McGrady averaged at least 24.4 points a game in seven consecutive season making the all-star game each year while being named a starter six times. During his career, McGrady was named all-NBA first team twice to go along with three seconds and two thirds.
4. Clyde Drexler- Drexler was a gifted athlete who could do just about whatever he wanted to do while on the basketball floor. Drexler was a complete player who’s all around numbers a staggering. For his 15 career, Drexler averaged 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and two steals. Drexler made the all-star game ten times and brought home a title. He was also all-NBA first time once to go along with two seconds and two thirds. For his remarkable career, Drexler was named to the basketball hall of fame in 2004.
3. Dwyane Wade- Wade has been in the NBA for ten years and has been an all-star nine times. He was the finals MVP in 2005-2006 and was a huge part of two other Miami Heat title runs. For his career, Wade has averaged 24.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.8 steals and one block a game. For his efforts, Wade has been named all-NBA first team twice to go along with three seconds and three thirds. Wade has also been named to the all-defensive second team three times for his stellar play on the defensive side of the court.
2. Kobe Bryant- There isn’t really enough space to list all of Kobe’s accomplishment as an NBA player so we will just hit the highlights. Bryant is a 15 time all-star who has won five rings in his 17 seasons in the NBA. He has one MVP, two finals MVP’s, and has been named all-NBA first team 11 times. Add to that, the fact that Bryant has been all-defensive first team nine times and you’ll know why Kobe is second on this list.
1. Michael Jordan- What is there to say about the greatest basketball player of all time? Jordan in first in NBA history in points per game averaging more than 30 to go along with 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals a night. Jordan has won every major award multiple times including being named the league’s MVP five times and Finals MVP for each of his six titles. Add to that, Jordan was a 14 time all-star who was named all-NBA first team 10 times and all-defensive first team nine more. Jordan was inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2009. Not bad for a kid that got cut from his high school team.