Top 10 Shooting Guards of All-Time

Who is the greatest shooting guard of all-time?

The answer to this isn’t a difficult one, and in fact the easiest to determine out of all the NBA positions. Michael Jordan is the G.O.A.T, with Kobe Bryant easily securing the 2nd spot.

But that doesn’t mean a list of the NBA’s 10 best shooting guards of all time doesn’t offer plenty of intrigue.

The next tier of shooting guards is a tough one to sort through and rank. The battle for the third spot between Iverson and Wade has been an ongoing discussion. What about the rise of James Harden? Where does he rank on this list of immortals?

When we get to the bottom half of the list, the waters get murky. The omissions of great players make you feel guilty, and leave you with serious internal debates. Nonetheless, he are the results of my top 10 shooting guards of all-time.

But first two honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention: Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson is just midway through his NBA career, and will one day be on this list. But I couldn’t put him ahead of these 10 guys just yet. But as an honorable mention let’s look at his resume.

His role as the second, and third option of the Warriors dynasty will not be forgotten when history is written. If it weren’t for his backcourt running mate, Steph Curry, Thompson would have a case for best shooter of all-time. One might say Klay has a better from than Curry. In fact that was President Barack Obama.

Klay is also the owner of one of the hottest hands the league has ever seen. He dropped an NBA record 37 points in a quarter. Thompson once dropped 60 points on 11 dribbles. And who could forget “Game 6 Klay.”

He has career averages of 19.5 points on 46% from the field and 42% form 3 point range.


  • Championships: 3
  • MVP’s: 0
  • All Star Selections: 5x
  • All NBA: 2x 2nd team
  • NBA All Defensive Team: 2x

Honorable Mention: Reggie Miller

Before I get killed for having Miller outside of the top 10, hear me out. I at one point would have had Miller in the top 10. But not only are there shooting guards from his era that were better, there are also players that do what he did better. Klay Thompson, who we just talked about, is a better shooter than Miller and he didn’t make the cut either. Nonetheless let’s look at his resume.

Miller was a combination of fierce competitiveness and a pure shooting stroke. Just watch any game he’s ever played and you will literally see Miller scratch, grab and claw to stop offensive players. On the other end, Miller was constantly running off of screens and nailing dagger 3 point shots.

Miller carried the load in Indiana, leading the Pacers to the NBA Finals on one occasion. There could have been more NBA Finals appearances had Miller not run into Jordan’s Bulls during the 90’s.

For his career Miller averaged 18.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 threes, 1.1 steals per game.


  • Championships: 0
  • MVP’s: 0
  • All Star Selections: 5x
  • All NBA Team: 3x selection to the 3rd team
  • 2nd all time in made 3 pointers
  • Single Season Titles: 2x 3 point champion

10: Ray Allen

When you think of the greatest shooters of all-time, Ray Allen is in the top tier. For his entire career, Allen was a person of meticulous habit. His pure stroke came from countless hours of repetition. He put up thousands of jumpers both in front of crowds and in empty gyms. It was a career-long dedication to his craft that made Allen one of the greatest shooters in the game’s history.

Allen has career averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.3 threes, 1.1 steals. But his importance to his two championship teams goes beyond the stat sheet. While in his prime with the Celtics, Allen was apart of the Big 3, getting the Celtics to 2 NBA Finals and winning one.

Five years later, Allen in a Miami Heat jersey, hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA History, stunning the San Antonio Spurs.


  • MVP’s: 0
  • Scoring Titles: 0
  • All Star Selections: 10
  • All NBA: 1x 2nd Team, 1x 3rd Team
  • Championships: 2
  • Single Season titles: 3x 3-point Champion

9: George Gervin

Basketball: NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs George Gervin (44) in action vs Boston Celtics John Havlicek (17) at HemisFair Arena. Game 2.
San Antonio, TX 4/15/1977
CREDIT: Manny Millan (Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X21381 )

George “Ice Man” Gervin joined the NBA as part of the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Gervin was immediately a standout player in the NBA, something the league was lacking prior. His electric scoring, and finesse ability to glide through the air was something amazing to watch.

During his 10-year NBA career, Gervin’s 26.2 points per game trailed only Adrian Dantley’s 26.5. He won four scoring tiles, and had a career high 33.1 points per game in 1979-80.

On the final day of the 1978-79 season, Gervin needed to drop 58 points to win the scoring title. He responded by dropping 63 points and securing the scoring title.

Despite only playing 10 seasons in the NBA, Gervin is 40th in all time points, and 9th in points per game.


  • MVP’s: 0
  • Championships: 0
  • All Star Selections: 9x,  1x All-Star MVP
  • All NBA: 5x 1st Team, 2x 2nd Team
  • Single Season titles: 4x Scoring Champion

8: Tracy McGrady

At his peak Tracy McGrady was one of the most talented shooting guards ever lace up. He had a seven year run where he was amongst the elite of the elite.

From 2000 to 2007, T-Mac averaged 26.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 threes, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. In the middle of his 7 year peak, McGrady put together the very best season of his career. In 2002-03, T-Mac averaged a career high of 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

Only George Gervin, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and James Harden have averaged more points per game at the shooting guard position.

The only thing keeping McGrady from being a top 4 shooting guard is the injuries that derailed the second half of his career.

He finished his career with averages of 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals.


  • MVP’s: 0
  • Scoring Titles: 2
  • All-Star Selections: 7
  • All NBA Selections: 2x 1st Team, 3x 2nd Team, 2x 3rd Team
  • Most Improved Player: 1x
  • Championships: 0

7: Manu Ginobili

Averaging 13.3 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.4 threes, 1.3 steals per game, Manu Ginobili’s career averages are underwhelming. But they do not serve justice as they don’t tell you the whole story of Ginobili’s greatness.

I will always proclaim Ginobili as the most selfless player the league has ever seen. In the prime of his career, Ginobili accepted to head to the bench and run the second unit because it was in the team’s best interest. Had he not been restricted in the Spurs system, one he thrived in, Ginobili’s career averages could be through the roof.

In a mixture of finesse and aggression, Ginobili did it all. He could pass, score and defend with the leagues best. When you compare Ginobili’s 10-year peak per 75 possessions numbers, they rival Kobe Bryant’s. That is how good Ginobili was, even if you never noticed.

While the euro step wasn’t invented by Ginobili, he is the player responsible for making it famous here in the U.S. Don’t let these kids tell you it is James Harden’s move.

Ginobili led Argentina to a gold medal, upsetting the USA team in 2004. Ginobiki’s 29 point performance ended the USA’s 12-year run of dominance in Olympic basketball.

Ginobili is also a part of the most winnings trio in NBA history, and a 4x NBA champion.


  • Championships: 4x
  • MVP’s: 0
  • 6th Man of the Year: 1x
  • All NBA Selections: 3x, 1x All NBA rookie team
  • All Star Selections: 2x
  • 1 Gold Medal

6: Clyde Drexler

I feel Clyde Drexler doesn’t get the respect he deserves, like most NBA players who played in the 1990’s. Drexler had the misfortune of hitting his peak while MJ was in the league. What harms Drexler evermore is that he played the same position, and lost in the Finals to Jordan. So he was always in the G.O.A.T’s shadow. But Drexler deserves to be celebrated.

Drexler had a 5 year peak with averages of 24.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.2 steals per game. But it was once again overshadowed by Jordan. Ironically that 5 year peak ended in 1992, when MJ had his famous “shrug game” against Drexler’s Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Finals.

Drexler would end up winning a championship in 1995 with the Houston Rockets, where he played a lesser role behind Hakeem Olajuwon.

Over the course of his 15 year career, Drexler averaged 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 threes, 0.7 blocks.


  • Championships: 1
  • MVP’s: 0
  • All Star Selections: 10x
  • All NBA Selections: 5x

5: James Harden

Let me preface this placement by saying, Harden has a chance to reach the number 3 slot when all is said and done. But for now I have to go off what he has accomplished, or should I say not accomplished.

It is crazy to say but his career averages of 25.1 points, 6.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds, don’t fully express Harden’s greatness. In recent years Harden has reached his peak, and there is no saying how long it will last in this high paced scoring league.

When you look at Harden’s three year peak thus far, he ranks up there with Jordan as one of the best short gap peaks we have ever seen.

If you are looking for the evidence, take a look at the scoring accomplishments Harden has reached over the past few season.

Harden was averaging 40 points per game in 29 straight games. Only Elgin Baylor (33) and Wilt Chamberlain (515) have averaged 40 points in a span of 25 or more games. Harden and Chamberlain are the only players to record back-to-back games of 55 points or more.

When we talk about MVP’s, Harden has that secured too. While only winning the award once, he has consistently finished 2nd three times, and has another top 5 finish.

The only thing Harden has hanging over his head at this point is his playoff shortcomings. He has failed to reach the NBA Finals as the face of a franchise. He and his teams have come up small in some very big playoff games. But he has also reached his peak during the Warriors dynasty so I guess we could forgive him a little. But for him to rise on the list, I am going to need him to lead a team to the Finals.


  • MVP’s: 1x
  • Championships: 0
  • Scoring Champion: 3x
  • Sixth Man of the Year: 1x
  • League Leader: 1x assists leader, 1x 3-point FG-made leader, 4x FT-made leader
  • All-Star Selections: 8x
  • All NBA: 7x

4: Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson, a 6 foot scoring machine, single handedly changed the culture.

What he lacked in height, Iverson made up for with heart. He didn’t let his small frame prevent him from embarrassing defenders night in and night out. Whether it was snatching your ankles, driving to the paint, or knocking down a jumper, Iverson was going to giving you buckets. He was the league’s scoring champ for four consecutive seasons, third most all time behind Jordan and Chamberlain.

But Iverson wasn’t just a scorer. What may surprise people is that he finished top 10 in assists on four different occasions. And on the defensive end, Iverson held his own. Iverson lead the league in steals three times and was in the top eight in the category 10 times in his career.

The biggest criticism of Iverson is that he was ball hog. But when you’re the first second and often third option on the team, there isn’t much blame we can put on him for putting up 25 shots a night. And for the naysayers, Iverson proved them wrong the he led a less than great supporting cast to the NBA Finals, and stole a game from the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. That 2001 playoff run is the single reason I have him still above Harden.

Career averages: 26.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals

Best Season: (2001-02) 31.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.8 steals


  • Championships: 0
  • MVP’s: 1x
  • Rookie of the Year
  • All NBA Selections: 3x First Team All-NBA, 3x Second Team, 1x Third Team
  • All Star Selections: 11x, 2x All-Star MVP
  • Leaderboards: Scoring leader 4x, Steals leader 3x

3: Dwayne Wade

The truth is the battle for the 3-5 slots was extremely close for me, and the deal breaker was in deed team success. Now this is often an unfair qualifier, but in a battle this close it was the only way.

Wade showcased his winning tendencies and clutch gene early on in his career. In the 2006, just Wade’s third season as a pro, he found himself down 0-2 in the NBA Finals. But the tone quickly turned as did Wade’s performances. Wade willed the Heat to 4 straight wins, taking home the Finals MVP and his first ring. In that series, he averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

As for regular season Wade, he’s great too. For 10 seasons, Wade averaged 20 or more points. In 2008-09, Wade won the scoring title with a career-high 30.2 points per game. But scoring wasn’t all Wade was capable of doing. Wade is the all time leader in blocks at the shooting guard position.

His career got second wind during the Big 3 era where he would go to 4 straight finals, picking up two more rings. His willingness to hand over the keys of his franchise to Lebron James is another plus in the check box for Wade. It showed that he put winning above all, and was committed to team success.

Career averages: 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals

Best Season: (2008-09) 30.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.3 blocks.


  • Championships: 3
  • MVPs: 0
  • Finals MVP: 1
  • Rookie of the Year: No
  • All-NBA: 2x 1st Team, 3x 2nd Team, 3x 3rd Team
  • All-Defensive Team: 3x 2nd Team
  • All-Star: 12x, 1x All-Star MVP
  • Leaderboards: 1x Scoring Champion

2: Kobe Bryant

As a Kobe stan, I can go on for days about this legend. But I will keep it relatively short.

At the heart of Kobe Bryant’s legacy is an unrelenting Mamba Mentality. His longevity is un matched by anyone to play the shooting guard position.

Kobe had an absurd 17 seasons in which he played 500-plus minutes, had a usage percentage of at least 25 and posted an above-average box plus/minus. To simplify that, Kobe was great for 17 years of is career.

To put that in perspective, Karl Malone is the only other player in NBA history with 17 such seasons. Tim Duncan and LeBron James had 16. Shaquille O’Neal had 15. Jordan and Wade have 14.

If you take off the first and last season of Kobe’s career, he averaged 26.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 threes in 18 years. EIGHTEEN YEARS of 26.4 points per game. Do you realize how insane that is?

Most players don’t even reach 18 years in the league, and the ones that did are still short of Kobe’s 26.4 points per game. The top 2 all time scores 18 year peaks are less than Kobe’s 26.4 ppg. Malone’s 18-year scoring peak was 25.4 points, and Kareem’s was 25.9.

It is unfair to even compare a peak that long, so lets narrow it down to a more reasonable 10 year peak. In his 10 year peak, Kobe’s point per game average is 28.5. How good is that? Well here are other legendary scorers 10 year peaks.

  • Michael Jordan: 32.7
  • Allen Iverson: 28.9
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 28.6
  • LeBron James: 28.2
  • Kevin Durant: 28.0
  • Karl Malone: 27.7

When we talk signature moments, the list for Kobe is a mile long and I promised to keep this short. We got 81 points in a game, 60 in his final game, countless game clinching shots, his 5 NBA championships. Man take your pick.

Career Averages: 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals

Best Season: (2005-06) 35.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.8 steals


  • Championships: 5
  • MVPs: 1
  • Finals MVP: 2x
  • All-NBA: 11x 1st Team, 2x 2nd Team, 2x 3rd Team
  • All-Defensive Team: 9x 1st Team, 3x 2nd Team
  • All-Star: 18x, 4x All-Star MVP
  • Leaderboards: 2x Scoring Champion, 3x FGs-Made Leader, 2x FTs-Made Leader

1: Michael Jordan

Rather than wasting time typing this all out, go check out my player spotlight article on Jordan.

Player Spotlight: Michael Jordan

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