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The Top 10 Greatest NBA Shooting Guards of All-Time

Renowned for their scoring prowess, clutch performances, and remarkable athleticism, many shooting guards have etched their names into the annals of basketball history.

In today’s list, I will be ranking the top 10 shooting guards of all time. When determining a player’s greatness, I’ve decided to put the greatest weight on his individual accolades and longevity, as they are the most indicative of his dominance during his era.

Championships are certainly important as well and will be considered. However, winning a championship requires a lot of external factors such as the team roster, the matchup, and luck. Stats will also be considered with the same weight as championships due to stat inflation/ deflation from different eras. With this being said, let’s jump right into the list.

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Honorable Mention: Vince Carter

Stats: 16.7 PTS, 4.3 REB, 3.1 AST

Accolades: 8x All-Star, 2x All-NBA (1x Second Team, 1x Third Team)

Most fans know Vince Carter as arguably the best dunker in NBA history, but many don’t remember how great of a scorer he was during his stretch from 1998 to 2009. Utilizing his unrivaled athleticism to score the ball, he put up an impressive 23.0 PTS between those years. 

In addition, Vince Carter has had the longest career out of any NBA player, staying in the league for 22 seasons. This statistic is a testament to his ability to adapt and succeed in different eras. Even though he was unable to crack the top 10, he is still a superb talent and one of the greatest shooting guards of all time


10. Tracy McGrady

Stats: 19.6 PTS, 5.5 REB, 4.4 AST

Accolades: 7x All-Star, 7x All-NBA (2x First Team, 3x Second Team, 2x Third Team), 2x Scoring Champion

Recognized by Kobe Bryant as his toughest rival during the early 2000s, Tracy McGrady at his peak was a problem for the entire league. As a 6’8” shooting guard with freaky athleticism and a natural fluidity to his game, he could score in any way fathomable. In the 2002-2003 season, he averaged 32.1 PTS, surpassing other generational talents like Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson in the scoring department.

Many fans argue that McGrady should not be on the top 10 list due to his poor playoff record and his short career. In his entire career, he has never won a single playoff series, an understandably concerning flaw to his legacy. However, if we look at his stats in the playoffs during his prime, it is undeniable that McGrady played his role. In each playoff series he played from 2001 to 2005, he never averaged below 30 points. He was simply in a position where he had minimal help on his team.

McGrady’s longevity is also questionable, and because of his short career, many would place Vince Carter higher on this list. While Carter did indeed have a much longer career, his last 7 years were very forgettable, during which he never averaged above 8.0 PTS per game. If we account for this fact, Carter and McGrady’s primes were of similar lengths. In addition, McGrady had many more accolades than Carter. He made the All-NBA Team 7 times, 2 of which were on the First Team. Meanwhile, Carter only made the All-NBA team twice during that time. 

Of course, there are many other factors to consider, making the gap between the two players very slim. However, I give the edge to McGrady, securing him in the top 10 shooting guards list.


9. Reggie Miller

Stats: 18.2 PTS, 3.0 REB, 3.0 AST

Accolades: 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA (3x Third Team)

There’s no discussion about the greatest shooters of all time without Reggie Miller’s name. He was deadly from behind the three-point line, draining the most threes during the 1990’s decade. His accuracy was a big reason the popularity of the three-point shot skyrocketed during that time. As a testament to Miller’s impact, skill, and longevity, he currently ranks 4th in three-pointers made all-time. 

Another contributing factor to Miller’s stardom was his clutch playoff performances. He’s given us some memorable moments during high-stakes situations. For example, his game-winner in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals put his team over Michael Jordan’s Bulls. Or his 8 points in 9 seconds at the end of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals to overtake the New York Knicks. These moments are priceless, and even though Miller lacks individual accolades, his legacy makes his number 9 spot on this list well-deserved.


8. Ray Allen

Stats: 18.9 PTS, 4.1 REB, 3.4 AST

Accolades: 10x All-Star, 2x All-NBA (1x Second Team, 1x Third Team), 2x NBA Champion

Following Reggie Miller is another superb shooter, Ray Allen. Before Stephen Curry, Allen was widely considered as the greatest shooter of all time, and for good reason. He is second on the all-time three-pointers made list, and he had a career three-point field goal percentage of 40%. He also had some clutch moments, most notably his shot in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the San Antonio Spurs that, as some fans say, “saved LeBron’s legacy.” 

While Allen is widely known as a sharpshooter, many people are unaware that he was an all-around scoring threat during his early days on the Supersonics. He averaged 24.6 PTS while he played in Seattle with powerful dunks and difficult pull-up jumpers. His offensive arsenal earned him 10 All-Star selections. Because of Allen’s longevity, all-around offensive skills, and clutch moments, I put him at the 8 spot on this list. 


7. Clyde Drexler

Stats: 20.4 PTS, 6.1 REB, 5.6 AST

Accolades: 10x All-Star, 5x All-NBA (1x First Team, 2x Second Team, 2x Third Team), 1x NBA Champion

There were few players that could rival Michael Jordan during his prime. Clyde Drexler was one of them. As a well-rounded player with crazy athleticism, he could make plays both for himself and his teammates, making himself an unpredictable threat. His ability to get to the rim was especially dangerous, as he could finish in traffic over multiple defenders. 

Throughout his 15-year career, he earned 10 All-Star selections and 5 All-NBA selections, showing just how dominant he was during his time. This feat is even more impressive considering he had to compete head-to-head with players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. His ability to rise up to the challenge and succeed in such a competitive era puts him as the 7th-best shooting guard on this list. 


6. George Gervin

Stats: 25.1 PTS, 5.3 REB, 2.6 AST

Accolades: 12x All-Star, 7x All-NBA (5x First Team, 2x Second Team), 2x All-ABA (2x Second Team), 4x Scoring Champion

Known for his combination of speed and fluidity, Gervin caught the eyes of many fans with his signature finger roll. He had many other moves in his bag, though, allowing him to make acrobatic finishes around the rim. It’s no wonder that he was one of the best scorers in his era, racking up an impressive 4 scoring titles. 

His superiority over his opponents is also shown by his numerous individual accolades. In his 15-year career, he was an All-Star for 12 of the years and on the All-NBA First Team for 5. Gervin really was the best of the best during his era, making him an all-time great and the 6th best shooting guard on our list.


5. James Harden

Stats: 24.7 PTS, 6.1 REB, 10.7 AST

Accolades: 10x All-Star, 7x All-NBA (6x First Team, 1x Third Team), 1x MVP, 3x Scoring Champion, 2x AST Champion, 1x Sixth Man of the Year

During the three-year stretch from 2017-2020, James Harden was feared as the biggest scoring threat in the entire league. No one could seem to stop his signature step-back three, and he went on to average 33.6 PTS over those three years, winning the scoring title each time. On top of his scoring talent, Harden is the best facilitator on this list. He has a career average of 10.7 AST, rivaling even the greatest of point guards. 

Harden’s peak would be enough to consider him for this list, but his longevity makes his career that much more impressive. He was an All-Star for 10 consecutive years and made All-NBA First Team 6 times. If he had more playoff success, he could easily move up one or two spots on this list, but for now, Harden sits comfortably as a top 5 shooting guard.


4. Allen Iverson

Stats: 26.7 PTS, 3.7 REB, 6.2 AST

Accolades: 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA (3x First Team, 3x Second Team, 1x Third Team), 1x MVP,  4x Scoring Champion, 3x STL Champion

If we were to rank the NBA’s players in terms of cultural impact, Allen Iverson would fall nowhere below the top 10. He was the player who brought hip-hop culture to the league, giving players the freedom to express themselves. However, what earned him the respect of his peers and millions of fans was his playstyle. Standing at only 6’0”, he electrified the crowd with his unrivaled instinct for the game. Somehow, he could get around much taller defenders with a flurry of moves, allowing him to lead the league in scoring 3 times. 

His playoff moments are also some of the most unforgettable. Even more than 20 years later, most NBA fans know of his spectacular playoff run in the 2000-2001 season, where he even secured a victory against the Los Angeles Lakers, who were undefeated until then. The legacy that Iverson left behind as a scrappy underdog and cultural icon gives him the number 4 spot on this list. 


3. Dwyane Wade

Stats: 22.0 PTS, 4.7 REB, 5.4 AST

Accolades: 13x All-Star, 8x All-NBA (2x First Team, 3x Second Team, 3x Third Team), 1x Scoring Champion, 3x All-Defensive Second Team, 3x NBA Champion, 1x Finals MVP

With so much raw speed and explosiveness, there was no better nickname for Wade than “The Flash.” He never feared contact while driving to the rim, making him one of the best slashers of his era. He was also a great shot blocker and a nuisance on the defensive end. His strength on both sides of the court allowed him to win 12 straight All-Star appearances. 

Perhaps most impressive about his career, however, was his leadership and confidence during clutch playoff moments. In just his third year in the league, he led the Miami Heat to an NBA Championship and even won the Finals MVP, even with Shaq on his team. It just goes to show how developed Wade was as a player, making him a top 3 shooting guard of all time. 


2. Kobe Bryant

Stats: 25.0 PTS, 5.2 REB, 4.7 AST

Accolades: 18x All-Star, 15x All-NBA (11x First Team, 2x Second Team, 2x Third Team), 1x MVP, 12x All-Defensive Team (9x First Team, 3x Second Team), 2x Scoring Champion, 5x NBA Champion, 2x Finals MVP

It’s hard to even think of anyone with a more illustrious and extraordinary career than Kobe Bryant. His accolades speak for themselves, but his absolute mastery of the game is what captured the hearts of millions of fans. Kobe paired his innate athleticism with hours of hard work. The result? Arguably the best scorer this game has ever seen, able to score on his defenders at will with an infinite number of moves and seemingly impossible shots.

Kobe showed excellence in his game every day, but what separated him from the others was his composure in big games. Time and time again, he hit miraculous shots to will his team to victory. Kobe’s greatness during these clutch possessions, fueled by his unwavering drive, secures him as the second-greatest shooting guard of all time. 


1. Michael Jordan

Stats: 30.1 PTS, 6.2 REB, 5.3 AST

Accolades: 14x All-Star, 11x All-NBA (10x First Team, 1x Second Team), 5x MVP, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 10x Scoring Champion, 3x STL Champion, 6x NBA Champion, 6x Finals MVP

I think we all knew who would be topping this list without even looking at it. Widely considered the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan had nothing short of a legendary career. He was just head and shoulders above his peers, and even though the media tried to pit many rivals against him, Jordan was relentless. He showed no mercy to those who opposed him, and for that reason, everyone in the league both feared and respected him.

Jordan’s pure dominance attracted a wide fan base to the game of basketball. Even those who don’t follow the sport know of him as a cultural icon. His unrivaled greatness and impact on basketball solidifies him as the greatest shooting guard, and arguably the greatest player, of all time.


So there you have it: the 10 greatest shooting guards to ever play the game as of 2023. Once again, they were ranked based on their individual dominance relative to the era they played in. However, there are many other ways to measure greatness, which can cause some ranks to move around or even some new names to join the list. If you disagree or have a different list, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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