Michael Jordan stands tall as one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, dominating both scoring and defensive abilities during his remarkable run during the 2000s.
Ray Allen earned two championships with Boston before winning one with Miami. Known as an exceptional three-point shooter, his work as an inspiration to modern guards remains today.
1. Ray Allen
Ray Allen was one of the greatest shooting guards ever to grace an NBA court, winning two championships as one-half of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s 2008 Boston Celtics championship duo, as well as being an integral member of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh’s 2013 Miami Heat Big 3 championship team. Additionally, Allen holds various franchise records with the Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics during his 18-year career. With his beautiful shooting form and nearly 3,000 three-pointers hit during those 18 years as a playmaker/defensive player/defensive player/defensive player.
While Michael Jordan may be widely recognized as one of the greatest shooting guards, Allen easily tops this list. A two-time NBA Champion for both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat during his entire career, Allen remains one of the most lethal offensive weapons due to his deadly perimeter shooting ability.
Reggie Miller immensely impacted the Indiana Pacers during his 16-year NBA career despite never winning an NBA title. Dubbed “Knicks Killer,” his scorer prowess and incredible shooting range were unrivaled, while his clutch gene allowed him to excel under pressure in playoff contests.
Clyde Drexler was an outstanding player for both Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets during his 15-year NBA career, being recognized with two All-Star selections, two All-NBA selections, two Finals championship teams as part of two Finals championship teams, as well as his signature finger roll becoming one of basketball’s most iconic moves ever seen on the court.
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan stands alone as an outstanding shooting guard player in NBA history. Many consider his Airness the greatest ever to wear an NBA uniform, and can do it all, from scoring to leading his team to victory and championship glory.
He won five NBA championships and was twice named Finals MVP during his career, in addition to being selected to the All-NBA First Team six times. What set him apart from other great shooting guards was his uncanny ability to handle pressure under pressure during clutch moments – hitting incredible shots when necessary to lead his teams to victory and becoming one of the greatest all-around guards ever seen at his position.
His Airness was an exceptional scorer and the epitome of what makes a great shooting guard. Able to create his shot while also being an outstanding defender, His Airness scored more points than anyone before entering the NBA and proved himself to be an inspiring leader.
George Gervin was another fantastic player from His Airness’s era who excelled as a scoring machine. He won three scoring titles and appeared ten times as an All-Star during his 15-year career, being an outstanding defensive player and sometimes finishing at the rim. Although known primarily as an offensive player, George’s legacy will remain.
Allen Iverson may not have had as many talents as other players on this list, but his legacy cannot be underestimated. An all-time great scoring guard who led the league in points twice while being named nine-time All-Star and All-NBA selection was impossible to miss; his crossovers and spin moves made him unstoppable while being an exceptional defender.
3. Clyde Drexler
Drexler wasn’t just a great shooting guard; he was also an incredible all-around player. A leader, an exceptional passer, and possessor of an effective above-the-rim game that made opponents fearful, Drexler almost led his Blazers team to victory against Michael Jordan’s Bulls in 1992 – only falling one spot short of their success!
Clyde Drexler may have been known for his spectacular dunks and flashy moves on the basketball court, yet his intelligence on it was often underestimated. Although his game was fast-paced, he could read his opponents to find holes to score through, plus he had an exceptional leaping ability that enabled him to go above his defense and finish in traffic situations.
Like many great players before him, Drexler created an all-around game during his NBA career. He boasted an outstanding midrange jumper and could pass precisely to give teammates open looks at the basket. In addition to this impressive skill set, his defensive play made him stand out among a field filled with brilliant shooting guards.
Drexler had an outstanding college career. He excelled on the University of Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma team, which made two consecutive Final Four appearances. Still, things proved much harder at a professional level, and his debut year proved troubled.
By his second season, he had significantly improved and could easily control games. By Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets where he served as a second-best player, later becoming a 10-time All-Star, and would average 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game over a 14-year NBA career, had there been more playoff success, this list may have seen more moves up or down than expected.
4. Dwyane Wade
Shooting guard is one of the positions known for producing buckets, and this list features many players who scored many. But not just points – all these names boast impressive accolades that complement their remarkable career statistics.
Tom Crean recognized something special in the skinny kid from Chicago who arrived on Marquette’s campus in 1998, not just his NBA athleticism. In pickup games, they are dominated by older teammates from previous teams. Tom saw something that attracted people to him and galvanized them during games: an intangible that galvanized and pulled people together during matches. The future Hall-of-Famer had something that galvanized those around him while giving the basketball court new life.
Wade led three of his teams to championships during his legendary run with Miami Heat and Heat Academy teams, earning him induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Jordan, Kobe, His Airness, and Black Mamba. Although not as highly ranked, Wade earned this recognition thanks to two Finals appearances and winning one championship (in 2006).
His signature finger roll made him one of the most recognizable shooters, but he also used an array of moves that allowed him to post up bigger opponents and score inside and outside. His combination of speed and fluidity made it difficult for opponents to defend; moreover, he became one of four scoring champions throughout his career.
5. James Harden
James Harden is one of the greatest shooting guards ever, boasting three scoring titles, two seasons leading the league in assists, 10 All-Star selections, and is widely recognized as an elite defensive player. No other NBA MVP has done it better.
Harden started his professional career with Oklahoma City as the third overall pick in the 2009 draft, becoming an immediate star. But his true potential emerged following an impactful trade to Houston before the 2012 season began, where he has flourished into one of the league’s premier scorers and made multiple NBA Finals appearances while winning the regular season MVP award twice!
Hal Greer may not be as great at defense as some of his fellow shooting guards on this list, but he remains one of the greats due to his unrivaled scoring prowess from all court areas. With agile feet that helped him maneuver past defenders to score from everywhere on the floor during his 15 years as an NBA player – earning three All-Star selections and six first-team All-NBA honors as a result of this talent – Greer made history while earning multiple All-NBA first team honors and All-NBA first team selections during this timeframe.
The Iceman may have occasionally fallen under His Airness’ shadow during his career, yet he still managed to carve out a respectable niche in top-tier basketball. D-Wade cemented himself into legend status during 2005-06 when he led the Miami Heat to their inaugural championship. That year, D-Wade’s incredible playoff run cemented his place as an elite shooting guard.