Since I was a kid shooting guard was a premier position in the NBA. Jordan, Reggie Miller, Mitch Richmond, Clyde Drexler, John Starks and Joe Dumars were some of the best players in the league during the early 90s and made for some incredible match ups when they faced off. Once those guys retired it was time for some young guys to take over like Iverson, Kobe, Vince Carter, Allan Houston, Sprewell,Ray Allen and some foreigner named Manu. As these guys have gotten older, retired and fallen off the face of the earth, the shooting guard position has faltered.
Today I compiled a list of the top five shooting guards in the NBA and it wasn't easy. This is an interesting one.
#5 Monta Ellis
Monta will probably never be an all-star, let me get that out the way now, but this guy is an incredible basketball player. He is undersized for his position, but it doesn't matter because of how hard he plays. He took a lot of heat in Golden State for never leading the team to the playoffs and shooting too much, but that's what he had to do. I watched a ton of Warriors games over the last few years and Monta was the heart and soul of that team. They lost a lot of games, but were always competitive and seemed to only ever lose by a few buckets. Monta is a good jump shooter, great slasher/finisher at the rim, and smart player. Over the last three seasons he's averaged over 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 23 points. Now, that he's going to have a full season with the Bucks I think he'll continue to do more of the same. I really can't wait to see him and Brandon Jennings light teams up next season, should be entertaining.
#4 Manu Ginobili
Manu's numbers were down this season, but if you saw the Western Conference Finals you saw how brilliant he still is. Manu at times seemed like the only Spur who could compete with OKC. He torched them from three, split the defense with ease and reminded us where James Harden got his game from (Hold up, I just realized I forgot James Harden on this list. I was going to put Joe Johnson at #3, things just got complicated). Manu's getting up there in age, but his skill and quickness still seems to be on par with other elite guards. When Manu's on the court he brings toughness and a drive that very few others have. I expect him to put up better numbers this year and dazzle us again in the playoffs.
#3.5 Joe Johnson
Thats weird. But hey, I can do what I want. Uhh, Joe Johnson, where to begin. He has a great shooting stroke, plays tough defense and is extremely smart on the basketball court. The problem with Joe Johnson is that he doesn't wow you nor does he seem to want to. Johnson has a tendency to not rise to the occasion, but this year will be different. In Brooklyn, Johnson will no longer be the man, but the right hand man. He is going to play without pressure for the first time in a while, which is huge for any player. Wins and losses are all going to be on Deron Williams, Johnson just needs to be consistent, which he has always been and things will work out fine. I think Brooklyn can get to the conference finals and if they do, it will be in large part to JJ.
#3 James Harden
He is the black Manu, with more strength and youth. They play incredibly alike. I think Harden is Manu's son. He's young enough to be actually. Harden is a really talented guy that can do it all on the court. He scores, he makes plays and he is a pretty good defender. On any other team he would start and be a franchise player. In a couple of years when his contract is up he will prove that. Until then, just enjoy this guy as he comes in off the bench and tears up opposing defenses.
#2 Kobe Bryant
Before Kobe Stans go crazy. Did he win a ring this year? Kobe fans always bring up rings, so did he get one this year? No, and he shot 43% so this is justified. Kobe's still one of the best players in the game, but he's slowed down. He scored 29 a game, but it wasn't efficient and it took a lot out of him. Kobe has a hard time blowing by guys these days and is relegated to a lot mid-range post ups, turn around fade aways and really tough shots. With the addition of Steve Nash his percentages will improve and his overall game will be better. His team could still win a ring, they just need Kevin Durant to get hurt and LeBron to die. Good luck.
#1 Dwyane Wade
Numbers were down, quickness seemed to dimish, and at times he didn't look like himself. Wade struggled with injuries all season, which really seemed to effect him. However, he still put up around 22, 5 and 5. He was second in command as his team made a championship run and had a few big games throughout the playoffs. This upcoming season will tell us a lot about D-Wade. Is he on the back nine or is he still a dominant force? Only time will tell, but for right now I still say hes the best SG in the game.