Top 5 NBA Players at Shooting Guard Position

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5. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year was outstanding in the first three rounds of the 2012 NBA postseason. The bearded one averaged 17.6 points per game over that span and the name James Harden became synonymous with hitting the big shot.

Unfortunately, that success could not carry over to the NBA Finals as Harden shot a mere 37.5 percent from the floor while averaging 12.5 points per game. For that reason, James Harden remains a step behind another Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Throughout the duration of the regular season, Harden wowed all who watched him. Not only did the second unit leader finish with an average of 16.8 points per game, but he had a tremendous slash line of .491/.390/.846.

Harden’s true shooting percentage of 66.0 offers insight as to how dominant he truly was.

What was most impressive about the Arizona State alum’s 2012 campaign, however, was not his scoring. Instead, it was the fact that Harden emerged as the true secondary point guard of this team with Eric Maynor injured and Derek Fisher not joining the team until late in the season.

His average of 3.7 assists, which ranked fourth amongst shooting guards, does not come close to telling the story of how decisive he was with the ball. James Harden not only led the second unit, but often times stepped up to lead the starters as well.

4. Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

At 6’7″, Joe Johnson instantly becomes a tough task for any defender to handle. When you combine Johnson’s size with lights out jump shooting, crafty ball handling and a point guard’s court vision, it becomes clear why the Arkansas alum is a six-time All-Star.

We often through the term “versatile” around at the first sight of a player who can do more than just one thing well. Joe Johnson, however, identifies with the term in a much more than adequate manner.

Johnson has been one of the top five assist men at his position in each of the past five seasons. He’s also finished in the upper five in terms of scoring in each of the past four years.

It’s safe to say that Joe Johnson has earned his place on this list after years of consistent top-tier production.

What may be the most underrated aspect of Joe Johnson’s game is how clutch he is when the clock is running low. Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

With Johnson hitting Brooklyn this season, expect fans to take notice of what truly is a tremendous talent. Also expect some memorable finishes as the Brooklyn Nets prove to the world why their multi-million dollar investment in J.J. was worth the keesh.

Moving up this list is not out of the question.

3. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

When you’re a member of a system like Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs enforce, individual statistics are guaranteed to be tempered. This is the one and only reason why Manu Ginobili’s career scoring average is at 15.2 points per game.

Had he played for a star-driven franchise, Ginobili would be right up there with Kobe and Dwyane Wade dropping in 25 a night. Blink once and he’ll do just that in a mere 25 minutes of playing time.

Manu Ginobili’s minutes took a serious hit in 2012, as the Argentinian guard battled a series of injuries throughout the regular season. Every time the San Antonio Spurs needed him to step up, however, the 2008 Sixth Man of the Year made his mark.

For instance, Ginobili opened the Spurs’ series with the younger Oklahoma City Thunder on a high note by putting up 26 and 20 points respectively in Games 1 and 2. He also dropped in 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc in a heartbreaking Game 5 loss.

For those still in doubt of Ginobili’s abilities, watch the 2012 Summer Olympics. His consistent individual domination of each and every opponent, including Team USA, should offer insight as to how good this guy truly is.

Manu Ginobili should be back at the top of his game in 2013. Pick him if you’re looking for a dark horse favorite to take home the Sixth Man of the Year award.

2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

As a lifelong Marquette fan, it’s painful to put Dwyane Wade anywhere but number one. With a clear and unbiased mind, however, it’s the right thing to do.

The 2012 NBA season was highlighted by LeBron James’ first career NBA Championship. What was lost in the fray, however, was D-Wade’s admitted step back to allow ‘Bron to shine. As admirable as that may be to those in search of friendship, that’s a cardinal sin on the basketball court.

It’s also a major reason Wade was so out of sync during the postseason, shooting worse than 43 percent in nine separate games.

For this reason, the most complete shooting guard in the NBA ranks in at number two. As if that’s something to pout about.

“D-Wade” remains an elite slasher whose ball handling abilities are on par with the best of all-time. He’s the uncrowned king of the circus shot and, after this past season, a two-time NBA champion.

In the hype of LeBron James, we often lose sight of how dominant a player Dwyane Wade had been before the “Big Three” came together. For instance, D-Wade’s 2009 season when he averaged 30.2 points, 7.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.

That’s in comparison’s to LeBron’s MVP-winning numbers of 28.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Interesting how Dwyane Wade topped “the most versatile player in the world,” LeBron James, in all but rebounding, isn’t it?

D-Wade is the most talented shooting guard in the NBA. He simply falls victim to the next man.

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant may never win the debate when he’s compared with Michael Jordan. What Bryant can say, however, is that he has had some of the greatest individual success in terms of longevity.

After 16 years in the league, Bryant remains one of the best players around. The fact that he finished second in scoring to Kevin Durant, who beat him out by just 0.1 points per game, should be evidence enough.

While Dwyane Wade has certainly given Kobe Bryant a run for his money at this position, there are five shining reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers’ star holds onto this spot.

Bryant remains elite as a point provider and perimeter defender. He’s not nearly as athletic or explosive as he once was, but Bryant remains capable of offering glimpses of physical greatness. Otherwise, he’s become one of the best low-post scorers in the game and is lethal off of the dribble.

While many will refer to him as a volume shooter, I’ll respond to such allegations with a question. Who on the perimeter do you want Kobe Bryant to pass to? Steve Blake, Ramon Sessions and Metta World Peace?

I’ll take his 20-to-25 shots a game any day of the week. Especially considering all of his attempts come within the flow of the system and he’s a nightly threat to go off for 30.

Kobe will lock down your best scorer, take over a game with his scoring and lead a team to a title. Regardless of what the naysayers have to debate his greatness, there is no logical way around what remains as close to fact as you’ll find.

Kobe Bryant is the best shooting guard in the NBA.

Top nba players at shooting guard position1 Top 5 NBA Players at Shooting Guard Position

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