The shooting guard position has always been one of the most glamorous – and necessary – positions the sport of basketball has ever known.
From a sweet-shooting two-guard like Reggie Miller or George Gervin, that could make defenses pay with rain-making jump shots, to the high-flying theatrics and never-ending arsenal of other shooting guards like Michael Jordan and David ‘Skywalker’ Thompson, there is nothing like an entertaining – and effective shooting guard.
In this NBA column, I will take a look at the players I believe are the top five shooting guards in the NBA today.
Every NBA fan, (whether you like him or not) knows that Bryant is not only the best shooting guard on the face of the planet, but also the most unstoppable offensive player on the face of the planet (though LeBron is damn close).
Bryant is averaging 26.8 points per game this season on 46.6 percent shooting from the field, 35.1 percent shooting from three-point range and 85.6 percent from the free throw line.
The thing I’m most impressed with however, is the fact that Bryant has learned how to tone his game down a notch, while helping his teammates become better players, until he need to take over, which he can whenever he wants. Oh, and let’s not forget, Bryant is an absolutely tenacious defensive player that ‘lock’ down whomever he’s guarding on most nights.
While I’m not a huge D-Wade fan, I have to admit that the man does have a big-time game. Wade leads the league in scoring following an injury-riddled season in 2007-08 and is clearly an unstoppable offensive force when he has the ball in his hands.
Despite a plethora of off-field personal troubles, the dynamic all-star is averaging 30.2 points per game on a solid 49.1 percent shooting mark from the field. While Wade shoots just 31.7 percent from three-point distance and a so-so 76.5 percent from the free throw line, I fully believe that every young player in America should emulate Wade’s beautiful – and unstoppable – mid-range game.
While Roy doesn’t have the ‘name recognition’ of Bryant or Wade simply because he plays in the small west coast market of Portland, there is no doubt that the young shooting guard is just behind the aforementioned shooting guards when it comes to overall effectiveness. Roy averages 22.6 points per game on a downright spectacular 48.1 percent shooting mark from the field and 37.7 percent from beyond the arc, (shooting percentages that best both Wade and Bryant) while also making 82.4 percent of his free throws. If you ask me, Brandon Roy is clearly the third-best shooting guard in the NBA – and it’s not even close.
Johnson really opened my eyes against the Boston Celtics in last season’s thrilling seven-game playoff series, going ‘unconscious’ on the Celtics on several occasions, delivering some memorable offensive onslaughts in the process. While the Hawks have yet to find the consistency that says they have arrived, it’s not Johnson’s fault as he is once again carrying his mostly young and immature teammates. Johnson is averaging 21.4 points per game, but his 43.7 percent field goal shooting mark has dipped as he has been forced to take too many shots this season.
Say what you like about the aging Allen, arguably the league’s greatest shooter of all-time, I say he’s still a big-time threat has to be watched at all times. Allen is averaging 18.2 points per game but has drained a whopping 48.0 percent of his shots this season and 95.2 percent of his free throws. If there’s one player you can’t give an inch to – or a last-second shot for that matter, it’s Ray Allen.