This is a second day segment of the top 5 players at every position in the NBA, yesterday we covered point guards so today we’ll be ranking shooting guards. Stay tuned as we will be doing one position a day! So with let’s get started!
1) Kobe Bryant
– This was pretty obvious, and unanimous. Kobe has been on the top of the league for the past decade although father time is creeping up on him, Kobe is still the best shooting guard in the league. Kobe isn’t the athlete and dynamic player he was 3 or 4 seasons ago but he’s still a top player, and he proved it last year when he nearly beat out Kevin Durant for the scoring title. Kobe has been in the NBA since he was 17 years old; he’s 34 now which means he’s been in the league for half his life it’ll be interesting to see which one of the young rising shooting guards will overtake Kobe but after Kobe and Dwayne Wade there’s a pretty big gap between themselves and the rest of the competition.
2) Dwyane Wade
– Wade has been the closest competition for Kobe in regards of being the best shooting guard in the league however Wade sees father time in his rearview mirror too as he’ll be 31 before the all-star break. Wade probably won’t overtake Kobe at this point but he’s definitely a pretty close second.
3) Manu Ginobili
– Ginobili’s numbers dropped last season but he also played a lot less minutes than he’s accustomed to. Ginobili ranked 2nd in PER(Player Efficiency Rating) among all shooting guards only behind Dwayne Wade. Ginobili also shot a career high in field goal percentage(53%), and 3-point percentage(41%). Ginobili is one of the most skilled players in the league, he’s not an elite athlete but his basketball IQ and his craft allows him to be a top player anyway.
4) Joe Johnson
– After Wade and Kobe there’s a pretty big drop off but Joe Johnson is a baller. Johnson is just as talented as the first two guys but unlike them he just doesn’t have that killer mentality. Also Johnson was stuck in Atlanta for the most of his career playing a slow, insolation heavy offense that lacks a point guard which is why Johnson doesn’t really put up eye popping numbers. However just like the other two guys Johnson is aging as well, Johnson is 31 years old and going on 32. Silver lining for Johnson though, he’s going to age better than Wade who has an aggressive, crashing, and reckless basket attacking play style whereas Johnson has a more perimeter oriented game. It’s unfortunate Joe Johnson never reached his full potential but he’s still one hell of a player.
5) James Harden
– 2012 was a big year for James Harden, he reached the NBA finals, won 6th man of the year, and won a gold medal. Harden has been improving every season in nearly every category. Last season his scoring, rebounding, assist, 3-point percentage and field goal percentage. Harden also proved to be a great play maker and was a key to the Thunder offense in the 4th quarter as Harden led the league with the most 4th quarter free throw attempts. Harden is only 23 years old he still has his best years ahead of him not to mention his year to year improved and his improvement within the next couple years will prove vital to whether he’s going to be an all-star or superstar. If Harden wants that superstardom both Wade and Kobe are known by Harden is going to have to go to another team to take on a bigger role. Ultimately, at this point Harden is at a crossroad, he can choose to stay in Oklahoma City to take a smaller role, less money, less fame in exchange for rings or he can go somewhere else, make a bigger name for himself, make more money, but his odds of winning the title may be a lot slimmer than if he was to be in Oklahoma City.