basketball shooting guards

The shooting guard is the basketball player responsible for scoring the most points, who can shoot from all areas and deal with the pressure of taking the game-winning shot in the most stressful of moments. Not only that, they are also active on defense, grabbing vital steals and rebounds.

A shooting guard is not just perhaps the most crucial position in basketball but also one of the coolest positions in any sport. To be considered one of the best shooting guards of all time is to be one of basketball’s greatest players, and that is exactly what the top 20 players in this countdown are considered to be.

basketball players


TEAMS: Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz

YEARS PLAYED: 1986-2000

ACCOLADES: 1x NBA All-Star (1992)

TOP STATS: Points 15,659 (14.5 ppg), Rebounds 3,646 (3.4 rpg), Assists 5,281 (4.9 apg)

Jeff Hornacek is a player who, had he played in another era, would be much higher on this list and have more All-Star nominations. However, Hornacek peaked in the mid to late 1990s, driving the Utah Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances, which turned into back-to-back defeats to the Chicago Bulls. Those appearances in 1997 and 1998 remain the only two in Jazz franchise history, and thus Utah retired his number 14 jersey in his honor.


TEAMS: Washington Capitols, Boston Celtics

YEARS PLAYED: 1951-1961

ACCOLADES: 4× NBA champion (1957, 1959–1961), 8× NBA All-Star (1953–1960), NBA All-Star Game MVP (1955), 4× All-NBA First Team (1956–1959)

TOP STATS: Points 12,665 (17.8 ppg), Rebounds 2,779 (3.9 rpg), Assists 2,101 (3.0 apg)

The Boston Celtics’ number 21 is retired in the name of the shooting guard who was part of the team that began their period of dominance from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, winning 11 titles in 13 seasons. Sharman was there for the first four titles, retiring as a champion in 1961. Eleven years later, he coached the Los Angeles Lakers, leading them to their first championship in nearly 20 years.


TEAMS: Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics

YEARS PLAYED: 1976-1990

ACCOLADES: 3× NBA champion (1979, 1984, 1986), NBA Finals MVP (1979), 5× NBA All-Star (1979–1982, 1985), All-NBA First Team (1981)

TOP STATS: Points 15,535 (14.1 ppg), Assists 5,499 (5.0 apg), Steals 1,477 (1.3 spg)

Dennis Johnson is another player that deserves to be on the list of the best shooting guards of all time. He was named NBA Finals MVP in 1979 as he helped the SuperSonics beat the Washington Bullets in style for their only-ever NBA Championship victory. Johnson was not done, though. After more All-Star appearances while with the Pheonix Suns, the defensively-minded shooting guard won two more titles with the Boston Celtics during their almighty battles with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s.


TEAM: Golden State Warriors

YEARS PLAYED: 2011-present

ACCOLADES: 4× NBA champion (2015, 2017, 2018, 2022), 5× NBA All-Star (2015–2019)

TOP STATS: Points 14,156 (19.8 ppg), Rebounds 2,541 (3.5 rpg), Assists 1,667 (2.3 apg)

The first player on the list who is still active in the league. In recent years, Steph Curry, the famous point guard, has garnered much attention during the Golden State Warriors’ modern period of dominance. But Klay Thompson has become one of the best shooting guards of his generation. To go with his four titles and five All-Stars so far, he was also a World Cup winner in 2014 and an Olympic Gold medallist in 2016.


TEAMS: Detroit Pistons

YEARS PLAYED: 1985-1999

ACCOLADES: 2× NBA champion (1989, 1990), NBA Finals MVP (1989), 6× NBA All-Star (1990–1993, 1995, 1997)

TOP STATS: Points 16,401 (16.1 ppg), Rebounds 2,203 (2.2 rpg), Assists 4,612 (4.5 apg)

He is the best defender Michael Jordan ever faced (according to Michael Jordan himself)! Dumars was integral to the defensive system the Pistons employed in back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals triumphs over the Bulls in 1989 and 1990 before making much lighter work of their Championship opponents. After 14 years with the Pistons, Detroit retired his number 4 jersey.


TEAM: Boston Celtics 

YEARS PLAYED: 1957-1969

ACCOLADES: 10× NBA champion (1959–1966, 1968, 1969), 5× NBA All-Star (1962, 1964–1966, 1968)

TOP STATS: Points 15,411 (17.7 ppg), Rebounds 4,305 (4.9 rpg), Assists 2,209 (2.5 apg)

If you were wondering how the Boston Celtics’ dominance continued after the departure of Bill Sharman, look no further than Sam Jones! Drafted in 1957 right after the Celtics won the NBA Finals, Jones spent his first few seasons as Sharman’s understudy and would then spend eight as the regular starter, going on to win 10 Championships, second only to teammate Bill Russell, who was there for the 1957 title and thus won 11.


TEAM: Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers

YEARS PLAYED: 1958-1973

ACCOLADES: NBA champion (1967), 10× NBA All-Star (1961–1970), NBA All-Star Game MVP (1968)

TOP STATS: Points 21,586 (19.2 ppg), Rebounds 5,665 (5.0 rpg), Assists 4,540 (4.0 apg)

Moving with the Nationals/76ers franchise from Syracuse to Philadelphia, Hal Greer showed remarkable consistency to be named an All-Star in ten consecutive seasons, taking the MVP award in 1968. A year earlier, he and legendary center Wilt Chamberlain took the 76ers to the championship title. The 76ers have retired his number 16, and he was named in both the 50th and 75th anniversary NBA All-Time teams.


TEAMS: Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks

YEARS PLAYED: 1998-2020

ACCOLADES: 8x NBA All-Star (2000–2007), NBA Rookie of the Year (1999)

TOP STATS: Points 25,728 (16.7 ppg), Rebounds 6,606 (4.3 rpg), Assists 4,714 (3.1 apg)

Named by many as the greatest dunker the game has ever seen, 1999 Rookie of the Year “Vinsanity” is the only player to spend 22 seasons in the NBA, playing in four different decades. Somehow he never won the NBA title, coming closest in 2010, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals with the Orlando Magic.


TEAMS: Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks

YEARS PLAYED: 1967-1980

ACCOLADES: NBA champion (1973), 4× NBA All-Star (1969, 1971, 1975, 1977), All-NBA First Team (1969), NBA Rookie of the Year (1968)

TOP STATS: Points 17,454 (18.8 ppg), Rebounds 2,796 (3.0 rpg), Assists 3,594 (3.9 apg)

Next up on the list of the best basketball shooting guards of all time is Earl Monroe. He won Rookie of the Year just over three decades before Vince Carter, doing so with the Baltimore Bullets. He was also named an All-Star twice and reached the 1971 Championship series, only to be swept by the Milwaukee Bucks. Monroe joined the Knicks, but a year later, he suffered the same fate, losing in the Finals to the Lakers. However, in 1973, he and the Knicks got revenge, beating the Lakers 4-1 to win what is still 50 years later the Knicks’ latest NBA title.


TEAMS: Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Qingdao Eagles, San Antonio Spurs

YEARS PLAYED: 1997-2013

ACCOLADES: 7× NBA All-Star (2001–2007), 2× All-NBA First Team (2002, 2003)

TOP STATS: Points 18,381 (19.6 ppg), Rebounds 5,276 (5.6 rpg), Assists 4,161 (4.4 apg)

While he was never an NBA champion, Tracy McGrady was undoubtedly one of the greatest shooting guards ever. He held off some of the best competition in league history to be the scoring leader in both 2003 and 2004 while at the Orlando Magic. His attacking prowess led him to be named an All-Star seven years running, and he scored over 18,000 points for the seven teams he played with. 

Fun fact: The only team to retire his number 1 jersey was the Qingdao Eagles after his one season playing in China.

shooting guards


TEAMS: Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets

YEARS PLAYED: 1983-1998

ACCOLADES: NBA champion (1995), 10× NBA All-Star (1986, 1988–1994, 1996, 1997), All-NBA First Team (1992)

TOP STATS: Points 22,195 (20.4 ppg), Rebounds 6,677 (6.1 rpg), Assists 6,125 (5.6 apg)

Coming in at number ten for the best shooting guards of all time is Clyde Drexler, who was part of the Portland Trail Blazers team that twice lost the NBA Finals. They lost in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and in 1992 to the notorious Chicago Bulls. Midseason in 1994/95, he switched to the champion Houston Rockets, and it was the third time lucky for Drexler as Houston won a second title in a row. The ten-time All-Star also won Olympic Gold as part of the 1992 Dream Team.


TEAMS: Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat

YEARS PLAYED: 1996-2014

ACCOLADES: 2× NBA champion (2008, 2013), 10× NBA All-Star (2000–2002, 2004–2009, 2011)

TOP STATS: Points 24,505 (18.9 ppg), Rebounds 5,272 (4.1 rpg) Assists 4,361 (3.4 apg)

The Boston Celtics had not won a championship since 1986 before Ray Allen inspired them to glory in 2008, his first year in Massachusetts. This was his first of 2 championships despite 12 years of playing and many All-Star appearances. Five years on, he again won the title in his first year with a new club, this time with the Miami Heat. Olympic champion in 2000, Allen retired in 2014 with 24,505 points to his name, undoubtedly one of the best shooting guards to grace the NBA.


TEAMS: Indiana Pacers

YEARS PLAYED: 1987-2005

ACCOLADES: 5× NBA All-Star (1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000)

TOP STATS: Points 25,279 (18.2 ppg), Rebounds 4,182 (3.0 rpg), Assists 4,141 (3.0 apg)

Perhaps the ultimate one-club man, it is nearly impossible to talk about the Indiana Pacers without mentioning their greatest son, Reggie Miller. With Miller in the team, the Pacers reached the playoffs 15 times and reached the Eastern Conference Final on six occasions, winning just once, in 2000, when they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in their only Finals appearance to date. None of which would have been possible without Miller, who scored over 25,000 points, almost double the second-highest scoring Pacer. Reggie Miller is unquestionably one of the best pro basketball players of all time never to win a ring.


TEAMS: Pontiac Chaparrals, Virginia Squires, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Banco di Roma, Quad City Thunder, TDK Manresa

YEARS PLAYED: 1972-1990 (1974-1986 in the NBA)

ACCOLADES: 9× NBA All-Star (1977–1985), NBA All-Star Game MVP (1980), 5× All-NBA First Team (1978–1982)

TOP STATS: Points 26,595 (25.1 ppg), Rebounds 5,602 (5.3 rpg), Assists 2,798 (2.6 apg), Steals 

Known as the Iceman, George Gervin was a star in the American Basketball Association before joining the Spurs in the NBA in the mid-1970s. Interestingly, he is another great shooting guard that never won a championship ring. The change of league to the Spurs did not phase him, racking up nine consecutive All-Star appearances and one All-Star MVP award. He was San Antonio’s key player as they transitioned to life in the NBA, with his number 44 retired by the Texan franchise. He averaged over 25 points per game, and prior to Michael Jordan’s career, Gervin held the most scoring titles of any shooting guard in NBA history.


TEAMS: Andino, Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca, Viola Reggia Calabria, Virtus Bologna, San Antonio Spurs

YEARS PLAYED: 1995-2018 (2002-2018 in the NBA)

ACCOLADES: 4× NBA champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), 2× NBA All-Star (2005, 2011)

TOP STATS: Points 14,043 (13.3 ppg), Rebounds 3,697 (3.5 rpg), Assists 4,001 (3.8 apg), Steals 1,392 (1.3 spg)

For many, the finest South American to ever grace a court, Manu Ginobili was as integral to the trifecta he formed with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker as the other two were. Playing in Italy after leaving his native country of Argentina, Ginobili was drafted by the Spurs in 1999 and made his debut in 2002, winning the first of four titles in his first season. An Olympic Gold medallist in 2004 and Euroleague champion, he stayed at the Spurs for his entire NBA career. San Antonio retired his number 20 in 2018.


TEAMS: Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers

YEARS PLAYED: 2009-present

ACCOLADES: NBA Most Valuable Player (2018), 10× NBA All-Star (2013–2022), 6× All-NBA First Team (2014, 2015, 2017–2020)

TOP STATS: Points 24,693 (24.7 ppg), Rebounds 5,648 (5.6 rpg), Assists 7,015 (7 apg), Steals 1,520 (1.52 spg)

The best shooting guard currently active in the NBA, James Harden began turning heads as an Oklahoma City Thunder player in the first three years of his career, reaching the 2012 NBA Finals a few weeks before winning gold in London. With the Houston Rockets, he twice took them to the Western Conference Finals but, on both occasions, were ousted by the Golden State Warriors. The 2018 MVP, now playing in Philadelphia, is approaching 25,000 points and counting.


TEAMS: Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat

YEARS PLAYED: 2003-2019

ACCOLADES: 3× NBA champion (2006, 2012, 2013), NBA Finals MVP (2006), 13× NBA All-Star (2005–2016, 2019), NBA All-Star Game MVP (2010), 2× All-NBA First Team (2009, 2010)

TOP STATS: Points 23,165 (22.0 ppg), Rebounds 4,933 (4.7 rpg), Assists, 5,701 (5.4 apg), Steals 1,620 (1.54 spg)

The fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft, Dwyane Wade went on to spend 14 years in total with the Miami Heat, retiring in 2019 with his number 3 jersey hung up for good. Three was the magic number for Wade, who won that many NBA titles with the Heat, going back-to-back with LeBron James in 2012 and 2013. He also won a ring in 2006, when Wade was named the Finals MVP in what was the Florida franchise’s first championship. He was also the league-scoring champion in 2009 and an Olympic Gold medalist in 2008.


TEAMS: Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, Besiktas JK 

YEARS PLAYED: 1996-2011

ACCOLADES: NBA Most Valuable Player (2001), 11× NBA All-Star (2000–2010), 2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2001, 2005), 3× All-NBA First Team (1999, 2001, 2005), NBA Rookie of the Year (1997)

TOP STATS: Points 24,368 (26.7 ppg), Rebounds 3,394 (3.7 rpg), Assists 5,624 (6.2 apg), Steals 1,983 (2.17 spg)

Allen Iverson is the most outstanding shooting guard to never win the NBA title. He was named the league MVP in 2001, midway through his decade with the Philadelphia 76ers. That season, the 76ers came up short against the unstoppable Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, the only time the number one draft pick made it to the big dance. Iverson was league scoring champion four times, the joint-third best in NBA history, and like a true shooting guard, he led the league in steals three times, the joint-second best the league has ever seen.


TEAMS: Los Angeles Lakers

YEARS PLAYED: 1996-2016

ACCOLADES: 5× NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010), 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010), NBA Most Valuable Player (2008), 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016), 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011), 11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)

TOP STATS: Points 33,643 (25.0 ppg), Rebounds 7,047 (5.2 rpg), Assists 6,306 (4.7 apg), Steals 1,944 (1.44 spg)

We picked Reggie Miller as the ultimate one-team player because it is harder to stick around with a team when you aren’t winning championships. That said, we should take nothing away from the incredible 20 years Kobe Bryant spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he was a champion in a quarter of those years. 18 times an All-Star, the Black Mamba, with his famous Mamba Mentality and beautiful fadeaways, averaged 25 points per game, is currently fourth in the all-time NBA scorers list and is considered by some to be the best basketball player of all-time. All corners of the globe mourned his tragic death in a helicopter crash in 2020.


TEAMS: Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

YEARS PLAYED: 1984-1993, 1995-1998, 2001-2003

ACCOLADES: 6× NBA champion (1991–1993, 1996–1998), 6× NBA Finals MVP (1991–1993, 1996–1998), 5× NBA Most Valuable Player (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), 14× NBA All-Star (1985–1993, 1996–1998, 2002, 2003), 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1988, 1996, 1998), 10× All-NBA First Team (1987–1993, 1996–1998), NBA Rookie of the Year (1985)

TOP STATS: Points 32,292 (30.1 ppg), Rebounds 6,672 (6.2 rpg) Assists 5,633 (5.3 apg), Steals 2,514 (2.35 spg)

It should come as no surprise that Michael Jordan tops the list of the best shooting guards of all time. For many people, Michael Jordan is simply the greatest PLAYER of all time. Not just as a shooting guard, not just in basketball, but in sports as a whole! Jordan is an example of the ultimate athlete, both on and off the court, displaying levels of drive and determination to succeed that could shock you.

This drive paid dividends, as Jordan and his Chicago Bulls dominated the 1990s, twice completing three-peats under eccentric coach Phil Jackson. Rookie of the Year in his first season, Jordan took a struggling franchise to places they had never dreamed of going, thanks in large part to his uncanny ability to deliver at clutch moments. Thus, it is no wonder he was named MVP of all six finals he won, the only six Chicago has won to date. He sits fifth in the all-time NBA scoring charts.

Michael Jordan1984-93, 1995-98, 2001-036x NBA Champ, 5x MVP, 14x All-Star
Kobe Bryant1996-20165x NBA Champ, 1x MVP, 18x All-Star
Allen Iverson1996-20111x MVP, 11× All-Star, 2× All-Star MVP 
Dwyane Wade2003-20193x NBA champ, 1x Finals MVP, 13x All-Star
James Harden2009-present1x MVP, 10× All-Star
Manu Ginobili1995-20184× NBA champ, 2× All-Star 
George Gervin1972-19909× All-Star, 1x All-Star MVP
Reggie Miller1987-20055× NBA All-Star
Ray Allen1996-20142× NBA champ, 10× All-Star 
Clyde Drexler1983-19981x NBA champ, 10× All-Star
Tracy McGrady1997-20137× All-Star 
Earl Monroe1967-19801x NBA champ, 4× All-Star 
Vince Carter1998-20208x All-Star, Rookie of the Year
Hal Greer1958-19731x NBA champ,10× All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP
Sam Jones1957-196910× NBA champ, 5× All-Star
Joe Dumars1985-19992× NBA champ, 1x Finals MVP, 6× All-Star 
Klay Thompson2011-present4× NBA champ, 5× All-Star 
Derek Johnson1976-19903× NBA champ, 1x Finals MVP, 5× All-Star
Bill Sharman1951-19614× NBA champ, 8× All-Star, 1x All-Star Game MVP
Jeff Hornacek1986-20001x NBA All-Star