A shooting guard scores the bulk of a team’s points and heavily contributes to his team’s
overall success. A few days ago, I ranked who I believe are the five best point guards in the NBA. Now, I will rank who I believe are the best shooting guards.
5. Stephen Curry- Curry is in his fifth year with the Golden State Warriors. The 24 year old sharp shooter is averaging 21 points per game, shooting 45.2 percent from three point range. Curry is the leader of a young, high-powered Golden State team that is on pace to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.
4. Dwayne Wade- Unfortunately, Wade’s prime is in the past. The 31 year old has been affected by injuries throughout his career, more notably in the past three years. However, Wade remains an astonishing player, with two championships on his resumè. In his 10 year career, Wade is averaging 24.9 points per game along with 6.1 assists and 5 rebounds. This year, though, Wade is recording his lowest figures since his rookie season. Come playoff time, Dwayne normally steps-up his game and significantly increases his effort. Wade and the Miami Heat are first and the Eastern Conference.
3. Andre Iguodala- In his career, Andre has been averaging 15.2 points per game, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. In recent years, the two time Olympic gold medalist has not been playing well. This year, he is only scoring 13.4 points per game and does not put up impressive numbers in other categorites. He may not put up the highest stats, but Andre Iguodala’s presence impacts the game as much as any player in the NBA. His defensive awareness and all around effort make Iguodala one of the top guards in the league. Iguodala is leading an uprising Denver Nuggets squad towards the playoffs.
2. Kobe Bryant- Over the course of his 17 year Hall of Fame career, Bryant is averaging 25.5 points per game, and three of those years he had averaged over 30. This year, Kobe is putting up 28.1 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds. Plus, Bryant is starting to pass more than shoot. At a late time in his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe is beginning to expand his game even more in order to help his team win ball games. The struggling Lakers are currently four games back of a playoff spot, as Kobe Bryant attempts to give L.A. a late push.
1. James Harden- This may come as surprise to most people. To me, I see no reason as to why Harden is not the best shooting guard in the NBA. Last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden was the guy with the beard who had a tacky celebration after hitting a three pointer. Now, he has the Houston Rockets on track for a playoff spot. In just months, Harden has adjusted and matured his game. He went from averaging 16.8 points per game last season to 25.9 this year. Harden is also averaging 3.5 rebounds per game and 4.4 assists per game. He may have the team on his shoulders, but with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, James Harden is trying to carry the Rockets to the playoffs for the first time in four years.
Some notable mentions are Paul George and Joe Johnson, but they are yet to establish themselves as dominant guards in the NBA. The shooting guard is typically the X-Factor in games, but the NBA has been dominated by the small forward position in recent years. Next, I will rank the top five small forwards in the league.
If it was unknown before, I’ll say it now- I am a big fan of the Kansas freshman sensation Ben McLemore. I believe he is a player with special talents that no other freshman in the NCAA has. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on Ben being “The Freshman B.M.O.C.”. I admire McLemore for what he has accomplished this season. Despite only playing in eleven games, Ben has been raising eyebrows across the country with his play, especially after a big win at Ohio State. As I was doing my daily routine of reading blogs about the Kansas guard, one caught my eye. It was an article from rockchalktalk.com comparing Ben McLemore to Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade. Right now, one is an NBA All Star and the other is a redshirt freshman in college. However, as freshmen, their stats nearly mirror one another’s. Ben could very well be a player like Dwayne Wade was at Marquette, and here is why.
I compared McLemore and Wade in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, their floor percentage, and three point field goal percentage. In 32 games played as a freshman, Dwayne Wade scored 17.8 points per game. Through 11 games, McLemore is averaging 16.5 points per game. In rebounds, Wade edges out McLemore with 6.6 boards compared to Ben’s 5.7. Dwayne is also beating Ben in assists with 3.4 compared to 2.3. Ben has a barely better field goal percentage with 48.8 and Wade with 48.7. However, Ben’s three point percentage is much better than Dwayne Wade’s. McLemore has hit 40.8 percent of his threes this year, but Wade only knocked down 34.6 percent. Currently, Ben’s floor percentage is 54.1. Wade’s was 54.4 as a freshman. Floor percentage is the chances of a team scoring when the ball is in a certain player’s hands. It is a very important stat that often goes unnoticed. In other stats, Ben McLemore is much better right now than Dwayne Wade was. McLemore shoots 85 percent at the free throw line, but Wade only shot 69 percent. Overall, Ben’s offensive rating is 119.1. Wade’s was 108.3. If none of these numbers make sense, here is a graph comparing the two.
The blog I read acknowledged the odds of Ben McLemore becoming the next Dwayne Wade— a two-time NBA Championship winner, Gold Medal winner, etc. Those are some big accomplishments that McLemore is being called “destined to be”. The odds of any player having this sort of status are slim to none. But would it be unfair to say McLemore has better chances than others? His stats would say differently.