NBA / Dec 28, 2010 / 2:55 pm

My 10 Favorite Shooting Guards of the last 25 Years

D-Wade (photo. Jeffery Salter)

In a win-obsessed culture, apparently there isn’t much interest in debating a bronze medal.

During the Miami Heat’s destruction of the L.A. Lakers on Christmas Day, ABC/ESPN announcer and former NBA point guard Mark Jackson said he believes Dwyane Wade is the third-best shooting guard of all-time. That bold statement has so far flown under the radar — I imagine because Jackson didn’t declare Wade the best two-guard, and we only care about debates involving No. 1, the gold medalists.

Or maybe it’s because we’ve been so busy trying to define Kobe Bryant‘s legacy over the last five years that we haven’t given much thought to the legacies of his active rivals. Is D-Wade one of the all-time greats? Is Manu Ginobili a future Hall of Famer? Is Vince Carter headed for the Hall? Will Joe Johnson be known as good or great? Will Ray Allen be known as the best shooter of all-time? Is Brandon Roy headed for a Wade-like rise to prominence, or a Penny Hardaway-style fall short of his potential?

While trying to find Wade’s place in history, I knocked out this list of my 10 favorite — not best — shooting guards of the past 25 years. Again, “favorite.” Remember that when you see the placement of a certain G.O.A.T.

*** *** ***

10. Tyreke Evans & Eric Gordon (tie) — Because I watched and chronicled both of them growing up. In my first few months as a full-time pro sportswriter, I penned a Dime cover story on Tyreke, his first national cover, and a feature on Gordon. Both were in high school at the time. I met them and spoke to their families and learned their backgrounds and rooted for them to make it. Now that they have, they are headed toward the top of the list to succeed Kobe as the NBA’s top two-guard when Mamba slithers from the spotlight.

9. Ray Allen –For almost five years he was the best player on my Seattle Supersonics, though the fact that he was the centerpiece of the Gary Payton trade probably kept me from truly embracing him. But no matter what team he’s on, Ray’s Spartan work ethic and textbook jumper make him a marvel to watch.

8. Dwyane Wade — For the record, I’d put Wade fifth on the all-time list of best two-guards: Jordan, Kobe, Jerry West, Iverson, Wade.

7. Kobe Bryant – The first time I saw Kobe play in person, it was like discovering a new player. And this was after he’d already won three championships and was arguably the most popular player in the NBA. His knowledge of the game, feel for angles, scoring/passing instincts and clutch ability make him the closest thing to Jordan most of us will ever see.

6. Vince Carter – I became more of a fan after his aerial antics had calmed down a bit. When Vince did what every high-flying guard is supposed to do and altered his game to be more efficient without relying purely on his athleticism, he surprisingly was met with backlash that he was afraid to attack the rim. Fortunately, he lets people know every now and then that’s far from the case.

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  • shuttles

    Good list. Gotta disagree with your take on the best 2′s of all time though. I don’t know enough about West so maybe you can put him above D-Wade but there is no way I’d put Iverson ahead of Wade. Wade is just a much better all around player at the 2 than Iverson ever was.

  • Heckler

    no disrespect Austin, but is this type of list even necessary?

    who cares about debating anyones ‘favorite’ of anything? theres no room for debate. i like what i like, you like what you like. end of story. there isnt even a middle or beginning. i aint hating, im just saying.

    for all we give a sh*t, your faves could have included hersey hawkins, kendall gill, vincent askew and ricky pierce.

  • the_don_mega

    nice list… i dunno ’bout my top 10 favortes yet… but i’m sure Allan Houston would be there… cat was damn good before the injuries…

  • YOUNGFED

    This list sucks. But it your opinion and u what they say about those “They’re like a-holes, everbody got one” lmao.

    10-Dumars
    9-Ray Allen
    8-brandon Roy
    7-Magic Johnson
    6-Manu
    5-T-Mac
    4-A.I.
    3-Wade
    2-Jordan
    1-Kobe

    And Im still the watcher lol

  • stillanetsfan

    no love for the late great drazen petro… u might as well rename this list to the last 10-15 years… theres no one on here thats old at all

  • stillanetsfan

    they all played in the 2000′s

  • the_don_mega

    @stillanetsfa

    cosign that… much respects to Drazen… and let’s add Mitch Richmond and Latrell (though he mostly played the SF) in there as well…

  • Marques

    @Youngfed, Magic was a point guard wasn’t he?

  • Detroit Dave

    My list has to include Sprewell.

  • Rafa23

    “This list sucks.” Really Young Fed?

    Good that Young Fed doesn’t post here anymore. Magic Johnson as a shooting guard????
    GTFOH you moron.

    PS: lol @ the Pistons

  • ctkennedy

    10.ray allen
    9/allan houston
    8.kobe bryant
    7.john starks
    6.penny
    5.vince carter
    4.joe johnson
    3.michael jordan
    2.latrell sprewell
    1.tracy mcgrady

  • albsilk1

    Are you f*#&ng serious ! This list is more out of whack than ron artest ! AI and T-mac over D-wade and Kobe! What a joke..i wont be reading your shyt no more

  • Mike “Yahoo! Exclusive” Mihalow

    Replace your #10 with Manu Ginobili, and I’d say you have a good list.

  • Chinaman

    10. Eddie Jones
    9. Mitch Richmond
    8. Wade
    7. Monte Ellis
    6. Ray Allen
    5. Vince
    4. T-mac
    3. Penny
    2. Jordan
    1. Kobe

  • marcus the great

    really?? you had to make this a 2 page article? it was bad enough with smack…

    as for jerry west, wasn’t he a PG, or am i mistaken?

    same for some people’s posts, like Penny & Magic… gettin buckets doesn’t make you a 2guard.

    not hatin, jus sayin…

  • Michorizo

    C’mon…Pete Myers needs to make this list

  • cru_thik305

    lmao @ young fed, i feel you. shaq and bill russell are my two favorite SHOOTING GUARDS of all time, LMAO!!!

  • bobby stew

    James “Hollywood” Robinson

  • Ian

    top 5
    wade
    carter
    reggie
    brent barry
    manu duh

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    while it says “my 10 favorite”, i have to say how can yo go without even an honorable mention of manu? really? not even a HM? thats kinda silly.

  • karizmatic

    I know the question is about favorite 2 gurads but I’d rather answer some of the other questions raised in this post. As an aside I saw something about this somewhere else and I had to think about Jerry West and wonder if he should go down as better than Wade it’s an interesting question

    Is Wade one of the all time greats?
    If this experiment with Miami works he is likely to go down as one of the greats.

    In my opinion Manu is definitely a future Hall of Famer with all his rings, medals, and assorted championships not only in the NBA but internationally.

    With Vince Carter I think it really depends. If Dominque could get in and Alex English could get in then Vince has about the same shot they do…he’ll go down as a prolific scorer who could never get it done for whatever reason. As far as him changing his game to be an efficient scorer that’s cool, but it’s also about timing…you have to know when it’s absolutely necessary to attack the basket or draw a foul in some way as opposed to settling for a jumpshot whether it is makeable or not. It’s something guys like Jordan and Paul Pierce have been good at while guys like Vince Carter, KG, and Dirk Nowitski have always struggled with. This lack of intuition or basketball IQ about clutch plays has added to the perception of “softness” around these players, as opposed to others who could be said to have similar games or put up similar numbers.

    I think Ray Allen absolutely should go down as the greatst shooter of all time.

    Joe Johnson will only be ever known as good unless he wins a ring somehow. A guy like Joe Johnson probably needs to be teamed with a point guard who can get him the ball in his sweet spots, he also needs to focus more of his time on defense which he probably could do if he didn’t have to carry so much of the offensive load. He reminds me of a bigger more athletic Joe Dumars, and he’ll probably need what Joe Dumars needed…a HOF point guard and a great team which allows him to settle comfortably into a role as an ace defender and great clutch shooter. I don’t think that’s what Joe Johnson has in mind though and because of that he won’t reach that level. Good player not great.

    Unfortunately Brandon Roy is probably headed for a Penny fall. I think if Roy had Wade type talent we would have seen it already. Even though Roy has put up excellent numbers throughout his career, he’s never really been put on that Wade level, he just doesn’t have that extra gear that Wade seems to possess. In other words, he and Wade can play even probably for 3 quarters, but when the game is on the line and someone has to win, Wade has that extra gear that all great players have that makes them winners. Roy doesn’t have it, and now with his health deteriorating he’ll probably never get a chance to get there.

  • DarkHorse

    My favorites, in no particular order:

    - Manu, for his unique approach to the game. Loves how he seems like a drunk dude as he careens towards the rim with his awkward looking handle, but still manages to finish spectacularly. Love how he manages to put his fingerprints on a game with his tough defense and passion even when his shot isnt falling. Dude has the rings and medals for a reason.

    - Eddie Jones. He was my favorite player when I first started watching basketball. Totally underrated. Probably overshadowed because most people probably look at him as a bridge between the Showtime era and the Kobe era. People forget he had GAME though. He could shoot the long ball, cram some ridiculous dunks and play tough defense. Very complete shooting guard.

    - Reggie Miller. Ultimate underdog. Showed us that you skinny, ugly, have absolutely zero handles and still play with swagger. The choke gesture he gave to Knicks fans? Classic. As a quick aside, Reggie would have been suspended every game in today’s NBA lol with his antics.

    - Latrell Sprewell. Fearless. Played with his heart out. And that tomahawk cockback dunk was VICIOUS.

    - JR Rider. What can I say? I like the controversial dudes. Today’s stars are just too safe. Word to another JR, JR Smith for continuing the grimy, knucklehead tradition!

    - Brent Barry. How could you not like a white dude that won the dunk contest? Love how he evolved into that old dude at the Y with game. Possessed a very heady game.

    - Ray Allen. Smoothest player in the game. Makes it look so effortless.

    - Steve Smith. One of the smartest guards of his era. Made a living BELOW THE RIM!

    - Allen Iverson. Is he a shooting guard? Is he a point guard? Fuck it, he took like 30 shots a game, so he counts as a 2 guard. What more can be said? The man’s style was totally unique for the time, but on and off the court. But most importantly, he played with his heart out. How many players became a part of a city’s identity like AI? A true icon.

  • DarkHorse

    Some guys I forgot to mention:

    -Monta. Loves how he slices up the D like butter. Relentless, always attacking the rim. Not only does he score in bunches, but he does it with flair. Come to think of it, Monta owes alot to Allen Iverson because Iverson showed that it’s possible for a 6’0 guy to start at shooting guard and still win games.

    -Brandon Roy. Very heady. Never forces anything. A true leader. I really hope his injury woes dont derail his career.

    -Tyreke Evans. Another one of those 1-2 hybrids. And one with a broke ass jumper at that. But I dont care. Love his drives to the rim. He’ll cross you up with his tricky handle, then bulldoze over you because he’s built like a tank. But the unique part about his game, is that he’ll rarely finish his drives with a dunk. After he bulldozes to the rim, he’ll finish with a soft finger roll or a reverse. Never seen a combination of power and finesse in a shooting guard like Reke Havoc.

    -Gilbert Arenas. An LA guy from my area code! Despite his fun loving antics, dude is a STONE COLD SCORER. I hope he does not lose his fun loving ways, as long as it dosent get in the way of his game.

  • north

    DIME needs to get writers who are old enough to drive. Favorite of the last 25 years barely covers the last 10. How do you not know about Mitch Richmond or worse yet Clyde Drexler? Do some research, watch some YouTube clips then write the article again… or rename it to, “I’ve only watched basketball for the last 7 years but we needed to post an article so…”

  • S-SiN

    CLYDE MUTHAFUCKIN DREXLER GETS NO MENTION?

    GTFOH

  • Arisloco

    B Roy over Jordan?SMH…

    @youngfed is obviously a lakers fan..there is no way kobe could crack the list on top of the goat whichis jordan..and i would put tmac over kobe

  • Promoman

    Too bad the Knicks wasted Latrell Sprewell’s prime by having him play small forward. He could play the 3 but he should’ve been at the 2 instead of Allan Houston since he could score at just about the same clip, despite Allan being the superior shooter, and was a vastly superior defender.

  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    Definitely Gervin, Drexler, and Dumars need to be on that list.

    I’m partial to Mitch Richmond and Steve Smith.

  • Jade

    10. Ray Allen
    9. Jeff Hornacek
    8. Joe Dumars
    7. Clyde Drexler
    6. Drazen Petrovic
    5. Allen Iverson
    4. Kobe Bryant
    3. Reggie Miller
    2. Wade
    1. Jordan

  • hiptoclip

    10-Kendall Gill
    9- Brent Barry
    8- Reggie Miller
    7- Aaron Mckie
    6- Nick Anderson
    5- Eric Gordon
    4- MJ
    3- Latrell Sprewell
    2- Ron Harper
    1- Kobe Bryant

  • lil_duece

    5.sprewell
    4.tmac
    3.kobe
    2.wade
    1. mj

  • vince

    @ Heckler. Don’t forget Sarunas.

  • eyeused2b

    I teach, so I know reading comprehension is poor nowadays, but seriously guys, is “this list of my 10 favorite — not best — shooting guards of the past 25 years” really that hard to understand?

    My (not your) 10 favorites:

    10. Calbert Cheaney
    09. Jalen Rose
    08. McGrady
    07. Marquis Daniels
    06. Sprewell
    05. Steve Smith
    04. Vince Carter
    03. Penny
    02. Kobe
    01. Stacey “Plastic Man” Augmon (played SG next to ‘Nique in ’91)

  • mo.B.bad

    my favourites:

    1. Penny
    2. Ray
    3. MJ
    4. Clyde
    5. AI

    I only have 5 favourites really. maybe 6 if I include a young VC, but old VC was such a burden to the Magic I need some time to forgive that nonsense. haha.

    and I know Penny may technically not be a 2 guard but he played there some and was awesome so nuts to it.

  • nizzio

    Nice article Austin. I’m glad you still got love for t-Mac!

    1. T-Mac
    2. Allen Iverson
    3. Monta Ellis
    4. Kobe Bryant
    5. Vince Carter
    6. Michael Jordan
    7. Ray Allen
    8. Tyreke Evans
    9. Reggie Miller
    10. Dwayne Wade

  • YOUNGFED

    To all the haters in regards to Magic Johnson making my list is because he makes every list cause he played every position dummies.

    BTW im BIIIIZZZZZACKKK BIIIAAATTTCCCHHHEEESSS!!!! ;-)

  • top_gun

    @Youngfed

    Does this mean Magic is your favourite Center too.

    LBJ plays point, is he your favourite point guard.

    There’s a difference between being capable of playing SG and being an actual SG.

  • Rob

    A more fitting title to this might’ve been the last 15 yrs…how is Tyreke Evans even worthy of being put in the same class as MJ or Reggie Miller? But Clyde and Joe Dumars get “honorable mentions” Wowwwww

  • KnicksFan

    Favorites:

    1. Wade
    2. Penny
    3. Carter
    4. Starks
    4. Iverson
    5. A. Houston
    6. Eddie Jones
    7.T-Mac
    8. Manu
    9. MJ
    10. Miller

  • KnicksFan

    MJ and Miller were last on my list for a reason…lol

    Kobe makes #1 as my least favorite player of all time in any sport

  • mytiman

    Iverson would probably top my list. He led a 76ers team that included the likes of Eric Snow and etc. He had to be Superman every game, drop 40-50 points (depending on his mood) and take the last shot with the defense all over him. All doing this while standing barely 6ft.

    I do have to agree with you that Miller should be on the top 5, at least. He was a very underrated player, being overshadowed by Jordan throughout his career. But he did have some moments against him.

  • jay

    mj numero uno…kb 2….like miller and he is super clutch..id go penny in top 5 easily to be honest with ya all