The NBA is filled with great shooting guards. Some two-guards score the ball at an extremely high level while others have an excellent all-around play and impact the game in every facet. The very best shooting guards in the game all have sensational talent and skills that shape the league to how it is today.
But what if we wanted to build the ultimate shooting guard by using the skills and attributes of today’s best shooting guards? Here are the 10 major attributes of the greatest shooting guard of all time.
Basketball IQ – James Harden
No question, James Harden has the highest I.Q out of any shooting guard in the NBA right now. Harden does it all on offense, including scoring and playmaking. He is an automatic offensive machine, but also can be clever on defense. He knows how to come up with steals and defend bigger guys as well, albeit with a lack of consistency in perimeter defense.
The way Harden can single-handedly take over games with his offense is something that is scary to watch. He can create or score every single time down the floor which makes him #1 in this aspect.
Handles – James Harden
Another no brainer, the best ball handler at the shooting guard position is James Harden. The Beard is a master at breaking down any defender and getting to the rim whenever he wants. James Harden is already one of the best one on one scorers that we have ever seen, and his ball-handling might be the biggest reason why.
The perfect shooting guard will have Harden’s dribbling ability to create his own shots and leave defenders in the dust.
Shooting – Klay Thompson
A no-brainer here. The perfect shooting guard will have Klay Thompson’s shooting from beyond the arc. Klay shoots a career 41.9% from three, 45.9% from the field, and 84.8% from the free-throw line. He can make any shot from anywhere and must be defended from any range at all times.
A shooting guard with Klay’s shooting ability means that he can never be left open, and might be the most unstoppable player in the world when he is on fire. Thompson is a top-five shooter ever, so the perfect shooting guard will have Klay’s shooting touch.
Hustle – Marcus Smart
Some things are important which do not show up on the stat sheet. Hustle is arguably the most underrated aspect of a player’s impact on the court. Marcus Smart, the defensive stalwart of the Boston Celtics, does this better than anyone at his position.
The perfect shooting guard will have Smart’s ability and desire to fight after every loose ball, go for rebounds among the bigs, and exert energy on both ends of the floor.
Speed – Donovan Mitchell
In terms of raw speed, the perfect shooting guard will have the gifts of Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell gets credit for his unbelievable hops, but his speed with the ball is also impressive. Mitchell is so quick at moving from one end of the court to the other and does so at a blistering pace.
Mitchell’s ability to sprint to open areas of the court means he is always in a position to get good looks at the basket for shots. On defense, this means he can recover on the break and get in position for steals or contests. The perfect shooting guard will have Mitchell’s speed.
Mentality – Klay Thompson
The mentality of Klay Thompson is what is needed in building the absolute best shooting guard in the world. Klay plays hard on both ends, with the ability to shut down players on defense and then get hot to put teams away with his scoring. Klay’s confidence in his skillset means he knows how to approach the game with ease, making him a joy to play with.
Klay also never takes bad shots, can score with or without the ball, and can be a primary or secondary scorer on any given night. This mentality makes Klay also a great player in pivotal moments because he can just play his game with relaxed confidence.
Clutch – Klay Thompson
While James Harden has the right sort of mentality for a shooting guard, in terms of dominating the offensive end, he has not shown the ability to have a killer mentality in pivotal moments so far. That might be his biggest downfall, but that does not belong to Klay Thompson.
Klay is absolutely lethal in tight moments because his shooting stroke never goes away. Klay is a dead-eye shooter of the highest order, which gives him complete confidence to let shots go in the clutch. Klay has shown the ability to make big shots and does not fear the moment at all. His mentality is truly impressive and the perfect shooting guard will have Klay’s mentality to let fly without fear.
Defense – Marcus Smart
The perfect shooting guard will have the defensive capabilities and leadership of Marcus Smart. Smart has made the All-Defensive Team in 2018 and might be making it again this season. His ability to guard 3 or 4 positions at any given moment is a testament to Smart’s great versatility. He’s an excellent ball stopper and has the strength to bully guards as well.
Marcus Smart is one of the best defenders in the NBA and actually one of the most underrated. He does not get enough credit for how he draws charges, defends the ball, and plays hard on D every night. The best shooting guard in the NBA will have the defensive prowess of Marcus Smart.
Passing – James Harden
In terms of pure passing ability, Harden is #1 at the shooting guard spot and there is absolutely no debate. Harden is arranging 7.5 APG for this season and averages 6.3 APG for his career. James Harden is literally an entire offense in one body, because not only can he score with ease but set up his teammates all night long. James can make any bounce pass, lob pass, or cross-court pass with precision.
The perfect shooting guard will be able to make any pass on the floor, read the defense with ease, and be an offensive machine with his passing much like James Harden is.
Athleticism – Donovan Mitchell
Finally, the perfect shooting guard will have Donovan Mitchell’s overall athleticism. James Harden is underrated athletically because he seems to move at a slow pace, but he is lightning quick with his first step and as strong as an ox.
But Donovan Mitchell has incredible hops. He can jam it over any defender in the league and has an amazing first step similar to a young Dwyane Wade. Mitchell is one of the most gifted athletes in the NBA and the perfect shooting guard will inherit Mitchell’s physical attributes.