If there is a common requirement for most shooting guards, it is scoring the basketball. While we have seen so many great scorers in the league, only a select few are considered the greatest scorers of all-time the position. These 10 men have taken scoring to another level, doing it consistently for many years.
While shooting guards often have other responsibilities, such as handling the ball and playing defense, scoring is what distinguishes this position from the rest. Here are the 10 greatest scoring two-guards the league has ever seen.
10. Reggie Miller
One of the most clutch players ever, Reggie Miller could score the ball whenever his team needed it most. Miller was extremely effective as a long-distance shooter and is one of the greatest pure shooters we have ever seen. Miller’s scoring was mostly done on the outside, but he had a natural talent for his soft touch around the rim.
Miller was also a fantastic free-throw shooter, shooting around 89% for his career. While his scoring average remained around 18 ppg for his career, the fact that he could score in the most crucial moments earns him a spot in the Top 10.
9. Ray Allen
Ray Allen was an absolute monster in Seattle, topping his final season with the Sonics with a 26.4 ppg before being traded to the Celtics. From there, he became known for his incredibly accurate 3-point shooting where he surpassed Reggie Miller for the most 3-pointers made of all-time.
In fact, his incredible shooting helped his Boston Celtics team, and later the Miami Heat, win championships. When a big shot was needed from three, Ray Allen was often the one to produce it.
8. Clyde Drexler
Clyde “The Glide” Drexler was one of the best guards in the entire league when he was in his prime. He could glide-hence the nickname- in the air and produce one highlight play after the other. Clyde was also an excellent shooter from mid-range and could attack the basket with the best among the two-guards in history.
Drexler was a monster on the scoring charts, averaging over 20 ppg for his career. He also managed to eclipse the 27 ppg mark twice in his career, in the 1987-1988 and 1988-1989 seasons.
7. Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is the third pure shooter to appear on this list, and he might be the very best. Klay can explode from the perimeter beyond any player we have ever seen, such as his massive game where he dropped 14 3-pointers in a single game, one of the best records in NBA history.
Klay is a fantastic offensive player when off the ball, using constant movement and coming off screens to drain shots. When a smaller defender is on him, he uses his back down the game and fades away for a smooth jumper. Overall, Klay’s supreme shooting inches him closer to the Top 5. The scariest part? Klay is just getting started.
6. Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade might be the most underrated shooting guard ever. When it comes to overall rankings, there might not be more than two shooting guards better than Wade in NBA history. Scoring-wise, Wade was simply phenomenal. He was a slasher of the highest order, slicing to the basket with quickness and explosiveness. It is no wonder his nickname was “Flash”. He was so dominant offensively that he put together one of the greatest NBA Finals performances ever in 2006, leading the Heat to an NBA Championship.
Later in his career, he managed to add a respectable jumper to his arsenal that burned defenders when they wanted to protect the lane. Finally, Wade was one of the most clutch players in the league even during the latter part of his career. He was very efficient from mid-range and thus is one of the best scoring shooting guards ever.
5. Jerry West
The Logo is a Lakers’ great shooting guard, who mastered the art of the shooting guard position. West was very efficient from the perimeter and near the basket. West was also a phenomenal playmaker, able to find guys whenever defense was playing him tightly. That opened up his game even more, and he would singlehandedly take over games by himself.
Over his career, West averaged 27 ppg on an excellent 47% FG Pct. He was also proficient from the free-throw line, nailing over 80% from the stripe. Overall, few were better than West at putting the ball in the basket.
4. James Harden
Even when he is not finished yet, Harden is the fourth greatest scorer at the shooting guard position. Harden has blossomed into a complete offensive machine since his trade to Houston. He was given the chance to lead a team, and he has taken over the league by storm by capturing an MVP Award and finishing runner-up twice in recent years. Harden had his most terrific season in 2018-2019 by averaging a whopping 36 points a game.
Harden is simply sensational, with the ability to beat his defender every time off the dribble to position himself for an And-One. Harden has mastered the art of teasing fouls off of his defenders, much to the frustration of all opposing teams and fans. He is quick, explosive, and very powerful. When the driving lane is not there, he will step back for three right in the defender’s face. Harden is simply unstoppable offensively.
3. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson, barely standing 6 feet tall, was a top 3 scoring shooting-guard of all-time. Iverson was so quick, he could beat any single defender in the league off the dribble. He was a monster with the Iso, able to use his patented crossover and the quick first step to create space for his sweet jumper. He was also relentless at attacking the basket, even when getting knocked down every now and again by the bigs in the paint.
Iverson was so lethal, that he led a team without a single player capable of scoring a point on their own, to the NBA Finals against the LA Lakers super team. He even managed to pull off one game against the Lakers, with some iconic plays that are still replayed together. Iverson could score 40 each and every game and put on a show every single night. He was truly one of a kind.
2. Kobe Bryant
As good as the players on this list are at scoring the ball, these last two players are in a different stratosphere. Kobe Bryant was born to score the basketball. He was arguably the best one-on-one player ever, with a complete skill set of putting the ball in the basket. He had the ability to hurt you from three and from the perimeter, even when two or three defenders were draped all over him. Kobe Bryant, on his own, was an entire offense that was capable of leading his team to victory.
Some of his most impressive achievements include scoring 81 points in a single game (the highest besides Wilt’s 100), along with singlehandedly outscoring the opposing Mavericks through three quarters. Not to mention, Kobe is one of the most clutch players of all-time. Even when his detractors will label him a ball-hog and an overrated clutch performer, Kobe’s resume cannot be argued. Countless game-winners, countless buckets, and five championships mostly due to his unstoppable offensive repertoire. He would easily be number one if it wasn’t for a particular player.
1. Michael Jordan
Easily one of the greatest athletes in sport’s history, Jordan was almost perfect offensively on the basketball court. Jordan seemingly created the ability to score in every manner possible, and he mastered this part of the game. It is no wonder why guys like Kobe Bryant mimicked his every move and tried to outdo him. Jordan set the standard, and guys are still trying to play catch-up. Even though he did not consider the three-point shot as his priority back when he played, Jordan was perfect form mid-range and inside the paint.
He had a patented fade-away jumper, which was his go-to move when his team needed a bucket. He was also an incredible athlete, able to fly through the air and create highlight-reel plays around the basket. When the game was on the line, Jordan would deliver most often than not. One of the greatest winners and clutch players, Jordan was also the undisputed king of scoring at the shooting guard.