The shooting guard position is a thing of beauty. Michael Jordan came into the league and dominated his spot and the NBA like no other player has ever done. Aside from Jordan, other players such as Clyde Drexler, Jerry West, Earl Monroe and many others were, at one point in time, considered one of the top talents at shooting guard.
Without the off-guard, it is fair to assume the NBA would not be the household name that it is today, despite the way the position has fallen off over the last generation. Here are the ten greatest players to ever play the spot.
Honorable Mention: Reggie Miller (1987-2005)
Career stats: 18.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG and 1.1 SPG
Career accomplishments: 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA, Hall of Fame Inductee
Reggie Miller might be the greatest shooter in NBA history–some might take Ray Allen, Stephen Curry or Jerry West, but we will leave that debate for another day. Granted, Miller only went to the NBA Finals one time in his career, but looking at the team that was built around him, it is understandable why this is the case. He was a menace to anyone he played against, just ask John Starks or Michael Jordan. His veteran savvy made him frustrating to deal with. Make no mistake about it, Miller’s best moment came when he torched the Knicks for eight points in nine seconds.
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10. Earl Monroe (1967-1980)
Career stats: 18.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.9 APG and 1.0 SPG
Career accomplishments: 1968 Rookie of the Year, 1968 All-Rookie team, 4x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 1x NBA Champion and a Hall of Fame Inductee.
Earl the Pearl, a.k.a. Black Jesus, was a legend in the streets of Philadelphia. Monroe was not an easy defensive task for his era. His handle of the ball was so advanced, and his midrange abilities were so lethal, he had coaches scrambling to find the proper defense to contain the Pearl. When he was traded to the Knicks to pair with Walt Frazier, it created a tandem of brilliance. Together, they won the 1973 NBA championship.
9. Ray Allen (1996 – present)
Career stats: 18.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG and 1.1 SPG
Career accomplishments: 1997 All-Rookie team, 10x All-Star, 2x All-NBA and a 2x NBA champion
Ray Allen is the all-time leader in three-pointers made, but the silky smooth sharpshooter was not just a shooter. Allen, the fifth overall draft pick in 1996, was a jack-of-all-trades. He could handle the ball and initiate offense, finish at the rim and defend the opponents’ best player. Ray Allen’s ability can be analyzed in a couple of simple steps. He was a standout with the Milwaukee Bucks, and then he dealt with mediocre play with the Sonics, but as soon as he was traded to the Celtics to team with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, they became instant contenders that resulted in Allen’s first NBA title. At the moment, Ray Allen is a member of the Miami Heat, chasing his third NBA title.