The Shooting Guard is one of the most versatile positions in the NBA. A shooting guard on a team can have multiple roles. They could be the team’s best perimeter defender and guard the opposing teams best player. They can be the go-to scorer on a team and lead the team in points or be the secondary ballhandler. In some cases, they can be the team’s primary playmaker and ballhandler.
When ranking the top 10 shooting guards in the league, there are a few things to consider. The first is their stats, as well as their overall impact and if they are a winning player. The defensive side of the ball is also considered and can be the difference maker between two players who are similar in terms of offensive impact.
This list is based off the 2019-2020 season, past seasons will not affect their ranking on the list. Their play is evaluated strictly based off this season. Players like Klay Thompson and Victor Oladipo will not be on this list due to injuries that either kept them out the whole season, or most of the season. Lastly, the way a player’s position is determined is based off what position Basketball Reference lists them under.
10. Buddy Hield
We have the 2020 NBA 3-point contest winner Buddy Hield at number 10 on our list. Buddy Hield has been starting for the Kings as well as coming off the bench for them this season. Some people have speculated that Buddy Hield may be unhappy in his bench role and may request a trade this offseason. Although Buddy wants to start, he thrives in that 6th man role. When Hield is coming off the bench, he’s averaging an absurd 46.5% from 3-point range with 9 attempts a game. He is more efficient when coming off the bench and has a positive plus minus. The Kings also have a record of 13-7 with Hield coming off the bench. Hield is one of the best shooters in the league and shoots almost 40 percent from 3 with almost 10 3 point attempts a game. Buddy Hield is a great scorer but if he’s not scoring, then he’s not doing much else for his team.
9. Spencer Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie is a 6″6 point guard who can attack the basket and finish well, as well as being a great primary playmaker. This season, Dinwiddie has proven he can be a good starter or be effective coming off the bench. Dinwiddie has been doing a great job this season of keeping his team in the playoffs, even in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. He’s been a big bright spot for the Brooklyn Nets this season. He has stepped up with Kyrie Irving out for most of the season and has taken lots of big shots in the clutch for the Nets. This season Dinwiddie has been putting up career numbers of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game. Dinwiddie has boosted his value as a potential trade piece or has proven he can be a valuable player next to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant when they return next season.
8. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai has improved majorly since last season and has seen his role increase in his sophomore season. Shai’s playstyle is very reminiscent of a veteran’s playstyle. He’s always in control of the game. Most young players that enter the league are not in control of the game and not in control of themselves, and often make bad passes or bad shots. Shai doesn’t let the game control him, he controls the game. Shai always plays at the perfect pace. His incredible length allows him to be a great perimeter defender. Shai has seamlessly transitioned from a point guard to a shooting guard. He has taken a big scoring leap and has went from 10.8 points to 19.3 points per game. He has taken the next leap as a scorer this season and will polish his scoring game in future seasons. Although Shai has a slow release when it comes to his jump shot, he can use his great handles to create enough space he needs to get his shot off. Being mentored by Chris Paul this season, has really helped his game flourish. He will only improve as a player with time and might see a role increase later in his career.
7. CJ McCollum
CJ McCollum has had a similar season compared to his past 3 seasons. He’s been very consistent. CJ has been a great secondary ball handler and secondary shot creator next to Damian Lillard. When Lillard missed 6 consecutive games at the end of February, CJ stepped up as the leader of the team. In that 6 game span, CJ averaged 33.3 points and 7.5 assists a game along with a 2-4 record. Although the Trailblazers didn’t have a positive record with Lillard out, CJ proved he could be a great scoring option to rely on to relieve some pressure off Lillard. CJ has been a great second option to Lillard. CJ is unselfish, reliable and consistent. He puts up all star numbers but will most likely never be named an all-star. CJ has improved his playmaking this season. Last season he averaged 3 assists and this season he averages 4.3 assists per game. CJ has been one of the best catch and shoot players this season and is shooting 47% on catch and shoot 3’s. What brings CJ down on this list is his bad defensive play. CJ is a 6″3 scrawny shooting guard who is put up against the best scorers in the league. The other drawback for CJ is his situation. Lots of the players above him are similar players, but they are the clear go to scorer on their team. Although CJ is a great second option, if he was in a situation where he was the go-to scorer on a team, then maybe he would be higher on this list.
6. Zach Lavine
Although Chicago has had a disappointing season, Lavine is starting to round his game out more. He’s improving defensively but he’s still not great. He’s a decent on ball defender but is a lazy off ball defender. If Lavine had a respectable coach, he would put more effort on the defensive end. If he was on a winning team that was playing towards something, then I believe he would try more on defence. He is a decent playmaker but he sometimes gets tunnel vision when attacking the basket and doesn’t find his open players on the perimeter. Lavine also turns the ball over a lot. Lavine has been improving every season and is still a great scorer. He’s averaging an impressive 25.5 points per game and ranks 12th in the NBA for points per game. Lavine has been one of the few bright spots on the Bulls this season. Chicago hasn’t put good players around Lavine. They haven’t surrounded Lavine with players that compliment him very well. In the future, hopefully the Bulls can do a better job surrounding Lavine with more talent so that he can be in the playoffs.
5. Jrue Holiday
Jrue has taken a back seat this season to let his teammates thrive. His unselfishness has allowed players like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson to live up to their potential. He’s been the glue that’s held this team together. The Pelicans are a very young team, and Jrue’s leadership has helped the young players blossom. Jrue also helps the team run smoothly and is a great facilitator. While taking a back seat, he’s still putting up almost 20 points and 7 assists per game. What gives Jrue the edge over players ranked below him is his defence. Jrue is 6th in the NBA for steals per game and will most likely make an all defensive team. He is great at attacking the basket and is an efficient finisher. Jrue Holiday is a versatile shooting guard who can be the primary playmaker, finish at the rim, shoot 3 pointers and defend the opposing team’s best perimeter player night in and night out.
4. Donovan Mitchell
Statistically, Donovan Mitchell hasn’t taken a big jump in his game. Mitchell has showed great improvement this season in categories that can’t be determined by the box score. He has improved in controlling the game and making smart decisions. Mike Conley has been very disappointing this season, but Donovan Mitchell has stepped up. Donovan Mitchell has improved as a leader on and off the court. Mitchell hasn’t been attacking the basket as much, but he’s finishing more efficiently. He has also improved his efficiency from 3 and from the free throw line. Mitchell has been very consistent this season and hasn’t had many struggles. He has been making big plays in the clutch, whether that be the last shot, or trusting a player like Bojan Bogdanovic with the last shot. Mitchell made his first all star appearance at the age of 23 and has many more all star selections in his future.
3. Devin Booker
The biggest knack on Booker has been his lack of team success. In his previous 4 seasons with the Suns, they never finished with more than 23 wins and have been at the bottom of the league every year in Bookers career. This year, the Suns already have 26 wins and have been moving in the right direction. Adding Rubio in the offseason has benefitted Booker tremendously. Rubio helped relieve Booker of playmaking responsibilities and Rubio has helped control the game for Booker. Deandre Ayton’s 25 game suspension pushed this team back from reaching their full potential. The Suns starting lineup is one of the best starting fives when they are on the court together. The Suns started out 7-4 but quickly fell off due to the loss of Ayton. Some people try to discredit Booker’s insane statistics by saying that he puts up those numbers because he’s taking a high volume of shots. Some people have even gone as far as saying that he wouldn’t be nearly as good if he was on a winning team with good support around him. This season Booker has proved he can put up good numbers when his team is winning. When the Suns started out 7-4, Booker was averaging 25.5 points and 5.9 assists in that span. He also had a plus minus rating of +8.3. Booker has also been very efficient this season and is almost a part of the 50/40/90 club. Booker is an elite scorer who is starting to round his game out and has been the Suns go-to scorer since his sophomore season.
2. Bradley Beal
Beal has been one of the best scorers of this NBA season. He’s averaging 30.5 points per game, but yet still didn’t make the all-star game. Beal has had 10 games where he has scored at least 40 points, and he also dropped 50 points in two back to back games. In the absence of John Wall, Bradley Beal has expanded his game. He went from John Wall’s sidekick, to the leader of the Wizards. Beal has turned from an elite spot up shooter, to an elite overall scorer. He is attacking the basket more, taking more midrange shots and taking over as the primary ball handler. When John Wall returns next season, the Wizards team will be elevated and could possibly make the playoffs. When Wall comes back, him and Beal will form one of the best backcourts in the NBA.
1. James Harden
This selection shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There is a significant gap between Harden and Beal. Harden is clearly the best shooting guard this season. He started out the first 3 months of the season averaging 37.9 points per game. There were talks that Harden could potentially average 40 points per game this season. He started to slow down in the month of January. James Harden is such an amazing scorer. So great that him averaging 28.6 points in the month of January was considered a down month for Harden. We have become so accustomed to Harden scoring 50 points in a game, that we aren’t even phased when Harden scores more than 50 in a game. Harden has had 5 50 point games this season, as well as multiple 40 point games. Harden is one of, if not the most unstoppable player in the NBA. He’s always been the leader on good teams and this season is no different. The Rockets are the 6th seed in the western conference and are 2 games back from the 4th seed. The biggest criticism that Harden has faced throughout his career has been his inability to lead his team to an NBA finals. With the Rockets extreme small ball offence, now is the chance for Harden to prove the doubters wrong by winning the NBA championship.