Top 5 NBA Guards

Written By: SimpleSlates

May 1, 2020

THE MAIN EVENT

For the last article of the week, we move on to take a look at the top five guards to ever play the game of basketball. The guards are the exciting positions that everyone loves to watch. They move faster, generally have a more flashy play style, and are extremely exciting when playing at the highest level.

TOP 5: DEAD OR ALIVE

For this list we lumped the shooting guards and the point guards together. There are many great players that just won’t make the list however since it is really two positions combined together. 

The value was placed on scorers that could do everything else at an elite level as well. You will not see any players on here that were only really strong defensively, or outstanding facilitators alone. These players are the best of the best. Let’s jump in. 

#5: Tracy McGrady (1997-2012)

T-Mac doesn’t get a ton of recognition as being one of the best of all-time. If you had the pleasure of watching him play throughout his career however, you should have no issue with him being at this spot in the rankings. 

McGrady dominated opponents on three different teams. The era he played in was full of high level talent as well. One of the most memorable aspects of his game is the flash in which he finished at the rim. Unfortunately he had a few twilight years towards the end of his career that really tarnished his career numbers and legacy. McGrady will be remembered by those that watched him play for a long time.

Teams

Toronto Raptors

Orlando Magic

Houston Rockets

New York Knicks

Detroit Pistons

Atlanta Hawks

San Antonio Spurs

Accolades

2x Scoring Champ

7x All-Star Team

7x All-NBA Team

2000-2001 Most Improved Player

Championships

None

Career Stats

19.6 PPG

5.6 RPG

4.4 APG

43.5% FG

 

#4: Allen Iverson (1996-2010)

Allen Iverson was possibly the best pound for pound player of all-time. Small in size, but huge in ability. Iverson excelled at scoring through the lane or in the mid-range area. This was largely due to him having some of the best ball handling skills the NBA has ever seen. He was so good with the ball in fact, that he defied what the NBA had previously considered a carry.

Iverson would go to one finals, and while they did not pull out the win, the team that he went with would amaze most people today. One of the most iconic basketball clips still to this day, is the time he broke down Michael Jordan at the top of the key. Definitely one of the best players to ever touch a basketball, without question the best ever at 6’0’’ or less.

Teams

Philadelphia 76ers

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

Memphis Grizzlies

Accolades

2000-2001 MVP

4x Scoring Champ

11x All-Star Team

7x All-NBA Team

3x Steal Leader

Rookie of the Year

Championships

None

Career Stats

26.7 PPG

3.7 RPG

6.2 APG

42.5% FG

 

#3: Oscar Robertson (1960-1974)

Oscar Robertson is one of only two players in history to average a triple double. Robertson’s may have been heavily aided by the fact that he was the size of many centers in the league during the 1961-1962 season. Regardless he went on to have many similar statistical seasons. A true do it all kind of guard, that was there to captain his team to victory in any way that he could.

There may be a day where he moves down this list due to Russell Westbrook climbing the list, but for now Robertson is firmly in the third spot, and is the only player from that era to make this list.

Teams

Cincinnati Royals

Milwaukee Bucks

Accolades

1963-1964 MVP

12x All-Star Team

11x All-NBA Team

6x Assist Leader

Rookie of the Year

Hall of Fame

Championships

1971

Career Stats

25.7 PPG

7.5 RPG

9.5 APG

48.5% FG

 

#2: Kobe Bryant (1996-2016)

Kobe Bryant, known as “The Black Mamba” by many, was the modern era’s most prolific player. Bryant played the game with a level of intensity that was unmatched by all but possibly one other player. Some of the most notable traits of Kobe’s game were his acrobatic finishes, and deep fades. Kobe was the kind of player that wanted the ball in crunch time, and that separates him from the pack.

Sadly, Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and several other people aboard the same helicopter lost their lives in a 2020 accident. Let those lives lost be remembered fondly, never forgotten, and may they all rest in peace.  We chose to use a longer video tribute to Kobe Bryant, please take a moment and appreciate his greatness.

Teams

Los Angeles Lakers

Accolades

2007-2008 MVP

2x Finals MVP

18x All-Star Team

15x All-NBA Team

12x All-Defensive Team

1996-1997 All-Rookie Team

Hall of Fame

Championships

2000

2001

2002

2009

2010

Career Stats

25.0 PPG

5.2 RPG

4.7 APG

44.7% FG

 

#1: Michael Jordan (1984-2003)

Finally, we are onto the undisputed greatest of all-time. Michael Jordan is truly in a class by himself, there is no debate. The only player that played with just as high, possibly even higher level, of intensity as Kobe Bryant. Jordan did things with a basketball that were simply awe inspiring.  

His career was slowed down due to a stint in baseball and what some would call an early retirement. That withstanding however, Jordan still boasts some of the most impressive numbers the sport has ever seen. He also has the rings to back up that stat line. Jordan could score from any spot on the floor, but excelled in the post. You would be hard pressed to find another guard in history that dominated with their back to the basket the way that Michael Jordan did.

Teams

Chicago Bulls

Washington Wizards

Accolades

5x MVP

6x Finals MVP

14x All-Star Team

11x All-NBA Team

9x All-Defensive Team

3x Steal Leader

Rookie of the Year

Hall of Fame

Championships

1991

1992

1993

1996

1997

1998

Career Stats

30.1 PPG

6.2 RPG

5.3 APG

49.7% FG

 

GUARDS NEVER GO AWAY

The guard position is very solid in the modern NBA. Considering that Curry and Westbrook will likely work towards the list by the time their career is over, we would say that it is still somewhat dominant.

The larger forwards with ball skills do tend to overshadow them a bit now. There has also been a shift in the shooting guard position towards defensive three point shooters. The position surely is not as weak as the modern day center, 

One player that we debated putting at five over McGrady was Magic Johnson. We ended up going McGrady based completely on his ability to score, but that is just our simple minded opinion. What would yours be?

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