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Who are the best shooting guards currently playing in the NBA?
James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets has been widely considered the best shooting guard in the NBA for the past few years.
The 31-year-old was named league MVP in 2018 and has been an All-NBA First Team selection on six occasions in the past seven years.
One of the best offensive players of all time, Harden led the league in scoring in three consecutive seasons between 2018 and 2020. His average of 36.13 points per game in 2018-19 was the highest mark since 1987 and the seventh highest of all time.
After playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first three years of his career, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012.
He led the Rockets to the playoffs in all eight of his seasons with the team before he was traded to the Nets in January 2021, joining up with fellow superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Harden’s closest contender to be the league’s best shooting guard is Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.
Beal has steadily improved over his eight full seasons in the NBA and set a career high of 30.5 points per game in 2019-20.
The 27-year-old has always been a deadly shooter and has also become an elite shot creator in recent years, making him one of the best offensive players in the NBA.
Beal has made an electric start to the 2020-21 season, averaging a league-high 34.9 points over the first 15 games.
There are a few young shooting guards in the NBA who are already among the best in the league and could still improve.
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns earned his first All-Star selection in 2020 and was hugely impressive in the Orlando bubble, averaging 31 points per game as Phoenix went undefeated in the seeding games.
Booker looks likely to make his first playoff appearance this year after the Suns added star point guard Chris Paul to a rapidly improving roster.
The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell also made his first All-Star appearance last season and was incredible in the 2020 playoffs, averaging 36.3 points per game as the Jazz reached the second round.
Jaylen Brown is emerging as a star for the Boston Celtics, averaging 27.1 points per game so far in the 2020-21 season. The 24-year-old has gone to the playoffs with Boston in every season since he was drafted third overall in 2016, and averaged 21.8 points per game in the 2020 postseason.
Who are the best shooting guards in NBA history?
The best shooting guard of all time is also the best player of all time: Michael Jordan.
A six-time champion and six-time Finals MVP with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan became a global sports icon over the course of a career that also saw him win five league MVP awards and make 14 All-Star appearances.
An incredibly gifted player at both ends of the court, Jordan won 10 scoring titles and also made nine All-Defensive First Teams. He was a relentless competitor and dominated basketball in the 1990s.
Kobe Bryant is the closest player the league has ever seen to Jordan both in terms of style of play and personality on the court.
‘The Black Mamba’ built his game around Jordan’s, emulating his high-flying dunks, immaculate footwork and trademark fadeaway jump shot.
Like MJ, Kobe was a fierce competitor and led the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships. He was named league MVP in 2008, made 18 All-Star appearances, won two scoring titles and was named on the All-Defensive First Team nine times.
Behind Jordan and Bryant, Dwyane Wade is another player who must be considered among the best shooting guards ever.
Wade won Finals MVP as he led the Miami Heat to the NBA title in 2006, and was then a part of the ‘Big Three’ alongside LeBron James and Chris Bosh when the Heat won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.
A 13-time All-Star, Wade was one of the most athletic superstars the NBA has ever seen and also gained a reputation for being one of the league’s most clutch players.
Other great NBA shooting guards include Allen Iverson, Clyde Drexler and Jerry West, while James Harden will surely be considered one of the best ever when he eventually retires.
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