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NBA Position Rankings: Shooting Guard

Over the past 6 years, it’s evident that the way basketball is played has completely changed. Teams used to build around post oriented players, and at the time this would lead to success, however, the game has now been fully revolutionized. Ever since the arrival of Stephen Curry and the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors, teams have completely shifted away from post centric systems to build their team along the perimeter. Year by year, teams shoot way more 3’s than the last, as the importance of spacing continues to emerge and change the game.

With all of that out of the way, when you hear the term “shooting guard”, there’s one assumption you can make right away; their job is to shoot. Mostly every team has acquired a 2 guard who can play this role for them. This position isn’t as stacked as some of the others in the league, however, there is still a very deep collection of quality shooting guards in the league today, and a lot of them play completely different roles, thus making this list harder to develop.

  1. Wayne Ellington (Detroit Pistons)

2020-21 Stats- 7.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.3 TOV, 46.2 FG%,37.0 3PT%, 100.0 FT%, 59.0 EFG%, 59.6 TS%, 16.2 MPG

Wayne Ellington has had a role in the league for a very, very long time now. The 11 year vet has always been consistently good at one thing; and that’s shooting. Shooting also happens to be the most important thing for a player to have in today’s NBA, and Ellington provides that. Despite his shooting strengths, he really doesn’t impact the game in any other way. He’s a poor defender, doesn’t provide anything as a playmaker, and isn’t anything noteworthy whatsoever when it comes to shot creation. The one and only reason Ellington has been a rotational player in this league for so long is due to his lights out shooting, but due to the fact that he doesn’t do anything else on the floor, it’s easy to put him dead last, and it’s not hard to predict that he will be out of the league very soon.

  1. Cam Reddish (Atlanta Hawks)

2020-21 Stats- 11.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.5 TOV, 34.9 FG%, 28.8 3PT%, 83.3 FT%, 42.0 EFG%, 47.8 TS%, 28.5 MPG

Not long ago Cam Reddish one of the most exciting prospects coming into the 2019 draft. Going into it, he was well known for his versatility as a player with an advanced offensive skillset for a collegiate player as well as the ability to play almost any position on the floor. So far during his short tenure in the league, he hasn’t really lived up to the praise he once received. He has had some upsides, as last season he continued to get better month by month on both ends of the floor, however, so far this year he’s fallen back into a slump.

Despite this, he’s still shown a boat load of flashes for the future. He’s a 6’8 wing who can play 1-4 effectively, he’s a competitive defender and his size & frame combined with his mobility & quick hands give him sky high potential on that end, he’s a great shot creator and three level scorer who can find his spots effectively, and his playmaking goes unnoticed even though he’ll likely never be a high level playmaker, and he makes solid decisions and finds the open man frequently. Reddish has struggled to get his shot falling at a consistent rate so far in his career which is why he ranks so low, but keep an eye out for Cam Reddish to fly up the ranks in a few years due to his insane potential.

  1. Lonnie Walker IV (San Antonio Spurs)

2020-21 Stats- 14.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 TOV, 43.5 FG%, 40.4 3PT%, 76.9 FT%, 51.5 EFG%, 54.4 TS%, 29.3 MPG

Ever since being drafted to the San Antonio Spurs in 2018, many fans have anticipated Lonnie Walker to one day break out of his shell and enter stardom territory. Although he hasn’t made a leap of that significance just yet, he has shown lots of potential as a player. His uber athleticism allows him to attack the rim with force, and his shifty speed makes him very hard for opposing players to guard. His change of speed is elite, as he can go from just slowly walking to full speed to his spot with the snap of a finger, and his ability to get to his spots are top notch. He’s very crafty around the rim as he finishes with flair, and he can also draw contact with ease. As a defender, there’s still a lot to be desired from Walker, but he’s quick in passing lanes and has spurts of good perimeter defense. Walker has showed up and showed out for the Spurs this year, and it seems like he’s improving game by game. Just like Reddish, look for Walker to rise up the rankings quickly.

  1. Alec Burks (New York Knicks)

2020-21 Stats- 20.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 2.3 TOV, 53.1 FG%, 66.7 3PT%, 90.0 FT%, 68.8 EFG%, 76.0 TS%, 27.7 MPG

Throughout Burks’ career as a pro, he’s always had one role; to put the ball in the basket. Burks is a shot creating combo guard who can score at all 3 levels effectively and who can also shoot off the catch as he frequently moves off the ball. He has a silky smooth form as well as a tight handle that’s hard to guard, and he’s crafty around the rim as well which is always valuable for any player. Burks is a scoring specialist, and despite having some inconsistencies over his 10 year career, he’s done his job particularly well for the teams he’s been on. The problem is that he doesn’t do anything else particularly well. His energy is usually all consumed on the offensive end, so defensively he doesn’t give as much effort as he should, and even when he does, he’s still not a promising piece on that end. He’s not a good playmaker either, as he has moments where he tends to ball hog which is never something you want. Despite those woes, Burk’s scoring skillset should not go unnoticed, as he can be an effective microwave scorer for any team he’s on.

  1. Dillon Brooks (Memphis Grizzlies)

2020-21 Stats- 16.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.7 TOV, 38.7 FG%, 32.0 3PT%, 82.6 FT%, 45.3 EFG%, 47.9 TS%, 30.1 MPG

Brooks does a lot of things well as a player, but on the contrary, he also does a lot of things wrong. Starting off with the pros, he’s a good defender as his physical build and attributes allow him to be successful on that end, he’s shown to be a good shooter who can knock down tough shots, and he’s capable of putting the ball on the floor. However, his cons tend to outweigh the pros.

Brooks is a shot chucker, as there’s moments where he chucks up bad shot after bad shot which hurt his percentages as well as negatively impacting the team, he’s extremely inconsistent as one night he can go off for 35 while locking up the opposition’s best player and then the next he can have 5 points and have 25 scored on him, and lastly, Brooks doesn’t have the “it-factor”.

As stated before, there are numerous things Brooks does well, however, there isn’t one thing that he does astonishingly well. He’s a good defender but not a great defender, he’s a good shooter but not a great shooter, he’s a good ball handler but not a great ball handler. Brooks isn’t great in any facet of the game, and although that in itself isn’t necessarily a flaw, combining that with his other big flaws of shot chucking and inconsistency ultimately hurt his ranking a good amount.

  1. Gary Harris (Denver Nuggets)

2020-21 Stats- 10.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 TOV, 46.2 FG%, 26.8 3PT%, 73.3 FT%, 52.2 EFG%, 54.3 TS%, 31.7 MPG

Gary Harris has had a rollercoaster ride of a career thus far. He was picked in the middle of the first round as he was drafted 19th overall in the 2014 class, and it’s safe to say Denver got good value out of him as he’s developed into a solid NBA player. Year by year, Harris would continue to improve to start his career. Going from averaging 3.4 PPG as a rookie to 12.3 in the very next season, then tallying up 14.9 PPG in his third year and in his fourth season he jumped up to 17.5 PPG. Harris was only moving upwards, until he suddenly started to.. regress?

After the 2017-18 season where he put up 17.5 PPG, he then dropped to 12.9, and then to 10.4, and so far this year he’s right at 10.6. His shooting has also gotten worse since then as well, going from being a 42.0% 3PT shooter in 2016-17 to now being a 26.8% 3PT shooter on the same number of attempts. Despite losing offensive value year by year, he still impacts the game on the defensive side of the ball, as he’s a lanky defender who excels in most areas on defense. He still brings value to the table for a Denver team who desperately needs it after losing two of their 3 best defenders in Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig, and even though on most teams he wouldn’t start, his defensive impact is irreplaceable from anyone else on this Nuggets team.

  1. Evan Fournier (Orlando Magic)

2020-21 Stats- 14.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 TOV, 51.1 FG%, 34.8 3PT%, 87.0 FT%, 60.0 EFG%, 67.1 TS%, 25.4 MPG

In this shooting guard ranking, a big trend among a lot of these players is inconsistency, and look no further than Evan Fournier as the godfather of inconsistency. Fournier is a good scorer as he can shoot the 3 and create for himself, however, he’s very inconsistent with that. Not only that, but he literally does nothing else well. He’s never been a reliable playmaker, rebounder, or defender, so that combined with his inconsistency warrants a low ranking despite what his stats in past years may indicate. Fournier likely serves better as a bench scorer rather than one of your lead scorers in the starting group, so compared to the other starters, he ranks pretty low.

  1. Josh Richardson (Dallas Mavericks)

2020-21 Stats- 13.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.3 TOV, 41.1 FG%, 32.0 3PT%, 94.1 FT%, 49.5 EFG%, 53.7 TS%, 32.5 MPG

Josh Richardson is one of the more confusing players in the league. He’s very similar to Dillon Brooks in the sense that he doesn’t have an “it-factor”. He’s a solid all around player as he’s an above average defender who gives full effort on that end, he’s shown signs of scoring potential but has never fully lived up to that, he’s not necessarily a great shooter as he’s never shot particularly well from beyond the arc despite the fact that he can knock them down occasionally, he’s a pretty good slasher getting into the lane, but he doesn’t excel in that area, and he has okay efficiency but isn’t ultra efficient. He’s also one of the streakiest players in the league as he can have a monster game one night but a horrific game the very next. Richardson does a lot of things well, but nothing spectacular, resulting in him being placed in the bottom half.

  1. Kentavious-Caldwell Pope (Los Angeles Lakers)

2020-21 Stats- 10.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.8 TOV, 53.3 FG%, 53.1 3PT%, 90.9 FT%, 67.5 EFG%, 70.2 TS%, 22.8 MPG

Kentavious-Caldwell Pope has entered this season with tons of momentum. Coming of an NBA championship where he played a crucial role, he’s come back stronger than ever. His efficiency has taken yet another jump, and even though his other worldly percentages are likely unsustainable for a 72 game season, it wouldn’t surprise me if he walked out of this year a member of the 50-40-90 club. He’s a perfect complimentary piece to LeBron James and Anthony Davis due to his spot up shooting abilities, and he’s also a solid defender, especially on the perimeter. Pope does have inconsistencies, as there are moments where he goes ice cold, but overall he is a perfect complimentary piece for any team in the modern NBA.

  1. Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat)

2020-21 Stats- 12.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.4 TOV, 32.0 MPG, 40.7 FG%, 39.7 3PT%, 78.9 FT%, 58.7 EFG%, 61.5 TS%, 32.0 MPG

Duncan Robinson in just his 2nd year as a rotational player is already one of the best shooters in the entire NBA. In fact, he’s been that ever since taking the reigns as a starter in Miami. He’s one of the best off ball players in the league as he’s literally always moving off screens to find open looks for himself, he’s great at drawing contact on his 3’s, and he’s also a substantially good shooter while moving and while he’s stationary. Due to his miraculously good shooting, his portability is elite as he can virtually fit onto any team and do good. Robinson doesn’t do much else outside of shoot, but due to the fact that he’s just that good and impactful as a shooter on it’s own, he ranks higher than some guys who have more all around games than him.

  1. Seth Curry (Philadelphia 76ers)

2020-21 Stats- 17.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.5 TOV, 60.3 FG%, 59.5 3PT%, 100.0 FT%, 76.3 EFG%, 79.6 TS%, 30.0 MPG

Before being tested positive for COVID-19, Seth Curry was having a phenomenal season. He was madly efficient as he was shooting a crazy 60/59/100 on the most shots of his career along with a near 80% for true shooting. He’s one of the best shooters in the association and he can also put the ball on the floor and create for himself. Curry is precisely what the Philadelphia 76ers need; a lights out shooter who can also make plays for himself. He’s not a good defender, but his shooting brings tremendous value to any team he’s on. Seth Curry is a phenomenal offensive player, and is showing why he’s more than just Steph Curry’s brother.

  1. Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee Bucks)

2020-21 Stats- 10.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 TOV, 45.3 FG%, 44.1 3PT%, 75.0 FT%, 57.5 EFG%, 58.4 TS%, 25.0 MPG

Donte DiVincenzo’s value to the Bucks is criminally underrated. Starting on the offensive end, DiVincenzo is one of the best off ball players in the entire league due to his pristine cutting ability as well as how often he moves off screens, and he’s got a magnificent first step and is unbelievably crafty around the rim. He’s also a hustler; he works to get offensive rebounds and tip ins which he does get a lot. His shooting has also improved this year, as he’s shooting 44% from 3 on 5 attempts, which is definitely a step up from last year where he shot 34% on 4 attempts. As a defender, he’s quickly becoming one of the better defenders in the league, as his defensive IQ is off the charts, he’s one of the best at getting into passing lanes, is an elite on & off ball defender, and is great at not getting a plethora of fouls. Down the line, DiVincenzo will only continue to rise on this list, and as of right now, he’s one of the most underrated players in the entire league.

  1. Eric Bledsoe (New Orleans Pelicans)

2020-21 Stats- 11.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.0 TOV, 43.7 FG%, 37.8 3PT%, 72.2 FT%, 53.4 EFG%, 55.8 TS%, 29.9 MPG

Eric Bledsoe is someone who does not belong on this list due to the fact that Stan Van Gundy is playing him completely out of position. Despite the playoff woes and his limited offensive game, Bledsoe is still a starting caliber player in this league as he’s an elite defender and one of the best guard defenders in the league. For his size, he’s a great post defender, and he’s also a great off ball defender. Combine that with the fact that he gets into passing lanes and is also a good help defender makes him one of the best defenders in the entire league. What makes him so low is his very limited offensive game. He’s shooting surprisingly well from 3 this year as he’s shooting 38% on 5 attempts, however, that doesn’t make up for his lack of a true offensive skillset. The name of the game for Bledsoe is defense, but due to the fact that he lacks a true, stable offensive skillset, he ranks in at 18.

  1. Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors)

2020-21 Stats- 17.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.2 TOV, 43.1 FG%, 39.3 3PT%, 72.5 FT%, 50.3 EFG%, 53.4 TS%, 32.5 MPG

Andrew Wiggins started off the season as slow as one can possibly start. He couldn’t buy a bucket to save his life. However, he’s bounced back now, as he’s shooting nearly 40% from 3 on 5 attempts. His slashing is still good as well, and his defense has taken a big step in the right direction as he’s been fully locked in as of late. Despite the bright parts of Wiggins’s season thus far, he still has flaws, the most notable being his crazy inconsistency, which has been something that has been nagging the Kansas alum throughout his entire professional career. He also takes some low IQ shots, as he settles for off balance mid range shots rather than attacking the rim or stepping an inch back and looking for the 3. If Wiggins’ play continues like it has been for a full season, he could make a jump on this list, but the former number one overall pick still has the same problems he’s had his entire career.

  1. Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings)

2020-21 Stats- 15.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.7 TOV, 37.0 FG%, 37.0 3PT%, 81.3 FT%, 50.6 EFG%, 52.2 TS%, 34.3 MPG

In his 5 year career, Buddy Hield has been one of the best shooters in the whole league, posting up an impressive 41% from 3 on 7 attempts for his career. Hield has definitely begun the season slow for his standards, shooting an unremarkable 37% from the field on less shots from last year where he shot 43% on 16 attempts. His 3 point percentage hasn’t been eye popping either, but with context, it’s not as big of a drop as it sounds. He’s shooting 2% less from 3 this year on 1 more attempt than last, which is still a regression, but not a huge one. Hield has also demonstrated an ability to put the ball on the floor more and more throughout his career, and even though he’s not a good shot creator, he can still put it on the floor when needed. Hield is a shooting specialist, and although he’s started slow, his impact can’t go overlooked.

  1. Malik Beasley (Minnesota Timberwolves)

2020-21 Stats- 20.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 TOV, 45.8 FG%, 38.7 3PT%, 87.9 FT%, 53.9 EFG%, 57.4 TS%, 32.5 MPG

Ever since his arrival in Minnesota, Beasley has broken out. Due to the massive opportunities he’s gotten, he has become a consistent 20 point scorer on very good efficiency. Beasley displays a great amount of offensive versatility, as he’s a great shot creator who gets off quick shots, he’s very effective off of screens, moves extremely well without the ball, and can knock down shots off the move. He’s an elite shooter, as last year after being traded to Minnesota, he shot 43% from 3 on 8 attempts, and this year, despite taking somewhat of a step back in terms of his percentages, he’s still shooting 39% from 3 on 7 attempts. He’s also ferocious when attacking the rim, making him a reliable three-level scorer. Malik’s scoring ability is something every team needs in a combo guard, and he’s an underrated part of Minnesota’s spectacular offense.

  1. Terry Rozier (Charlotte Hornets)

2020-21 Stats- 19.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.9 TOV, 46.5 FG%, 43.3 3PT%, 77.3 FT%, 57.8 EFG%, 60.9 TS%, 32.4 MPG

Terry Rozier has flown under the radar, making him one of the league’s most underrated players. Rozier is a versatile guard who can play the 1 or 2 effectively and can score at all three levels at a high rate due to his ability to create, find his spots, and use his jaw-dropping burst to attack the rim. He doesn’t average many assists and isn’t a lead playmaker by any means, however, he’s unselfish and isn’t a shot chucker. Terry is an electrifying player who plays with a sense of swagger which brings underrated value as it can get the momentum swayed in Charlotte’s favor, and he also has a feel for the game that a lot of players lack. He holds his own on defense as well, he’s a good post defender, and good off ball. He’s not a great one on one defender, but all around his defense is painfully average. Rozier is heavily underrated for Charlotte and is ranked in the top half of the list.

  1. Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers)

2020-21 Stats- 25.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.1 TOV, 53.1 FG%, 51.6 3PT%, 82.9 FT%, 58.5 EFG%, 61.9 TS%, 37.4 MPG

For a guy who’s averaging 25 points, this seems suspiciously low. Sure, Sexton is an incredibly good scorer. He’s a crafty 2 guard who uses his 6’1 height to his advantage, has great speed, can score at all 3 levels, and is extremely crafty around the rim. He’s also made some tweaks defensively; he’s still not great but he can hold his own.

There are three major reasons Sexton ranks lower than the stats suggest; firstly being his unsustainable efficiency. In the 8 games he’s played in thus far, he’s played against bad defenses every single time which has definitely helped him be this efficient. Once he goes up against a good defensive team, his efficiency will surely drop, as this efficiency isn’t sustainable for any player, let alone a 6’1 shooting guard. Secondly, he’s playing 37 minutes a night, which is the 3rd most in the entire league. Sexton without a doubt is a great scorer, however, many other players can put up these numbers if they play 75% of the game. Finally, Sexton doesn’t really do much outside of scoring. He’s improved every season as a defender, but still isn’t too noteworthy on that end, and he’s never been a good playmaker, and at times has a tendency to ball hog. Sexton is still a well above average player, but I find him to be quite overrated.

  1. Fred Vanvleet (Toronto Raptors)

2020-21 Stats- 20.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.6 TOV, 45.1 FG%, 38.9 3PT%, 81.8 FT%, 55.2 EFG%, 57.2 TS%, 35.8 MPG

From an undrafted G-League prospect to full time starting guard who averages over 20 points per game, Fred Vanvleet has had quite the come up. He’s a great scorer who can shoot the 3 at a high rate, and his passing goes overlooked as he averaged 7 assists last year, and despite dropping down to 6 this year, his passing abilities have still been on full display this season. He’s shown to be a solid defender as well; he’s nothing incredible in terms of defense, but he’s solid enough. He’s versatile as he can play the 1 or 2 and he’s the best shot maker the Toronto Raptors have. Fred does have his flaws, as his shot selection isn’t great, but for the most part Vanvleet is a very well rounded shooting guard despite the fact that his primary position is at the 1.

  1. Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)

2020-21 Stats- 12.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 TOV, 35.2 FG%, 36.2 3PT%, 77.5 FT%, 44.9 EFG%, 52.1 TS%, 33.4 MPG

Looking at the box score, Marcus Smart should be in the bottom half of this list, but his impact goes way deeper than the statistics. Smart is arguably the best pound for pound defender in the entire league as his bulldog mentality and defensive skillset are extremely valuable for the Celtics, and his on ball playmaking is solid as he’s taken the reigns to be the primary playmaker for a Boston team that lacks that. Smart does have countless flaws, as he has a low IQ in terms of pure shot selection, and he’s one of the streakiest shooters in the entire league. However, his defensive impact is extremely valuable to the Boston Celtics, which ranks him right outside of the top 10.

  1. Caris LeVert (Indiana Pacers)

2020-21 Stats- 18.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.2 TOV, 43.5 FG%, 34.9 3PT%, 76.5 FT%, 49.0 EFG%, 51.6 TS%, 27.8 MPG

Caris LeVert hasn’t gotten as much opportunity as a player of his caliber should, but in the opportunity he’s gotten, he’s showed up and showed out. This past summer in the Orlando bubble on a very depleted Nets team, Caris LeVert put up 23 PPG, 5 RPG, and 8 APG, leading the Brooklyn Nets to the 7th seed. He didn’t necessarily follow it up in the playoffs, but he still had his moments, tallying up 20 PPG, 6 RPG, and 9 APG after unfortunately being swept by Kyle Lowry & the Toronto Raptors.

LeVert was brought off the bench to start the season, but due to injuries & Kyrie Irving’s unexpected absence, he got the starting nod for 4 games and put up a dazzling 28 PPG, 5 RPG, and 8 APG. Due to the blockbuster 4 team trade that will send James Harden to Brooklyn, Caris LeVert’s time in Brooklyn has come to an end, and he will have a fresh start in Indiana, which is also the absolute perfect situation for him alongside Sabonis & Brogdon. LeVert is an extremely talented & crafty combo guard who’s multi positional as he can play the 1 due to his playmaking skills but also play the 2 due to his scoring skills. He’s a streaky shooter, but still creates looks for himself that are effective, and he’s amazing at controlling the pace of the game. His poise is elite, as he has mastered the pace of the league which is needed for a player of his archetype. LeVert is ready to shine in Indiana, and there is no doubt in my mind he jumps up this ranking.

  1. Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets)

2020-21 Stats- 20.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.0 TOV, 42.1 FG%, 36.2 3PT%, 73.0 FT%, 50.3 EFG%, 53.5 TS%, 33.3 MPG

Victor Oladipo got off to a scorching hot start to the season, but has ultimately slowed down since. After coming off a major injury that sidelined him for a year, at first he didn’t look the same on either end of the floor, but it seems as if he’s bounced back this year. He’s a great shot creating three level scorer who gets into the late with ease. He’s got exquisite foot work as well which he uses to get to his spots in the lane or to get open jump shots. His defense hasn’t looked as good, but he’s been able to hold his own on that end. Oladipo still isn’t what he once was and likely will never be the Oladipo of old, but this new version of him is still good enough to rank inside of the top 10.

  1. Shai-Gilgeous Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)

2020-21 Stats- 20.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.7 TOV, 48.8 FG%, 35.2 3PT%, 76.6 FT%, 54.6 EFG%, 59.4 TS%, 33.0 MPG

Shai-Gilgeous Alexander has improved yet again this season, as the 3rd year pro continues to mold his all around game. His scoring numbers haven’t gone up tremendously, but he’s still giving 20 points a night on improved efficiency, which is shocking considering OKC no longer has Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, or Danilo Gallinari, meaning the majority of the defensive attention is on Shai. He’s extremely versatile due to his size and skillset, and combining his skill with his physical attributes, he’s capable of playing 1-3. He’s also a good rebounder which is important as it allows him to push the pace effectively, and for Shai that’s perfect as he’s astonishingly good at controlling the pace to his benefit. His playmaking has improved, and this may just be due to increased usage, however, he looks way more comfortable as a facilitator than ever before. The future is incredibly bright for the 22 year old, and he will only continue to improve.

  1. CJ McCollum (Portland Trail-Blazers)

2020-21 Stats- 28.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.1 TOV, 47.2 FG%, 43.7 3PT%, 83.7 FT%, 59.1 EFG%, 61.8 TS%, 35.2 MPG

CJ is right in the middle of the prime of his career, and he’s looking better than ever. For the past 5 years, CJ has been one of the best volume scorers in the NBA. He has one of the best scoring packages in the league as he’s freakishly skilled with the ball in his hands, using his arsenal of moves to get buckets at will. He’s always been in the shadow of All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard, but this year he’s been flat out better than his backcourt mate. No, McCollum is not a better player than Lillard, but his averages of 28 PPG and 5 APG on 47% from the field and 44% from 3 on an astonishing 11 attempts a game is just a testament to how good McCollum is. CJ has been one of the most consistent players in the league for half a decade now, and he’s only getting better.

  1. Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)

2020-21 Stats- 27.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.6 APG, 4.1 TOV, 49.1 FG%, 37.1 3PT%, 88.7 FT%, 57.3 EFG%, 62.2 TS%, 35.2 MPG

Since his arrival to Chicago, LaVine has consistently gotten better and better every year. After coming off a torn ACL, LaVine returned right away and averaged 24 PPG in 2018-19, and the very next year he follows it up by averaging 25 PPG. His playmaking wasn’t great, but that was due to him having arguably the worst coach in league history on top of him at all times. His assist numbers aren’t much higher than last year, but you can tell that under an actual competent coach in Billy Donovan, he’s way more willing to take on the responsibility of a lead playmaker. He’s one of the most athletic players in basketball as well as one of the best shooters in basketball, and his scoring skillset is off the charts. LaVine has shown enough throughout his career to be labeled a star, and he sits right outside of the top 5.

  1. Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)

2020-21 Stats- 23.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.9 APG, 3.0 TOV, 41.7 FG%, 37.8 3PT%, 79.2 FT%, 50.2 EFG%, 53.7 TS%, 33.5 MPG

Since being drafted to the Utah Jazz in 2017, Donovan Mitchell has played winning basketball every season. He’s virtually carried the scoring load for Utah every year, as last season was the first time he had other offensive options to truly lean on in Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, and at times Mike Conley. He’s one of the most explosive athletes in the league and his bewildering change of speed makes it easy to attack the rim with force. He’s a great shot maker as he makes tough shots frequently, and his shooting ability is top notch. Mitchell is just 24 years old, and he’s bound to get even better than he is now and become even more special as a player.

  1. Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

2020-21 Stats- 23.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.3 APG, 4.0 TOV, 48.6 FG%, 34.8 3PT%, 81.3 FT%, 54.9 EFG%, 59.9 TS%, 35.5 MPG

Like Donovan Mitchell, Booker is still extremely young at just 24 years old. He’s one of the smoothest and purest scorers in basketball, as his jump shot is picture perfect and his ability to create for not only himself but his teammates is a tremendous skill. He’s also amazing off ball; whether it’s coming off screens or willingly moving around the half court, Booker does it and he does it well. He’s doesn’t give a ton of energy defensively due to all of the energy he consumes on the other end, but he has spurts of great defense. Not to mention, he’s also one of the best closers in basketball. Booker’s scoring and overall offensive poise isn’t matched by many other players, putting him here at 4.

  1. Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)

2020-21 Stats- 34.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.0 APG, 3.3 TOV, 49.4 FG%, 37.5 3PT%, 87.4 FT%, 54.3 EFG%, 60.8 TS%, 35.9 MPG

Despite the addition of Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal is yet again carrying the offensive load in Washington just like he did last year. He’s one of the most prolific three level scorers in basketball as his athleticism helps him when getting to the rim and he uses an array of moves to get to his spots easily. He’s incredible without the ball, as he uses his underrated speed to make cuts and run off screens without the ball. He’s not very invested as a defender, but when he is he can be a very helpful on that end. Not to mention, he’s the current leading scorer in the NBA by a comfortable margin, putting up a crazy 35 points a night.

  1. Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)

2020-21 Stats- 25.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.5 APG, 3.9 TOV, 49.7 FG%, 51.3 3PT%, 90.9 FT%, 62.7 EFG%, 67.5 TS%, 35.1 MPG

Paul George is quietly having one of the best seasons of his entire career. He’s shooting incredibly on 50/51/90 splits, and although this will likely dip down, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hovers around the illustrious 50/40/90 this year. Due to the new system implemented by Tyronn Lue that prioritizes ball movement, he’s also quietly averaging a career high 5.5 APG, right near 6 a night. Despite the frequent playoff missteps, it doesn’t take away the fact that George is one of the most complete players in basketball. Extremely skilled as a scorer from everywhere on the court, some of the best poise I’ve ever seen, elite defense; George does it all. The Paul George revenge season is fully underway; the biggest question for George is the postseason woes.

  1. James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)

2020-21 Stats- 24.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 10.4 APG, 4.3 TOV, 44.4 FG%, 34.7 3PT%, 88.3 FT%, 53.7 EFG%, 61.3 TS%, 36.3 MPG

This shouldn’t even be a conversation. Harden has retained the best shooting guard in the league title for years now, and it doesn’t seem like that’s changing any time soon. He’s one of the best scorers in league history and one of the best offensive players in league history. He’s got great efficiency, and even though he used to be a horrid, effortless defender, he’s certainly improved over the past few years as he’s now effective as a post defender and good in passing lanes. Due to the controversy surrounding Harden’s trade request this offseason, many have turned on him completely, but there’s still no conversation to be had about who’s the best shooting guard in basketball. It’s going to be very exciting to see Harden change environments after 9 years of him in Houston, especially to see him reuniting with Kevin Durant and also teaming up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

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