Ranking the NBA’s Starting Shooting Guards from Best to Worst

30. Rodney Hood — Cleveland Cavaliers

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It wasn’t all that long ago that Hood looked like a talented youngster with a ton of upside. Just a couple of years and one refusal to check into a playoff game later, and Hood’s potential looks far less promising. He hasn’t necessarily lost any ability, but Hood’s shot selection and attitude leaves something to be desired. His shooting percentages have dramatically declined since joining the Cavs, and if Hood can’t produce at an efficient rate on the offensive end he becomes a far less useful player.

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29. Jeremy Lamb — Charlotte Hornets

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The best move new Head Coach James Borrego has made during his short time in Charlotte was to move Nicolas Batum off the 2-guard spot and insert Lamb in the starting lineup. With Batum in the backcourt, Charlotte suffered from terrible spacing. Lamb has opened up the floor for Kemba Walker and Charlotte’s bevy of slashers. He’s clearly more comfortable starting games rather than coming off the bench. In the 18 games Lamb started in 2018, he averaged 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and shot an impressive 39 percent from three.

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28. Avery Bradley — Los Angeles Clippers

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Yet another player that would be listed higher on this list had it been written a couple of years ago, Bradley’s stock seems to sour with each passing game. Since being traded by the Celtics in a perceived salary dump, Bradley has failed to reach his former level of production. He’s not as good of a defender as his two appearance on the All-Defensive Team would suggest, and his offensive game has been mostly neutered due to a shaky outside jumper. He can still be serviceable in spurts, but the glimmer of hope that Bradley could develop into a borderline All-Star seems to be gone.

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27. Reggie Bullock — Detroit Pistons

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In another down year for the Pistons, the former first-round pick Bullock was a major bright spot. After starting just seven games in his previous four seasons, Bullock started 52 games for the 2018 Detroit Pistons. Detroit deployed Bullock as their resident Klay Thompson, running him through screens and affording him the green light to shoot at any time. Bullock obliged and shot a scorching-hot 44.5 percent from beyond the arc. He looks the part of a quality role player that could eventually help a very good team.

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26. Garrett Temple — Memphis Grizzlies

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Temple won’t wow anybody on the stat sheets, but his contributions on the floor are felt considerably. He’s a bit like the shooting guard version of Taj Gibson, in that sense. Temple guards the opposing team’s best player every night, and stays within himself on the offensive end. He’s developed into a serviceable outside shooter (39 percent from three on 3.5 attempts in 2018), and will be a veteran presence within Memphis’ starting lineup.

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25. Josh Hart — Los Angeles Lakers

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It’s a complete mystery as to which direction the Lakers will go with their starting lineup. Just within the first couple of weeks, Coach Luke Walton has tried Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, and Hart at the 2-guard. For now, we feel like Hart fits the bill the best. He’s the most versatile defender of the bunch, and has been lights out from deep.

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24. E’Twaun Moore — New Orleans Pelicans

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Moore has burst onto the scene ever since earning a starting role with the Pelicans in 2018. The potent outside shooter was highly efficient last season, sporting a 50.8 field goal percentage and knocking down 42.5 percent of his threes. His strength lies in stretching the floor, making him a perfect teammate for the likes of Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and newly-acquired Julius Randle.

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23. Wes Matthews — Dallas Mavericks

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Matthews has more than exceeded expectations after going undrafted in 2009. Following a one-year stint with the Utah Jazz, Matthews signed with the Trail Blazers and became a fixture within the team’s starting lineup. He’s since made his way to Dallas, and has emerged as one of the more consistent three-point shooting threats in the NBA. An Achilles injury has stunted his defensive capability, but Matthews can still fill it up in a heartbeat.

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22. Tim Hardaway Jr. — New York Knicks

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The criticisms of Hardaway Jr. are well-documented. He’ll likely never be a plus-defender, his shot selection is horrid, and he doesn’t like to pass all that often. However, Hardaway Jr’s contributions as a scorer cannot be overlooked. He can get hot in a hurry, and is coming off a career-high 17.5 points per game in 2018. If his shot is falling, Hardaway Jr. is a tough matchup for even the best defenders in the league.

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21. Buddy Hield — Sacramento Kings

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Hield entered the league with the unrealistic expectation that he would be the next Steph Curry. While Hield hasn’t emerged as a perennial All-Star or MVP candidate, he’s carved himself a nice niche in the league and is just starting to hit his stride. The Kings value his ability to create his own shot and spread the floor with deep range.

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20. Kent Bazemore — Atlanta Hawks

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The second player on this list that formerly went undrafted, Bazemore has had an interesting journey throughout his seven-year stint in the league. The Old Dominion standout spent his first three seasons in the NBA on Golden State’s bench acting as a pseudo-cheerleader. After being sent to the Lakers in a mid-season trade, Bazemore was able to flash some of his unique skills. Bazemore eventually landed on the Atlanta Hawks, where his length and defensive versatility landed him a massive four-year/$70 million contract in the Summer of 2016.

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19. Andre Roberson — Oklahoma City Thunder

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Roberson has a tremendously limited offensive skill-set. He doesn’t shoot the ball very well, allowing defenses to sag off of him and focus on Oklahoma City’s two stars. His poor free-throw shooting has gotten the Thunder into sticky situations on a number of occasions. However, his worth as a player is measured on the other end of the floor where he’s simply magnificent. Outside of former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, Roberson may be the best perimeter defender in all of basketball.

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18. Danny Green — Toronto Raptors

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Similar to Bazemore, Green began his career as a bench warmer for a very good Cleveland Cavaliers team. It wasn’t until the San Antonio Spurs picked him up before the 2010 season that Green began to blossom as a player. Green’s breakthrough performance came in the 2013 NBA Finals, when he broke a then-NBA record for most threes made in a Finals series (27). He remains a reliable shooter, though he’s also an underrated defender that can hold his own against both guards and big men.

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17. Malcolm Brogdon — Milwaukee Bucks

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Brogdon is just one of those players that was born to play in the NBA. From the start of his rookie season on, Brogdon has looked like a seasoned professional. Already possessing great size (6-foot-4), Brogdon’s value lies within his ability to operate and defend either guard position. He has no glaring weaknesses on the court, and almost always makes the right play. With studs Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton acting as the team’s primary source of offense, Brogdon is a quality stabilizer that can knock down shots, makes plays for others, and compete on both ends.

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16. Caris LeVert — Brooklyn Nets

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The former Wolverine is rapidly ascending through the NBA ranks. LeVert entered the league as an athletic prospect, but has since flashed the skill-set of a creative playmaker with an impressive off-the-bounce game. The Nets starting guard understands angles, and can thread the needle on passes that most players wouldn’t even attempt. He’s emerged as Brooklyn’s go-to scorer late in games, and has become more confident as a jump shooter with each passing year.

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15. Evan Fournier — Orlando Magic

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At just 25 years old, Fournier has plenty of room to grow as a player. He’s a promising talent on the offensive end. Manufacturing shots for both himself and his teammates comes naturally to the French swingman. Fournier has a vast array of floaters, flips, and runners that can keep shot blockers at bay. When defenders start respecting his slashing ability, Fournier can step back and rain threes at a near 40 percent clip. Consistency will be key for him moving forward — though playing for an uneasy franchise like the Orlando Magic certainly doesn’t help in that regard.

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14. Josh Richardson — Miami Heat

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Richardson is a far better player than his stats might suggest. He’s not an offensive juggernaut like some of his 2-guard contemporaries. Scoring doesn’t come overly natural to him, and he’s not the type of player that can break a defense down and pick it apart with precise ball handling. Instead, Richardson hangs his hat on executing the little details at a high level. He’s a workhorse on the defensive end, and can match-up with virtually any wing. His motor never stops, and he’s one of the best shot blocking guards in all of basketball. If his offensive production can ever match his defensive intensity, Richardson could blossom into a star in the league.

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13. Andrew Wiggins — Minnesota Timberwolves

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Andrew Wiggins has had an up-and-down NBA career thus far. A strong lone season at the University of Kansas resulted in Wiggins being selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA draft. His ridiculous athleticism and length left many people thinking he’d be the heir to LeBron. However, now in his fifth year, that has been far from the case. Wiggins hasn’t developed into the All-NBA defender many expected, and struggles to score the basketball efficiently. The emergence of Karl-Anthony Towns and the arrival of Jimmy Butler certainly cut into Wiggins’ opportunities, but with Butler now out of town, Wiggins once again has the chance to prove he’s a superstar. Still only 23 years old with a solid jump-shot and the ability to get to the lane whenever he pleases, there’s plenty of time for Wiggins to move up this list.

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12. Jaylen Brown — Boston Celtics

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Brown has shown immense promise during his short time in the league. He’s provided excellent defense and an ever-improving jumper for a Boston Celtics team that has reached two-straight Eastern Conference Finals. Brown has the chance to eventually develop into one of the better defenders in the league while still having the ability to go out and score 20 points on any given night.

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11. Zach Lavine — Chicago Bulls

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The emergence of rookie Lauri Markkanen put Chicago fans mind at ease after trading Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. The Bulls faithful at the very least knew they had received a quality, young player in the haul they received for Butler. Lavine’s development has just been icing on the cake. Lavine looks like a far improved player since joining the Bulls. Already supremely athletic, Lavine has also become one of the better three-point shooters in the league. He’s a threat to explode for a big scoring total every night.

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10. Gary Harris — Denver Nuggets

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Harris may not garner a ton of attention from the casual NBA fan, but he’s a fantastic player nonetheless. Analytic experts love his efficient game. Harris finds quality looks on a consistent basis, and has the ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. Even with a shorter stature, Harris remains a quality defender that can guard three positions. He plays within the flow of an offense, and doesn’t hunt for shots or try to be something he isn’t.

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9. CJ McCollum — Portland Trail Blazers

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McCollum is the unique player that is equally as dangerous with the ball as he is without it. The 6-foot-4 guard handles the basketball like a yo-yo, often making defenders look silly with a combination of hesitations and crossovers. When Damian Lillard operates the offense, McCollum does his best JJ Redick impersonation as he flies off screens and pin-downs for open jumpers. He’s developed into a truly elite offensive player that has a 50-point performance (in just 29 minutes) to his name.

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8. Donovan Mitchell — Utah Jazz

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Nobody expected the Jazz to make the second round of the playoffs last year, and that was in large part thanks to Mitchell’s emergence as a rookie. Mitchell already possesses the ability to improve the level of his teammates. His tenacity getting to the rim is apparent. He’s supremely athletic and understands what it takes to get around a defender, resulting in Mitchell scoring a large portion of his baskets from inside the paint. It’s terrifying to think of the player Mitchell will become a few years from now.

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7. Devin Booker — Phoenix Suns

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The former Kentucky Wildcat put the league on notice when he dropped 70 points on the Boston Celtics two seasons ago. Since then, the 21-year-old has flashed the skill-set of an elite offensive player. Booker is plenty comfortable operating in the pick-and-roll, but also has the handle to beat above-average defenders off-the-dribble. If given space, Booker is a dangerous three-point shooter with picture-perfect form – evidenced by his triumph in the 2018 NBA Three-Point Contest.

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6. Bradley Beal — Washington Wizards

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While John Wall gets most of the praise in Washington’s backcourt, it was actually Beal that guided the team through lengthy stretches last season. In Wall’s absence last year, Beal developed into a creative playmaker while retaining his deadly shooting ability. He’s just a shade under 40 percent from three for his career, and is a capable defender with a strong frame. While he’ll likely never be an MVP candidate, Beal looks to be a starting guard in this league for a long time.

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5. Victor Oladipo — Indiana Pacers

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The recipient of the 2018 Most Improve Player of the Year award is just getting started. Just 26 years old, Oladipo hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his immense talent. The 6-foot-4 former Hoosier is more of a combo guard, though he’s plenty comfortable playing off-the-ball. He’s one of the fastest players in the league, which helps him on both ends of the floor. Once he becomes more comfortable with drawing fouls, Oladipo will become a two-way force.

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4. DeMar DeRozan — San Antonio Spurs

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The lost art of the ‘mid-range jumper’ is not lost on the former USC standout. Unlike a majority of the players in today’s league, DeRozan makes a living inside the three-point line. He’s cerebral in his approach, utilizing a plethora of pump fakes, jabs, and hesitations to keep defenders off-balance. He routinely tops the league in free throw attempts, and has developed into an efficient scorer that has shot nearly 46 percent from the field over the last three seasons. A new start in San Antonio should do wonders in unlocking DeRozan’s potential as a passer and team defender.

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3. Klay Thompson — Golden State Warriors

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Thompson is one of the more interesting cases among the league. If one was building a team, there are several candidates at the 2-guard position that are more capable of carrying a lesser team. Thompson’s set of skills aren’t totally indicative of a traditional star because he doesn’t create for himself or others as often as other elite players do. However, it would be impossible to find a single player that can replicate his unique talents. He’s the second best shooter in the league, and one of the best defenders at the position. A premier 3-and-D threat, Thompson would be a boost to any team in the league.

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2. Jimmy Butler — Philadelphia 76ers

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Butler wasted no time making a huge impact on the Timberwolves last season. The former Chicago Bull helped Minnesota increase its win total by 16 from 2017 to 2018, and in the process, led them to their first playoff appearance since 2004. Butler is one of the better individual defenders at the position. He can guard both wing spots, and even matches up with some point guards in a pinch. However, his patience wore thin with the Timberwolves, resulting in a blockbuster trade to Philadelphia. Now playing alongside two superstars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, it remains to be seen how Butler will mesh with the two. Considering that he has improved as an overall scorer and playmaker each year while remaining an elite defender, we expect him to excel.

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1. James Harden — Houston Rockets

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The arrival of Chris Paul has pushed Harden back to the position he was drafted as. Houston’s pair of virtuoso playmakers have had no trouble sharing the ball since Paul joined the team. The seamless transition is in large part thanks to Harden’s savvy as a player. The former Sixth Man of the Year is as talented of an offensive player as we’ve seen in the league. His blend of size and speed coupled with his ability to understand angles and coax defenders into mistakes is virtually unparalleled. He has formerly carried a flawed Houston roster deep into the postseason, and was even better once the Rockets added another playmaker alongside him. The reigning NBA MVP was well-deserving of all the awards he received in 2018.

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