Shooting guards are classified by the “position” the player plays in the NBA. So, we need to know the player’s role on the team to classify them. A shooting guard can be described as a player who plays the shooting guard position, which is the point guard position for those who aren’t familiar with basketball rules. There are many different types of shooting guards, which we will categorize into a few different “classes”.

At the end of the day, the best player in the NBA this year is James Harden, but Harden has had more help than he has received credit for. The Rockets’ offense is built around Harden’s ability to score the ball, and when he is hot, it is nearly impossible to stop him. Harden’s high usage rate keeps defenses on their toes, forcing them to think about what they are doing. Harden is also a fantastic passer, and he is able to find mismatches with his passes to open shooters.

The NBA is a league of superstars, but which ones stand out as the best at their position? With the addition of Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler in the offseason, we’re taking a first look at the league’s shooting guard categories in 2016-17.

Had James Harden not been injured, we could have seen an MVP at that position. The goalie position is filled with the best inside and outside threats, playmakers and point guards in the league.

We saw Bradley Beal get voted NBA Player of the Year. We saw Harden get triple-double after triple-double in the game against the Brooklyn Nets. We’ve seen players like Zach LaVine, Donovan Mitchell and Terry Rozier reach the next level. Without further ado, here are the best shooting defenders by category.

Total – James Harden

To put things in perspective: Harden has 32 double-doubles and 12 triple-doubles this season. While these numbers lead all guard shooters, they are high across the league. Harden can dribble, shoot and assist in decisive situations.

Harden was MVP, was a three-time top scorer for the year, and led these teams to the playoffs year after year. The only thing he lacks is an NBA championship. If Harden makes it through this season, he will be one of the greatest players of all time.

scorers – Bradley Beal

Credit: Getty Images

Beal averaged 31.3 points per game, second in the NBA in scoring. Beal continued to score throughout the playoffs, scoring 33 points on multiple occasions.

Beal had multiple games of 40 points in the regular season, a game of 50 points against the Pacers and a game of 60 points against the 76ers. He had the 15th best efficiency rating in the entire NBA, making him not only a great scorer, but also an efficient player.

Point Guard – James Harden

Before James Harden disappeared from the season rankings due to his injury due to his lack of playing time, Harden led the league in assists. The difference between Harden and the rest of the guards at that position wouldn’t even be close.

Fred VanVleet was second in assists with 6.3 per game. At the time, Harden was averaging over 11 assists per game. Combined with his ability to get to the rim and play the ball from outside, Harden is a true playmaker.

Rebound – Paul George

Last season, George averaged 6.6 rebounds, leading all shooting guards. Although he is a shooting guard, George can also play at the small forward position, which he sometimes did when he played for the Indiana Pacers in his younger days.

With his athletic ability and length, he can compete with any player at the two and three positions. George has had nine double-doubles recorded this season, which is the second most of any goalie.

Defense– Matisse Tibullet

George was a four-time All-NBA defender, including two on the first team. George led the league in interceptions in 2019 and is among the top shooting guards in that regard. However, the best defender at the shooting guard position should go to Philadelphia’s defensive specialist.

Tibullet was second behind Fred VanVleet (1.7) in steals with 1.6 and led all shot defenders in blocks with 1.1 per game. He is the only back averaging more than one block per game. The 76ers liked Tibullet so much that they refused to trade him for Kyle Lowry at the deadline.

Shooting – Zach LaVine

LaVine ranks second among all guards with a 50.7 percent success rate. He almost made it to first place, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander beat him by 50.8%. Meanwhile, LaVine had over 19 shots on goal per game, while Gilgeous-Alexander had just over 16.

All in all, LaVine is the best pure shooter among players at his position. Statistics don’t lie.

Termination– James Harden

(via Basketball Society)

In one-on-one situations, Harden is hard to stop. He has such a dynamic first step and explosive nature that he would be an MVP candidate if he wasn’t injured.

Harden shoots 54% from three feet and makes over 51% of his shots. Then look at his free throw percentage, which is over 85%. When it comes down to it, Harden knows how to score.

Athletic – Zach LaVine

LaVine is the Slam Dunk Contest champion, an award he received when he was just 19 years old and entered the league. If LaVine were to enter the dunking contest again, he would certainly be a prime candidate for another award.

There’s something about the way LaVine stands that surprises you. Sometimes he goes so high over the board it looks like he’s going to jump out of the arena. LaVine also makes some very difficult shots from outside the box. Overall, LaVine has the best athletic ability of any player at this position.

Clutch– James Harden

Bleach report

When it comes to decisive points, Harden doesn’t have many. Compared to other players in the league, Harden’s ranking isn’t the highest either. He’s the best shot in the guard, though.

Compared to other shooting guards in the league, Harden has elite point guard skills. He’s the best 1-on-1 player in the group. So when it comes to late-game situations, Harden is the best option.

Efficiency– Bradley Beal

Beal earned an efficiency rating of 22.81. That’s 15th among all NBA players, but 1st among guards. Beal hit 45.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from three-point range.

Beal led all guard shooters with 23.0 attempts per game. He is the only back in the league averaging double digits per game.

Leadership – James Harden

During Harden’s tenure in Houston, the Rockets have reached the Western Conference Finals twice. Some argue that Chris Paul’s injury prevented the Rockets from winning the championship. When Harden played in Houston, those were his teams, and those teams were competitive year after year.

After Harden left, the Rockets fell apart. When Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Durant weren’t playing, he stepped up and helped the Nets win games. Some doubt his leadership style, but when he’s on the field, more wins are being made, which means something is working well.

Versatility – Jaylen Brown

Brown averaged 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Those numbers are in the high range of all shooting guards, including the second most rebounds among shooting guards; that’s why he’s an All-Star this season.

Brown can do anything. With Brown on the sidelines, the Celtics will struggle in the playoffs, as he can contribute in many ways. Brown is second behind James Harden in double-doubles (10 this season).

Handles– James Harden

Considering Harden led the league in assists as a shooting guard, that category is all his. He looks around and never seems to flinch when an open person is around.

Joe Harris led the league in three-pointers this season. That was due in large part to the fact that the team’s pass rushers brought in several players to take the pressure off of him. One of those players who has made an impact is James Harden.

Underrated – Terry Rozier

Interesting fact about Terry Rosier. He had the seventh-best efficiency among shooting guards this season, averaging 20.4 points per game (also the seventh-best percentage) and five double-doubles. Rozier went from a key bench player in Boston to a player for the Charlotte Hornets, according to the terms of his contract.

Rozier doesn’t get much attention because he plays for the Hornets. Still, he has done well over the past two years. The numbers are legitimate. Terry Rozier is a pretty good basketball player.

Overrated – Fred VanVleet

(via Bleacher Report)

VanVleet is going to make over $20 million a season and has one of the worst three-point shooting percentages among defensemen. VanVleet has shot 36% from outside the box this season. For a shooting guard, that’s not good.

VanVleet led all guard shooters in minutes played and steals. The Raptors pride themselves on their defense, but you are a sloppy guard. The success rate should be above 40% if you make a lot of money.

Read more

NBA point guards by category: Steph Curry is the best, Chris Paul is the best point guard.

The 10 highest paid NBA stars for the 2021-2022 season.

Michael Jordan won 10 consecutive scoring titles and played full seasons from 1986 to 1998.

The 15 most unbreakable records in NBA playoff history: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain… all record holders who will go down in history.

The 2017 NBA team is the best in history: Highest ranked teams in history

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