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Ranking the decade: Top ten NBA shooting guards of the 2010s

The top men at their position
Publish Date: 01/03/2020
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Source: Heatnation.com

During the 2010s, NBA fans witnessed the retirement of two of the five greatest shooting guards in history. Even with other champions and legends at the position retiring, the shooting guard position is one of the deepest in the NBA today. Plenty of borderline All-Pros and potential Hall of Famers still staff the two spot.

While as many as four or five future Hall of Fame shooting guards retired in the past decade, several new superstars emerged as well. This piece ranks the ten greatest shooting guards of the 2010s along with several honorable mentions.

Accomplishments, such as accolades, championships, and statistics, are the primary justification for the upcoming rankings. Raw talent also plays a factor in close decisions between players, but the list favors players with more experience.

The statistics and accolades used in this article come from the 2010-11 season and end with the numbers players accumulated by the morning of Dec. 21, 2019. The back part of the 2009-10 season does not count.

The Grueling Truth already published articles covering the top ten players of the decade at several other positions. More decade ranking articles are in the works, so make sure to check back regularly. Now, it’s time to dig into the best shooting guards from the past decade of NBA basketball.

*Stats accurate as of Dec. 21, 2019

Honorable Mentions

16. Devin Booker (2015-Present)

2015-16 All-Rookie 1st Team

297 games, 6,439 points, 1,311 assists, 1,043 rebounds, 235 steals, 76 blocks

With the way he’s trending, Booker looks like a prime candidate for the top ten shooting guards of the 2020s. His innate talent is undeniable. At 23 years old, Booker already has four full years of NBA experience under his belt. He scored over 1,000 points in all four of those seasons and averaged over 20 points per game in each of his last three campaigns.

Booker has yet to make an All-Star game because of a stacked Western Conference guard pool.

15. CJ McCollum (2013-Present)

2015-16 Most Improved Player

440 games, 7,975 points, 1,304 assists, 1,423 rebounds, 380 steals, 161 blocks

The tenth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, McCollum didn’t start or contribute much during his first two seasons. However, he became a starter in his third year and made an immediate impact. The 2015-16 season introduced McCollum to the NBA and kicked off a run of four consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 points that McCollum will extend this year.

Unfortunately for McCollum, the Western Conference is loaded with great guards. While he’s an excellent scorer and complementary piece for Damian Lillard, McCollum is not a great playmaker, and he doesn’t stand out from the West’s large guard pool.

At 28 years old, McCollum already finished four seasons where he averaged 20 points per game (ppg). He’s on pace to finish the year above 20 ppg again. With so much time left in his career, McCollum can still make several All-Star games before all is said and done.

14. Jamal Crawford (2010-2019)

Two-time Sixth Man of the Year

650 games, 8,919 points, 1,817 assists, 1,116 rebounds, 495 steals, 114 blocks

By the start of the decade, Crawford already had one Sixth Man of the Year award and was turning 30. While the 2000s were his best decade statistically, Crawford earned widespread recognition as the sixth man of the Lob City Los Angeles Clippers. He scored at least 1,000 points in each of his five seasons in Los Angeles before less productive stints in Minnesota and Phoenix. Crawford is currently a free agent.

13. Lou Williams (2010-Present)

Three-time Sixth Man of the Year

648 games, 10,674 points, 2,384 assists, 1,537 rebounds, 577 steals, 132 blocks

With Crawford declining, Williams rose up as the NBA’s consummate sixth man. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2014-15 with the Toronto Raptors and claimed it in each of his last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers by averaging at least 20 points per game. He could extend the streak to three consecutive wins this year.

Williams scored more than 1,000 points six times this decade and is on pace to cross that mark again this season. Despite his contributions to Los Angeles and his high-scoring efforts, voters never selected Williams as an All-Star.

12. Jrue Holiday (2010-Present)

2017-18 All-Defensive 1st Team

2018-19 All-Defensive 2nd Team

2012-13 All-Star Appearance

607 games, 10,111 points, 4,054 assists, 2,450 rebounds, 932 steals, 319 blocks

A perennially underrated guard, Holiday made a name for himself in Philadelphia before the 76ers traded him to New Orleans ahead of the 2013-14 season. Injuries marred Holiday’s first two years in New Orleans, but he bounced back well. Holiday scored over 1,000 points six times during the 2010s, including a four-year active streak he’s on pace to extend this season.

Holiday spent a lot of the 2010s playing point guard, but his move to shooting guard accompanied a dramatic increase in offensive production and field goal percentage. An all-around talented guard, there are rumors that the Pelicans may trade the 29-year-old this season.

11. Joe Johnson (2010-2017)

Three All-Star Appearances

577 games, 8,089 points, 1,876 assists, 2,091 rebounds, 365 steals, 87 blocks

Iso Joe carved out five 1,000-point seasons at the start of the decade. However, Johnson was already in his mid-30s by the middle of the 2010s. Johnson’s three-point shooting kept him in the league for a while, but, after the Brooklyn Nets waived him in 2016, things never were the same.

Even with his best years coming during the late 2000s, Johnson was still a force during the early 2010s. Naturally, his isolation abilities weren’t a good match for competitors by the time he left Brooklyn. Johnson signed a contract with the Detroit Pistons in September of 2019, but the team waived him before he could play in the regular season.

Top Ten

10. Ray Allen (2010-2013)

2012-13 NBA Champion

2010-11 All-Star Appearance

278 games, 3,540 points, 606 assists, 838 rebounds, 247 steals, 47 blocks

The NBA’s all-time leader in made three-point shots entered his age 35 season in 2010. That year, he made his final All-Star appearance and put up his last 1,000-point season. After an injury-shortened campaign, Allen signed with the Miami Heat.

In both of Allen’s years in South Beach, the Heat faced the San Antonio Spurs in the finals. While San Antonio won round two, Allen nailed one of the most iconic shots in NBA history to galvanize Miami’s eventual victory during the 2013 Finals. His impact on the decade goes beyond basic statistics.

9. Victor Oladipo (2013-Present)

2017-18 All-NBA 3rd Team

2017-18 All-Defensive 1st Team

2013-14 All-Rookie 1st Team

2017-18 Most Improved Player

Two All-Star Appearances

402 games, 7,028 points, 1,589 assists, 1,859 rebounds, 680 steals, 199 blocks

The Indiana product showed promise with the Orlando Magic, but fans’ patience began to run out after a disappointing one-year stint in Oklahoma City. Oladipo immediately rebounded with the Indiana Pacers during the 2017-18 season. He led the NBA in steals and immensely expanded his accolades.

Oladipo missed most of the 2018-19 season and it is unsure when he will make his 2019-20 debut. As one of the most dynamic, athletic shooting guards in the game, Oladipo will give Indiana a huge boost when he returns to action.

8. Manu Ginobili (2010-2017)

2013-14 NBA Champion

2010-11 All-NBA 3rd Team

2010-11 All-Star Appearance

504 games, 5,762 points, 1,927 assists, 1,470 rebounds, 555 steals, 133 blocks

The third member of San Antonio’s original big three, Ginobili sacrificed minutes and statistics so the team could win. He came off of the bench and accepted a lesser role on the team, allowing Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to shine. Ginobili contributed 330 points in San Antonio’s 2014 playoff push that produced a Finals victory against the Miami Heat.

Ginobili’s numbers don’t compare well with other shooting guards from the 2010s, but they hardly tell the full story of his impact. Without Ginobili, the Spurs wouldn’t have won the championship in 2014.

7. Bradley Beal (2012-Present)

2012-13 All-Rookie 1st Team

Two All-Star Appearances

515 games, 10,438 points, 2,013 assists, 2,058 rebounds, 579 steals, 199 blocks

As the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards knew Beal was a great player. He just took a little while to reach an All-Star level. After scoring 1,249 points in his sophomore season, Beal compiled two years with just over 950 points. Then, he exploded for 1,779 points during the 2016-17 season and became the Beal fans know today.

With John Wall missing most of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons and all of this season, so far, Beal is easily Washington’s best player. It’s worth debating whether a healthy Wall or Beal should be the team’s leader moving forward. Considering how his play is approaching an All-NBA level, competitive teams will try to trade for Beal in the next two years.

6. DeMar DeRozan (2010-Present)

2017-18 All-NBA 2nd Team

2016-17 All-NBA 3rd Team

Four All-Star Appearances

702 games, 14,824 points, 2,629 assists, 3,127 rebounds, 723 steals, 215 blocks

DeRozan is Toronto’s all-time leader in games played, minutes played, field goals, and points. He also ranks in the top five for assists, rebounds, and steals. Yet, the franchise moved on from the 2009 first-round pick in 2018. The San Antonio Spurs sent Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors in return for DeRozan and extra compensation. While the Raptors experienced plenty of success under DeRozan, they just weren’t good enough to get past LeBron James in the playoffs.

DeRozan’s 1,000-point streak sits at nine seasons, and he’s on pace to cross the mark every year this decade. A master of the mid-range, DeRozan favors an old-fashioned style of scoring that fits well in San Antonio. However, his limited three-point shooting will ultimately set the ceiling for his career.

5. Jimmy Butler (2011-Present)

Two-time All-NBA 3rd Team

Four-time All-Defensive 2nd Team

2014-15 Most Improved Player

Four All-Star Appearances

548 games, 9,240 points, 1,975 assists, 2,737 rebounds, 875 steals, 262 blocks

The last pick in the first-round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Butler did not become a starter until his third season in the league. In his fourth year, Butler made his first All-Star game. With Derrick Rose missing considerable time and playing below his usual standards, the Chicago Bulls were Butler’s team during the mid-2010s. However, Butler could never get past James’ teams in the playoffs.

While Butler’s numbers don’t jump off the page compared to some of his contemporaries, he is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Extreme speed, competitiveness, and anticipation highlight Butler’s dominant qualities. With a young Miami Heat squad, Butler is more involved with playmaking and sets the tone for his team.

Butler is one of two well-known active players with more steals than turnovers or personal fouls in his career. Leonard is the other player.

4. Kobe Bryant (2010-2015)

Three-Time All-NBA 1st Team

2010-11 All-Defensive 1st Team

2011-12 All-Defensive 2nd Team

Six All-Star Appearances

325 games, 7,853 points, 1,540 assists, 1,637 rebounds, 390 steals, 76 blocks

There’s a cult following for Bryant among NBA fans, but even they must realize the superstar wasn’t the same after suffering an Achilles injury early during the 2013 season. While he owned the 2000s, Bryant only posted three dominant years during the 2010s. Those first three seasons accounted for 5,827 of Bryant’s points from the decade. He crossed the 1,000-point mark again in the final season of his illustrious career.

The second greatest shooting guard of all-time, Bryant won rings during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. However, this list doesn’t count the back half of the 2009-10 season, so he’s championship-less this decade (at least by this article’s standards). Bryant still averaged 30 points per game during the 2012 playoffs, but he could not drag Los Angeles past the Western Conference Semifinals.

3. Klay Thompson (2011-Present)

Three NBA Championships

Two-Time All-NBA 3rd Team

2018-19 All-Defensive 2nd Team

Five All-Star Appearances

615 games, 11,995 points, 1,416 assists, 2,130 rebounds, 561 steals, 332 blocks

The second member of the splash brothers, Thompson is the best three-and-D player in the NBA. Even though he earned just his first All-Defensive selection last season, other players hold his defense in high regard.

Thompson is most well-known for his explosive three-point shooting. He owns the records for three-pointers in a game (14) and points in a quarter (37).

While his playmaking is questionable at best, Thompson can thrive just by shooting threes. He strung together seven consecutive 1,300-point seasons that way. Thompson will miss most of if not all of the 2019-20 season recovering from an ACL tear suffered during last season’s finals.

2. Dwyane Wade (2010-2018)

Two NBA Championships

2010-11 All-NBA 2nd Team

Two-Time All-NBA 3rd Team

Seven All-Star Appearances

583 games, 11,198 points, 2,575 assists, 2,635 rebounds, 758 steals, 424 blocks

While his most dominant years came during the late 2000s, Wade still opened the 2010s with seven consecutive 1,000-point seasons. After ill-fated adventures with the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade closed out his career with one final 1,000-point season as a member of the Miami Heat. He retired as one of the five greatest shooting guards in history and the all-time leader in blocks by a guard.

Alongside Chris Bosh and James, Wade played a pivotal role on the Heat teams that won two NBA Championships and went to four. Even after James left South Beach, Wade dragged the Heat to the second round of the 2016 playoffs and a Southeast Divisional title.

1. James Harden (2010-Present)

Five-Time All-NBA 1st Team

2012-13 All-NBA 3rd Team

2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year

2017-18 MVP

Seven All-Star Appearances

717 games, 18,951 points, 4,817 assists, 3,918 rebounds, 1,163 steals, 383 blocks

The only shooting guard to win an MVP during the 2010s, Harden is quickly rising through the all-time ranks. His transformation from a decent sixth man with the Oklahoma City Thunder to an elite superstar with the Houston Rockets is well known. Unfortunately, a championship still eludes Harden.

Beginning in his final year with the Thunder, Harden started a 1,000-point streak, which he extended to nine years this season. Since joining the Rockets in 2012, Harden has scored more than 2,000 points six times, and he’s on pace to reach that mark again this season. Harden leads the NBA in scoring this year and is on pace to lead the league in total points scored for the fourth time.

Harden is also a skilled passer, able rebounder, and his defense is no longer the liability it was earlier in his career. He led the NBA in assists during the 2016-17 season. Harden’s step-back three is one of the most unguardable moves in the league. Despite all of his growth and personal success, Harden receives criticism for routinely leading the NBA in turnovers and free throws.

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