Michael Jordan as a member of the Chicago Bulls.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The NBA’s shooting guard position was known for being stacked with talent throughout the 1990s, particularly with some guy who donned the No. 23. And while critics will say the position has been significantly weaker in recent years, guys like James Harden, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Bradley Beal are putting the 2-guard spot back in the spotlight.

But as far each franchise’s best shooting guard in history is concerned, what names rise to the top in terms of organizational significance?

Based on per-game averages and accolades with a given team, PointAfter set out to name the best player at each position for every franchise. If you’re interested in seeing the best centers, power forwards, point guards and small forwards as well, you can click the corresponding hyperlink to each.

Note: Player positions were determined by the year-to-year listings on Basketball Reference.

Honorable Mention—Seattle SuperSonics: Ray Allen

Before Ray Allen was a sage veteran draining the clutchest of shots in the NBA Finals, he was a bonafide stud racking up All-Star appearances en route to a Hall of Fame career. In four-plus seasons spent with the Seattle SuperSonics (RIP), Allen made four All-Star teams and hit his peak from an accolade standpoint by making the All-NBA Second Team in 2005.

The sharpshooting guard, otherwise known as “Jesus Shuttlesworth,” averaged 24.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game with Seattle.

Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson

During his tenure with Atlanta, Joe Johnson was grossly overpaid and never led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to argue against a seven-year stint that yielded six All-Star nods and an All-NBA Third Team selection.

“Joe Cool” wanted to run his own team after building his rep with the Phoenix Suns. He got that chance and climbed to No. 5 on Atlanta’s all-time assist list and No. 6 in Hawks history in points scored.

Boston Celtics: Bill Sharman

The storied Boston Celtics franchise has featured a plethora of stars at every position throughout its history. The race for “best shooting guard” was narrowed down to John Havlicek and Bill Sharman. But because Havlicek was only listed at the position for one-fourth of his time in Boston, Sharman earned the nod as an unquestioned shooting guard.

In 10 full seasons with the Celtics, Sharman made the All-Star team eight times (winning All-Star Game MVP in 1955), was named to the All-NBA First Team four times, the All-NBA Second Team three times and collected four championship rings. Sharman averaged 18.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game with Boston—elite numbers for any one season that he sustained for a solid decade.

Brooklyn Nets: Drazen Petrovic

We’re bending the rules of our methodology a bit here, since Drazen Petrovic’s NBA career was brief. If the Croatian shooting guard hadn’t died tragically in a car accident at age 28, however, he likely would have built upon his reputation as one of the league’s all-time best scorers.

A four-time winner of the Euroscar Award—handed out each year to the best European basketball player—Petrovic averaged 19.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game in two-plus seasons with the Nets. He shot 51.1 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from three-point range, making scoring the rock look downright simple.

Charlotte Hornets: Dell Curry

From one elite shooter to another, Dell Curry chimes in as the best shooting guard in Charlotte Hornets history (which dates back to the 1988-89 season).

Curry’s longevity with the franchise helps him beat out Eddie Jones (an All-Star in his only full year with Charlotte) and Jason Richardson (averages of 21.4/5.2/3.1 in a Hornets jersey). Stephen Curry’s old man never made an All-Star team and spent the bulk of his career as a spark-plug scorer off the bench. Nevertheless, he still managed to average 14 points per contest while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from long distance. He’s the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and ranks No. 3 in steals, No. 7 in rebounds, No. 8 in assists and No. 9 in blocks.

Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan

Self-explanatory.

Cleveland Cavaliers: World B. Free

The Cleveland Cavaliers fan base is still waiting for the franchise’s first championship within its 45-year existence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their basketball-watching experience has been devoid of great players. Included in that narrative is scorer extraordinaire World B. Free (born Lloyd B. Free).

The 2-guard, who spent three-plus years of his playing days toward the end of his career in Cleveland, averaged 23 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game with the Cavaliers. That scoring average is second only to LeBron James in franchise history. Free was also masterfully efficient, converting 45.4 percent of his field goals and 37.8 percent of his three-pointers. The man could flat-out score.

Dallas Mavericks: Jason Terry

The first name that may come to mind in this spot is longtime Mav Michael Finley, but he was actually listed as a small forward for the majority of his time in Dallas. Due to that, former Mavericks Sixth Man of the Year and complementary piece of the 2011 champs, Jason Terry, earns the spot.

Some fans may not realize, but “JET” spent eight full seasons in Dallas—the longest tenure with any team in his career. In that time, he averaged 16.1 points (while shooting 38.8 percent from distance), 4.1 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. He’s second in franchise history in three-pointers made behind Dirk Nowitzki, and ranks No. 6 all time in scoring for the Mavs.

Denver Nuggets: Fat Lever

It’s worth mentioning that Allen Iverson averaged 25.6 points, 7.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game for the Nuggets throughout arguably the most efficient scoring stretch of his illustrious career. But “The Answer” only played 135 total games in Denver before getting traded to Detroit, so longevity hurts his case.

Instead, Fat Lever—who also earned our nod as Denver’s best point guard in history—edges out AI. Lever was listed at shooting guard in three of his six seasons with the Nuggets. He earned both of his All-Star berths at the 2-guard spot and averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game during his tenure in the Mile High City.

Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars

Joe Dumars spent more time with the Detroit Pistons franchise as a player than anyone else in history (14 seasons). He was the team’s starting shooting guard during the “Bad Boys” days of old that netted Motown two championship trophies.

A defensive-minded star, Dumars made the All-Defensive First Team four times in addition to his six All-Star appearances.

Golden State Warriors: Latrell Sprewell

Latrell Sprewell spent the first six seasons of his professional career with the Golden State Warriors after being selected in the first round, No. 24 overall, in 1992.

As a 23-year-old during the 1993-94 season, “Spree” led the league in games and minutes played, made the All-Star team and was named to the All-NBA First Team along with John Stockton, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and Hakeem Olajuwon (not bad company). All told, the hot-headed swingman made three All-Star games for Golden State, a feat he’d accomplish just once after leaving the West Coast.

Houston Rockets: James Harden

James Harden hasn’t been with the Houston Rockets franchise for very long, but it’s impossible to ignore a runner-up finish in the 2014-15 MVP race. As the alpha dog for the Rockets, the bearded 2-guard has made three All-Star teams, two All-NBA First Teams and one All-NBA Third Team.

His 26.3 points-per-game average sits at No. 1 in franchise history above greats like Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tracy McGrady.

Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller spent his entire 18-year Hall of Fame career with the Indiana Pacers, so there should be no debate about him locking in as Indy’s best shooting guard ever.

He ranks No. 1 in franchise history in games played, minutes, three-point field goals made, steals, assists and points.

Los Angeles Clippers: Randy Smith

World B. Free nearly made a second appearance on this list for the hapless Clippers franchise, since he averaged an absurd 29.4 points per game for the organization in two seasons there. Randy Smith, however, trumps Free’s short-lived dominance through eight-plus seasons of consistent production.

Smith, who suited up for the Buffalo Braves and San Diego Clippers, made his only two All-Star appearances in 1976 and 1978 (when he won All-Star Game MVP). He peaked in 1976 by averaging 21.8 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team for his efforts.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

Putting anyone else in this slot would not only be asinine—it would likely start a riot.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Allen

Tony Allen isn’t your prototypical shooting guard who will light up the box score by draining jumpers from all over the court. Instead, he earns his keep on the less glamorous end of the court, where he’s arguably the best in the business.

The fiery competitor who loves to remind people that he’s “first team All-Defense” has been named to the All-Defensive First Team three times while with Memphis. Add an All-Defensive Second Team to the ledger and Allen is easily the best 2-guard in Grizzlies history, though not by typical barometers of success.

Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade

For those in need of a refresher course into just how dominant Dwyane Wade was at his peak, he averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game during the 2006 NBA Finals.

He was (and in many cases is) an elite and transcendent talent. In a career spent entirely with Miami to this point, D-Wade has won three titles, made 11 All-Star appearances and collected a scoring title in 2009.

Milwaukee Bucks: Ray Allen

The first player to appear twice on this list, Ray Allen spent the first six-plus seasons of his career in Milwaukee. He was actually drafted No. 5 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but they sent him and Andrew Lang to the Bucks in exchange for No. 4 pick Stephon Marbury.

In his stint with the Bucks before getting shipped off again to Seattle, Allen made three All-Star teams and one All-NBA Third Team. He’s the franchise leader in three-point field goals made.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Tony Campbell

Saying that the Timberwolves don’t have a storied history is a bit of an understatement. They’ve missed the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons and have made it beyond the first round of the postseason just once. Kevin Garnett is the biggest star they’ve ever had, and while the other positions have been pretty devoid of talent, Tony Campbell had an impressive (and unexpected) three-year peak with the franchise.

Throughout his tenure with Minny, Campbell averaged 20.6 points per game (the best average in team history ahead of KG’s 20.5 points per game in a T-Wolves jersey). It’s important to note the “good stats, bad team” phrase shouting at us here, but Campbell’s scoring punch was impressive regardless.

New Orleans Pelicans: Eric Gordon

Boy, is there slim pickings at shooting guard for the New Orleans Pelicans franchise. That’s to be expected, since the team has only been in existence since 2002-03, but the 2-guard spot is especially weak.

Eric Gordon wins out essentially by default. He’s averaging 15.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game with New Orleans, and while he’s been quite injury prone, he’s still shooting a solid 39.2 percent from distance during his tenure in the Bayou. Fans shouldn’t expect him to revert back to the talent he showed while with the Clippers, but he’s still a decent role player.

New York Knicks: Richie Guerin

The New York Knicks franchise dates all the way back to the 1946-47 season, when the league was known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). You don’t have to dive back quite that far into the history books to find NY’s best shooting guard ever, but you’ll need to come close.

Richie Guerin, a lifelong shooting guard who began his career with the Knicks in 1956, went on to make all six of his All-Star teams and his three All-NBA Second Team nods with New York. During the 1961-62 season, Guerin averaged 29.5 points, 6.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Oklahoma City Thunder: James Harden

Opting to separate the Seattle SuperSonics franchise from the Oklahoma City Thunder on this list means we need a shooting guard representative for OKC. The clear choice is a former No. 3 overall pick who the Thunder decided to trade away.

Harden (who also represents Houston for his meteoric rise to superstardom with the Rockets) was still a great player right out of college playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. He won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2012 when he averaged 16.8 points per game on an effective field goal percentage of 58.2 percent—the best of his career.

Orlando Magic: Tracy McGrady

If chronic injuries hadn’t cut down Tracy McGrady in his prime, perhaps he could have become a legitimate all-time great. In four seasons with Orlando, all spent at shooting guard, T-Mac made the All-Star team each year and added two appearances apiece on the All-NBA First and Second Teams.

The 2002-03 season was his absolute zenith as a player. The former No. 9 overall pick of the Toronto Raptors averaged 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game all while posting a career-best 50.5 effective field goal percentage.

Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson

In this case, “The Answer” is the only acceptable answer.

Phoenix Suns: Walter Davis

Walter Davis spent the first 11 years of his pro career as a member of the Phoenix Suns, with whom he’d score 15,666 points. That impressive total still leaves Davis as the leader in franchise history by a comfortable margin (nearly 2,000 points ahead of second-place Alvan Adams).

Moreover, “The Man with the Velvet Touch” won Rookie of the Year, was an All-Star six times and made the All-NBA Second Team twice. His No. 6 jersey has been retired by the Suns.

Portland Trail Blazers: Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler was considered as the best Houston Rockets shooting guard in history, and while he did win his only championship ring in Texas, his best work was turned in as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.

“The Glide,” who is Portland’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds, steals, points and win shares, made eight All-Star appearances and five All-NBA Teams of varied significance. He was overshadowed by an opposing 2-guard throughout his career (Michael Jordan), but Drexler is still a Hall of Famer deserving of respect and admiration.

Sacramento Kings: Mitch Richmond

Mitch Richmond, a member of the 1996 United States Olympic team that took home gold medals, was an elite player the moment he set foot on the floor as a rookie for the Golden State Warriors. Although that was arguably the best stretch of his professional career, Richmond was recognized with the Sacramento Kings after the fact with all six of his All-Star nods, three All-NBA Second Team selections and two placements on the All-NBA Third Team.

In his seven seasons with the Kings, Richmond shot 45.3 percent from the field and a scorching 40.4 percent beyond the arc. He averaged 23.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in Sacramento as well.

San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili holds the distinction of being one of the best foreign-born NBA players of all time, in addition to being one of the best second-round picks ever. He also happens to be the best San Antonio Spurs shooting guard in franchise history.

The Argentinian southpaw has only made two All-Star teams, but he also was named to the All-NBA Third Team twice, took home Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2008 and has helped guide the Spurs dynasty to four championships. No matter how you slice it, that’s an impressive résumé.

Toronto Raptors: DeMar DeRozan

Since its inception in 1995-96, the Toronto Raptors organization has only seen two bonafide stars: Vince Carter and Chris Bosh. By being named an All-Star in 2014, averaging more than 20 points per game in consecutive seasons and helping to guide the Raps back into the playoff picture, 2-guard DeMar DeRozan has continued to win over the loyal fan base.

His shooting efficiency hasn’t been great (41.3 percent from the field and 28.4 percent from deep last season), but his volume scoring is something few players can match. Only 15 guys averaged 20 or more points per game throughout the 2014-15 season.

Utah Jazz: Pete Maravich

“Pistol” Pete Maravich carries a reputation as a flashy passer who revolutionized the game of basketball. And while that remains a fair assessment, Maravich was more of a scorer than a distributor throughout his career.

The Louisiana State University product and former No. 3 overall pick averaged 25.2 points, 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game with the New Orleans/Utah Jazz. A three-time All-Star with the Jazz, Maravich won the league’s scoring title in 1977 by averaging a ridiculous 31.1 points per contest.

 

Washington Wizards: Jeff Malone

Former No. 10 overall pick Jeff Malone spent seven seasons with the Washington Bullets after the organization drafted him. He averaged at least 20 points per game in five of those seasons.

A two-time All-Star, Malone averaged 20.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game during his tenure with Washington. He’s second only to Elvin Hayes on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

Note: Michael Jordan played well for the Wizards after his comeback, but he was listed as a small forward during that stint.

Who is your favorite shooting guard of all time? Share your opinions in the comment section below.