2010 Closeout: Shooting Guard Rankings

Over one third of the starting shooting guards in the league didn’t begin the season as the starter.

A slew of injuries combined with a lack of production has provoked the changes.

Three rookies are starting at shooting guard and a second round pick has provided the largest impact.

As championship contenders try to round out their rosters, the shooting guard position is one of the most pressing needs for teams around the NBA.

Look for some players not on this list, like Memphis guard O.J. Mayo to be dealt and have an impact in 2011 and the playoffs.

30. Keith Bogans– Chicago Bulls

The surprise starter in Chicago, Keith Bogans was inserted into the starting lineup strictly for his defensive presence. The six-foot-five guard has connected on just 38 percent of his attempts from the field. Kyle Korver hasn’t shot the ball the way the Bulls expected when signing him. Ronnie Brewer hasn’t taken over as a starter like everyone has expected.

Previous ranking: unranked

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29. DeShawn Stevenson– Dallas Mavericks

Known for talking a big game without being able to back it up, DeShawn Stevenson has unexpectedly been named a starter when the team decided to bring Shawn Marion off the bench. The Mavericks have opened the season playing as well as any team in the league and Stevenson is shooting a career high from three-point range.

Previous ranking: unranked

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28. Xavier Henry– Memphis Grizzlies

Looking for a scoring punch from its bench, Memphis made guard O.J. Mayo a reserve and turned the starting job over to Xavier Henry. The move is a questionable one as Henry is averaging just 5.7 points and 0.7 assists per game and another lineup for the disappointing Grizzlies seems inevitable.

Previous ranking: unranked

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27. Marco Belinelli– New Orleans Hornets

When the Hornets opened the season winning 11 of their first 12 games, Marco Belinelli was looking like the most underrated move of the summer. Acquired in a trade with Toronto, Belinelli connected on three or more attempts from beyond the arc five times during the streak. Since New Orleans has slumped, so has his long range shooting, with only one game with at least three long range field goals since.

Previous ranking: unranked

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26. Wesley Johnson– Minnesota Timberwolves

Forced into a starting role because of the lack of talent in Minnesota, Wesley Johnson has played like a typical rookie this year; inconsistent. Johnson has only reached the 20-point plateau once this season but has been held to five points or fewer on eight occasions.

Previous ranking: 24th

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25. Raja Bell– Utah Jazz

Brought in for his defensive presence, Raja Bell was supposed to also be a lethal shooter from long range. Even with the top point guard in the league setting him up, Bell has connected on just 37 percent of his attempts from long range. If the Jazz are going to become a legitimate contender in the Western Conference, Bell must start hitting a higher percentage from downtown.

Previous ranking: unranked

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24. Jodie Meeks– Philadelphia 76ers

Taking over for struggling rookie Evan Turner, Jodie Meeks has been an intricate part of the turnaround in Philadelphia. Meeks has kept defenses honest and allows the primary scoring options some room to operate. The 76ers are 6-3 when Meeks plays at least 25 minutes.

Previous ranking: unranked

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23. Anthony Morrow– New Jersey Nets

A league leader in three-point percentage two seasons ago, Anthony Morrow is shooting a career-low 41 percent from long range during his first season with the Nets. The team clearly believes in Morrow, dealing away former lottery pick Terrence Williams to free up additional minutes for the third year guard.

Previous ranking: unranked

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22.Richard Hamilton– Detroit Pistons

Playing the fewest minutes and averaging the fewest points of his career since his rookie season, Richard Hamilton is just one of the many under performing players in Detroit. Making $12 million this year and averaging just 14.4 points per game, Hamilton is probably the most difficult player to trade, with two-years and $24 remaining on his deal after this season.

Previous ranking: 19th

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21. Brandon Rush– Indiana Pacers

Sharing the starting role with Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush his increased his scoring and shooting averages for the third consecutive season. Rush and Dunleavy are each averaging 12 points per game, but with Dunleavy in the final year of his contract, Indiana needs to see if Rush is the long term solution at shooting guard.

Previous ranking: unranked

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20. Kirk Hinrich– Washington Wizards

The Wizards kept trying to find a way to keep Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup. Experimenting with a three guard rotation at the beginning of the year, Washington cleared the way for Hinrich by trading away Gilbert Arenas. If Hinrich wants to remain a starter, he needs to shoot better from the field.

Previous ranking: unranked

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19. Arron Afflalo– Denver Nuggets

Still splitting time with J.R. Smith, Aaron Afflalo hasn’t become the consistent scorer he looked like he might be following an impressive pre-season. With injuries hurting the front court and point guard positions, the team needs more than the 12.9 points Afflalo is averaging this season in 35 minutes a night.

Previous ranking: 30th

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18. DeMar DeRozan– Toronto Raptors

Just when it looks like DeMar DeRozan is losing his confidence on the court, he puts together an incredible stat line. Looking his worst against Charlotte, DeRozan managed just four points and two assists in a loss. Two nights later he totaled 26 points and seven rebounds leading Toronto to a surprising win at Orlando. DeRozan has the potential to move up quickly on this list.

Previous ranking: 27th

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17. Thabo Sefolosha– Oklahoma City Thunder

Against Houston on Dec. 15, Sefolosha poured in a season high 15 points helping Oklahoma City to another win. Flanked by two of the best scorers in the league, Sefolosha is starting because of his defensive abilities, averaging 1.7 steals per game. Last year he was named to the All-Defensive Second Team and the Thunder are counting on him to shut down the opponents top player each night.

Previous ranking: 17th

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16. Daniel Gibson– Cleveland Cavaliers

Showing flashes during his first four years in the NBA, Daniel Gibson may finally be tapping into his potential, averaging a career high 13.7 points per game this year. During his rematch with LeBron James in Miami, Gibson poured in a season high 26 points, his fourth game with 20 or more points this year. Gibson is also averaging a career best three assists per game.

Previous ranking: unranked

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15. Vince Carter– Phoenix Suns

Playing with a true point guard for the second time in his career, the Suns are hoping Vince Carter can return to the scoring threat he was while in New Jersey. The last time he was dealt mid-season, Carter nearly doubled his scoring average. While that is not likely this time around, Carter can easily increase the 15.1 points per game he was averaging this year with the Magic.

Previous ranking: 15th

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14. John Salmons– Milwaukee Bucks

Maybe John Salmons just constantly needs to change teams. Following his arrival in Milwaukee, Salmons averaged 19.9 points per game and led the Bucks to a surprising playoff run. After agreeing to a deal to remain with the team this summer, his scoring average has dropped seven points per game and the Bucks need another late season surge to return to the playoffs.

Previous ranking: 11th

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13. Tyreke Evans– Sacramento Kings

Sacramento is the most dysfunctional team in the league. Tyreke Evans was named Rookie of the Year last season, becoming just the fourth player to begin his career averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists a night. Evans is expected to carry the Kings offense, but has failed to deliver like last season. Shooting five percent worse than a season ago, Evans has seen his scoring average drop four points per game.

Previous ranking: 12th (as point guard)

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12. Landry Fields– New York Knicks

No second round pick has been more effective than Landry Fields. Leading all guards in rebounding, Fields has been part of the reason why the Knicks are in position to reach the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Even with no plays designed specifically for him, Fields is averaging 10.4 points per game and was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in November.

Previous ranking: unranked

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11. Jason Richardson– Orlando Magic

Orlando needed to improve its roster and after dealing for Gilbert Arenas, the Magic were able to steal Jason Richardson away from Phoenix. The former slam dunk champion has evolved into a respectable three-point shooter. With defenses keying in on the slashing ability of Arenas and the post play of Dwight Howard, Richardson will have plenty of wide open three-point attempts with his new team.

Previous ranking: 16th

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10. Stephen Jackson– Charlotte Bobcats

As one of the few bright spots on the Bobcats roster, Stephen Jackson is shooting a career best 37 percent from three-point range while averaging 17.3 points per game. The Bobcats have been one of the biggest disappointments this season and needing a roster overhaul, Jackson will be one of the most sought after players at the trade deadline.

Previous ranking: 14th

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9. Brandon Roy– Portland Trail Blazers

If the injury news wasn’t bad enough in Portland, its star player has no cartilage in either of his knees. To make matters worse, Roy has seen his scoring average decrease for the third consecutive season, down to 16.6 points per game. The Trail Blazers signed Roy through the 2014-15 season and his knees make dealing him impossible.

Previous ranking: 3rd

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8. Manu Ginobili– San Antonio Spurs

The devastating mid-season injury hasn’t happened to Manu Ginobili. Yet. Proving how valuable he is on the court, Ginobili has been the main catalyst behind the team with the best record in the NBA. Averaging a career high 32 minutes per game, Ginobili is just percentage points away from the first 20 point per game average of his career.

Previous ranking: 6th

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7. Ray Allen– Boston Celtics

Ray Allen always saves his best performances for the biggest games. In two games against the Heat, the largest threat to Boston’s crown in the Eastern Conference, Allen has drained 12 three-pointers and scored 55 points. Allen has scored 25 points or more against New York, Chicago and Denver, all teams likely to be in the post season.

Previous ranking: 7th

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6. Kevin Martin– Houston Rockets

As the Rockets have slipped in the standings, one of the few positives has been the play of Kevin Martin. Quietly in the midst of his fifth season averaging over 20 points per game, Martin’s unconventional shot is connecting on a career best 44 percent from three point range.

Previous ranking: 8th

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5. Eric Gordon– Los Angeles Clippers

Finally given the green light to shoot in the Clippers offense, Eric Gordon has responded by pouring in 23.7 points per game, up six points from a year ago. His time with Team USA has resulted in better numbers all around for Gordon as his points, rebounds and assists have dramatically increased.

Previous ranking: 10th

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4. Monta Ellis– Golden State Warriors

The only prolific scorer spending time at both guard positions this season, Monta Ellis has become the latest Warrior to post incredible numbers for a lottery team. Ellis has split time with Stephen Curry at point guard, but one will likely be moved while the other becomes the full time point guard in Golden State.

Previous ranking: 9th

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3. Joe Johnson– Atlanta Hawks

The decline of Joe Johnson began once the ink started to dry on his $120 million contract this summer. Shooting the worst percentage from the field during his nine-year career, Johnson is coming off elbow surgery to remedy the problem. The Hawks will likely reach the playoffs again, but Johnson must increase is 17.1 point per game effort for anyone to take his team seriously.

Previous ranking: 4th

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2. Dwyane Wade– Miami Heat

Finally clicking with the other superstars on his team, Dwyane Wade has propelled the Heat to become the team everyone anticipated this summer. For the first time in his career, Wade isn’t leading Miami in assists and he has been able to focus on becoming a dominant scorer in the fourth quarter.

Previous ranking: 2nd

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1. Kobe Bryant– Los Angeles Lakers

It’s not his stifling defense or the 25.7 points per game he’s averaging, Kobe Bryant’s confidence every time he steps on the court is what separates him from every other player in the league. No matter what the scoreboard says, Bryant never thinks his team is out of the game, and with him on the court, he’s right.

Previous ranking: 1st

Other Position Rankings:

Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Point Guard

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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