Top 10 Shooting Guards in the 2019/20 season so far
James Harden and Devin Booker had a few choice words for each other in their clash earlier this season.
Photo via Sky Sports

Disclaimer: Only players listed as Shooting Guards by Basketball Reference will be considered (This adds D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie while excluding Luka Doncic). Players who have not played at least half of their team's games this season will also be excluded (Klay Thompson, Eric Gordon, Caris LeVert).

All statistics are correct up to and including the games on February 3rd.

10. Shai Gilgeous Alexander- Oklahoma City Thunder 

After a first season which saw fans desperate for more Shai, they got exactly that in his second season. Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to the Thunder in exchange for superstar Paul George, and it proved to be a great move for his career.

Shai has been a revelation in OKC thanks to his increased role, upping his scoring to 19.4 points per game while being a nightly presence on both ends of the floor, showcasing his defensive prowess en route to propelling the Thunder into the Western Conference playoff race.

His confidence in his jumpshot has grown mightily, showcasing his floater and mid range game night after night. It is unsurprising that he has a strong inside game considering his 6 foot 5 frame and length, but what is impressive is the variety his game displays. He has so many ways of finishing inside, including his patented euro step with long, athletic strides.

His ability is matched only by his heart and drive, a fierce competitor who puts maximum effort in, night in and night out, which has resulted in Thunder fans taking a particular liking to him.

Alongside his 19.4 points, Gilgeous-Alexander is putting up 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists as he makes his bid to be Most Improved with consistently great performances.

9. Spencer Dinwiddie- Brooklyn Nets

A former Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Dinwiddie was given a role increase upon the untimely injury to Kyrie Irving. He would start 26 straight games at Point Guard with Irving injured, and would not hesitate to light the NBA on fire.

He put up 24.8 points and 7.2 assists over that span, shooting 54% True Shooting, overcompensating for the missing Irving by shooting more than he needed to. The team was winning games, though, taking 13 of the 26 with Spencer in charge. 

His 3 point percentage during that period of 28.8% is an inaccurate representation of his talent from outside the arc, as he is clearly uncomfortable being the leader of a team for the moment, something he will learn as he continues to blossom into a star.

Over the season, Dinwiddie is averaging 21.3 points and 6.4 assists on 54% True Shooting as he has thrived in his higher usage role.

8. CJ McCollum- Portland Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum has been the hallmark of consistency, year after year producing for a playoff team in Portland, playing second fiddle to his backcourt partner Damian Lillard. He and Lillard have tortured defences for years, ever since McCollum broke out as Most Improved in 2015-16 and has now averaged over 15 points per game in 5 straight playoff appearances.

He is the master of shot creation, using short bursts of ball time to penetrate, favoring the mid-range shot but having the ability to score from all three levels. Questions have been asked about his defense, and fair questions at that, but up until this season the pieces around him have been designed to make up for those shortcomings.

Sadly, this year has not been a good one for the Blazers, and alot of that is due to the aforementioned defensive issues. Lillard and McCollum have been surrounded by pieces that do not compliment them in the slightest, and until Nurkic comes back, they will continue to underperform.

For McCollum personally, the issue has revolved around efficiency, his True Shooting being at a below par 53.8% on the season. His counting numbers do not properly reflect his talent, putting up 21.4 points and 3.8 assists in limited ball time.

7. Jrue Holiday- New Orleans Pelicans 

After a less-than-desirable start to the 2019-20 season, Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans have both bounced back to flip the year on it’s head.

For Holiday, it is tough to see him get overshadowed every single year by a teammate. As soon as Anthony Davis left, he was replaced by a rising star and All-Star in Brandon Ingram. The last season in which Holiday was the leader of his own team was in his lone All-Star season, all the way back in 2013.

He has been consistently underrated by fans and media alike, his incredible defense and offensive presence being undervalued as the second option on constantly underperforming teams. Holiday has a presence on the court defensively which has earned him two All-Defense nods, along with an impressive offensive game which has resulted in 3 straight seasons averaging 19 or more points a game.

This season, he is putting up 19.7 points and 6.3 assists while shooting his highest 3 point percentage since the 2015 season. Add onto this the fact that he is one of the best defensive guards in the association and you have yourself a great player.

6. D’Angelo Russell- Golden State Warriors

After being named an All-Star in Brooklyn last season, Russell opted to head to Golden State, joining forces with MVP Steph Curry. That partnership was cut short very quickly, and the Warriors fell into tanking mode after Curry injured himself just weeks into the season

Russell has been required to take control of the team offensively, but the team around him has been unable to keep the Warriors afloat. His shooting has taken a leap, and he has begun to be more active in drawing fouls, taking his scoring to a new level with his unlimited green light.

With a smooth stroke and good accuracy, his jumpshot continues to excel as the main focus of his offensive game. He loves to take shots off the dribble, especially out of the pick and roll, and the defense has to respect him because of his impressive playmaking chops.

His counting numbers are noticeably better than last year, 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 56.3% True Shooting, but a lot of that has to do with his new role in leading the Warrior offense.

5. Zach LaVine- Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine has come across much criticism for being a player who can only score, who has no other talent and cannot impact his team outside of his ability to put the ball in the basket. It is certainly a fair criticism, but that should not take away from how incredible of a scorer LaVine is.

His shot selection is questionable, but with the proficiency he has as a shooter, some of his shots are completely understandable. He is incredibly athletic and a great finisher, while being prolific from three and in the mid-range. He is putting up 24.9 points per game on good efficiency, the only issue is his team has truly underperformed.

Chicago are firmly outside the playoff race, and considering the talent they have that result simply isn’t good enough. LaVine is certainly a part of that issue, but they have some serious management problems which has stunted their growth even more severely.

Did LaVine deserve to be an All-Star? Not really. But does that mean he should be blamed for the Bulls' offensive problems? Most certainly not.

4. Bradley Beal- Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards have one of the most potent offenses in the league, playing a fast-paced, exciting style of attacking basketball, run through their star, Bradley Beal.

Beal has developed a smooth off-ball game to complement his proficient shooting, and his interior presence is formidable to say the least. His shot selection and efficiency has not been up to his normal standard, but his talent remains supreme to any other challengers on this list. 

His 3 pointer, which was once the cornerstone of his offensive game, has now been reduced to an inefficient shot, shooting 32.6% on the season. Outside of that, though, he has been prolific from all other areas, and his scoring average has increased alongside it, climbing to 29.2 points per game along with 6.3 assists. The help he has received from the pace and movement of the offense cannot be understated, which is one of the reasons he is not higher up in this ranking.

3. Donovan Mitchell- Utah Jazz

An imposing threat on both sides of the ball, Donovan Mitchell has fixed up a number of the creaks in his game this season. For one, his inconsistent efficiency has been nearly eradicated, something that had been haunting him, especially come playoff time. 

He has also developed quite a dangerous mid range jumper, using it as a middle ground when he can neither get to the rim nor make room for the three. His playmaking still needs some work, but he provides good defence and his team is very successful.

Without Mitchell, Utah's offense would be without a true leader, someone who has thrived in the Point Guard role because he has natural ball-handling ability and a knack for controlling the offense.

His stats reflect what has been a good season for Mitchell, averaging 24.6 points and 4.3 assists while putting up a career high in True Shooting Percentage, at 56.2%.

2. Devin Booker- Phoenix Suns

There is no conceivable reason why Booker should not have been named an All-Star this year, and yet, he remains All-Star-less. Booker is the second best scorer on this list, and this year has hit another level of great.

He has truly become the master of the mid-range jumpshot, easily top three in the league in that regard. His inside game has been almost flawless, and he is still a danger from outside the perimeter.

The defensive struggles remain and his turnovers are still quite high, but his playmaking is good and he has carried his team offensively. Sadly, the Suns have still not put enough talent around him, but the team has jumped into the middle of the pack under his leadership. 

He has just kept on dropping 30 point games recently (up to 14 in his 20 games since Christmas), and yet the Suns still refuse to win consistently around him. Over the entire season, he is averaging 26.8 points and 6.3 assists with the 14th highest True Shooting in the league and 2nd amongst fellow Shooting Guards, at 63.1%. His stats may not be much better than last season's, but the improvement he has made is immense.

1. James Harden- Houston Rockets

Harden's MVP case has taken a nosedive over the past month as  he struggles to even make an excusable percentage of his shots, but there is no doubt that he is still the best Shooting Guard in the NBA. His scoring prowess is phenomenal, and his volume and efficiency are both at all-time levels. His patented step-back three is one of the game's most dangerous offensive weapons and even when that shot is not falling he has a go-to floater which has proven to be just as potent.

However, his offense is not all scoring. He is a great playmaker as well when he is struggling to score, which resulted in him leading one of history’s greatest offenses just two years ago. He loves to pass to the right corner, something that has created NBA paychecks for many basketball hopefuls.

Recently, Harden has been in an slump which has led to a tough period for his team. His scoring is nowhere near where it was to begin the year and his efficiency is hurting his side. This has made it tough for his name to remain in MVP talks and also forced teammate Russell Westbrook to dominate the offense, something that can have mixed results.

Over the season, Harden is averaging 35.7 points and 7.2 assists with a True Shooting Percentage almost identical to that of last year’s, at 61.8%. His Field Goal Percentage is at the lowest it has been since his rookie season, testament to his inconsistency from behind the arc rather than inside.

 

Thanks for reading, make sure to stay tuned for the release of all the other positional rankings that will be hitting VAVEL soon!

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