Guarding a basketball is often more about the individual than their position. The best players at this position can lead an offense or shut down theirs, and are much less reliant on team mates to be effective. Here are ten of the best guards in NBA history who were key contributors on both sides of the ball:
1) John Stockton- Utah Jazz
2) Magic Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers
3) Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls
4) Larry Bird- Boston Celtics
5= Wade Marion James Dwayne Wade Jr.- Miami Heat 5 = Chris Paul – New Orleans Hornets
The “best combo guards of all time” is a list of 10 players who were able to make the transition from point guard to shooting guard. The players on this list are considered some of the best in NBA history.
Point guards like John Stockton and Jason Kidd have led their teams to unprecedented heights. Shooting guards have been known to light up the night in today’s NBA. The two positions merged to become the combination guard as basketball progressed. It’s been going on without your knowledge since the inception of the league.
A combination guard is a basketball player that has the qualities of both a point guard and a shooting guard but does not fit into either position’s norm. The majority of combination guards are between the heights of a point guard and a shooting guard, with a few exceptions. They must also be able to shoot while also being able to disseminate.
These are the top-10 combination guards in NBA history, with exceptional ball-handling abilities and shoot-first mentalities.
Russell Westbrook (#10)
Rolling Screen and Silver Screen
23.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 8.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG throughout his career
Russell Westbrook is a true combo guard in every sense of the word. He is a score-first guard who has also played point guard and is now in charge of team creation. He has been able to facilitate at a high rate over the most of his career, as indicated by his career 8.5 assists. In his first seven seasons in the NBA, Westbrook was in the top 30 for all-time assists per game.
Westbrook was lucky enough to play alongside Kevin Durant because of his high level of output. Westbrook hit into combo guard mode once Durant departed, averaging the first triple-double in 2017 since 1962. For the following four years, Westbrook would average over 10 assists per game. His current assist per game total places him in the top ten.
The great volume of the ball in Westbrook’s hands contributes to his high assist average. We may term him a combination guard due of his use time, since he is either scoring or passing. With more use time comes more mistakes, and Westbrook set a new season high for turnovers. We may label him an excellent playmaker since he is not a typical point guard.
Dwyane Wade (#9)
22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG throughout his career
Let’s take a look at his stats throughout his career. Wade had a good point, rebound, and assist average throughout the course of his 16-year career. Wade’s career was mostly spent as a shooting guard, although he was able to average a high assist total. Wade averaged 25.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists throughout his peak years, which we’ll name 2005-2013. Wade moved to the second leading option once LeBron James joined the Heat, allowing him to assist LBJ more.
Wade had a fantastic game on the whole, but his shooting was particularly impressive. He could go to the hoop but didn’t settle for low-quality attempts. Wade hit 50% or greater from the field three times throughout his career, while also coming close four times as he hovered around 49%.
Wade’s argument is further bolstered by the fact that he was an exceptional defender for a shooting guard. He became the first player under the height of 6-foot-4 to record 100 blocks in a season. He holds the record for most blocks by a player of that height or shorter. He’s also the first NBA player to have have a season with at least 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals, and 100 blocks.
Allen Iverson (#8)
26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG throughout his career
Iverson has previously said that he is a killer, not a point guard. Nobody can fully speak like the great A.I., thus he is mocked. It was taken from his 2016 Hall of Fame speech. Iverson had the physique of a point guard, but his heart belonged to a shooting guard who prioritized shooting above passing.
The offense was directed by Eric Snow, who was officially on the depth chart, during the 76ers’ finest years, which included a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001, when Iverson earned MVP. On the other hand, Iverson was in command of the ball on offense. Iverson has a gift that included a large number of shots and a high conversion rate.
There were preconceived preconceptions regarding height and position during Iverson’s time. Iverson’s greatest season saw him shoot 51.8 percent true, compared to a league average of 52.1 percent. That’s rather astounding, particularly in today’s current period, when players are forced to shoot more effectively due to a lack of defense.
James Harden (#7)
25.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG throughout his career
James Harden has been the team’s point guard since the Nets acquired him. There was a stalemate with Kyrie Irving when he arrived, but the two players shifted places. With Irving gone, he’s now classified as a shooting guard, yet he mostly handles the ball, assists, and scores often.
Harden’s ability to get to the free-throw line used to be what set him apart. Harden knows how to draw more contact and get the call before the NBA revised the rules. Harden has scored more than 30 points three times in his career, and he came close to doing so twice more when he scored 29 points per game. In addition, he has averaged at least 10 assists per game in each of the last three seasons.
Harden averaged 36.1 points and 7.5 assists per game when he earned MVP in 2018. When we look at some of the greatest scorers in league history, calculating their assist total isn’t difficult. True shooting guards, at the very least, would shoot first and pass afterwards. Harden and Westbrook have a history of turning the ball over because to their high usage rates, but you must also consider the advantages that those superstars provide.
Oscar Robertson, No. 6
25.7 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game, 9.5 assists per game
In 14 seasons, Robertson was a 12-time All-Star and 11-time member of the All-NBA team. Until Westbrook in 2017, he had the only triple-double average in league history, which he achieved in 1962. We hadn’t seen a player like Robertson in the contemporary age until Westbrook, so you may be wondering why he’s higher on the list than Westbrook.
For starters, Westbrook’s ball handling is more unpredictable. Robertson has also amassed the most points and assists in his career. Robertson also accomplished it at a period when team defense was highly valued. While one might argue that teams were playing defense at an average rate in 2016-2017, the current era has avoided it.
Robertson was also notable for his ability to convert shots at a high rate. Robertson has a lifetime shooting percentage of 48 percent. Imagine having a point guard who made almost half of his shots and constantly put his teammates in position to succeed. Oscar Robertson was his name.
Jerry West is number five.
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27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG in his career
Mr. Clutch makes the top five because he consistently raises his game in high-pressure circumstances. West, along with Robertson, was one of the era’s top guards. He was a brilliant two-way guard who contributed to the modernization of the position’s offensive effectiveness. He was a deft playmaker who also played excellent defense and was a natural scorer.
West was such an offensive force that he is the first player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP while playing for a losing team. He was without a doubt one of the greatest scorers in NBA and Lakers history. He improved his career scoring average in the playoffs when compared to his regular-season achievements, which included a 53-point effort in the 1969 Finals. This is the fourth-best finish in Finals history.
Many people refer to West as “The Logo” since his likeness was utilized to create the current NBA logo. West was singled out for this honor because of his versatility to play both guard positions on the court. In 1969-1970, West led the NBA in scoring, and in 1971-1972, he topped the league in assists. That is the epitome of pure combo guard.
LeBron James (#4)
26.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG throughout his career
How is LeBron James eligible for this list? He’s a little forward, isn’t he? He’s a power forward, not a center. On any given night, he is one of the few players who can play all five spots on the court. While many people remember LeBron as a pure big, he began his career as a shooting guard before moving to point guard in 2020.
For these reasons, even though it is debatable, we must regard him as a guard on the list. Remember that previous players have been in your shoes. Kevin Durant has played shooting guard at times throughout his career, while Paul George has alternated between guard and forward. He is a top-4 combo guard if he is regarded on this ranking since the sample pool of when he played is amazing.
LeBron averaged 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists as a rookie. Those are respectable figures, even for a shooting guard. Then, as a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, he led the league in assists with 10.2 while leading the club to a championship. We just cannot leave LeBron off the list, given everything he has accomplished in his career and the fact that he is a top-two player of all time.
Steph Curry, No. 3
24.3 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 6.5 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game, 0.2 blocks per game
By definition, Steph Curry is a point guard since he is his team’s main ball handler. Outside of Draymond Green, he is the Warriors’ finest passer. Due to the fact that other teams’ players pay the most attention to him, he is also the major playmaker. Much of it stems from the fact that Curry is the finest shooting guard we’ve ever seen.
Curry holds the record for most three-pointers made in a single season. With 402 three-pointers in a season, he holds the single-season record, as well as hitting 13 in a single game. He just needed 17 tries to do this. That is the epitome of efficiency.
This season, Curry is averaging a career-high 13.4 three-point attempts, which might be attributed to his desire to break records. Curry has averaged double-digit attempts from the deep five of the previous seven seasons, so it isn’t entirely accurate. Curry thrives under Steve Kerr’s system, but bear in mind that since 2011-2012, he has averaged at least six assists per game in all but one season.
Kobe Bryant, No. 2
25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG throughout his career
Kobe Bryant was mostly a shooting guard, but when called upon, he could also play small forward or point guard. During his rookie and sophomore seasons, Bryant was the team’s backup point guard. He grew towards taking over as the team’s point guard on the court in the 2000 Finals to help stretch the floor.
The 2012-2013 season was a wonderful showcase of Bryant’s point guard abilities. Steve Nash shattered his leg and was sidelined for the duration of his recovery. The offense didn’t connect when Jodie Meeks or Steve Blake were introduced because they were spot-up shooters attempting to run an offense. Bryant, who was 34 at the time, averaged 27 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in his 17th season in the league.
This might impress us for a variety of reasons. For starters, Bryant’s assist stats were never going to be high since he played in the triangle system under Phil Jackson. You may double-check it with Jordan’s assist totals from the same offensive. Off-the-ball movement and cuts into and out of the high post area are to blame. Bryant is a seasoned scorer with over 33,000 points in his Los Angeles career. Bryant is the only shooting guard in NBA history to have a high assist total, ranking 31st all-time.
Michael Jordan is number one.
30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG throughout his career
The results were electrifying when Doug Collins coached the Bulls and switched him to point guard down the stretch in 1988-1989. As the team’s point guard, Jordan averaged 32.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.3 rebounds in 41 regular season and playoff games. During that time, he had seven straight triple-doubles. One of them was a 33-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist showing in Chicago against the Warriors.
This move has drawn similarities to the Rockets’ transfer of James Harden to point guard in the modern era in 2016. We’ve recently witnessed changes with Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Luka Doncic. Jordan’s transformation influenced the modern-day combo guard in certain ways.
The issue is how much sooner Jordan would have been the norm if he had remained at point guard. Would the Bulls have been the same if he had stayed? That is a topic for discussion at a later date. What we do know is that Jordan is capable of dishing out 10 assists one night and then exploding for 50 the next. He has previously been named Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Defensive First Team every year. Jordan is the best all-around player in the league.
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The “combo guard position” is a role in basketball that was created by the NBA. It is where a player can play both on offense and defense. The 10 best combo guards in NBA history are Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Stephen Curry, and Kyrie Irving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the best combo guard?
A: That is a really difficult question to answer. I am not great at the whole basketball thing, but most people say that Russell Westbrook is pretty good and so is James Harden.
Who is considered the best guard in the NBA history?
A: LeBron James is considered the best guard in NBA history.
Which shooting guard has the most steals?
A: Kyrie Irving has the most steals.
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