For almost a decade now, Dwyane Wade (left) and Kobe Bryant (right) have been the best shooting guards of the post-Michael Jordan era. Who's better? It's a tough call. Just when it looked like Wade was surpassing Bryant, Kobe nearly won a scoring title while Wade had an injury-plagued season – but also won a championship. One thing hasn't changed. The rest of the league's shooting guards aren't at their level. Here are our top 10.
Ray Allen and Tony Allen
OK, we're cheating here. But since they share the same last name (no relation) and completely opposite games, forgive us for combining them into one heck of a shooting guard. Ray, now with the Miami Heat, is still the best pure shooter at his position after making 45.3 percent of his 3-pointers with Boston last season. Tony can't shoot a lick but his tenacious defense sets the tone for the feisty Memphis Grizzlies.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
George was just one of many good players on a very good Pacers team last season. But with his athletic ability, he has the potential to be much more than that. At 22, he's already an excellent 3-point shooter and defender, not to mention an explosive dunker. If he improves his ballhandling and develops more of an intermediate game, he could become Indiana's first genuine star since Reggie Miller.
Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks
Five years ago, Ellis was a judicious shooter who made 53 percent of his shots while averaging 20 points for the Golden State Warriors. Since then, he's been more of a gunner with no conscience, with his shooting percentage dipping to 43.2 last season after a trade to the Bucks. Still, the guy can flat-out score. He's too quick for most opposing shooting guards, but he's also too small to defend many of them.
Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets
Anthony Davis isn't the only reason the Hornets are excited about their future. Gordon, 23, is a dynamic scorer who averaged 22.3 points for the Clippers two seasons ago before being included in the Chris Paul trade. He missed almost all of last season – which helped New Orleans stink enough to be in position to win the lottery – but could form a lethal inside-outside combo with Davis, the No. 1 overall pick, for years to come.
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Ginobili was injured for half of last season, but when he played he was as effective as ever, setting career highs in field-goal percentage (52.6) and 3-point percentage (41.3). He was also outstanding in the Olympics for Argentina, solidifying his status as one of the best international players of all time. Now 35, age may be less of a concern for him than the league's crackdown on flopping.
Andre Iguodala, Denver Nuggets
Iguodala does everything you want a shooting guard to do except, well, shoot well. In Philly, that was a problem. But he should be a great fit in Denver, which has plenty of firepower but could use the Olympian's perimeter defense and playmaking. He'll make the Nuggets even faster and may finally be appreciated for his strengths instead of criticized for his weakness.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets
Yes, he's overpaid. Johnson's a nice player but he's not worth $119 million. It's true. But you know what? Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov doesn't care. The billionaire was happy to trade for Johnson and pay for instant credibility as his team moves to Brooklyn. Johnson, an outstanding all-around player if not a superstar, should form the best backcourt in the Eastern Conference with point guard Deron Williams.
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
As if the Thunder weren't good enough already with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Harden emerged as a star in his own right last season. He earned the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award with his 3-point shooting and playmaking ability, especially in fourth quarters. Though he struggled in the Finals against the Miami Heat, the 23-year-old Harden is easily the best young shooting guard in the league.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Bryant nearly won another scoring title in 2012, a remarkable feat in his 16th NBA season. His work ethic and desire remain second to none. Still, at 34, Kobe can't run the floor and attack the rim like he used to, making him a more inefficient scorer. He also hasn't been great in the playoffs the last two years. He's no longer the best player in the league, like Michael Jordan was at the same age, but with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in purple and gold, Kobe may yet get that sixth ring.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
At times, Wade, 30, looks even older than Bryant. Injuries hampered him all last season and he turned in some pedestrian performances. But when he's healthy, he's still close to unstoppable. Once Chris Bosh went down in the playoffs, Wade elevated his game and helped LeBron James carry the Heat to the title. Since it's Kobe who measures himself by championships, it's only fair to say Wade is the one currently wearing the crown. It'll be fascinating to see if Kobe can take it away from him.