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NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144165 Who's No. 1? Kobe or D-Wade? Who%27s+No.+1%3F+Kobe+or+D-Wade%3F NBA

First we ranked the point guards. Now comes the shooting guards, where two players stand head and shoulder fakes above the competition. Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant are fantastic talents, yet their career paths have never intersected. For a few years, Wade had superior teammates and won a title in Miami, but he's been a one-man show in recent years while Kobe and the Lakers have reigned supreme. This season should be fascinating with both players surrounded by enormous talent and possibly headed for their first Finals showdown. If so, they can settle this on the court. -- John Galinsky

Noah Graham - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144145 Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers Kobe+Bryant%2C+Los+Angeles+Lakers+ NBA

Contrary to what many of his fans believe, Kobe isn't getting better with age. It's the Lakers' roster that has improved exponentially since Pau Gasol came to L.A. three years ago, making the last two titles possible. That said, Kobe's greatness is most apparent when he's surrounded by talent. His basketball IQ, his competitive fire and his cold-blooded clutch shooting seem to rise to a new level with championships at stake. Physically, the wear and tear of 14 NBA seasons have begun to take a toll. But it would be premature to say anyone has surpassed him as the league's best shooting guard. Wade will have to wrest that title away from him.

Nathaniel S Butler - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144126 Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat Dwyane+Wade%2C+Miami+Heat+ NBA

It's hard to measure a superstar against his peers when their circumstances are so different. Wade hasn't gotten past the first round of the playoffs since winning Finals MVP in 2006, yet you can make a strong case that he's as good as (or better than) two-time reigning Finals MVP Kobe Bryant. After a few injury-plagued seasons, Wade has been healthy and a one-man wrecking crew the last two seasons. At 28, he's arguably a more dominant player than the 32-year-old Bryant, especially on defense. His stats are sure to dip with LeBron and Bosh on board, but his leadership and killer instinct will be more important than ever as the Heat aim to dethrone the Lakers.

Fernando Medina - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144125 Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers Brandon+Roy%2C+Portland+Trail+Blazers+ NBA

The NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2007, Roy kept getting better the next two years, suggesting an inevitable ascension to superstar status. Not so fast. All of his significant stats dipped last season as Roy battled hamstring and knee injuries. He still averaged 21.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds, good numbers for any shooting guard besides the top two on this list. For the Blazers to become a true contender, though, Roy needs to keep progressing. And, of course, Greg Oden has to stay in one piece.

Sam Forencich - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12143948 Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks Joe+Johnson%2C+Atlanta+Hawks+ NBA

It's almost a given that the Hawks will regret giving Johnson the six-year, $119 million contract he signed this summer. That time figures to come in a few years when he's in his 30s, slowing down from a heavy career workload and consuming a way-too-large percentage of the team's salary cap. But for this list, we're talking about how good he is right now. And at 29, Johnson is still a legit All-Star, despite his horrid performance against the Magic in the playoffs. The biggest concern this season is how "Iso-Joe" adapts to the motion offense new coach Larry Drew plans to install.

Scott Cunningham - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144147 Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs Manu+Ginobili%2C+San+Antonio+Spurs+ NBA

If we could be sure he'd stay healthy all season, Ginobili might belong third on this list. Even at 33, he still has a lethal game -- the same sweet shot, the same twisting drives, the same competitive drive that helped the Spurs win three championships last decade. He averaged nearly 23 points after the All-Star break last season before getting his nose fractured in a playoff series loss to the Mavs. The nose is less of a concern than his chronically injured ankles, which he rested this summer rather than play for Argentina in the world championships.

Chris Covatta - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144105 Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers Andre+Iguodala%2C+Philadelphia+76ers NBA

You like shooting guards who can, you know, shoot? Fair enough. An erratic stroke is what keeps Iguodala from being a true star in this league. Still, we like explosive athletes who can rebound (6.5 rpg), pass (5.8 apg), defend and throw down hellacious dunks. He was a perfect complement to Kevin Durant on Team USA and would be better off if he didn't have to shoulder so much of the scoring load in Philly. Problem is, he's a Pippen without a Jordan.

Jesse D. Garrabrant - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144166 Jason Richardson, Phoenix Suns Jason+Richardson%2C+Phoenix+Suns+ NBA

How did the Suns reach the West finals last season? Yes, Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire were the ringleaders, but J-Rich was the shooting star. Including a 42-point eruption against the Blazers, he averaged nearly 20 points and shot 47 percent from long range in three playoff series. He was solid overall in his first full season in Phoenix, leading the team's 3-point parade while showing some of his old Slam Dunk champ explosiveness in transition. Without Stoudemire around, Richardson's stats may go up but the odds he'll be a playoff hero again will go way down.

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144127 Stephen Jackson, Charlotte Bobcats Stephen+Jackson%2C+Charlotte+Bobcats+ NBA

Things could have gone horribly wrong when the mercurial Jackson was traded to Charlotte early last season. A malcontent with awful shot selection in Golden State, how would he mesh with controlling coach Larry Brown? As it turned out, just fine, thanks. Jackson gave the Bobcats the offense they desperately needed (20.6 ppg) and even bought into Brown's defensive principles. Sure, he still took way too many threes, but he was a huge reason Charlotte made the playoffs for the first time in team history.

Doug Benc - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144106 Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers Eric+Gordon%2C+Los+Angeles+Clippers+ NBA

Maybe we're just impressed by his recent stint as a scorer off the bench for Team USA. Or maybe we think he's going to get a lot more open shots for the Clippers with Blake Griffin around. At any rate, we like Gordon's game. He has a nice touch from long range (38%) and the size (220 pounds) to get to the rim. He's averaged over 16 points in both of his NBA seasons, and he's still just 21 years old. If he improves his defense and ball-handling, and if Griffin can stay healthy, that young duo might do something truly remarkable -- make the Clippers relevant again.

Andrew D. Bernstein - Getty Images
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 shooting guards 12144167 O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies O.J.+Mayo%2C+Memphis+Grizzlies+ NBA

Mayo gets the nod over Boston's Ray Allen (too old), Golden State's Monta Ellis (too selfish) and Houston's Kevin Martin (too defenseless) because of his polished all-around game.  At 22, he plays with the confidence and composure of a veteran and isn't afraid to take the last shot. Then again, at times he seems to believe that he's a superstar and a point guard, neither of which is accurate. He's not as good as he thinks he is, but are any of us?

Joe Murphy - Getty Images
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