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Ranking NBA’s 20 best guards: The usual suspects lead the way with a few young stars on the rise

Some of the league’s biggest stars come from the backcourt of an NBA team. For the last five years, a guard has led the league in scoring, with that honor rotating between James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry

Point guards used to be a traditional facilitator, always looking to get other teammates involved before ever looking to score. While there are still a few point guards like that in the league, the position has shifted to becoming more of a scoring role, blurring the lines between who is a point guard and shooting guard. Some players can interchange between the two positions, moving effortlessly with or without the ball. This is one of the reasons why Stephen Curry is at the top of this list. 

So let’s rank the top 20 guards in basketball, keeping in mind the following rules: 

  • Rankings are based on our list of the top 100 players in the league. 
  • Both point guards and shooting guards are eligible. Anyone who falls under the guard umbrella would be considered. 

And so, here are the top 20 forwards in the NBA

Top 20 Guards in the NBA

A couple of takeaways from this list:

Point guards dominate the top 20 list

Among the 20 players listed above, 13 of them are point guards. That’s not too surprising, considering finding a quality shooting guard is on the to-do list for just about every team in the league every offseason. Nearly each team in the league has its franchise point guard, but a lot of them don’t have as talented of a shooting guard to complete their backcourt. Only the Warriors, Rockets and Trail Blazers both placed both backcourt positions on the top 20 list, which translates to the success of those teams the past few years. 

Young guards are on the rise

There are seven guards under the age of 25 that cracked the top 20, which speaks to the youth movement the league is undergoing. The top of the list is still dominated by older, experienced guards, but Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic made the top 10, and will likely keep rising as their careers progress. Both Simmons (6-10) and Doncic (6-7) are taller than the usual point guard too, which could be a trend toward bigger point guards who can play and defend multiple positions. Those two could be outliers, or could be the new trend as the years go on.