Today teams in the NBA are constructed carefully and tactfully. Ranking the best shooting guards in the league is no easy task. Some of these players are not full-time starters and are filling in due to injuries. Other teams have great point guards and do not need a backcourt partner next to them that is better than average.
Without further ado, these are the 1o worst starting shooting guards in the NBA today.
10. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons
On Wednesday, April 10, the Pistons were without Jose Calderon. They made do and actually won the game by starting Brandon Knight at the point and Stuckey at the 2-guard. Stuckey is by no means a poor player. In fact, there was a time when his ceiling and potential were so high that Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge considered trading Rajon Rondo to the Pistons with the primary return piece being Rodney Stuckey.
However, Stuckey is a combo guard who demands the ball be in his hands while on the floor. When Stuckey has the ball he is a very capable scorer. The only issue with Stuckey having the ball in his hands is that he tends to get shot-happy and becomes somewhat of a black hole on offense where no one else on his team gets involved. This combined with his inept defensive play hurts Stuckey’s ranking dramatically.
Stuckey will never meet the potential and hype that he was originally met with after filling in admirably when Chauncey Billups went down in the 2008 playoffs. He will though for the foreseeable future make a valuable bench piece for any team looking for an instant offense type of player.
9. Luke Ridnour, Minnesota Timberwolves
Ridnour is not technically a shooting guard. He is a backup point guard that has been thrust into the starting shooting guard position alongside Ricky Rubio in Minnesota.
Ridnour is a very capable backup point who has veteran savvy and abilities to make positive impact on the game. He is a solid distributor and can space the floor (a valuable skill while playing alongside Rubio). Ridnour has never been much of a defender and at this point he lacks the athleticism to develop into more than an average defender.
Ridnour is best suited for a bench point guard role as he is a pass-first type of player and is undersized at the 2. When his contract ends he could be a valuable asset for teams when he is being used in a proper role.
8. Wayne Ellington, Cleveland Cavaliers
Like nearly all the players on this list Ellington is a solid player who brings a valuable skill for a reasonable price to any team who employs him. Ellington is a pure shooter who can get hot in a hurry. Earlier this season while playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, Ellington erupted (and raised his trade value) against the Miami Heat by knocking down seven 3s and a total of 25 points.
Ellington is capable of heating up at any time and taking over a game with his shooting. Although he rarely takes over a game, he provides valuable floor spacing as his jumper is widely respected around the league.
Unfortunately, Ellington brings little else to the table which is why he is not looked at as a building piece going forward by the Cavaliers. He is not a particularly good ball-handler or creator for others. Primarily he is a spot-up shooter who relies on others to create shots for him and plays average to below-average defense. Ellington only has a year left on his contract and despite his limitations could be a valuable bench player at a reasonable price for any team (including the Cavaliers) looking to add outside shooting to their bench.
7. Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City Thunder
Unlike most of the other players on this list Sefolosha plays for a winning team. He also is a full-time starter despite having played with other exceptional 2-guards such as James Harden and Kevin Martin.
Sefolosha’s offensive abilities are pretty limited. He has good size but no post moves. He does not handle the ball very well nor does he see the floor very well. What Sefolosha does, though, is provide exceptional defense at multiple positions every night. Sefolosha was voted a second team All-Defensive Team player in 2009-10.
Sefolosha brings great value at a bargain deal and even can get hot on offense every now and again. He may not be a fan favorite or that exciting to watch, but Sefolosha is a valuable player.
6. Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks
The Knicks have altered their rotation multiple times this season. Right now they are using the oldest rookie in the NBA as their starting 2-guard. Prigioni is a solid player who has played not just in the NBA, but has played professionally internationally for many years. He sees the floor exceptionally well and makes great basketball decisions.
However, Prigioni is a backup point guard. So not only is he starting when he should come off the bench, but he is playing out of position. It appears that Knicks’ coach Mike Woodson sees this (but still starts him for some reason) and gives him very limited run since he has J.R. Smith and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd coming off the bench.
Prigioni is not a bad player; he is just playing the wrong role on a very good team. Hopefully at some point in his NBA career he will again return to to the role where he is best suited.
5. E’Twaun Moore, Orlando Magic
Moore is an interesting player. The only reason his ranking is so low is because he is still very young and has a lot of room to grow. However, Moore has shown great potential throughout different times this season.
Moore is young and athletic, but still has a long ways to develop as a player. It is unclear how effective he will be throughout his career and whether he is just an energy spark offensively off the bench or truly a full-time starter. What is clear is that he has a lot of potential.
Right now the Magic are locked in for awhile with Arron Afflalo as their starting 2 guard (Moore is only starting now in his absence). Generally, rebuilding teams try to avoid large long-term contracts such as Afflalo’s. If Moore can display enough consistent abilities to warrant a starting spot in the future the Magic could look to trade off Afflalo in favor of Moore.
4. P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns
Tucker has been a pleasant surprise for the Suns this year. Going into the season, the Suns had a considerable hole at the shooting-guard position. Tucker has since burst onto the scene and filled in admirably while doing so.
He is strong and has good size for a two guard at 6’6”. Tucker has shown this season that he is a more-than-capable defender who can lock down multiple positions. Tucker has also shown considerable growth on offense throughout the season although he still (like most players currently on the Suns roster) remains an offensive liability.
At this point in his career, Tucker probably should not be a starter in the league. However, with his growth and the Suns currently in the middle of a all-out rebuilding project, Tucker could develop into an excellent bench player in the future.
3. Garrett Temple, Washington Wizards
Temple is still a very young guard. He only has two seasons of NBA experience, but has shown great improvement this year and capability for a larger role.
When the Wizards drafted him, they had limited expectations for Temple. Temple has shown solid abilities this season and even ran the point-guard position at points while John Wall was out with injuries. Temple appears to be a streaky type of player who is capable of knocking down the long ball with some consistency.
If Temple can use his floor-spacing abilities as well as the court vision that he used while playing the point he could be a valuable bench piece going forward. However, he will likely never have the starting role in Washington unless rookie sensation Bradley Beal is injured for an extended period of time (as he is currently).
2. Willie Green, Los Angeles Clippers
Willie Green is another starter who is largely a liability to his winning team on offense. Green can get hot from time to time and knock down a few 3s for his respective team. He also brings quality defense at the 2-guard spot for the Clippers. His work goes largely unnoticed because he contributions are rarely present in box scores.
The reason why Green’s contributions do not show up in the box score is that he so rarely contributes anything outside of defense. He is a poor man’s Thabo Sefolosha. Green’s limitations are largely covered up by the immense talent surrounding him on the Clippers. However, as soon as Chauncey Billups is healthy enough to play, he will be out of the rotation completely once again.
1. Damien Wilkins, Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers just cannot catch up break this season at shooting guard. I call it the “Andre Iguodala Curse” even though he did not play the 2 guard for most of his time in Philly. He was however criminally underrated and under-appreciated by fans during his time there.
The Sixers acquired veteran Jason Richardson as part of the Andrew Bynum trade, but unfortunately have got very limited production from their acquisition as he has been injured a large chunk of this season. They also the ever-controversial Nick “Swaggy P” Young in the offseason. Young also has suffered from injuries this season, leaving the Sixers with exceedingly limited options.
Hence why Damien Wilkens is playing. Wilkens himself probably did not expect to get much playing time this season, let alone start. These are dark days for the Sixers and there fans as they try to break “the Andre Iguodala Curse”. It only serves as a further reminder for fans when the starting lineups are announced and Damien Wilkens is brought onto the floor.