With age catching up to Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, see where I ranked them among the young studs in my top 5 2013-14 shooting guards preview.
#5 J.R Smith New York Knicks-
2012-13 Stats: 18.1 ppg, 2.7 apg, 5.3 rpg, 17.67 PER
While Smith had one hell of a regular season, collecting 6th Man of the Year honors, his playoff performance was lack-luster to say the least. With the loss of Jason Kidd’s leadership I’m not sure how well Smith will respond. J.R has shown what he is capable of but he must become more consistent. The Knicks success always starts with Carmelo Anthony but Smith is an intricate piece if New York wants to take that next step.
#4 Joe Johnson Brooklyn Nets-
2012-13 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.0 rpg, 14.14 PER
I’ve always said Joe Johnson is overrated and the epitome of mediocrity. However, with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce the Nets will be extremely hard to defend. This will help Johnson play more efficient. KG wont allow Johnson to settle like he did for so many years in Atlanta.
#3 Dwayne Wade Miami Heat-
2012-13 Stats: 21.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, 5.0 rpg, 24.04 PER
This past season Wade added a third NBA title to his resume. With LeBron James running the show down in Miami, D-Wade will be able to pace himself and become more of a dangerous decoy while playing big brother to the “King.” Wade has entered the argument as one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time and even with some nagging injuries, D-Wade isn’t done just yet. Wade’s ability to swallow his pride and adapt will allow him to continue to win.
#2 James Harden Houston Rockets-
2012-13 Stats: 25.9 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.9 rpg, 23.00 PER
I’m sure the Oklahoma City Thunder are having nightmares about trading Harden to the Houston Rockets for, well nothing. Harden can beat you many different ways and has the ability to make the guys around him better. With the Rockets acquiring Dwight Howard in the offseason from the Los Angeles Lakers, James has a force of nature in the post giving him less of a workload on a night in and night out basis. Harden has a very unique game and it’s special to watch, get ready for him to take over the number 1 spot soon.
#1 Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers-
2012-13 Stats: 27.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.6 rpg, 23.10 PER
Where do I start? Lets see, no Dwight, coming offseason ending Achilles surgery and ESPN predicting the Lakers will finish 12th next season in the Western Conference. Yup, Kobe will be the best shooting guard, again. Anytime Bryant seems to have his back against the wall, he finds a way to use it as fuel to become better. Even with his lack of youth and loss of athleticism , Bryant makes up for it in knowledge and determination. Kobe clearly can’t play forever but with how he takes care of his body and his relentless approach to each season, I’m not ready to write off the Mamba. Are you?