2024 NBA Draft: Ranking the top shooting guards, including Kentucky star Reed Sheppard

Yahoo Sports is breaking down the top players in the 2024 NBA Draft by position. On Monday, we ranked the best point guards in this class, Tuesday we broke down the top centers, Wednesday we looked at the top power forwards, and today we're ranking the top available shooting guards.

With the NBA becoming more position-less and designated spots on the floor becoming more blurred, the top shooting guards in this draft are expected to be more versatile in the backcourt and play on and off the ball. No one was more successful in that role during the college basketball season than Kentucky freshman Reed Sheppard, who came off the bench with the second unit and was typically on the floor at the end of games in crunch time. Tennessee's fifth-year senior, Dalton Knecht, was the best all-around scorer in college hoops and found different ways to get shots off despite being double- and triple-teamed often.

With the NBA Draft two weeks away on June 26-27 in New York, here's a look at the top five shooting guards to keep tabs on, plus others to watch in the late first round or early second round.

Position rankings: PG | SG | SF | PF | C

(Grant Thomas/Yahoo Sports Illustration)
(Grant Thomas/Yahoo Sports Illustration)

Ht./Wt.: 6-2, 182 pounds | Age: 19

Sheppard, who turns 20 two days before the first night of the draft, will likely be the first shooting guard off the board, going anywhere from Nos. 3-7. He tied for first in the max vertical jump at the combine (42 inches), surprising a handful of scouts with his athleticism. Sheppard also shot an incredible 52.1% from 3-point range (on 3.5 attempts per game) in his one year at Kentucky and scored from the perimeter in a variety of ways, whether that was deep transition 3s, off screens or catch-and-shoot situations.

His two-way potential is what will get him on the court early with the way he can anticipate passes, keep players in front of him and deflect the ball in the post. Sheppard finished his freshman year averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 204 pounds | Age: 23

Knecht's journey to the NBA has been different than any other player in this draft class. He went from a no-name, high-school recruit who played two years at a JUCO east of Denver before transferring to Northern Colorado, where he played two seasons and was one of the best players in the Big Sky conference. Knecht then transferred to Tennessee for his last season, choosing the Vols over Kansas and North Carolina to improve his defense — credit to head coach Rick Barnes and his staff for helping him improve his lateral movement on the perimeter.

Knecht is the best three-level scorer in the draft. He can get a shot off from anywhere, finish through contact and come off ball screens with intention. He led the SEC in scoring at 21.7 points per game while shooting 46% from the field and 40% from 3. His draft range is anywhere from 6-10, and he could contribute right away offensively in the NBA.

Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 205 pounds | Age: 20

There's always an unexpected player that goes high in the lottery every draft, chosen based on potential and not necessarily on production. George could be that player this year. After a quiet freshman season at Miami averaging only 7.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23 minutes, George shot the ball well at the combine and has been great in workouts leading up to the draft.

He hit a growth spurt two years ago and moved from point guard to the wing. His passing and quick decision-making is his most underrated trait and his shooting form, with a high, quick release, is what got him early attention from scouts as a catch-and-shoot threat. George has slowly climbed up draft boards all season, and don't be surprised if he sneaks into the back half of the lottery with Portland, Sacramento and Oklahoma City all possible landing spots.

Ht./Wt.: 6-4, 194 pounds | Age: 19

Walter's pre-draft workouts have been kept relatively quiet and there isn't much news surrounding the freshman guard out of Baylor. Teams might be doing this to protect his draft status and hope he falls to them on the first night of the draft.

Walter's season at Baylor was up and down. There were a lot of older, experienced players along the perimeter, which limited his touches. But he projects well as a catch-and-shoot threat and with his playmaking off the ball. Former Baylor guard Keyonte George went 16th to the Jazz last year and had a very productive year, earning First-Team All-Rookie honors and solidifying himself as a cornerstone in the Jazz's rebuild. Walter could follow a similar path. His draft stock is anywhere from late lottery to mid-first round.

Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 202 pounds | Age: 19

The Australian guard elected to stay in this year's draft class and reportedly turned down a lucrative NIL deal to return to Kansas for one more year. The fact that he is staying in this draft projects him as a lock in the first round with multiple teams probably showing interest after observing him at the combine and meeting with him. Furphy is far from a finished product, but established teams picking in the 20s will have the time and flexibility to develop him as a perimeter player. His shooting instincts are off the charts and his length and size bring added pressure on defense.

Pacome Dadiet is one of the youngest players in this draft, not turning 19 until July. The 6-8 guard out of France is also one of the most intriguing players in this draft with his combination of size and shot creation. Dadiet played for Ratiopharm Ulm in Germany this past season and is a late bloomer who could sneak inside the first round.

Cal's Jaylon Tyson was one of the best scorers in the Pac-12 last season and averaged 19.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He can slide into either position in the backcourt and is a threat both off the dribble or shooting from deep. Tyson's draft range since January has been anywhere from late first round to early second round.

Baylor Scheierman was one of the best shooters during the 5-on-5 scrimmages at the combine and made a statement on the first day of games with how productive he can be playing alongside other ball-dominant guards. The senior out of Creighton averaged nearly 20 and 10 this past season, has the size to move anywhere along the perimeter and creates mismatches off screens.