Basketball 101: What Does A Shooting Guard Do?

The five players on a basketball team have their positions and responsibilities. One of these positions is the Shooting Guard. Some of the best players in basketball history are shooting guards and that includes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

A shooting guard can also be called by other names. When you hear the word off guard, that generally points to the shooting guard although they may also be referred to as “wings,” “two-guard,” and a “swingman.” (Oftentimes, small forwards may also be called a “wing” or a “swingman.” Two-guard refers to the usual number that is assigned in basketball positions. 1 is a point guard, 3 is a small forward, 4 is a power forward, and 5 is a center.)

So, what does a shooting guard do and what are his responsibilities?

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Shooting Guards Should Be Accurate Shooters

That’s the very reason why they are called shooting guards in the first place, they shoot. And while a basketball player should be ready to shoot, a shooting guard should do it with efficiency and accuracy. Hence, he should be the best shooter on his team.

Shooting Guards Are Counted On To Score

Typically, a shooting guard is a much better scorer than the rest of the team. Of course, not every squad is built the same way, but that is traditionally what shooting guards do. 

Aside from shooting and slashing to the basket, another skill that helps a shooting guard to score is moving without the basketball. As soon as your man looks away, cut toward the basket, and every now and then, you’ll find yourself scoring on wide-open layups.

A Shooting Guard is a Secondary Ball-handler

Point guards have the responsibility to bring the ball up and set the offense. Sometimes, the defense prevents them from doing so, and as a pressure-release valve, it should be the shooting guard’s job to be the ballhandler and get the offense rolling.  That means the shooting guard should not only be a scorer, but they should also handle the ball well, as well as an above-average passer.

Shooting Guards Should Be Able To Defend The Perimeter

Shooting guards are matched up with opposing two-guards so this is a must. It will be a huge disadvantage if the shooting guard of a team is a liability on defense. Therefore, his defensive skills should be on-point to complement his scoring abilities.

What Does A Shooting Guard Do? 7 Traits of an Excellent Shooting Guard

via VCG

1.) To be successful at playing shooting guard, you must be able to go in whichever direction. The defense may give you one way and block the other, so be sure you can make them pay.

2.) An excellent shooting guard is also unstoppable at getting to his spots. You just can’t take what the defense gives everytime, but you need to be sure you’re sending the message that you won’t be denied. The great shooting guards like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant made a living in the midrange area and proved night in and night out, that they won’t be stopped as far as going to their sweet spots are concerned.

3.) Since shooting guards are usually top-option scorers, communicate very clearly to the coach, to the point guard, and every single one of your teammates where you want the ball. That way, they won’t have to guess and readily give you the ball in your spots.

4.) A successful shooting guard can score on many levels and that includes the midrange. We know that with the analytics rave going on, coaches and so-called experts want players to shoot the three or get an easy layup, but the in-between game is what separates the good from the great. Here is a link to some of Kobe’s secrets to his post-up game.

5.) To carry your game to the next level, a shooting guard should be able to read and understand spacing. Again, this will enable you to play chess while everybody is playing checkers. You will also be able to manipulate defenses this way. Here are some basic concepts about spacing.

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