What is shooting guard in Basketball?

Basketball is a sport that involves several complex strategies and plays which combine to form an exciting and competitive sport. These strategies and tactics are given form to and executed by the different players on the court.

The players in basketball have very diverse roles and responsibilities. All of these roles if executed correctly, are what make a good basketball team.

Even within the different roles in basketballs, there are different types of those roles that have different responsibilities in a game. To understand how the game works, one needs to understand how these roles function and how they contribute to the game itself.

What is a shooting guard?

A shooting guard in basketball is pretty much the only real guard in basketball although there are other positions like a point guard and small forward which are also referred to as guards.

Not the most important position in basketball but it is one that plays the biggest role on the offensive end in basketball.

As the name suggests, a shooting guard’s main job is to shoot the ball. A shooting guard has to find open positions and make as many shots as he can. To make these shots from an offensive position, a shooting guard has to move and dodge the player that is guarding him.

For a shooting guard to do his job well; however, there needs to be a conducive environment in the locker room as well as on the court. If a shooting guard has faith in the tactics and strategies of the coach and is calm, he will perform to his maximum capabilities.

What are the necessary skills that a shooting guard requires?

For a shooting guard to play at even a subpar level, certain skills are required in him. There are certain skills that are important all around while others align a shooting guard’s attributes towards the offensive or defensive end. These skills include:


This is perhaps the most basic of requirements from a shooting guard as his most major responsibility is to shoot as much as he can and score. Even if the shooting guard is one that has mastered defense, the shooting capabilities, and shooting percentage needs to be above average.

Handling the Ball

Although the primary ball handler is the point guard, the ball-handling skills of a shooting guard need to be excellent as well. In the scenario that the point guard is pressured into passing the ball, it is then the shooting guard’s responsibility to make plays and handle the ball.

A capable secondary ball-handler will only make the team more adaptable and versatile while allowing the shooting guard to make shots on the dribble himself.

Movement without the ball

When it comes to the shooting guard movement without the ball is as important as shooting. This is because the point guard is likely to have the ball for the most part.

In that scenario, the shooting guard has to move around and place himself in a way to get an open shot, although this movement requires extraordinary physical attributes that are required of a good shooting guard.

Defensive Characteristics

For a shooting guard that specializes in defense, it is extremely important to know how to play defense effectively. That is to say. He needs to know how to defend in a 1 on 1 situation and in a zone defense situation.

On the other hand, a defensive shooting guard also needs to know when to rotate with the point guard and when to let the point guard defend. These are all strategic decisions that a defensive specialist needs to know how to make.

What are the different types of shooting guards?

As you probably would’ve figured already, there is no one set shooting the guard. Although specific base-level skills need to be present in all shooting guards, how they choose to play is what defines what kind of shooting guard they are.

Combo Guard

This is perhaps one of the hardest ways to play shooting guard. Very only because it is not just playing the shooting guard, it’s playing a combination of both the shooting guard and point guard.

Consequently, this playstyle requires top-notch shooting ability and ball-handling capabilities or else the player playing it wouldn’t be successful. Some of the players who mastered this playing style include Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe.

Shooting Specialist

One of the more common playing styles is one that focuses entirely on shooting and the offense. While having the physical prowess to move around effectively without the ball shooting specialists also have high accuracy when it comes to making shots. Successful shooting specialist includes legends like Ray Allen and Klay Thompson.

Defense Specialist

Like every position, a shooting guard can also be a defensive specialist as already mentioned above. Focusing on defending whether it be zone defense or 1 on 1 a defense specialist has levee when it comes to his shooting percentage.


This is the combination that has brought us the greatest of names like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady. It is an amalgamation of the shooting guard position and the small forward position. Quickness and shooting from inside the lane are key to the success of this kind of player. This is demonstrated by some of the elite players mentioned above.

What are some attributes that define good shooting guards?

Although the basics are important they only make you a shooting guard. What differentiates excellent shooting guards from good ones is a number of other considerations and characteristics of these players.

Finding the Sweet Spot

A good shooting guard would adapt to and take whatever is thrown at him. He would try to turn all of those opportunities created into points. On the other hand an excellent shooting guard would know what his sweet spot is.

That is to say that he would know where he shoots best from and he would actively create opportunities that lead to him shooting from that spot. This requires a high IQ and quick thinking during the game.

Mid-Range Mastery

Basketball as already made pretty clear is not all about making shots and dribbling. One of the most important parts of the game that can result in its result literally changing is the mid-range.

It is perhaps the toughest area to defend since players are usually good at using it for offense they don’t focus on the mastering its defense.

At the same time it is also a difficult area to defend since there are a lot of different types of shots that can be made from that area. A shooting guard that knows what he is doing will be able to defend and offend at the same time.

Scoring Without Dribbling

One of the most important things for a shooting guard is to shoot without dribbling. A shooting guard when passed the ball doesn’t always have the time to dribble and get into a suitable stance to shoot.

In that scenario a shooting guard needs to make a shot reflexively and needs to make it effective. That is extremely important for a shooting guard as that is what determines whether the hard to score chances are converted to points or not.

A good shooting guard would not have trouble shooting reflexively and making sure that shot ends up going through the net.

Who are the best shooting guards in history?

Although this might be a contentious issue since there is hardly ever one set way to define a player as the best. Some important statistics that go into determining which shooting guard is of the highest quality include, field goal percentage and points per game.

At the same time an excellent shooting guard would also have good assist and rebound statistics as well as good defensive attributes. Some of the best shooting guards include Michael Jordan from Chicago Bulls, Jerry West from LA Lakers, Kobe Bryant from LA Lakers and Reggie Miller from Indiana Pacers.

Michael Jordan however is widely renowned as the best shooting guard in the history of the game as well as the best player which sheds light on the importance of the shooting guard.


In conclusion a shooting guard is definitely not an easy position to play. There are a number of different playing styles involved in the position while it requires a player to have top notch characteristics. From movement and ball handling to shooting a good shooting guard needs to have a grasp on all of these attributes.

Simultaneously in order to become a good shooting guard you need to first decide what kind of shooting guard you want to be. This is simply because your decision will define the rest of your career as a shooting guard.

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