The shooting guard is one of the most important positions in modern basketball because it allows for offensive opportunities every time down the court.
You’re looking at a key position in basketball, with players performing this role responsible for scoring points and helping their team win games.
So, what exactly does a shooting guard do in a game of basketball?
Well, we’re going to start with a quick summary that encapsulates their role in the sport.
The primary responsibility of a shooting guard is to score points by making shots or getting other people involved in scoring opportunities through laying off passes for potential assists.
In this article, we will explore the major responsibilities and characteristics of a shooting guard, and how they contribute to the overall success of a basketball team.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Responsibilities of a shooting guard
It’s really important to break down what these players do on the court in order to gain a better understanding of their role within the game.
Here are the main tasks that shooting guards try to execute on a game by game basis…
1. Scoring points for the team
The primary role of a shooting guard is to score points for their team.
This involves shooting the ball from various distances on the court, as well as driving to the basket and finishing at the rim.
Shooting guards are expected to have a high level of accuracy and consistency with their shooting, as they often take a significant number of shots during a game.
If you personally aspire to play basketball professionally as a shooting guard at the highest level, then you should have a read of our post on how to become a better shooter, as it’ll help you refine your game and sharpen your ball skills.
Have a look at that post when you can.
2. Chance creation for team mates
In addition to scoring, shooting guards are also responsible for creating scoring opportunities for their teammates.
This may involve setting screens, making strong passes around the perimeter and into the paint, along with dribbling the ball up the court to initiate the team’s offense.
Shooting guards are expected to have good court vision and decision-making skills, as they are often called upon to make plays for others.
For a more visual representation of what shooting guards do out on the court, check out the video footage below:
What should a shooting guard be good at?
In general terms, shooting guards should possess the following technical qualities:
- accurate shooting ability from different angles;
- proficiency at performing different types of shots such as lay ups, free throws, three pointers from distance and slam dunks;
- good ball handling skills; as well as
- being able to pass the ball effectively to team mates.
They may also need to play some defensive minutes when necessary but they usually shouldn’t spend too much time guarding opponents either.
Shooting guards tend not to rebound very often so you will want your best rebounders at centre forward or power forward where rebounding stats count more than passing.
Forwards generally do all the things described above plus running up and down the floor attacking any openings which appear along the way.
In addition to this, forwards typically take longer strides moving towards the basket compared with guards who move quicker through the middle of the court.
This means that forwards are generally better passers than shooting guards although both types of player need to use their speed advantage to get into attack mode quickly if an opportunity presents itself.
Anyway, let’s get back to the characteristics that you should expect a shooting guard to have.
Shooting guards tend to be tall and athletic, with good coordination and quickness.
They should have a strong shooting stroke and be able to score from different parts of the court.
In addition, shooting guards should have good ball-handling skills, as they may be called upon to handle the ball and create scoring opportunities for themselves or others.
Shooting guards should also be strong defenders, able to guard their opponents and disrupt the opposing team’s offense.
This may involve playing one-on-one defense, as well as helping to rotate and defend as a team.
Examples of successful shooting guards
Some of the most successful shooting guards in the history of basketball include:
Considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan was a dominant shooting guard who led the Chicago Bulls to a staggering number of six NBA championships.
He was famously known for his immense scoring ability, clutch performances, and intense competitiveness.
What was so special about Jordan was how he managed to lead the Bulls to two separate “three-peats“, which is basically winning the NBA Championship three times in a row at different points in his career.
For further information on this, the Netflix documentary called The Last Dance is a fantastic place to start.
Here we have another all-time great.
Bryant won a total of five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was a 15-time All-Star.
He was known for his scoring prowess and relentless work ethic, and is considered one of the best shooting guards in the history of the game.
A 13-time NBA All-Star, Wade won three championships with the Miami Heat and is considered one of the best shooting guards of his generation.
He was known for his scoring ability, leadership, and clutch performances in big games.
In conclusion, the shooting guard is a critical position in basketball, responsible for scoring points and creating scoring opportunities for their team.
Successful shooting guards should have a combination of scoring ability, ball-handling skills, and defensive prowess, as well as the mental toughness and competitiveness to help their team win games.
For further reading on the other court roles that players fulfill, have a look at our article on basketball positions or our post on what centers do in basketball.
It goes into great detail to describe the other player types which make up a large part of the game.