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Pete Maravich was a shooting guard in the 1970s

The shooting guard (SG), also known as the two or off guard,[1] is one of five traditional positions on a basketball team. Players of the position are often shorter, leaner, and quicker than forwards. A shooting guard's main objective is to score points for his team.[1] Some teams ask their shooting guards to bring up the ball as well; these players are known colloquially as combo guards. Allen Iverson, for example, is a shooting guard who is more of a playmaker than a shooter. A player who can switch between playing shooting guard and small forward is known as a swingman. Some examples would be Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Martin, Dwyane Wade, Brandon Roy, Michael Redd and former NBA stars Michael Jordan and John Havlicek.

Characteristics and styles of play

The Basketball Handbook by Lee Rose describes a shooting guard as someone whose primary role is to score points. Typically, shooting guards are taller than point guards and more athletic. Size at the position varies; most shooting guards in the professional game are between 6 ft 3 and 6 ft 8 inches or 1.91 to 2.04 m. Many bigger shooting guards also play small forward. While they are usually the best jump-shooters on the floor (such as Reggie Miller, Ben Gordon, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Ray Allen) some shooting guards (such as Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Kobe Bryant, Manu GinĂ³bili, Brandon Roy, and Allen Iverson) are known for attacking the basket. Shooting guards should be good ball handlers and be able to pass reasonably well, though passing is not their main priority. Since good shooting guards may attract double-teams, they are frequently the team's back-up ball handlers to the point guard and get a good amount of assists.

Shooting guards must be able to score in various ways, especially late in a close game when defenses are tighter. They need to have a good free throw percentage too, to be reliable in close games and to discourage opposing players from fouling. Because of the high level of offensive skills shooting guards need, they are usually a team's primary scoring option, and sometimes the offense is built around them.

Good shooting guards can usually play point guard to a certain extent. It is usually accepted that point guards should have the ball in their hands at most times, but sometimes the shooting guard has a significant enough influence on the team where he or she handles the ball extremely often, to the point where the point guard may be reduced to a backup ball handler or spot-up shooter. Many times, championship teams feature an excellent shooting guard on the roster.


  1. ^ a b Shooting Guards are 6'3"-6'7"BBC Sports academy URL last accessed 2006-09-09


  • The Basketball Handbook (pg 15) (2004). Lee H. Rose ISBN 0-7360-4906-1
Guards Basketball half-court 1. Point Guard Combo Guard (PG/SG)
2. Shooting Guard Guard-Forward/Swingman (SG/SF)
Forwards 3. Small Forward Combo Forward/Cornerman (SF/PF)
4. Power Forward Point Forward (PG/SF, PG/PF)
Center 5. Center Forward-Center (PF/C)
Captain | Head Coach | Referees and officials


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