Michael Jordan

Player profiles: Shooting guards

A shooting guard or "two-guard" can be various things for their team. Shooting is in the title, but defense can be paramount as well.

Point guards bring the ball down and initiate the offense, but they are not alone on the perimeter. Offense often runs through the wing players as well, as they have superior angles for passing into the post or swinging the ball around the outside.

As the title suggests, shooting is a duty that has long been reserved for the two-guard in a lineup. However, with the evolution of the game, there are now shooters at every position. For this reason, shooting guards have been asked to do more and more on the floor. A superior wing defender is now as coveted as a solid shooter because they can guard the opponent's top perimeter scorers.

Let's get into some shooting guards that you can emulate if you are or want to become a shooting guard.

Scoring shooting guards

In today's game, it is tough to find scoring shooting guards that are not also solid defenders. If you are needing some examples of SG's that can score though, below are a handful of players to model your offense after.

Bradley Beal and Devin Booker are some of the sweetest shooting two guards in the game right now. Another, more underrated scorer is Kris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks. A former player, recent enough that there is plenty of film on him, is Ray Allen.

One of the top, if not the top scoring shooting guard in the game is Klay Thompson. He is a good defender, but he is the player to watch if you want a scoring SG to emulate. He has what may be the prettiest shot in the game and the way he works to get it off is a great example for any current or budding shooting guard.

Lockdown defenders

Though many teams/coaches would prefer at least a three-and-D type of player, some shooting guards get by on their defense alone. Defensive focus at the highest level takes a lot of work, though you must still remain an option on offense by at least slashing to the basket and being a willing distributor.

Two examples of this type of player today are Andre Roberson of the OKC Thunder and free agent, Tony Allen. Don't watch film of Roberson shooting, but watch some of his time on the defensive end to understand his place in the NBA. Roberson's use of length and Allen's use of positioning, footwork, and strength are great things to watch for.

An example of a couple of three-and-D type players still in the game are Danny Green and Avery Bradley. Some former players are Sidney Moncrief and Michael Cooper, who could defend multiple positions.

Somewhere in-between

With point guards, it appeared that somewhere between pass-first and shoot-first would put you in a great spot in the modern game. With shooting guards, things appear similarly, as some of the all-time greats were not only fantastic scorers, but elite defenders as well.

The best shooting guard to date is Michael Jordan, who was not only a 10x NBA scoring leader, but also 9x All-NBA Defense, including Defensive Player of the Year in 87-88. For film analysis of a SG that could do it all, MJ is the ultimate example.

One of the most elite scorers in basketball history, but also another accomplished defender is Kobe Bryant. If you need to work on footwork, Kobe is one of the best guards to watch.

A few more current players to watch that do a little bit of everything are the recently retired Dwyane Wade, as well as Victor Oladipo and Jimmy Butler.

That should give you plenty of homework if you need to study up on becoming or improving upon being a shooting guard. That wraps up the guard positions, so forwards, you're up next with the player profile on small forwards. Stay tuned!