Difference Between Point and Shooting Guard

Unlike traditional basketball sports, In today’s game, the players are skilled and perform versatile roles on the court. The two main players of the team, the Point Guard (PG) and the Shooting Guard (SG) fall under the same category and play versatility on the court.

Both the Point Guard (PG) and the Shooting Guard (SG), are designated with various duties to perform. They are appointed to the prime zones on the court and hence enact an integral role in both offense and defense of the team. Let’s have a thorough look at what PG & SG share and what they differ.

What Is the Difference Between Point Guard and Shooting Guard in Basketball

Basketball Point Guard Responsibilities

The Point Guard is the “floor general” of the team who bring the ball upcourt and directs the offensive plays. They hold the cardinal position in the team that is considered the extension of the team coaches.

Also referred to as, “the coach on the floor”, the point guard drives the ball down the court and initiates offensive plays. They run the offense and position the teammate at their “right” position while directing the offense. Their offensive move drives the team into an offensive play leading to more dunking and higher scoring opportunities. More offense maximizes the rate of a potential win.

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Basketball Point Guard

A point guard is the finest dribbler, passer, and prominent ball-handler of the team. He usually creates opportunities for open shots for the receivers. The point guard masters in both, that is, the ball passing and handling by taking the ball near the rim or to the basket, and retreating on defense by remaining near the top of the key. Additionally, they are the ones who get most of the assists off made buckets.

Despite believed that point guards are the shortened players chosen among all. Lately, there are players of normal or various heights that are particularly adept at setting the offense and bringing the ball up the court. Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the most prominent examples of such point guards with the ability to transition the basketball well.

Though the primary job of the point guard is to pass and handle the ball, however, it is expected to have long-distance shooting skills. At times, some guards may take up as many shots as the shooting guard when necessary. Further, a point guard is assigned the duty to defend the other team’s point guard. 

Players like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook,  Derrick Rose., and Chris Paul are the most notable point guards in basketball history.

Qualities & Characteristics of an Ideal Point Guard:

  • Proficiency in handling and passing the ball.
  • The aptitude of utilizing the outside shot when left open.
  • Higher lateral speed and above the ideal foot speed.
  • Command on the primary principles, concepts, and knowledge of the game.
  • Ability to have a high vision on the court and advanced playing defense as a precautionary when needed.

Workout Routine of a Point Guard:

  • Monday: Upper Body Lift No. 1 and Conditioning
  • Tuesday: Agilities and Lower Body Lift No. 1
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Upper Body Lift No. 2 and Conditioning
  • Friday: Agilities and Lower Body Lift No. 2

Basketball Shooting Guard Responsibilities

The primary job of the shooting guard is to “play shots and score”. Shooting guards are also referred to as “two-point guards” because of their numbering among five positions on the court. They are the key rebounders and defenders, as well as secondary ball-handlers in the team.

A shooting guard is not responsible to set and run the offense but rather for playing up as a spot-up shooter or slasher. This means they are the players who do the job of cutting to the rim and driving the ball for the bucket. Shooting guards, are not necessarily to be skilled ball handlers but are the best perimeter defenders and shooters of the team. They are primarily stationed at particular court areas where they can have expansive court vision and are able to run the defense on the perimeter priorly to observing the opposing team’s movement.

Basketball Shooting Guard Responsibilities

A shooting guard is the dab hand dribbler, competent passer, and proficient shooter of the team. The SG is positioned at the zones running along the sidelines and to the corners and wings of the court. Thence, are the prominent outside shooters of the team and the integral players to bring the ball into the court for dunking themselves or passing to the nearest relevant teammate for the bucket to be made. Furtherly, they are in charge of the task to grab rebounds on offense and defending the shooting guard of the opponent’s team.

Though shooting guards aren’t responsible for setting offense, however, are relied upon by the team at times when they have been put out-of-sync by the opponent. The shooting guards are then expected to play 3-point shots and thus bounding the opposing team to the perimeter resultantly opening up lanes for the teammates to play offense and putting points on the board.

The prime shooting guard players in today’s NBA include James Harden, Klay Thompson, and CJ McCollum. The renowned history players that shine as shooting guard stars are Bradley Beal, and Dwyane Wade.

Qualities & Characteristics of an Ideal Shooting Guard:

  • Adept at playing 3-point shots.
  • Driving ways for the team by defending on the perimeter.
  • Idea footspeed and higher lateral speed.
  • Sure-handed to play shots of 15- to 20-foot.
  • Skilled to move and play without the ball at times.
  • Must be active even when the entire is exploited by the opponent.

Can Shooting Guards Play Other Positions?

Yes, shooting guards can play other positions yet there are two common positions associated with the shooting guards. First is the combo guard position, and the other is the Swingman.

Combo guard combines the role of point guard and shooting guard. Such players have exceptional ability to command ball handling and shooting in twain.

Swingman, on the other hand, is a combination of the shooting guard and small forward positions. They are skilled to play defense at both positions. Swingmen can also use their larger frames to be effective rebounders, shoot over the top from the outside, and be improved playmakers over a typical shooting guard.

Difference Between the Point Guard and Shooting Guard

The prominent difference between the point guard and shooting guard is based on athletic attributes, physique characteristics, statistical trends, positioning on the court, and the role they perform. 

The fundamental in what they differ is however the primary duty of “facilitating vs scoring” and “passing vs shooting”.

Who Are Combo Guards in Basketball?

Combo guard refers to the players who are capable to play as point guards and shooting guards, both. They switch their roles whenever needed in the game. Due to being skilled and versatile in roles, they are preferred more while selection and have become more common in modern games. Notable combo guards that have marked their record in history include Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, and Jrue Holiday.


The point guard vs shooting guard is the roles that are similar yet contrasting in multiple ways. The prime similarity is the job of “ball handling and driving the ball nearest to the rim for the bucket”. This duty is encountered by both the players and is accountable for it.

In contrast, the essential job of the point guard is to “set and run the offensive plays” for the team on the court while the primary job of the shooting guard is to “shoot and score”. However, there are considerable commonalities and individuality between point guard and shooting roles overall. The important thing is to be an expert in whatever role you are in and playing!

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