Basketball 101: Role of the Guard

In these first few editions of Basketball 101, will breakdown the role of each position on the basketball court. First up is probably one of the most challenging positions of them all, the guard. discussed the ups and downs of the shooting and point guard position along with the goals of it with players and coaches. Take a look at what the experts had to say…

What is the role of a Guard?

As the legendary Dick McGuire says, "A guard's a guard!"

There are two types of guard in basketball, the point guard and the shooting guard, also known as the two-guard. The shooting guard is usually relied on more as a scorer rather than the point. The point guard is the "coach on the floor." A point guard directs the offense and coordinates what is happening," says Assistant Coach Jeff House.

Becky Hammon and K.B. Sharp both agree that the point guard is the leader on the floor. Hammon states that the point is responsible for breaking the defensive pressure while being one of the first players to read the opposing team's defensive strategy. Sharp adds that the point guard has to also make sure that everyone on the floor is in the right place at all times and that the players know which play the offense is running.

The shooting guard's primary responsibility is to score and then help out with point guard duties. On a lot of teams in the WNBA, the point guard and shooting guards can interchange positions and help one another out if necessary.

What are the challenges of the guard position?

Many believe that the point guard is the most challenging because the point has to know where everyone is at all times and coordinate what the game plan is for the team. On the other hand, the shooting or two-guard has the burden of providing consistent scoring from the perimeter. Their consistency can help alleviate pressure for the post players to be the primary scorers along with making the team more dangerous to guard. The defense will have a tougher job because they won't know where the points will come from; it'll be more balanced.

Check back next week for some insight into the forward position.

VJ calls out the play. Nathaniael S. Butler/WNBA/Getty Images Spoon looks for the pass. Jesse D. Garrabrant/WNBA/Getty Images Sharp runs the play. Jesse D. Garrabrant/WNBA/Getty Images