A shooting guard (SG) is one of five traditional positions on a basketball team. They are often shorter, leaner, and quicker than forwards, and are frequently called upon to create a high volume of shots on offense and guard the opponent's best perimeter player on defense. Shooting guards are also known as "2-guards" (or simply "2's"), and "off guards", since they play off the ball on offense. Some teams ask their shooting guards to bring up the ball as well; these players are known colloquially as "combo guards". A player who can switch between playing shooting guard and small forward is known as a swingman.
While shooting guards are sometimes the best jump-shooters on the floor (hence the "shooting" part of the position name), most can also drive to the basket well. A shooting guard should be a good ballhandler and be able to pass reasonably well -- although passing is not their main priority, it is often a bonus. Since a good shooting guard will often attract double-teams, shooting guards are frequently the team's back-up ballhandler to the point guard. Most shooting guards, however, focus primarily on scoring, allowing the point guard to worry about distributing the ball. Many bigger shooting guards can also play small forward. Most shooting guards in the professional game are between 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), such as Ben Gordon on the low end of the spectrum, and 6 ft 8 in (2.04 m), such as Tracy McGrady on the high end.
Michael Jordan, perhaps the best-known basketball player in history, played primarily as a shooting guard, and helped define the role of the modern position. That said, his skills, especially his ability to cut to the basket, were features that made him as much of a small forward as a shooting guard. Reggie Miller, on the other hand, is a more classic display of what the shooting guard position prototypically demands: lankier than Jordan, he moved very well off screens without the ball, and was a deadly jump-shooter with a lightning-quick release. Notable shooting guards who are currently active include Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Jason Richardson, Diana Taurasi (WNBA player), Richard Hamilton, Manu Ginobili, and Michael Redd. Famous shooting guards of the past include Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Mitch Richmond, Bill Sharman, Sam Jones, Earl Monroe, Pete Maravich, John Havlicek, George Gervin, and Hal Greer.