Difference Between Shooting Guard and Small Forward

The game of basketball is played with five basketball players on the court for each team at any given time. The five basketball positions consist of a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and a center. While these positions have distinct differences, they can also be confused easily. The most similar are the small forward and shooting guard. While these two positions have similar job descriptions, some significant differences exist.

What is the overall difference between a small forward and shooting guard?

Looking at the positions as a whole, the main difference is that a shooting guard, also known as a two guard, is more of a specialist, while a small forward must be more valuable all around. As the name suggests, the shooting guard’s primary objective is being the best shooter and a premier scorer on the team. His or her shots will come mostly from long range in the form of three-point shots. A good shooting guard will open up the basketball court more for his teammates to dribble through, as the opposition will always need someone covering him.

The small forward needs to be able to do a bit of everything. He needs to spend time under the basket, be a good passer, have good ball handling skills and shoot from different areas like the mid-range. Good small forwards are involved in all aspects of the game and are the players who usually record triple doubles, meaning double digits in points, assists and rebounds in a single game.

What is the size difference between a SG and a SF?

While small forwards and shooting guards can be similar in size, the small forwards are often bigger, due to their need to post up under the basket. Shooting guards spend less time getting banged around under the net, so they can usually be a little shorter and still be effective. Both positions require mobility and speed on the court, so you don’t want the small forwards to be the biggest players or tallest players on the basketball team. Shooting guards still can make an impact in the lane so you don’t want them to be the shortest player either.

What is the difference in defending for SGs and SFs

In the defensive zone, the shooting guard is more concerned with guarding the three-point line of the court, which is usually where the other team’s shooting guard is waiting to take jump shots. Due to the speed of shooting guards, they can often help garner steals for their team. Small forwards may be asked to guard the opposition’s small forward or another MVP-caliber player and must show the same versatility on defense as they do on offense.

Who are the best Shooting guards and Small Forwards?

Both the small forward and shooting guard positions have had star players over the years, with most coming by way of the NBA. Small forwards like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant help carry their team’s offense. At shooting guard, players such as Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, James Harden, and Micheal Jordan have made their mark in history.