In today’s game, with three-point shot being such a key element of a team’s offensive strategy, the role of a shooting guard has become significantly expanded.
He has to be able to play excellent defense and create shots for himself in the halfcourt offense. He needs to be a weapon from long range as well. This is true because the better a shooting guard (or two-guard, as he is commonly called) can shoot from behind the three-point line, the more it forces defenses to step farther out on the court to guard him. This is turn allows the lane to be open to both penetration and for the post players.
It is also imperative that the shooting guard be able to be a spot-up shooter—to be able to catch and shoot—as well as be able to create his own shot off the dribble
Because the shooting guard is often called upon to get the team a quality shot when their offense has broken down--in other words, when a play has not worked, or the opposing team’s defense has thrown a team out of sync--the shooting guard must step up and be able to create something out of nothing, a task of immeasurable value to a team.
In the open floor, the two-guard must be able to run the lanes effectively, and be able to—after receiving the ball in a fastbreak situation— take the ball to the basket and score. The great two guards, Allan Houston, Reggie Miller, Mitch Richmond, are able to dominate a game with their scoring ability, as well as play solid defense at the other end.
Though they do not have nearly the amount of responsibility heaped upon them that point guards do, a talented two-guard is an integral part of a successful team, given that he is called upon to perform so many varying tasks on the floor.