Words by Phlip
Thanks to the hormones they inject into the food we have no choice but to feed our children, the NBA shooting guard is becoming a lost art form.
To be honest, the last few we have worth mentioning are Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Monta Ellis, and Ray Allen. On the downward trend are holdouts like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Rip Hamilton and among the disappointments comes the fact that Brandon Roy fell victim to whatever it is they’re putting in the water in Portland that is costing players their knees prematurely.
It says here that a Shooting Guard will normally be somewhere between a big 6’3” and smallish 6’7” by NBA standards established during the Jordan era. He will have the ballhandling ability with which to create his own shot or bail a trapped point guard out to get the ball up the court. As the name of his position suggests, he will more than likely be the best overall shooter on the court. A motion or triangle/triple-post offense will often employ two of them to make the defense remain honest about double teaming, with the best ballhandler being the one tasked with bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense.
Now, with that in mind, I want you to HONESTLY name 5 more Shooting Guards in the NBA without consulting ESPN, FoxSports or something similar. I stalled out at JJ Redick, OJ Mayo and Eric Gordon, and I am ashamed of myself for it. But my point is proven. Kids these days seem to be AVOIDING playing Shooting Guard because of the lofty comparisons that Jordan has laid upon the position, thus ruining the careers of so many in his wake. I have already mentioned the “kids are bigger” thing with the mention of the foods, but that surely bears a large hand in it too, where they routinely find themselves 2” taller and 20 pounds heavier and are forced into playing the next position up out of necessity.
Enter into the lexicon an aforementioned creature called the “combo guard,” who is usually not quite large enough to defend the other team’s Shooting Guard, but possesses not the Point Guard’s necessary full skill set. Allen Iverson, Russell Westbrook, Gilbert Arenas, Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, and Nate Robinson all define that term.
It was really not until I stopped to look in and do this series of posts that I even THOUGHT of the trending out of the classic shooting guard over the past few years, but it is something that cannot be ignored in the least. The “swingmen” – a blanket term reserved for a player who could play the SG or the (to-be-covered) Small Forward positions – seemed to all move up a weight class.
And it sucks, too.
Remembering that the NBA’s logo in Jerry West played the position, and the arguably greatest of all-time in Michael Jordan played the position, and great levels of excitement popped up from it down through the years, we’re watching what COULD be the end of an era, or at least this particular version of it. It seems the heyday of particular positions have their “seasons,” and looking at college basketball these days, the sons of former NBA players are quite often finding themselves playing shooting guard, and the bigger ones are playing center again so it is wholly feasible that we see the comeback of those positions in the next couple years in the NBA.
For the time being, though… It is on Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade to carry the mantle into the next generation.
Next up, Small Forwards!