Basketball Shooting Guard Vs. Small Forward

Basketball Shooting Guard vs. Small Forward

Shooting guards and small forwards are two of the five positions on a basketball team. Both are important positions on the court, and, in many cases, the small forward or shooting guard is the best player on a team. Read on to learn about these two positions as well as their similarities and differences.

Shooting Guard

Basketball Shooting Guard

Shooting guards are much smaller than small forwards and have an emphasis on shooting. Shooting guards can also catch and shoot and cut to the basket. Most shooting guards are great defenders as well because they have the size to defend point guards and their own position. The best shooting guards can be the best leaders, sometimes even team anchors, on the court.

Shooting guards are often the anchor of shooting teams, as opposed to a team that drives the ball down low and plays in the paint. The best example of a shooting guard is Michael Jordan, who is arguably the greatest player of all time because of these qualities. Another example of such a shooting guard anchor is Kobe Bryant, who is also considered to be one of the NBA’s all-time best shooting guards and best players overall.

Small Forward

Basketball Small Forward

The small forward position is the player who can essentially do it all: they can score, shoot, defend, rebound, and pass. They are, in many cases, the best player on the team. They are also bigger than both shooting guards and point guards (but not bigger than the power forwards and centers). If the small forward is the best player on a team, they would most likely be the anchor of both their offense and their defense on the court.

Players look to the small forward to lead them throughout the game, especially in big moments. The best example of a small forward is LeBron James; he can do just about everything on a basketball court and is looked to as the anchor of any team he is on. James is also widely considered to be the best player of his generation and one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

List of Basketball Positions

  • Basketball Point Guard
  • Basketball Shooting Guard
  • Basketball Small Forward
  • Basketball Power Forward
  • Basketball Center


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

Shooting guards focus on shooting and rebounding, while small forwards are also responsible for creating open lanes, passing the ball, being a defensive anchor, and setting up scoring opportunities. Both positions must be excellent shooters and physically aggressive players. However, small forwards are usually bigger and taller than shooting guards, as they are often required to post up in the paint.