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Playmaking from the Two: Creating for Teammates

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    Sports Tips


In the world of basketball, the shooting guard (SG) is often seen as the primary scorer, known for their ability to knock down jumpers and stretch the floor. However, the modern SG, or the "two," has evolved into a critical playmaker, seamlessly blending scoring and creating opportunities for teammates. Understanding the playmaking responsibilities of a shooting guard is essential, both for players aiming to improve their game and for coaches devising winning strategies.

Passing Out of Drives


A shooting guard’s ability to drive to the basket and kick out to open teammates is pivotal. This action not only breaks down defenses but also creates high-percentage shots for the team.

Key Skills and Drills

  1. Court Vision
    • Drill: Start with simple drive-and-kick drills. Drive into the paint, draw the defense, and make a pass to an identified shooter on the perimeter.
  2. Decision-Making
    • Drill: Use game-scenario drills wherein the SG must decide between finishing at the rim or passing based on defensive reactions.
  3. Accuracy under Pressure
    • Drill: Practice passing with defenders applying pressure. Use smaller goals for precision and quick, decisive movements to simulate game conditions.

Running the Offense

As the secondary ball-handler, the SG must often take the reins of the offense, especially in situations where the primary point guard is pressured or unavailable.


  1. Setting the Pace
    • Control the tempo of the game, knowing when to push the pace and when to slow it down.
  2. Initiating Plays
    • Recognize defensive setups and execute the appropriate offensive schemes.

Key Skills and Drills

  1. Communication
    • Drill: Practice calling out plays while maintaining ball control. Use both verbal and non-verbal cues.
  2. Ball Control
    • Drill: Incorporate dribbling exercises that emphasize control and change of pace.
  3. Understanding Offense
    • Drill: Break down the playbook in film sessions, highlighting where and when the SG should initiate specific plays.

Initiating Fast Breaks

A swift transition from defense to offense can turn the tide of a game. Here, the SG's role as a playmaker is crucial to capitalize on fast-break opportunities.


  1. Reading the Court
    • Quickly assess the court as soon as the possession changes.
  2. Decision-Making
    • Decide whether to push the ball forward with a pass or dribble past defenders.

Key Skills and Drills

  1. Speed and Agility
    • Drill: Conduct timed sprints and agility ladder exercises to improve speed and court navigation.
  2. Passing on the Run
    • Drill: Run full-court drills where the SG must make accurate passes while on the move.
  3. Finishing
    • Drill: Practice finishing lay-ups and short pull-up jumpers at game speed to cap off fast breaks.

Practical Advice from the Trenches

Player Insights - From the Court

  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: "Keeping your head on a swivel and being patient is key. Teams will try to rush you, but staying composed and making the right reads sets the great players apart."
  • James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers: "Work on your handles relentlessly. Being able to create space not only helps in scoring but opens up passing lanes for your teammates."

Coaching Tips - From the Bench

  • Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: "Never undervalue the importance of fundamentals. Drills that focus on the basics lay the foundation for advanced playmaking."
  • Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors: "Encourage your players to watch a lot of game film. Understanding positioning and defensive tendencies can make a huge difference in playmaking."


The shooting guard is no longer just a scorer—today’s SG is also an adept playmaker, blending the artistry of scoring with the science of creating opportunities for teammates. By honing skills like passing out of drives, running the offense, and initiating fast breaks, SGs can significantly impact their Teams success. For both players and coaches, a focus on these areas is crucial for evolving in the dynamic landscape of modern basketball.

With dedication, practice, and a deep understanding of the game, the shooting guard can become a versatile and invaluable asset on the court.

“A great passer is not made in a day. It comes from years of practice, understanding your teammates, and a sixth sense of the game.” – Pete Maravich

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let's continue the conversation about the evolving role of the shooting guard in basketball! 🏀🔥