Wing players are usually the leading scorers on their team - they normally get the most shots, and there are a lot of basketball plays run specifically for them through the offense. On the defensive end a team’s “defensive stopper” is usually a wing as well. They are able to guard the other team’s best scorer and take them out of what they want to do on offense.
Playing the wing position comes with a lot of different responsibilities, both on the offensive and defensive end. To be able to play this position correctly and to be able to have success at it there are certain things that you need to do. Here is a list of 5 things that every basketball wing player should know about playing their position.
Learn to be Efficient
The more efficient you can be with your moves on the offensive end the better. If you have to take more than 3-4 dribbles to get a shot off it is most likely going to be a low percentage shot, and your team’s offense is going to become stagnant (unless it is a late clock situation). In the NBA there are a lot of isolation plays where the offensive player backs down the defender or faces them up and goes one on one for a shot. The reason that they are able to do this is because there is a defensive 3 second rule in the NBA, and that keeps the defense from loading up in the help.
However, if you play high school or college basketball there is almost always going to be help sitting there. That means that you are not going to be able to just go one on one like that. You are going to have to score more efficiently and with fewer dribbles. So, for example, instead of attacking off of an isolation, attack right when the ball is swung to you and before the defense can load up to help.
Score Within the Offense
As you begin to play against better competition the defense is going to lock in on shutting down the other team’s best scorer. So that means that if you are a scorer for your team then the defense is going to be keying in on you and trying to make it difficult for you to score. Because of this you won’t be able to get the same looks that you were getting before, you will need to learn how to score within the offense.
Two of the best scorers in the world are Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, and they have both learned how to score within the offense. They will go one on one when needed, but the majority of their points come from within the offense and when they are really shooting well it is because they are scoring in the flow of the offense.
You may not know exactly what scoring within the offense means, so here are a few ways that you can score within the offense. The first way, and biggest way, to score is by using set team plays that end up getting you a shot. This might be coming off of a down screen for a shot, or using a ball screen. It is a specific play run for you as the scorer. Another way is to learn how to score by setting a screen, making a cut, or the spacing the floor, etc. To do this you must be able to read the defense and then take what they are giving you.
Find Easy Scoring Opportunities
During a game you should aim to try and get 6-8 points off of easy baskets. In order to do this though you need to be consciously thinking about them and looking for them. Easy scoring opportunities are all over the place, but you must be willing to work for them. You may not know exactly what an easy scoring opportunity is or what you should be looking for, so here is a list of some of the different opportunities you should be looking for throughout the course of a game.
- Sprint the floor in transition to get open layups or open 3 pointers.
- Cut backdoor for a layup or dunk if your defender is over playing you.
- Offensively rebound and get a put back basket.
- Rotate to an open spot on the floor when your team gets an offensive rebound and be ready to shoot the kick out 3 pointer.
Give the Ball Up
If you look to score every time that you get the basketball and don’t give the ball up, then the defense is going to just load up in the help and it is going to be really hard for you to score. Be willing to give the ball up to a teammate and trust that you will get it back later in the possession. If you show that you are willing to pass to the open teammate then the defense will have to respect that, and it will open up more space for you to score later on.
Add More Value to your Team than Just Scoring
As a wing player/shooting guard it is understood that you are most likely going to be a focal point of the offense, but what value do you add to your team when you aren’t making shots? If the only value that you add to your team is making shots, then what do you think is going to happen when you have an off night? The coach’s job is to put the best players on the floor to help the team win, and if the only thing that you bring to the table is scoring points then when you are not making shots you are going to be on the bench.
However, if you also play good defense, rebound the basketball, etc. then you are always going to add value to your team. So whether you are making shots or not, you must make your team better and still give them the best chance of winning the game.