A combo guard is usually a perimeter player that combines the skills of both a shooting guard and point guard, yet doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional definition of either position. These guards can be big men who play at the forward or shooting guard positions in college or in the NBA. They can also be benchwarmers who play the two-spot. These types of players are often overlooked by coaches because they don’t have the pure athletic ability to play at the guard position. A combo guard however, because he performs well at the shooting guard position and also because he sometimes switches to the small forward when the opportunity presents itself, may be able to use his size and strength to outweigh these shortcomings.
The dictionary definition of what is a combo guard should therefore use the word “guards” in its place. This term refers to a position on the floor where oneguard (usually a small man) holds the ball while two forwards run off screens and take turns at shooting guards in the interior. Guards also sometimes use this position as a lead guard position in a pyramid scheme, with oneguard running down the right wing while the otherguards, usually the small men, play the two-spot on the perimeter. This defensive scheme has several advantages. One, it often forces a defender to help on a ball-screen which opens up the floor for a quick bucket; two, it gives two defenders a single rotation so that each player is always playing against a different player on a single possession; and three, it leaves one defender in position to help on a ball-screen which results in a turnover.
A more literal and technical definition of this position might be “A player who holds the ball/ pointer, and is a competent perimeter defender that switches between wing positions and guards”. This definition gives some components of the position more definition and makes it a little easier to evaluate. It also eliminates some of the fancy names and jargon that the basketball world uses to describe positions on the court. That’s a good start.
In today’s NBA we often hear phrases such as “stretch” or “stretch 4”. A stretch 4 is a position usually used by a small forward or shooting guard who can play the four spots on the floor. A stretch 4 in the NBA is often either a big man or a wing. Some “stretch 4s” in the NBA today are wing players who can play the two positions as well. That is what a “stretch guard” is in today’s lingo.
So, what is a guard? That’s a longer question than what is a combo guard. The definition of a guard is “A player assigned as the primary point of attack in a attacking situation in order to create scorers”. That definition may still be somewhat ambiguous to a lot of people. I have come up with a pretty good short list of skills needed for a guard to have the skills necessary to defend their position and to score well.
Skills such as defense, ball handling, shooting, rebounding, ball control, and even ball handling are all needed. If you want to be a guard in the NBA you have to have all of those skills. You need to at least have a decent sense of the game, but it doesn’t hurt to have some talent. And don’t forget to work on your footwork because that will also help you with your defensive skills and will add value on your offensive end as well. There really isn’t a lot left to learn about what is a combo guard in today’s lingo.