The generic term for one of three player positions in basketball that specializes in shooting and ball handling.
There are two main types of guards in basketball: the point guard, and the shooting guard. The point guard is usually a team's best ball handler and passer, and is also referred to as "the one." Point guards are typically the leader on the floor-they facilitate plays, manipulate the defense, and create shots either for themselves or as assists to other players on their team. A shooting guard specializes in shooting the basketball, especially in the area of mid-to-long-range shots, and also possesses similar skills to that of the point guard. It is often referred to as "the two." A third type of guard is really just a combination of the point guard and shooting guard; it is often referred to as a "combo guard."
The guard position is often collectively referred to as the "backcourt."