Two games provide 'swingman' showcase

Updated: January 12, 2005, 12:40 PM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
As a coach, you just love players on your team who can play multiple positions on the floor.

What makes a great swingman? Who are the best in the business?

First, let's define "swingman." He's the glue on most teams, the player who can post important minutes at both the shooting guard and the small forward position – where he plays depends on matchups or the style each coach wants to play during an important time. The best swingmen allow their coaches to go big or small to take advantage of the situation and team's strengths.

The swingman might even slide over and play as a "point forward," bringing the ball up the floor and directing the offense. If he can, he should break down opponents with the penetrating dribble drive.

Vince Carter

Tracy McGrady

Remember how Scottie Pippen and Paul Pressey disrupted the game at both ends with their defensive ability to guard anyone on the court, knock down big shots, and direct their teams from the top of the floor?

On Jan. 13, four of the NBA's best swingmen will be paired in two games. When the Nets visit the Rockets, it will be the first time cousins and former teammates Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady will be playing and matched up at times without a Raptors uniform on either one.