By. Jameille Williams
Staff Writer/Junior Trainer for ITrainedU
There are many different qualities that make a great point guard. Magic Johnson had the vision as well as the skill that made him a great point guard. Same goes for Chris Paul, Oscar Robinson, Pistol Pete Maravich, Jason Kidd and a host of others. The things that made them such great point guards were the understanding of these 7 things: 40% of the Offense Comes Thru You, Control The Game, Court Vision, Extension of the Coach, Create Opportunities for Teammates, Knowing Personnel and Scoring Point vs. Pure Point.
40% of the Offense Comes Thru You
40% of the offense should come thru you. Why 40%? As the point guard it is your job to get your team together. By together I mean you have to get them to the spots they are supposed to be in. When you hear a basketball announcer say that a point guard is “Orchestrating” his team’s offense, this means he gets his team in order and has them operating in unison. You call out the plays to run for your team. Knowing where to get the ball is what you have to be aware of. With the ball being in your hands the majority of the time you have to be able to orchestrate 40% of your teams offense. Now some see this as you racking up a bunch of assists but it’s not just about assist. The point is for you to get the ball in the basket whether you are shooting or passing or just setting up the offense. This leads up to our next point: Control The Game.
Control The Game
As the point guard you control the game. From the tempo to the overall effort of your team. Being a Floor General you have to control everything on the floor. Even on the defensive side. Bringing a certain energy and effort on defense can lead to good offense. Communication helps with controlling the game. You need to be able to talk to your teammates and tell them where they need to be. Calling out screens, telling them if someone is coming up behind them for the steal, calling for the outlet pass and even calling things out when at the free throw line. When controlling the tempo it is up to you as the point guard to play the game fast or slow. That really depends on the situation you are in during the game.
Court vision is important because you need to be able to analyze the court as a point guard. It has been said that Magic Johnson would take a snapshot of the floor before he made a pass. This is the ultimate form of court vision. Being able to see what is going on before it happens is a great ability and skill to have. When you can see a play before anyone else is something to work on. Just knowing where to put the ball to make a great play is court vision. The reason players are able to make good no look passes is because they are able to see things happen before they happen.
Extension of the Coach
A good point guard is the extension of the coach. Whatever the philosophy is of the coach, a good point guard is supposed to be able to exemplify that on the floor. When the coach wants something done he usually calls on the point guard to make it happen. There is a reason the point guard is the one who calls the plays and makes sure everyone is running it correctly. This is where your leadership is to be put on notice. Leading your team on the floor is how you show the coach you can take heed to his word and execute.
Create Opportunities for Teammates/Knowing Personnel
One of the biggest things you have to do as a point guard is create opportunities. Creating opportunities for your teammates goes a long way. Your court vision as well as you being the extension of the Coach helps with creating these opportunities. When creating these opportunities you have to know your personnel. By personnel I mean your teammates. You have to know what it is that your teammates like to do on the floor. Know their favorite places on the floor to score from. This has to be done in the beginning of the season so once the games come around you already know where to put the ball for an alley oop or even for a deep three.
Scoring Point vs. Pure Point
These have become the two most defining styles of point guards. A Scoring Point Guard can be defined as one who is known purely for their scoring ability but also has the ability to direct their team. Players such as Damien Lillard, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and some others have shown the effectiveness of this style. These players may average 20 or more points a game but at the same time can still average 5 or 6 assists. A Pure Point Guard is someone who doesn’t necessarily need to score but makes his teammates score. He averages around 8 – 10 assists a game. Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and others are these archetypes. A team with both types of point guard creates a great balance. Look at North Carolina guards Marcus Paige and Nate Britt. Paige is known for his pure scoring ability and Britt is able to come off the bench and run the office as well without having to score like Paige.