All you need advice and stories for your sport, delivered straight to your inbox (every month).Nothing more.Nothing less.
P.S: You will enjoy this.
Point guards need a host of skills, playmaking, shooting, dribbling, the list goes on. Along with those basic basketball skills and physical attributes, here are some other skills that will help you become a better point guard.READ MORE
A point guard is an extension of the coach on the court. Floor general, playmaker, conductor of the orchestra, there are many monikers and responsibilities thrust upon a point guard. Point guards like Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, were all able to elevate their team and help their teammates accomplish things they would not be able to otherwise.
Point guards need a host of skills, playmaking, shooting, dribbling, the list goes on. Along with those basic basketball skills and physical attributes, here are some other skills that will help you become a better point guard.
The best point guards are the ones who elevate their team's play. They can distribute the ball, finding the right man/woman at the right time at the right place on the court to score or make a play. Getting one's teammates involved is not a directive to rack up assists, you don't always have to make the home run pass that will lead to a score. It's important to get the ball moving and have the entire team get in a flow where everyone passes up good looks for great looks.
Brooklyn Nets’ coach Steve Nash is one of the greatest playmakers of all time, he was also one of the best teammates one can ask for. If his teammates made a mistake on the court, he would step up, tell them to hang their heads up and assume responsibility. He would come into a huddle after a loss and put the blame on his shoulders. His then coach with the Phoenix Suns Mike D'Antoni said "Do you know how much easier it makes it to coach when your best player does that?”
Guards like Nash and Chris Paul are incredible scorers, but they choose to get their teammates going on the court and take charge later in the game when the team needs a bucket. Nash has made the 50-40-90 club four times (shooting 50% or more from the field, 40% or more from the three-point line & 90% or more from the free-throw line), while Chris Paul's mid-range game is as deadly as any point guard from any era.
They still get their team involved in the action so that everyone hustles hard, is happy being fed shots and is warmed up if they need to knock one down later in the game.
A point guard needs to bring the ball up the court, be able to push the action in transition, and keep the offence humming at all times. To do this, they need to be able to keep the ball secure. Being a solid point guard does not require you to be flashy as much as being dependable.
When the ball is in your hands, the entire team should feel at ease knowing that you will be able to keep your dribble alive under pressure and find an open teammate if the defence throws a trap at you.
Although we now see centres like Nikola Jokic galloping downcourt with the ball, Jokic is a point guard in a centre's body. As a point guard, one of the things you will be judged by is your assists/turnover ratio. How many assists you rack up compared to how many times you turn the ball over. Chris Paul has an incredible ratio of 3.62. To put that into context, LeBron James has one of 2.13 and he's one of the greatest playmakers of all time.
Leaders lead in different ways. The same holds for point guards. Unless you are playing with a LeBron James type of forward, you as the point guard need to be able to lead the team on the court. While a point guard may not be the team captain, they need to be able to direct the action and keep teammates happy with regular dishes. It also falls on them to hold their teammates accountable on offence and distribute touches as needed in the flow of the game.
Feed the hot hand over one who's having an off-game, move the ball to take advantage of a weakness in the defensive scheme, make decisions that are the best for the team and inspire the team to follow suit.
Point guards like Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul are vocal leaders, keeping up chatter and managing the action. Someone like Steve Nash leads by uplifting their teammates' play and uplifting them emotionally. Along with leading the league in assists five times in his career, Nash averaged 239 high-fives in the 2009-10 season.
That may also be a product of the seven-seconds-or-less offence leading to more high-five worthy plays, but mainly it's an indication of how much Nash goes out of his way to encourage his team and lead them to play their best.
The movie Premium Rush had scenes where the movie would pause as the protagonist Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a bike messenger would seize up the action on the road, measure different possibilities resulting from routes he chooses.
The ability to see the action as it unfolds and make decisions accordingly is imperative for a point guard. To be a good point guard, you need to be able to see plays before they happen. To make passes not where your teammate is, but where they will be in a second.
Anticipation, timing, spatial awareness, ability to make quick reads, it'll all help you see the floor better and make plays. Basketball isn't just played with the ball and the rim, there are 9 other living, breathing, moving pieces on the court besides you and you need to make the optimum play develop.
Taller playmakers like Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Ben Simmons, and Nikola Jokic can maximize their court vision with their height. But most of the best playmakers are also among the smallest on the court. You don't always need to be able to see behind every single player, it's more of a case of knowing where the players are and where they are going to be.
The best point guards hone their court vision by supplementing it with as much information as possible. Information about their team's plays, their opponent's defensive schemes, their own teammate's tendencies on the court and how they like to move and where they like to receive the ball. This helps them not only see the floor but also develop a sense of where things are going to shape up.
The more the point guard can space the floor, the better they can find openings on the court. There is only so much space to work within a half-court offence, and it is constantly being patrolled with tenacious defenders who work to shrink the space.
This is where a point guard like Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard can extend the floor with their sniper-like range, making the defence stretch and scatter.
To space the floor, you need a reliable jump shot from distance. Not everyone is a Ben Simmons who can be an effective point guard without a consistent outside game. You need to get the defence to respect your shot, then can you make plays off the dribble easier. If you don't have a reliable jump shot, then the defence can focus on stopping you from driving and not extend to contest.
The triple threat position is called that because one can shoot, drive or pass from it. There are three possibilities. But if one isn't a good shooter, then you are effectively trimming your game down to two- drive or dish.
Some of the best playmakers are those who are capable shooters, the defence has to plan for them and focus on them. These shooting playmakers can get by the first defender, draw the attention of the defence and make the pass to the open teammate. To break a defence down on the dribble, it helps to be a shooting threat.
There you have five skills that can help you become a better point guard. Keep putting in the work consistently and you’ll see the results on the court with time.
Tell us in the comments the skill which you think is necessary for a point guard.
When you join our subscribe list, you get access to the best of sports inspiration, tips, stories and more to practice your sport. Just One Digest Per Month (Promise)
Please subscribe here