The POINT GUARD (PG), also called the ONE or POINT, is one of the
five positions in a regulation basketball game. A point guard has
perhaps the most specialized role of any position. Point guards are
expected to run the team's offense by controlling the ball and making
sure that it gets to the right players at the right time. Above all,
the point guard must totally understand and accept their coach's game
plan; in this way, the position can be compared to a quarterback in
A point guard, like other player positions in basketball, specializes in certain skills. A point guard's primary job is to facilitate scoring opportunities for his/her team, or sometimes for themselves. Lee Rose has described a point guard as a coach on the floor, who can handle and distribute the ball to teammates. This involves setting up plays on the court, getting the ball to the teammate in the best position to score, and controlling the tempo of the game. A point guard should know when and how to instigate a fast break and when and how to initiate the more deliberate sets. Point guards are expected to be vocal floor leaders. A point guard needs always to have in mind the times on the shot clock and the game clock, the score, the numbers of remaining timeouts for both teams, etc.
Among the taller players who have enjoyed success at the position is
Magic Johnson , who was 6' 9" (2.06 m) and won the National Basketball
Association Most Valuable Player Award three times in his career.
Other point guards who have been named
After an opponent scores, it is typically the point guard who brings the ball down court to begin an offensive play. Passing skills, ball handling, and court vision are crucial. Speed is important; a speedy point guard is better able to create separation and space off the dribble, giving him/herself room to work. Point guards are often valued more for their assist totals than for their scoring. Another major evaluation factor is Assist-to-Turnover ratio, which reflects the decision-making skills of the player. Still, a first-rate point guard should also have a reasonably effective jump shot .
* 1 Offense * 2 See also * 3 References * 4 External links
The point guard is positioned on the perimeter of the play, so as to
have the best view of the action. This is a necessity because of the
point guard's many leadership obligations. Many times, the point guard
is referred to by announcers as a "coach on the floor" or a "floor
general". In the past, this was particularly true, as several point
guards such as
Along with leadership and a general basketball acumen, ball-handling is a skill of great importance to a point guard. Generally speaking, the point guard is the player in possession of the ball for the most time during a game and is responsible for maintaining possession of the ball for his team in the face of any pressure from the opponents. Point guards must be able to maintain possession of the ball in crowded spaces and in traffic and be able to advance the ball quickly. A point guard that has enough ball-handling skill and quickness to be able to drive to the basket in a half-court set is also very valuable and considered by some to be a must for a successful offense.
After ball-handling, passing and scoring are the most important areas of the game for a point guard. As the primary decision-maker for a team, a point guard's passing ability determines how well a point guard is able to put his decision into play. It is one thing to be able to recognize the player that is in a tactically advantageous position, but it is another thing entirely to be able to deliver the ball to that player. For this reason, a point guard is usually, but not always, more skilled and focused on passing than shooting. However, a good jump shot and the ability to score off a drive to the basket are still valuable skills. A point guard will often use his ability to score in order to augment his effectiveness as a decision maker and play maker.
In addition to the traditional role of the point guard, modern teams
have found new ways to utilize the position. Notably, several modern
point guards have used a successful style of post play, a tactic
usually practiced by much larger centers and forwards. Working off of
the fact that the opposing point guard is in all probability an
undersized player with limited strength, several modern point guards
have developed games close to the basket that include being able to
utilize the drop step, spin move, and fade away jump shot. Former
Knick and Pacer Mark Jackson , and
Detroit Pistons Chauncey Billups
are notable examples of players who frequently use this style of play.
In recent years, the sport's shift from a fundamental style of play
to a more athletic, scoring-oriented game resulted in the
proliferation of so-called combo guards at the point guard position.
More explosive and athletic point guards (e.g.
A point guard primarily defends on the perimeter, just as he primarily plays on the perimeter on offense. On defense, the point guard is tasked with making the opposing point guard as ineffective as possible. A defensive point guard will try to accomplish this with constant pressure on the ball, making it difficult to maintain possession. A defensive point guard will also pressure opponents in passing lanes in an attempt to generate steals and scoring opportunities for his own team.
* The Basketball Handbook (pg 14) (2004). Lee H. Rose ISBN 0-7360-4906-1