It is often said that a Point Guard is the coach’s extension on the court.
That is difficult to argue against, as the Point Guard of a team is usually responsible for running the team on the floor. They are responsible for getting their teammates in position to score and often times, initiating plays and movement on the court. Being a Point Guard on a basketball team is definitely fun but like our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man’s uncle said, with great power comes great responsibility.
The basketball community has seen players like Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and many others run the PG position to perfection. The way these guys do it seem so effortlessly but that does not come without the countless hours of honing those skills.
Ever wonder what it really takes to be an effective PG? Here are some tips that you can incorporate to your game to excel in the PG position and help your team, whether it is a recreational league or High School, win games and tournaments.
1. Keep your Dribble Going
To be an effective Point Guard, it is important to not stop your dribble when running your offense. This doesn’t have to do with having a good handle, it has to do with being alert and being in constant motion once you run the offense. A common mistake in Point Guards is when they stop their dribble when running the team’s offense. In order to be an effective PG, one must be able to run the offense smoothly and efficiently. Quitting your dribble early disrupts just that. When a PG quits their dribble, it becomes difficult to find the different options in your team’s offense resulting to bad shots or even turnovers. In addition to that, defenses can also take advantage of a player that picked up their dribble early by trapping and forcing the PG to commit a turnover.
Doing this doesn’t really require Kyrie Irving-like handles. Simple dribble moves such as escape dribbles are effective in being able to keep your dribble going while running your team’s offense.
A lot of NBA PG’s have shown this skill but one player that probably used it the most is none other than Steve Nash. Nash consistently keeps his dribble going, waiting for that shot or pass to come.
2. Know your Offense
This is a pretty straight-forward one. As mentioned earlier, a Point Guard is often the coach’s extension on the court. To be just that, one must know the team’s schemes and plays. A Point Guard with full knowledge of their playbook knows where their teammates are supposed to be before, during, and after a play on offense. That leads to efficient ball and player movement which leads to easy, high percentage shots. When learning the team’s playbook, high importance is placed on learning the roles of everyone on the court. A good PG will study their own role, but a great one will learn the roles of the other 4 on the court so that they can direct their teammates into an effective offense.
*Technically not a PG but shows the kinds of shots available when you know your offense. video via NBA*
3. Be Unpredictable
The good kind of unpredictable. Not the unpredictable that’s just gonna try some crazy shot or pass, the kind of unpredictable where you have control but at the same time, have the defense on their heels. There are many ways to do just that, some techniques are, avoiding telegraphed passes and not settling on jumpers.
Telegraphed passes are the kinds of passes where a player moves the ball just to move the ball without purpose. Effective Point Guards always have a purpose when doing something on the court, moving the ball is no exception. Telegraphing ball movement makes a PG too predictable resulting to defenses reading the offense easily.
Balancing your drives to the rim and settling for a jumper is also a great way to become unpredictable for the defense. Becoming too dependent on either one causes the defense to adjust and have a better chance at stifling you and the rest of your offense. Mix your attacks to keep the defenders guessing, and you will have an easier time scoring or dishing the rock to your teammates.
4. Take what the Defense gives you
This is self-explanatory, but a tough one to excel at. This aspect may take a fair share of game experience before it becomes second nature, but I know that you guys are willing to put in the work. The game of basketball is like a game of chess, you have to study your opponent’s moves before making yours. Read the defense before you make a decision. This is important for all players, especially Point Guards. Let’s say that you are in a pick n roll, you can’t just make a predetermined decision and hope that the defense makes a mistake. Players such as Chris Paul and Stephen Curry are great examples of PG’s that take what the defense gives them. Chris Paul is a tremendous passer but also has an extremely efficient jump shot because of the defenses trying to key in on his passing. Stephen Curry as we all know might be the greatest shooter of all time but has great playmaking skills since defenses have focused more on his shooting. It is all about reading and reacting as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Of course there are many other ways to become an effective Point Guard for your team do not just focus on these given points because the game of basketball is such a vast topic to learn from. Consistently working on your game on the court will make you better of course but don’t just stop there, watch videos of players such as Chris Paul and take note of the ways he gets the job done as a Point Guard. Whoever you are, if you put in the right amount of work, there’s no limit to how good you can be at the Point Guard position. Keep hoopin’.