What Happened to Pure Point Guards?
"He's probably the best point guard to play the game. He's about efficiency and making people better. That's why he played for 19 years" said Kenny Smith (www.ringsurf.com). Future Hall of Famer John Stockton was truly a pure point guard that consistently made his teammates better. However, in the National Basketball Association (NBA) pure point guards are becoming a rarity. Now there are many point guards such as Gilbert Arenas that are shoot first and pass second. This had led the point guard position to be completely changed in the NBA. But, what happened to pure point guards?
There are several reasons why there are continually fewer pure point guards in the NBA. There are plenty of basketball players playing point guard that are combo guards. Combo guards are basketball players that look to shoot first and pass second. They also are too short to play shooting guard. In addition, they are basketball players that have point guard skills and can be effective off the ball. There are continually being more combo guards drafted into the NBA. The 2008 NBA Draft there were several more combo guards drafted such as O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless and Russell Westbrook. They all have a good chance to score 30 points a game or have 10 assists per game because their combo guards. Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards are perfect example of a combo guard. He averaged 28.4 points a game in 06-07 NBA season. He plays point guard and has the skill set of a point guard and shooting guard. Tony Parker is another combo guard. Tony Parker is at his best when is looking to score and not when he is looking to pass. For instance, November 11th, 2008 he had a career high with 55 points and helped the Spurs get their first win of the year.
Another reason there are less point guards in the NBA is because coaches realizing you can win without pure point guards. There are several NBA teams that are winning a lot of games with nontraditional point guards. The coaches have created systems that use the talents of the combo guards that are their teams' point guards. Many of the teams with combo guards as point guards even won championships. The San Antonio Spurs won an NBA championship in 2007 with nontraditional point guard Tony Parker. Likewise, he was the NBA Finals MVP. The defending NBA champs the Boston Celtics have a combo guard Rajon Rondo as their point guard. Additionally, the Detroit Pistons in 2004 won a championship with the accomplished combo guard Chauncey Billups.
There are less pure point guards today in basketball. But, there are still some pure point guards in the NBA. Pure point guards always make their teammates better because they know when to pass, when to drive and when to shoot. They usually look to pass first and shooting is the last option. NBA players that are pure point guards include Steve Nash, Jose Calderon, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. These players all continually average eight assists per game or more. They enjoy playing point guard the old school way such as Magic Johnson, John Stockton and Isaiah Thomas played the game. However, even the pure point guards are being persuaded to shoot more. Steve Nash at one point averaged 18.8 per game in 06-07 season. Chris Paul is averaging 22 points per game and is 12th in the league in scoring. Deron Williams is averaging 19 points per game. Equally important, they all routinely lead their team in scoring.
Equally important, the point guard position is changing because the point guard is no longer the only playmaker on the floor. Now NBA players of all positions are consistently becoming playmakers. NBA players such as Lebron James, Joe Johnson and Stephen Jackson. They all lead their teams in assists and their not point guards.
Having other positions be playmakers frees up the point guard to score more. There are less pure point guards in the NBA now. But, the point guard position is continually changing. The point guard position may be defined in a different way but all it comes down to is winning. Since teams can win without a pure point guard then the point guard position will continue to evolve. It doesn't seem that it will ever go back to the way that it was in which point guards where strictly quarterbacks that always looked for their teammates shot over their own.
I think we have less pure point guards in part because of height. The NBA wants the guy taking the ball up to be 6-3 or 6-4 rather than 6-1 or 6-2 b/c they won't be a liability on defense. You can also write an article about what happened to the true center, the 7 footer who is wide and can play the post, now we see guys who are 6-10 with 7-3 wingspans who can shoot the 3. The game's development has changed over the years.
def a combo
John Stockton was never a defensive liability. He could guard Penny Hardaway and Magic Johnson and he never backed down from anybody.
Defense was more praised upon back then. Today player development is more focused on other facets of the game, which I don't agree with. No doubt in my mind a lot of guards can play defense a lot better than they do. The stars don't value defense as much as they should. I know Kobe has been on 1st team defenses, but I don't know if he's that great of a defender to be first team, same applies for other guys, but this era lacks Defense where I feel if MJ played in it he would have one DPOY multiple times.
thers always been s bunch of scoring pg. its nothing new
the new rules which eliminated hand checking on the perimeter have led to an increasing in score-first guards... More times than not the player on the court with the best handle and is the quickest is the PG, so he'll have the iso's and blow by's, giving him greater opportunities to get to the rim or get his own shot. The old rules, you could body a guard and force him into a passer, now PG's have so much freedom
Well Said. I wish they would bring that back, but it may be way too late to bring it back.
i was about to say the same thing. its not that defense is worst its that there is no longer hand checking. its damn near impossible to check a good offensive player now