Great point guards are hard to find

Originally Published: November 28, 2006
Recruiting Nation

With all the talented high school basketball players in the country, it is amazing that the toughest player to find is a true point guard. Ask college coaches what position they covet the most, and most will say a point guard who can ignite the fast break, run his team, break any full-court press and create at the end of the shot clock.

Point guard is the most difficult position to play on the court. Like a quarterback in football, the point guard must be aware of all the elements of the game. He must be able to initiate his team's offense while taking care of the ball and making sure all of his teammates are aware of their responsibilities. The best point guards think pass first and can create scoring opportunities for the players around them while still being able to score themselves.

This position requires a player who is mentally tough, demonstrates leadership skills and is an excellent decision-maker. The point guard is an extension of the coach, and it is imperative for a championship-level team to have a point guard who has those qualities. Point guards can control play at the collegiate level, especially at tournament time.

There are many different types of point guards in the NBA, ranging from Jason Kidd to Steve Nash to Chris Paul. Each of these big-time point guards has displayed either in college or in the NBA a very unique skill: They make everyone around them better. That is what makes them great.

Point Guard Grading System


Recruiting Nation will evaluate point guards on the following criteria:

1. Speed and quickness: Do they show the speed and quickness to push the ball in transition and be able to get the ball deep into the paint at will? Do they have the lateral quickness to defend quicker opposing point guards and keep them from penetrating to the rim?

2. Size: Although this position has some flexibility with size, it is extremely helpful to have point guards with size and length to go with their speed and quickness.

3. Ballhandling: The point guard must be the best ballhandler on the team and be ball tough. Does the prospect have the ballhandling skills to run a team, whether it be in the fast break, half court or against full-court pressure? Does he have the ability to advance the ball quickly with 2-3 dribbles or one quick advance pass?

4. Passing and court vision: Does the prospect get his teammates involved and make others around him better? Does he see the floor and have the vision to see the open man and deliver the ball at the correct time? Can he deliver the ball and set up his teammates for easy shots? Can he feed the post? Does he know who his scorers are and how they like to receive the ball?

5. Scoring/shooting: Can the player get to the rim, score or get fouled and get to the free-throw line? Can he shoot the ball well enough to keep the defense honest? It is hard to coach with a point guard who can't shoot, but point guards who can run the pick-and-roll, especially at the end of the shot clock, and stick the perimeter shot are hard to defend.

6. Decision making: What is the player's assist-to-turnover ratio? Does he have the ability to make split-second decisions in a fast-paced game? Does he know how to control tempo -- when to push the fast break or when to slow it down and run the half-court offense? What is the player's court awareness? Does he understand situational basketball, such as time and score, the shot clock, etc.?

7. Leadership: Does the point guard possess the ability to lead the team on the court? Can he be an extension of the coach? Will the players follow him? Does he have the ability and poise to lead the team when they are dealing with adversity?