This is going in my NBA Week One Overreactions Blog, but I though it deserved to stand on it’s own. No intro, let’s just jump in…
Point Guards Are Going To Continue To Score Like Crazy
This has clearly been building for the last couple of years in the NBA. Between the influx of talent, the move towards spread pick-and-roll, and the widespread embrace of three point shooting, it’s no surprise we’ve seen an increase in score-first point guards. Curry and Lillard, Russ and Kyrie, Lowry and Wall. These guys have very clearly changed the face of the point guard position over the last few seasons.
What’s happening now though, as signaled by the move of guys like Harden, Giannis, D’Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons, and other bigger players to the point guard position, is that coaches want the best player with the ball in their hands, regardless of size. With the way offensive systems are run today, giving your most dynamic player the playmaking responsibility as the “point guard” is going to lead to the best shot more often than not. Rather than creating plays to get these guys the ball, they’re being given the responsibility of creating plays themselves. And rather than shoehorn them into the role of distributor, they’re allowing them to utilize their scoring talent.
The goal is to create the best shot possible. No shit, right? Well when you combine the off-the-bounce scoring and shooting capabilities of the teams best player with an open, spread-out pick-and-roll system and shooters that defenders are too scared to leave, the point guard is going to give you the best shot possible more often than ever before. These guys can hit threes if you sag. Attack the paint if you hedge too high, and score easily at the basket if defenders are too afraid to slide off three point shooters. That seems simple enough, but it’s taken a long time for the league to adapt and shake the traditional roles that encumbered point guards from posting these gaudy scoring numbers. Add in the increased pace of play and we’re going to see some outrageous scoring numbers from point guards by the end of this season.
No, Russ, Dame, and Harden won’t continue to score 40 a night. But this league-wide increase in scoring and usage from the point guard position is here to stay.