In basketball, a playmaker is a player who works to create plays for the team, with the ultimate goal being to score points off of that play. The best playmakers are usually great at dribbling and are also great passers. The more scoring opportunities a player can create, the better playmaker they are.
But what does a playmaker do, specifically, in a basketball game? What is a playmaker’s role in defense? Finally, who are some of the most famous playmakers currently and throughout basketball history?
Let’s dive into this thorough overview of what it means to be a playmaker in basketball.
What Does the Playmaker Do in Basketball?
A playmaker is a basketball player responsible for setting up and executing plays. The playmaker’s goal is to put as many teammates as possible into a good position to score. The more open shots a team can make, the more the playmaker does their job. By doing this, the playmaker increases their team’s chances of scoring on that offensive possession.
Because of the responsibility playmakers have to the rest of the team, they are often seen as the team’s leaders. Sometimes they are called the “coach on the floor” or the “floor generals.” They are trailblazers who use their leadership skills in an attempt to make their teammates better.
Not only is the playmaker usually the team leader, but they also possess excellent basketball skills and almost seem to play the game with higher confidence than other players. They are also expected to keep a cool head during stressful times, especially when the game is close and on the line.
What is Considered Playmaking in Basketball?
Playmaking is basically any action that helps a team score during their possession. Though the responsibility of playmaking mostly sits on the playmaker’s shoulders, the other team players also have an obligation. This responsibility is to ensure that they follow through as best as possible to ensure that the playmaker’s efforts are not for nothing.
A crucial part of playmaking is passing the ball to teammates to create option shots for them. Playmaking also consists of dribbling, performing assists, and getting as many rebounds as possible. Even something as uncommon as alley-oops from halfcourt can be considered playmaking.
Playmaking takes a lot of coordination and skill, but it also takes a cool head and the ability to perform under pressure. Basketball playmaking will not be as successful with nervous players or those who like to show off more than they should. Playmaking should be done with patience and a lot of focus.
What Makes a Good Basketball Playmaker?
A good playmaker needs to be good at several basketball skills, but they also require specific life skills to be the best of the best. Since the playmaker is usually the point guard or the ball handler, they should have the best dribbling and natural ability of ball movement that most other players do not have. A small forward may step in as a temporary playmaker if there is no point guard in the game.
A playmaker does not have to be the best scorer on the team, and they do not even have to be the best player overall. However, other skills are necessary for a playmaker to be the best. For instance, a playmaker should have a higher basketball IQ than his teammates. To be a truly great basketball playmaker, you must also have excellent decision-making skills.
Does the Playmaker Also Play Defense?
Technically, every court player is responsible for offense and defense. This means that a playmaker must be able to play both offense and defense. There are defensive playmakers on some teams who are responsible for ensuring that their teammates are running the correct defensive plays.
Sometimes there are different playmakers for defense. However, due to their leadership skills, it is usually the same playmaker for both offense and defense. This is an excellent example of why those leadership skills are necessary to make a great playmaker.
Who Are Some of the Best Playmakers in the NBA?
Now that we know what playmaking is, how to do it, and why it is so important, let’s look at some great examples of well-known playmakers. When we look at current NBA players, a few stick out as great playmakers.
Chris Paul, with the Phoenix Suns, is considered by most to be the best playmaker currently in the NBA. Since he averages 8.9 assists per game, it is easy to see why this is the case. Another great playmaker in the NBA is James Harden, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. He averages 10.6 assists every game. Last but not least is King James himself: LeBron James. LeBron James plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is one of history’s most recognizable basketball names.
Stephen Curry with the Golden State Warriors and Russell Westbrook with the Los Angeles Lakers are also great playmakers. Though Westbrook has more assists, it is undeniable that Steph has a way of making plays to open up his teammates, especially himself, to create many scoring opportunities. Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets is a playmaker who usually provides his fans with some of the flashiest highlights of the game.
Conclusion: What is a Playmaker in Basketball?
In conclusion, a playmaker is a player responsible for making plays and creating scoring opportunities for their team. This player must have phenomenal dribbling and passing skills and a high overall knowledge of the game. However, it is also important to remember that a playmaker must also have excellent leadership skills, as they are usually seen as the leaders of their team.
We can look at several fabulous examples of playmakers, including Chris Paul, James Harden, and LeBron James. When we look at these players’ stats and how they conduct themselves as leaders, it is easy to see how a playmaker should perform.
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