What is a Point Guard in Basketball?

What is a Point Guard in Basketball

Last updated on January 16th, 2023 at 02:57 pm

A point guard (PG) is one of the five main basketball positions on the court and is also known as the one or the ball handler. The point guard is responsible for dribbling the ball down the basketball court, setting up plays, and passing the ball to their teammates. The point guard’s job is to organize his team’s offense.


But what exactly does this basketball player do during a game? What makes a player a great point guard? Is it the most challenging position to play in basketball? Finally, what is the difference between the point guard and the small forward?


Here is a complete breakdown of the point guard position in basketball.


What Does a Point Guard Do in Basketball?

What Does a Point Guard Do in Basketball

The point guard is one of the unique positions on a basketball team. Their responsibilities are technically few, but you will never see a point guard stop moving. Their roles will shape the pace of the basketball game, and they will be the player leading the team’s offense.


The primary responsibility of the point guard is to act as the team’s dribbler who brings the ball down the court. This player usually posts up at the top of the three-point line, calling plays and looking for open passes. The point guard might not be the team’s best shooter, but they should be the best passer. Their great passing ability is essential because, according to Stat Muse, has the most assists in the NBA during a regular season.


On defense, the point guard is responsible for guarding the opposing point guard, stealing the ball, and forcing turnovers. They should also be decent at rebounding when they have a chance. The point guard should focus on making the opposing point guard ineffective. The ineffectiveness usually means guarding them as closely as possible, making it hard for him to pass the ball or get close enough for an easy shot.


What Makes a Player a Good Point Guard?

What Makes a Player a Good Point Guard

While not always, the point guard is usually the shortest player on the team. This height difference from other players usually correlates with a player’s quickness and ability to make fast breaks with the ball. Any aspiring point guard should practice their ball-handling skills daily since these are usually the best ball handlers on the team.


Also, though a point guard is usually not a team’s top scorer, they should be comfortable taking any open shots they have. Whether it is a simple jump shot or they drive in for a layup, the ball handler should be able to handle putting points on the board when they have any scoring opportunities.


Since the point guard calls offensive plays and is sometimes even known as the “floor general,” they should be comfortable passing the ball. Ball hogs will not make great point guards since one of their primary focuses should be their passing skills. Some of the most famous NBA point guards that will be recognizable to most NBA fans include Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook.


Is the Point Guard the Hardest Position to Play in Basketball?

Is the Point Guard the Hardest Position to Play in Basketball

A point guard is challenging to play due to the numerous responsibilities they need to execute during a game properly. Since point guards need to lead the ball down the court, set up plays, and pass the ball to others, they are similar to a project manager on a team coordinating others to make a play work. While excellent shooting skills are essential for point guards, their basketball IQ and reading plays is where they shine.


Outside of running offensive plays, point guards must also be good at defense. They tend to play defense against the other point guard, so it is up to them to read their plays and communicate that to their teammates. Also, a point guard should strive to steal the ball from the opposing point guard, creating an open lane for them to run down the court to score.


What Is the Difference Between a Point Guard and a Small Forward?

What Is the Difference Between a Point Guard and a Small Forward

Small forwards can often be called on to fill in the point guard position in case of injury or fatigue to the starting point guard. Since the small forward is usually the most versatile player on the team, this rarely poses a problem. The small forward can use their athleticism, knowledge of all basketball fundamentals, and dribbling skills to continue leading the team the same way the point guard did.


However, although a small forward can step into the point guard’s shoes if necessary, a few things set the two positions apart. Though the small forward has good ball-handling skills, you usually notice that they are not as good dribblers as the point guard. Small forwards may also not be as familiar with running plays as the point guard is. Additionally, the small forward is usually larger than the point guard.


The small forward also possesses skills that the point guard does not. Small forwards can easily fill in for a post player just as quickly as they can fill in for the point guard. The point guard, however, should never be put on the post except in dire situations.


Conclusion: What Is a Point Guard in Basketball?

A point guard is the playmaker of the team. They are responsible for dribbling and calling plays for their team during a game. While on defense, their job is to guard the opposing point guard, ensuring he has difficulty dribbling and passing. Therefore, point guards will need excellent dribbling skills and a high basketball IQ.


A point guard is the most challenging position in basketball because of the added pressure on these players to be leaders of their teams. Though some consider it the hardest, some argue that this title should go to small forwards because they must be familiar with all positions.


However similar the point guards and small forwards are, there are also critical differences between the two positions. Point guards are usually left in their own position, whereas small forwards can fill in other positions if the need arises. Small forwards can also play the role of a point guard for a few minutes. Small forwards tend to play the point guard position to give the PG a rest during a game.


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