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The point guard (PG), also called the one or the point, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. A point guard has perhaps the most specialized role of any position. Point guards are expected to run the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that it gets to the right player at the right time. Above all, the point guard must understand and accept their coach's game plan; in this way, the position can be compared to a quarterback in American football, a catcher in baseball, or a playmaker in soccer (association football). They must also be able to adapt to what the defense is allowing and must control the pace of the game.
A point guard, like other player positions in basketball, specializes in certain skills. Their primary job is to facilitate scoring opportunities for their team, or sometimes for themselves. Lee Rose has described a point guard as a coach on the floor, who can handle and distribute the ball to teammates. This involves setting up plays on the court, getting the ball to the teammate in the best position to score, and controlling the tempo of the game. A point guard should know when and how to instigate a fast break and when and how to initiate the more deliberate sets. Point guards are expected to be vocal floor leaders. A point guard needs always to have in mind the times on the shot clock and the game clock, the score, the numbers of remaining timeouts for both teams, etc.
Magic Johnson won the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award three times in his career. Other point guards who have been named NBA MVP include Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook, and two-time winners Steve Nash and Stephen Curry. Notable point guards of the WNBA include four-time champion Sue Bird and three-time champion Diana Taurasi. In the NBA, point guards generally range 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) to 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) whereas in the WNBA, point guards are usually 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) or shorter. Having above-average size (height, muscle) is considered advantageous, although size is secondary to situational awareness, speed, quickness, and ball handling skills. At 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) the shortest player in NBA history, Muggsy Bogues enjoyed a 14-year career as a point guard.
After an opponent scores, it is typically the point guard who brings the ball down the court to begin an offensive play. Passing skills, ball handling, and court vision are crucial. Speed is important; a speedy point guard is better able to create separation and space off the dribble, giving themselves room to work. Point guards are often valued more for their assist totals than for their scoring. Another major evaluation factor is the assist-to-turnover ratio, which reflects the decision-making skills of the player. Still, a first-rate point guard should also have a reasonably effective jump shot.
The point guard is positioned on the perimeter of the play, so as to have the best view of the action. This is a necessity because of the point guard's many leadership obligations. Many times, the point guard is referred to by announcers as a "coach on the floor" or a "floor general". In the past, this was particularly true, as several point guards such as Lenny Wilkens served their teams as player-coaches. This is not so common anymore, as most coaches are now solely specialized in coaching and are non-players. Some point guards are still given a great deal of leeway in the offense. Even point guards who are not given this much freedom, however, are still extensions of their coach on the floor and must display good leadership skills.
Along with leadership and a general basketball acumen, ball-handling is a skill of great importance to a point guard. Generally speaking, the point guard is the player in possession of the ball for the most time during a game and is responsible for maintaining possession of the ball for his team in the face of any pressure from the opponents. Point guards must be able to maintain possession of the ball in crowded spaces and in traffic and be able to advance the ball quickly. A point guard that has enough ball-handling skill and quickness to be able to drive to the basket in a half-court set is also very valuable and considered by some to be a must for a successful offense.
After ball-handling, passing and scoring are the most important areas of the game for a point guard. As the primary decision-maker for a team, a point guard's passing ability determines how well a point guard is able to put his decision into play. It is one thing to be able to recognize the player that is in a tactically advantageous position, but it is another thing entirely to be able to deliver the ball to that player. For this reason, a point guard is usually, but not always, more skilled and focused on passing than shooting. However, a good jump shot and the ability to score off a drive to the basket are still valuable skills. A point guard will often use his ability to score in order to augment his effectiveness as a decision maker and play maker.
In addition to the traditional role of the point guard, modern teams have found new ways to utilize the position. Notably, several modern point guards have used a successful style of post play, a tactic usually practiced by much larger centers and forwards. Exploiting the fact that the opposing point guard is often an undersized player with limited strength, several modern point guards have developed games close to the basket that include being able to utilize the drop step, spin move, and fade away jump shot.
In recent years, the sport's shift from a fundamental style of play to a more athletic, scoring-oriented game resulted in the proliferation of so-called combo guards at the point guard position. More explosive and athletic point guards focus on scoring as opposed to play-making, forgoing assists and ball-movement, and often defense, for higher scoring numbers. Young players who are relatively short are now developing the scoring aspects of their skill-sets, whereas previously these players would find it difficult to enter the NBA without true point guard skills. These combo point guards can surprise defenses. Instead of passing after bringing up the ball they quickly drive to the basket or step back for an outside shot. There are some disadvantages to this style of play. A point guard often controls the offense and he also controls who gets the ball and who doesn't, as this type of controlling style of play is necessary to control the tempo of a game. Scoring point guards typically look to score first, thus preventing teammates from getting the ball. This can cause other players to become dis-involved in the offense. Even so, combo guards still require above-average passing skill, but not as much as possessed by "pure" point guards (which is what those in the traditional mold of a point guard are referred to).
A point guard primarily defends on the perimeter, just as he primarily plays on the perimeter on offense. On defense, the point guard is tasked with making the opposing point guard as ineffective as possible. A defensive point guard will try to accomplish this with constant pressure on the ball, making it difficult to maintain possession. A defensive point guard will also pressure opponents in passing lanes in an attempt to generate steals and scoring opportunities for his own team.
Current NBA point guards known for their defensive prowess include Jrue Holiday, Marcus Smart, and Chris Paul.
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one, two or three one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.
Robert Joseph Cousy is an American retired professional basketball player. Cousy played point guard with the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963, and briefly with the Cincinnati Royals in the 1969–70 season. Making his high school varsity squad as a junior, he went on to earn a scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross, where he led the Crusaders to berths in the 1948 NCAA Tournament and 1950 NCAA Tournament, and won NCAA All-American honors for three seasons.
The triangle offense is an offensive strategy used in basketball. Its basic ideas were initially established by Hall of Fame coach Sam Barry at the University of Southern California. His system was further developed by former Houston Rockets and Kansas State University basketball head coach Tex Winter, who played for Barry in the late 1940s. Winter later served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls in the 1980s and 1990s and for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000s, mostly under head coach Phil Jackson.
The shooting guard (SG), also known as the two, two guard or off guard, is one of the five traditional positions in a regulated basketball game. A shooting guard's main objective is to score points for their team and steal the ball on defense. Some teams ask their shooting guards to bring up the ball as well; these players are known colloquially as combo guards. A player who can switch between playing shooting guard and small forward is known as a swingman. In the NBA, shooting guards usually range from 6' 3" to 6' 7” while in the WNBA, shooting guards tend to be between 5' 10" to 6' 1".
Point forward is a nontraditional position in basketball, with a small forward—or sometimes a power forward or combo forward—adding the responsibilities of point guard to their play.
A shot clock is a countdown timer used in basketball that provides a set amount of time that a team may possess the ball before attempting to score a field goal. It is distinct from the game clock, which displays the time remaining in the period of play. It may be colloquially known as the 24-second clock, particularly in the NBA and other leagues where that is the duration of the shot clock. If the shot clock reaches zero before the team attempts a field goal, the team has committed a shot clock violation, which is penalized with a loss of possession.
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The pick and roll in basketball is an offensive play in which a player sets a screen (pick) for a teammate handling the ball and then moves toward the basket (rolls) to receive a pass. In the NBA, the play came into vogue in the 1990s and has developed into the league's most common offensive action. There are however many ways in which the defense can also counter the offensive screen.
Organized basketball is a game played by five players per team. Historically, these players have been assigned to positions defined by the role they play on the court, from a strategic point of view. Broadly speaking, the three main positions are guard, forward, and center, with the standard team featuring two guards, two forwards, and a center. Over time, as more specialized roles developed, each of the guards and forwards came to be differentiated, and today each of the five positions are known by unique names, each of which has also been assigned a number: point guard (PG) or 1, the shooting guard (SG) or 2, the small forward (SF) or 3, the power forward (PF) or 4, and the center (C) or 5.
Man-to-man defense is a type of defensive tactic used in team sports such as American football, association football, basketball, and netball, in which each player is assigned to defend and follow the movements of a single player on offense. Often, a player guards his counterpart, but a player may be assigned to guard a different position. However, the strategy is not rigid, and a player might switch assignment if needed, or leave his own assignment for a moment to double team an offensive player. The term is commonly used in both men's and women's sports, though the gender-neutral 'player-to-player' also has some usage. The alternative to man-to-man defense is zone defense, a system of defense in which each player guards an assigned area rather than a specified opponent.
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Fast break is an offensive strategy in basketball and handball. In a fast break, a team attempts to move the ball up court and into scoring position as quickly as possible, so that the defense is outnumbered and does not have time to set up. The various styles of the fast break–derivative of the original created by Frank Keaney–are seen as the best method of providing action and quick scores. A fast break may result from cherry picking.
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Nellie Ball is an offensive strategy in basketball developed by NBA head coach Don "Nellie" Nelson. It is a fast-paced run-and-gun offense relying on smaller, more athletic players who can create mismatches by outrunning their opponents. A true center is usually not needed to run this type of offense. A large volume of three-point attempts is also a feature of Nellie Ball. This offense is most effective against teams that do not have the athleticism or shooting ability to keep up with the fast pace.
A combo guard is a basketball player who combines the attributes of a point guard (1) and shooting guard (2), but does not necessarily fit the standard description of either position. Such guards are usually within the 6' 3" and 6' 5" height range. Most combo guards tend to be between point and shooting guards in terms of height, although some possess the height of a point or shooting guard specifically which affects how each plays.
Basketball is a multiplayer sports video game produced by Mattel and released for its Intellivision video game system in 1980. The players each control a basketball team competing in four timed quarters of game play. Mattel obtained a license from National Basketball Association and used the NBA logo in its box art, making it first basketball video game to be licensed by the NBA. NBA Basketball does not use any official team or player names. It was sold by Sears for its private-label version of the Intellivision console, the "Super Video Arcade," without the NBA name or logo.
In basketball, a stretch four (sometimes called a stretch big) is a player at the power forward position that can generate offense farther from the basket than a conventional power forward. "Stretch" describes the effect such a player has on the opposition defense, and the power forward position is also known as the "four"; hence "stretch four". The stretch four is a fairly recent innovation in the NBA, but is still becoming increasingly common in today's game, as many NBA coaches now use the "small-ball" line-up/tactical play.
Basketball is a ball game and team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Since being developed by James Naismith as a non-contact game that almost anyone can play, basketball has undergone many different rule variations, eventually evolving into the NBA-style game known today. Basketball is one of the most popular and widely viewed sports in the world.
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