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How to Maximize a Point Guard That Can Score

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Over the past couple of decades, organized basketball has slowly evolved from featuring three player positions (guard, forward, center) to five player positions (point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center) to numbers 1-5. 

Along the way there have also been low post players, big guards, and point forwards to name a few. Now, players such as Miami's LeBron James are being referred to as "positionless." However, one thing has never changed - majority of teams need a primary ball handler to advance the ball up the floor and to initiate the offense. 

But what happens when your best ball handler is also your best shooter, your best scorer, and/or your best inside finisher? How can you get him enough quality shots to help your team win while still using him in the roles of floor general and distributor? 

Here are two suggestions that will hopefully get you thinking: 

1. Run primarily specific sets and quick hitters 

A point guard who initiates a motion offense may not get the ball back for several passes which could obviously reduce his scoring efficiency. An offense built on sets and quick hitters can solve this problem can let him handle the ball, start the offense, and still get plenty of shots. 

One of my favorites is to have our point guard pass to the wing and the make a hard UCLA cut off a screen set at the high post. If he doesn't get the immediate return pass for a layup, he then establishes position on the block and posts up for two seconds. The high post screener steps out to the three point line. 

After passing the ball to the top the wing then sets a down screen for the guard on the block who comes off it looking for the jump shot or a curl to the basket. If neither of these options are open, the high post passes the ball to the guard/shooter/ball handler who is now on the wing and follows his pass with an on ball screen. This is an extremely simple set that offers many scoring opportunities during a single possession. 

2. Utilize the fast break and sideline break at every opportunity 

Great ball handlers are primarily needed when the defense is attempting to put extreme pressure on the ball. After all, if there is absolutely no defensive pressure you center could at least walk the ball down the floor, couldn't he? Well, utilizing an effective fast break after rebounds and steals and running a quick, but organized sideline break every time your opponent puts the ball through the basket eliminates a lot of defensive pressure. As a result, your need for a true point guard is diminished! 

When we have run this (which has been nearly every year) we send our best ball handler/scorer "deep" and put a non scorer as the "first pass." Then we work every single day on catching the ball out of the net and inbounding it so quickly that our opponents don't have time to set up their press. 

Most times the player receiving the first pass only has to take one dribble before passing the ball down the sideline. Once our best ball handler / scorer catches the ball on the move (usually between half court and the far hash mark) his initial responsibility is to attack the basket while looking for teammates filling the open lanes on the weakside. 

Of course, in dead ball situations, or if our "first pass" was under more pressure than he could handle, then our point guard / ball handler would just come back down the floor and help out. 

In the college game the North Carolina and Kentucky men and the Oregon and Louisville women are just a few of the teams that have used quick hitters and a high speed transition attack to maximize the talents of an outstanding point guard / scorer. It just might work for your team too! 

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