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Peck
06-08-2007, 03:43 AM
Ok this is really going to be a question that the easy and right answer to is the word "both" however for this discussion let's take that word, any variation of that word or any other word or combonation of words that mean the same thing out of the equation.

You have to pick one or the other here.

For your point guard do you think his primary job is to initiate the offense or the defense.

For reasons beyond his control I am forcing Uncle Buck to say "offense":dance:

Everybody else gets to choose their own reasons.

Now here is the hard part, you then have to explain why.

Kstat
06-08-2007, 03:47 AM
A PG's job is to run the offense, period. Very few players are skilled enough to run an NBA offense without being a traditional PG.

It is possible for a PG to quarterback the defense, but that's a vocal responsibility moreso than physical. Any player on the floor can do that. It isn't a job unique to the point guard.

Actually, since PGs are very limited to how much of the defense they can monitor while keeping an eye on the other team's PG, I'd say PGs are ill-equipped to initiate a defense, as opposed to a center, who has a much better view of what the other team is trying to do at any given point, and is able to adjust much faster and make quick decisions.

Peck
06-08-2007, 03:51 AM
A PG's job is to run the offense, period. Very few players are skilled enough to run an NBA offense without being a traditional PG.

It is possible for a PG to quarterback the defense, but that's a vocal responsibility moreso than physical. Any player on the floor can do that. It isn't a job unique to the point guard.

Somewhere Uncle Buck just had a cold chill pass over his body and he broke out into a sweat. The funny thing is he doesn't even know why yet.:)

naptown
06-08-2007, 03:59 AM
Mark Jackson...... enough said.

DisplacedKnick
06-08-2007, 06:37 AM
PG should run the offense - usually.

In fact, the person who should run the defense should be one of the big men deeper under the basket. Just like the PG on offense he has the better view of what's developing, what kind of sets the offense is in, etc. Oakley did most of that for the Knicks (of course the coaches really do most of it).

Defense is different anyway since for the most part it's reactive and just about everything should be something you're practiced - do you hedge the ballhandler? go over or under the P&R screen? switch or fight through?

Unclebuck
06-08-2007, 07:54 AM
Somewhere Uncle Buck just had a cold chill pass over his body and he broke out into a sweat. The funny thing is he doesn't even know why yet.:)


I might shock you a little bit with my answer.


let me quote the question first.


For your point guard do you think his primary job is to initiate the offense or the defense.

For reasons beyond his control I am forcing Uncle Buck to say "offense"

Even if you were letting me answer offense or defense, my answer would be offense anyway. With a couple of exceptions. If you have a McGrady, Lebron James, Kobe, Wade (combo of Marquis Daniels and Mike Dunleavy) then you really don't need a point guard who has to be really good at initiating the offense. Ok, I'm joking a little bit about Dun and Daniels - but I think it is possible the offense might run through those two guys next season)

One thing I know more than anything else. Is in order to be a decent team in the NBA you need a guard or guard like small forward who can create offense at will - when the shock clock is running down, when the defense is dug in and in tough playoff games. This player doesn't have to be a point guard, he doesn't have to be a shooting guard, nor does he have to be a small forward - but it has to come from one of those 3 positions. You cannot initiate your offense through a post-up player - I think that is rather obvious.

OK, let me get back to the question at hand. I've always said that the most important defender on the floor is the point guard, and I firmly believe that because if your point guard gets beaten off the dribble the whole defense gets broken down, you get into foul trouble, you give up offensive rebounds, you give up wide open 3 point shots - it turns into a disaster.

So my answer is if you have a shooting guard or small forward to run your offense then no the point guard doesn't have to initiate the offense - but it probably makes it easier if the point guard could do it.

See, I always have to make things difficult.

Slick Pinkham
06-08-2007, 08:34 AM
A pont guard's job is to run the offense. If he does that extremely well, nobody pays attention to his defense. Obviously, the coaches must devise team defensive scheme to make up for any defensive limitations and the teammates must execute the help strategies.

Now I'm assuming that you are not in the lucky position of having a uber-talented non-PG who can initiate the offense (LeBron, Kobe, McGrady, Wade, etc.)

If your point guard is only average at running an offense and pretty good on defense, you look to find a decent backup to go to when the offense stagnates, but you are not desperate.

If your point guard is only average at running an offense and awful on defense, then there is a problem and you need excellent other defenders and a good team defensive scheme to minimize the damage and as a net result you are at a competative disadvantage as a team, and if you want to you can analyze a compenent of that as losing the overall battle at the PG position.

Tinsley might be, on a good day, even a little bit better than average in running an offense. (I am being generous and sunshiny). But to call his defense awful is an understatement, since he absolutely gets beat like a rented mule on defense. That's why we have a problem at he starting point guard position.

beast23
06-08-2007, 10:33 AM
Even if you were letting me answer offense or defense, my answer would be offense anyway. With a couple of exceptions. If you have a McGrady, Lebron James, Kobe, Wade (combo of Marquis Daniels and Mike Dunleavy) then you really don't need a point guard who has to be really good at initiating the offense. Ok, I'm joking a little bit about Dun and Daniels - but I think it is possible the offense might run through those two guys next season)

One thing I know more than anything else. Is in order to be a decent team in the NBA you need a guard or guard like small forward who can create offense at will - when the shock clock is running down, when the defense is dug in and in tough playoff games. This player doesn't have to be a point guard, he doesn't have to be a shooting guard, nor does he have to be a small forward - but it has to come from one of those 3 positions. You cannot initiate your offense through a post-up player - I think that is rather obvious.

OK, let me get back to the question at hand. I've always said that the most important defender on the floor is the point guard, and I firmly believe that because if your point guard gets beaten off the dribble the whole defense gets broken down, you get into foul trouble, you give up offensive rebounds, you give up wide open 3 point shots - it turns into a disaster.

So my answer is if you have a shooting guard or small forward to run your offense then no the point guard doesn't have to initiate the offense - but it probably makes it easier if the point guard could do it.
I think we would do very well coaching together. Your philosophies almost always coincide with mine.

As for answering Peck's question from my perspective, as 'Buck indicates, you ALWAYS need someone capable of keeping the opposing PG in check. That means that you are causing him to take a few extra seconds off the shot clock in setting up his offense and initiating his plays. It is an absolute must that you prevent dribble penetration by the opposing PG. In a perfect world, your defense of the opposing PG would take the opposing team out of their comfort zone by forcing the PG to make lateral passes to the SG or SF, forcing them to initiate the offense.

As for offense, I agree with 'Buck that we are starting to see SGs initiate offense. We have now seen such specialization at the SF position that we are beginning to use the term "point forward".

So now, let's apply the above to the Pacers. Because choosing between one or the other really gets down to the personnel that you have available. We have Dun Jr and Daniels capable of initiating offense, so I believe that the PG position is less important to us offensively.

At the other end of the floor, our starting PG plays matador defense. He gets a few steals by gambling, but not enough to make up for all the dribble penetration that we experience. He is not quick enough to double an another player and still get back to prevent the opposing PG from shooting the 3.

Consequently, for the Pacers anyway, a defensive-minded PG that is capable of taking care of the ball but who couldn't initiate offense on his best day would be a much better alternative at PG than what we currently have... as long as he is paired up with at least one of Dun Jr or Daniels.

And, that's exactly whey I believe we traded the wrong PG last summer. AJ did a decent job taking care of the ball, could initiate the offense by making the simple pass, and except for the quickest of PGs in the league, did a pretty decent job of stopping dribble penetration. The fact that he can at least be considered an average or better perimeter shooter was icing on the cake.

So unless I have a PG whose initiation and distribution skills are exceptional, I'll take a defensive-oriented PG every time, as long as I have one or two other players capable of initiating the offense and making entry passes.

Unclebuck
06-08-2007, 10:44 AM
I think we would do very well coaching together. Your philosophies almost always coincide with mine.

As for answering Peck's question from my perspective, as 'Buck indicates, you ALWAYS need someone capable of keeping the opposing PG in check. That means that you are causing him to take a few extra seconds off the shot clock in setting up his offense and initiating his plays. It is an absolute must that you prevent dribble penetration by the opposing PG. In a perfect world, your defense of the opposing PG would take the opposing team out of their comfort zone by forcing the PG to make lateral passes to the SG or SF, forcing them to initiate the offense.

As for offense, I agree with 'Buck that we are starting to see SGs initiate offense. We have now seen such specialization at the SF position that we are beginning to use the term "point forward".

So now, let's apply the above to the Pacers. Because choosing between one or the other really gets down to the personnel that you have available. We have Dun Jr and Daniels capable of initiating offense, so I believe that the PG position is less important to us offensively.

At the other end of the floor, our starting PG plays matador defense. He gets a few steals by gambling, but not enough to make up for all the dribble penetration that we experience. He is not quick enough to double an another player and still get back to prevent the opposing PG from shooting the 3.

Consequently, for the Pacers anyway, a defensive-minded PG that is capable of taking care of the ball but who couldn't initiate offense on his best day would be a much better alternative at PG than what we currently have... as long as he is paired up with at least one of Dun Jr or Daniels.

And, that's exactly whey I believe we traded the wrong PG last summer. AJ did a decent job taking care of the ball, could initiate the offense by making the simple pass, and except for the quickest of PGs in the league, did a pretty decent job of stopping dribble penetration. The fact that he can at least be considered an average or better perimeter shooter was icing on the cake.

So unless I have a PG whose initiation and distribution skills are exceptional, I'll take a defensive-oriented PG every time, as long as I have one or two other players capable of initiating the offense and making entry passes.



Thanks, that is the nicest compliment anyone has ever given me - in this forum.


As for your other comments, I agree 100%

Hicks
06-08-2007, 10:59 AM
I'll choose offense for the fact that your ultimate goal is to put the ball in the hoop.

Los Angeles
06-08-2007, 11:00 AM
Wade (combo of Marquis Daniels and Mike Dunleavy)

Funniest thing I've read on here in weeks. Good one, UB.

And good post in general too.

I actually found the question kind of silly. (No offense intended, Peck. I appreciate the attempt to get discussion rolling).

The point guard's job is to initiate the offense. As I've said elswhere on the forums, conventional wisdom is sometimes right, and this is one of those times.

I challenge anyone here to name a top-tier defensive player that needs a PG calling D to be effective. I don't think that's possible. But there are great offensive players out there that depend on the PG to call a play or get them the ball at just the right time. Enough said.

thunderbird1245
06-08-2007, 11:11 AM
I love questions like these. Here is my thinking on my answer, which is "defense".

As a coach its easier to figure out ways to play strategically without a true "point guard" than it is a true "point guard defender". Without a premier decision making point guard to call your plays and run your team offensively, you can coach around that with a few different solutions. Some of those are:

1. You can utilize a "point forward" type of concept, where the same player generally recieves the first pass in any play and starts all sets from the wing area. Paul Pressey of the 1980's Milwaukee Bucks was the first guy I remember to be used quite this way, but there have been others. Larry Bird was somewhat used this way too at times.

2. As a coach if you dont have a great "floor general" to be your coach on the floor you can just call most of your sets yourself, rather than relying on your point guard to have that decision making power.

3. You can play a true "2 guard front", so your backcourt can share responsibilities offesnively, and arent forced to make decisions on where to "take the action". Ive been pushing for the Pacers to do this since we acquired Marquis Daniels, and maybe even since Reggie retired.

I think as a coach and general manager its very important to build your team defense first, and defense starts at the point guard spot. You can pressure the ball, wearing out the opponents guards. You can run time off the shot clock, maybe eliminating that one extra pass later in a possession that leads to a bucket. A great point guard defender can cause the opponents coaches to have to limit their playbook, since they may not be able to run complicated complex set plays. A great point guard defender can cause communication issues with the opponents guard and coaching staff. A great pg defender can make the opponent have to create and use other ballhandlers to initiate, which is something that is often out of character and out of their comfort zone to do.

A great point guard defender can do all of that, and there are other benefits too. Having one keeps your bigs from having to help to early or too often and helps keep them out of foul trouble. It enables your other wing defenders to stay closer to shooters and not to have to help as far or as often, letting them contest others jumpers better. It also helps establish a toughness and intensity right at the beginning, telling your opponent that they are in for a war, not just to score but to even run a play, or start offense, or even to get the ball up the floor. Its a winning mindset, and few teams with great point guard defenders end up with losing records.

Lets face it, not all but almost all true great point guards are fading away, or morphing into being "combo" guards......i.e. players who are asked to bring the ball up but still be shooters/slashers/scorers. Its sexier as the game evolves to be Allan Iverson instead of John Stockton, at least in the eyes of today's youth and players at the high school level.

Of course, all of this is coming from a guy who is a defensive coach first, and who's favorite Pacer point guard was Haywoode Workman, not Mark Jackson.

Speaking of Woody, he is a great example of how a coach can "plan around" a subpar ballhandler and offensive player at that spot. Woody played awesome pressure defense for us, but struggled offenssively. Larry Brown's solution was to run alot of offense for Derrick McKey as the playmaker/passer "point forward" type, after Haywoode got the ball upcourt. Particularly, Brown liked to get the ball to McKey near the top of the circle, and run Reggie off baseline screens with McKey as the passer to him, reading Reggie's cutting. That's a play you seen ran by other coaches who like defensive point guards alot, particularly in the college ranks by Michigan State's Tom Izzo.

I vote big time for defense here, but smart people can disagree.

Tbird

Los Angeles
06-08-2007, 11:19 AM
Maybe I'm not understanding the question.

The words "initiate defense" are confusing me.

I agree that the PG needs to be an excellent defender, but I think the point guard more than any other position needs great 1-on-1 defensive skill. He doesn't call the defensive setup or tell the other players what to do. Just because he's likely to come near the ball earliest in the shot clock doesn't mean he's "initiating" anything. The other four players are counting on him to cover his man, but beyond that, the PG is not in charge out there.

I'm not denying that defense in a PG is important. I'm saying that he's not the "initiator" the way he is (and should be) on offense.

Arcadian
06-08-2007, 11:54 AM
If your point guard isn't the offensive initiator is he still a point guard? For instance were Ron Harper, Larry Hughes or Smush Parker ever point guards?

It seems to me if the offense doesn't go through the point guard a combo or shooting guard is used rather than an actual defensive minded point guard.

Naptown_Seth
06-08-2007, 12:14 PM
Offense normally, but with the right roster you can find yourself with a "point" forward or even SG (ahem, AI, Wade, Barkley, Pippen, Lebron) where the offensive is clearly initiated by them. Their advantages and court vision are leveraged to get ahead in a play and create things for themselves or others.

In such cases some teams have chosen to have the PG be a defensive disrupter and you can inititate defense from that spot, primarily for the very reason you are asking Peck - most teams start their offense with that position.

Because of that fact you can force the ball to either leave that spot early, prior to a play properly setting up, or can deny clean ball movement/entry from that spot.

Say a team runs PnR with the goal of getting the ball into the hands of the start C/PF in the lane for his shot. Perhaps the PG isn't a great shooter so the pass is the primary outcome of the play. A strong defensive PG gets through the PnR clean, denies the entry pass and the offense comes to a halt and must move to plan B. Continue this process and it goes on to C, D, E...

So in that way the PG has been the one to initiate the offensive reaction/adjustment to the defense, meaning he has truly initiated the defense. The defense is now "ahead" in the play, meaning the ball position and floor spacing are being dictated by the defense more than the offense.

And it all started with a defensive PG.

I would strongly suggest that Snow/AI for the Sixers Finals team was built like this, and in fact it was basically 4 defensive players and AI much of the time. AI had the benefit to roam off-ball and jump the passing lane in their defense since he didn't have to play "PG" most of the time.


I like T'Birds Workman/McKey example too, they did run things that way. And this is from a guy who's favorite player IS Mark Jackson. ;)

RWB
06-08-2007, 12:21 PM
Smarter people than I have answered the questions. I can only add I want my point to be able to push the ball up the court without getting trapped. Nothing ticks me off more than watching the ball being turned over for 8 seconds.

Trader Joe
06-08-2007, 01:06 PM
When I think of the all-time great PGs they are pretty much all known to be offense before defense. Even in today's NBA Nash, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Billups etc. are all offensive before defensive talents. I would say it is more important to have a PG that initiates the offense because on offense you can control how much your PG controls and how often he has the ball in his hands. On defense even if you have a great defensive PG he can be neutralized by a team that has a very good ballhandling shooting guard or small forward.

beast23
06-08-2007, 01:06 PM
I like T'Birds Workman/McKey example too, they did run things that way. And this is from a guy who's favorite player IS Mark Jackson. ;)I think that Eric Snow may be the best present example. And for the Pacers, Workman was an excellent example as well.

AJ was somewhat along these lines, although I wouldn't exactly refer to him as a "stopper".

Another player that I was hoping the Pacers would keep just to use as a defensive PG and to see how he might develop in distributing the ball was Jamison Brewer. I doubt Brewer ever could have hit a shot further from the basket than a layin, but he is probably the quickest Pacer that I can remember.

Other than Workman, my other favorite Pacer PG has been Don Buse. Buse did not have the quickness that many players have, but had exceptional instincts to go along with consistently good positioning. Of course, he really doesn't fit the mold of our discussion, because he was always near the top of the league in assists and three point shooting percentage as well.

Considering Peck's question, I don't really think that he intended for consideration that the PG initiates defense by verbally calling or signalling a defensive set, but rather by spearheading the defense.

If any player were to actually "call" defensive sets, I think the best players for that would be your center or your power forward, who typically are viewing more of the floor while guarding their men. They see enough of the action to know what is not being accomplished defensively and why, and therefore could probably recommend adjustments to the perimeter players.

Unfortunately for the Pacers, although we need better defensive skills at the PG position, we also need better shooting from our perimeter players. So, if we were to gain a PG that is a very good defender that can neither initiate the offense nor shoot the ball, our offense would suffer significantly if we were not able to simultaneously improve our perimeter shooting.

ABADays
06-08-2007, 02:04 PM
Unless I missed something I don't think the question posed by Peck were the "options". There is no question in my mind on this. It's offense. If it were the other way around why would Steve Nash have won back-to-back MVPs and probably should have won another one this year.

beast23
06-08-2007, 02:32 PM
Unless I missed something I don't think the question posed by Peck were the "options". There is no question in my mind on this. It's offense. If it were the other way around why would Steve Nash have won back-to-back MVPs and probably should have won another one this year.I think if you mention Nash or Kidd, those are both bad examples. Anyone in his right mind would want Nash or Kidd just because of their exceptional, almost unparallelled PG skills.

Nash does everything on the offensive end extremely well, even shooting the 3-pointer. But he is a horrible defender. But I could accept that and cover up his defensive inabilities with a defensive-minded SG.

Kidd does nearly everything well offensively except possibly shooting. He is also an excellent defender. But even if my team needed a perimeter shooter in the worst possible way, I would still have no problem with Kidd being in my backcourt. I would eventually acquire a player to provide my perimeter shooting, knowing that the player does not necessarily have to be a great defender since I already have Kidd in my backcourt.

There are tradeoffs. But no matter how you cut it, it is extremely important that you have someone on the floor capable of controlling the opposing PG, even if it is your SG or SF. It's just that if you have to use someone other than your PG, you've probably created a terrible mismatch somewhere else.

indyman37
06-08-2007, 02:57 PM
They need to run the offense...unless your team already has a star like LeBron, etc. who the offense already runs through on every play.

pwee31
06-08-2007, 03:52 PM
The PG should run the offense.

Defense is based mostly off of individuals and help. If anything the center should be in charge of defense b/c he's down low most of the time and can see everything that's going on around him. He can called out the screens he seems, cutters, and is suppose to man the paint. Defense is usually one on one, you're matched up against a guy and your job is too stop that guy from getting the ball, penetrating, and scoring. If everyone handles there one guy, there isn't any problems.

Now on offense it's still a lot of one on one, but the difference is you have to score, and there's only one ball to do so. The PG is the guy who handles the ball the most. He's opposite from the center now, b/c he sees what is going on while coming up the court and being at the top of the key. Now he's reasonable for seeing the screens, cutters and open guys. His job is to run the team, get the ball to an open guy, or a guy capable of making a play, or create for himself or his teammates.

Defense all you have to do is defend and rebound for 24 seconds.

Offense you have to score in 24 seconds. You add the ball into the equation, and only one player has the ball at a time, the job for the PG is to create with that ball, and give you and the 4 other teammates the best opportunity to score in that 24 seconds.

Shade
06-08-2007, 06:03 PM
Offense. This is also why I believe the PG should be the leader of a team.

The Hustler
06-08-2007, 06:17 PM
My answer to the question is very simple, and not likely to course any interest in that i believe 'offence' is what a PG is for primarily, and while defence is important, no one player, especially a PG can truly control a defence in my view.

HOWEVER the point i want to put forward is more a side track of the question. When you look at many teams, who is actually the point, at crunch time, when it matters.

When the Lakers, in 2000, 2001, 2002 needed points in the crunch who handled the ball, not fisher, it was kobe every time, i remember it against the pacers in several games in the ECF on 2000!

When the Bulls team in its prime with Jordon, it was him who got the ball and carried it when it mattered (although with Kerr there by the time it got to their 5th title that may not always have been the case, but my point still stands)

Back to Larry Bird and Boston, no way was anyone other than Larry initiating on offence in crunch time! Obviously there are more cases where the "Normal" PG would initiate offence, than when someone else would, but players like Wade, Kobe, Lebron, TMac etc. are these really the PGs when it matters? They are the players that get the ball!

Naptown_Seth
06-10-2007, 05:29 PM
Smarter people than I have answered the questions. I can only add I want my point to be able to push the ball up the court without getting trapped. Nothing ticks me off more than watching the ball being turned over for 8 seconds.
You say this as though you watched AJ circa 04-05, Saras 05-07 or Eddie Gill ever. ;)

Naptown_Seth
06-10-2007, 05:33 PM
Unless I missed something I don't think the question posed by Peck were the "options". There is no question in my mind on this. It's offense. If it were the other way around why would Steve Nash have won back-to-back MVPs and probably should have won another one this year.
Because he's the best player. If he was having a 30 win impact as a defensive PG instead his name would still be in the MVP mix.

The problem with that is that it's hard for ANY defender to lock down so much that it impacts everyone else the way the right offensive player can (basically a guy with the ball most of the time).

But Jordan wasn't winning MVP just for scoring, his defense was a big part of it too. It's just that typically most guys good enough to really take over on defense also tend to have a solid impact on offense too, there really aren't many reverse cases of Nash.

Good as Bowen is, he's not the defensive version of Nash. He's not Deion Sanders, a don't-even-bother-going-near-him level of defender.

ChicagoJ
06-10-2007, 10:34 PM
Good as Bowen is, he's not the defensive version of Nash. He's not Deion Sanders, a don't-even-bother-going-near-him level of defender.

Are you confusing Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson?

You couldn't even run the ball to Woodson's side of the field, and clearly you didn't even look throw it over there. And despite not having a single pass thrown to his side of the field in 1993, he still had eight interceptions.

Jose Slaughter
06-11-2007, 12:21 AM
Defense

I could give ya the big long answer but ThunderBird & Beast pretty much summed up my thoughts.