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View Full Version : Has anybody ever successfully transitioned to PG in the NBA?



Anthem
05-19-2008, 06:02 PM
I keep hearing that Westbrook could eventually play the point in the NBA. My question is, what players out there played the 2 in college but became successful point guards in the NBA? Maybe there are some, I just don't know who they are.

So... any takers? Who's the best NBA PG who didn't play PG in college?**














** Or overseas, or CBA, or high school, or whatever. Don't give me "Ah, well Tony Parker never played in college!"

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 06:05 PM
Am I nuts or did Billups play the two in college? I could be imagining that, but I thought he at least played a little bit there. Arenas played the two in college next to Gardner, he was very similar to Westbrook in the way Olsen utilized him. Although he always was more of a scorer.

Coop
05-19-2008, 06:09 PM
Both Arenas and Billups. Also, one of Nelson and West played SG. I don't remember which though.

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 06:11 PM
West played the two at St. Joe's, but I don't exactly consider him a success story.

Robertmto
05-19-2008, 06:12 PM
West played the two at St. Joe's, but I don't exactly consider him a success story.

at the point or 2

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 06:13 PM
at the point or 2

Transitioning from the two to the point. Although I don't think he'd blow me away if he started playing shooting guard in the pros.

Robertmto
05-19-2008, 06:15 PM
Transitioning from the two to the point. Although I don't think he'd blow me away if he started playing shooting guard in the pros.

no i was saying he isn't a success story at either

himikey
05-19-2008, 06:16 PM
FWIW Vern Fleming and Terry Porter were SFs in college!

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 06:17 PM
no i was saying he isn't a success story at either

Oh, I thought you were asking me to clarify.
Also, Deron Williams played the two for many of his years at Illinois. His final year there he transitioned to the point, but his first two years he played the two with Brown running the offense. WIlliams was used to set up many of the half court sets for Illinois though.

btowncolt
05-19-2008, 06:18 PM
Jeff Foster was a point guard in high school!

:tmyk:

d_c
05-19-2008, 06:22 PM
Arenas played the two in college next to Gardner, he was very similar to Westbrook in the way Olsen utilized him. Although he always more of a scorer.

Arenas is still a SG who masqueardes as a PG. He's still not a real PG, but his scoring ability is so good that you're willing to overlook that.

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 06:23 PM
Arenas is still a SG who masqueardes as a PG. He's still not a real PG, but his scoring ability is so good that you're willing to overlook that.

That's fine, but he is an All-Star PG in the NBA. He maybe a scoring PG, but that is the position he plays on the court and he does it pretty well. If we drafted Westbrook and he played like Arenas, I would be very pleased.

Robertmto
05-19-2008, 06:24 PM
Darko also played PG in Europe, and Chris Paul played PG at Wake Forest.

Since then he has transitioned into Jesus

d_c
05-19-2008, 06:40 PM
That's fine, but he is an All-Star PG in the NBA. He maybe a scoring PG, but that is the position he plays on the court and he does it pretty well. If we drafted Westbrook and he played like Arenas, I would be very pleased.

Of course, but what I'm saying is that you're willling to tolerate Arenas being an undersized SG running your show because he happens to also be a 25 ppg scorer and a goto guy during crunchtime.

Arenas is a great scorer. Now if he was merely a good scorer (16-18ppg), then you start becoming less tolerant of his flaws and limations.

If a guy plays "like" Arenas, but just isn't nearly the scorer he is, then that's when people start poking holes in his game and how the offense sputters when he's in the game.

If you drafted Westbrook and he scored 25ppg and made the all-star team, of course you'd be more than pleased with him and his flaws would be a lot easier to overlook. Point is, there are a lot of undersized SGs who can score, but not many who can do it as well as Arenas.

CableKC
05-19-2008, 08:03 PM
I can hope and pray that he turns out to be a decent PG that can run the point....but I'm not expecting it....just look at Westbrook as I do....he's a SG that can play some emergency backup PG minutes if needed.

The truth of the matter is that our answers at PG is not going to be solved in this draft unless we draft Augustin.

SycamoreKen
05-19-2008, 08:09 PM
I agree with D_C on Agent Zero. He's no better a point guard than Larry Hughes was, he just scores more.

Mr. Sobchak
05-19-2008, 08:51 PM
I might be wrong but Lou Williams and Monta Ellis play the two guard right now but I think both the Warriors and 76ers are planning on transitioning them to the point after Davis and Miller retire/are moved. Of course they both didn't go to college but I could see Westbrook following that path.

Kstat
05-19-2008, 08:54 PM
Gilbert Arenas.

JayRedd
05-19-2008, 09:09 PM
I actually don't remember Billups in college at all. He really played off the ball? Can someone certify this?

I agree that Arenas never really transitioned into anything. He plays the point like Manu would.

I also don't count Deron. He was at least the second best PG in the NCAA before ever making the pros and him and Dee really shared the role before he took it over full-time more than ever playing SG.

Baron Davis played some SG along with Earl Watson, no?

DJ played SG in his early years.

Oscar, too, I guess, but from what I've heard he never really had a position anyway. He just sort of played "Give me the ball, I'm better than you all" at every level.

Dumars and Nate McMillan were two others that were equally capable of both guard spots.

Like those two, I wouldn't consider Hersey Hawkins a pure PG either but he played some in the pros and was a SG coming into the League.

David Wesley wasn't a PG in college.

Not sure about Dana Barros, but he was never much better than a Delonte West-caliber PG anyway.

Kstat
05-19-2008, 09:13 PM
BIllups played PG at Colorado.

Slick Pinkham
05-19-2008, 09:15 PM
Billups was a scorer at Colorado with little role in starting the offense frpm what I saw. I remember the tournament game against IU his last year. They had a PG playing in the backcourt with him.

Rick Pitino, then coach/GM of the Celtics, was convinced that he could play the point. After a couple of months though Pitino was convinced that he couldn't.

Bob Cousy apparently worked with Billups for a few weeks and told Pitino that Chauncey would never be a top PG.

That played a role in the Celtics giving up on him so quickly. They were dead wrong.

It is fairly rare, especially to develop into such high-assist guy like Billups.

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 09:16 PM
BIllups played PG at Colorado.

I would have sworn he played some shooting guard at Colorado. Maybe my mind is just revising history.

Trader Joe
05-19-2008, 09:17 PM
Billups was a scorer at Colorado with little role in starting the offense frpm what I saw. I remember the tournament game against IU his last year. They had a PG playing in the backcourt with him.

Rick Pitino, then coach/GM of the Celtics, was convinced that he could play the point. After a couple of months though Pitino was convinced that he couldn't.

Bob Cousy apparently worked with Billups for a few weeks and told Pitino that Chauncey would never be a top PG.

That played a role in the Celtics giving up on him so quickly. They were dead wrong.

It is fairly rare, especially to develop into such high-assist guy like Billups.

Yep, thats how I remember Billups too. I am also certain he played off the ball in that game and I'd be shocked if they just switched it up all of a sudden.

Kstat
05-19-2008, 09:18 PM
He had little role in initiating the offense, but led his team in assists both year. Ok.

Slick Pinkham
05-19-2008, 09:43 PM
Link to Pitino's claims:

http://touchingallthebases.blogspot.com/2005/06/pitino-dynasty.html


Pitino, a genius only when it comes to subtly passing the buck, likes to tell us that he gave up on Billups only when Bob Cousy told him the kid would never make it as a point guard. Figures. The one time Pitino listened to anyone . . .

He did have 4.8 assists per game his last year in college, so I guess he did share the load, and all the draft previews listed him at PG.

I lived in Boston at the time and while there was disappointment in not getting Duncan there was the thought that Billups-Mercer was a backcourt of the future.

Others thought Billups wouldn't ever be a pure PG (wrong) and Mercer couldn't shoot well enough (right).

Merz
05-19-2008, 10:07 PM
He had little role in initiating the offense, but led his team in assists both year. Ok.

Russell Westbrook led his team in assist this past season but he apparently isn't a point guard.

I remember Billups as a scoring guard at Colorado, I also remember him as a 2-guard for the Denver Nuggets, playing along side Nick Van Exel in '98. He didn't look like he could play the point very well until his second season with the T'Wolves.

Anthem
05-19-2008, 11:03 PM
He didn't look like he could play the point very well until his second season with the T'Wolves.
And even then, I remember Jamaal taking him to the woodshed.

Trader Joe
05-29-2008, 12:08 PM
:bump:

Donnie Walsh agrees that Chauncey Billups was a scoring guard in college and transitioned to the NBA, but also says that he really always was PG who was just forced to score in college. This article is mostly about the Knicks, but some of what it talks about could also apply to the Pacers.


Here is Donnie's quote:


Donnie Walsh, who arrives here Thursday for the player physicals and interviews, said you can't always pigeonhole a college player by what he shows in college.

"Normally the best player on the team is counted on to score, even if he's the point guard," Walsh said. "So in many cases the scoring guard in college is a point guard and he can be converted into a point guard in the NBA. Chauncey Billups (http://www.newsday.com/topic/sports/chauncey-billups-PESPT000603.topic) is a good example."


Here's the link:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-spknix0529,0,7789268.story

Anthem
05-29-2008, 01:33 PM
:bump:

Donnie Walsh agrees that Chauncey Billups was a scoring guard in college and transitioned to the NBA, but also says that he really always was PG who was just forced to score in college. This article is mostly about the Knicks, but some of what it talks about could also apply to the Pacers.


Here is Donnie's quote:



Here's the link:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-spknix0529,0,7789268.story

Seems reasonable.

Doesn't change my point, though, that if they haven't played any point in college it's hard to learn at the pro level.

Naptown_Seth
05-30-2008, 02:44 PM
This is really a Travis Best thing too, because he was a scoring PG in college and those habits and limits continued into the NBA. He was quick, he could shoot, he could dribble for himself, but he had poor court vision most of the time and tended to call his own number for a dribble drive too much.

Basically exactly the game you learn if you are the best scorer on your college team and happen to be a guard.

Learning the habits and skills associated with finding others more than looking for your own is the key to transtitioning to a successful TRUE PG, not a guy who can score and dribble and stands out there next to another SG or combo.

What we kept saying to Kofi about Westbrook is that if you WATCH how he got those assists it was almost always from 1 of 2 ways.

1) Loose ball play/rebound, he chased it down and passed it up court for a score.

2) 2 man feed the post game with the option to drive for his own score on the kickout

Now #2 is ONE PG duty, but it's not all the PG duties. There is no vision because the play is set, go to the wing and pass to the low post. No motion offense, no targets coming off curls, etc. I don't recall really seeing him show patience if they had to reset the post or decided to backcut the other big into the post. If they had post troubles then he was probably going to just drive. As I recall right now at least; I'd really like to look at some games again as the weeks have passed.

Westbrook on his own drives would sometimes dish for an assist, but he never looked like a Jackson/Nash type, a guy really spacing the floor to setup a pass. He was driving regardless and if that got stopped he'd dump, usually to the obvious help defender opening.


Maybe he was held back and maybe he can find more. I take him over DJ in a heartbeat just because of his talent and backcourt defense. I just don't check off the box under "solved PG issues" when I draft him.

And while Collison was their PG in most situations, I hated his own Best-like desire to over dribble.

Anthem
05-30-2008, 06:08 PM
Maybe he was held back and maybe he can find more. I take him over DJ in a heartbeat just because of his talent and backcourt defense. I just don't check off the box under "solved PG issues" when I draft him.
Only reason you put Westbrooke at "point" is if you can pair him with Dunleavy. Dun's facilitation offsets Westbrooke's lack of it, and Westbrooke's defense offsets Dun's lack.

It gives you a mediocre backcourt, but that's a step up for us.

rm1369
05-30-2008, 07:07 PM
Westbrook on his own drives would sometimes dish for an assist, but he never looked like a Jackson/Nash type, a guy really spacing the floor to setup a pass.

I'm firmly on the Westbrook bandwagon, but I don't believe he will ever be that type of playmaker. He will never have the vision or creativity of those two players. His greatest value is his already impressive defensive ability and his ever improving offensive game. Because of his team first attitude (at least it seems) and steady improvment I believe he can be a 16 ppg, 5-6 ast player with oustanding D. Considering his primary strengths match the teams primary weaknesses (IMO) and he still has a lot of room for improvement, he'd be an excellent option at PG for the P's. There are certainly other players I would pick ahead of him in the draft and I don't expect him to be available at 11 anyway.

Maybe I'm just tired of seeing the Pacers get abused by opposing PGs. I know I would rather have someone that excelled defensively than a a "classic" pg that can't stay with his man. Especially when you consider the other defensively challenged players on the roster.

Anthem
05-30-2008, 07:26 PM
Maybe I'm just tired of seeing the Pacers get abused by opposing PGs.
Hear hear.


I know I would rather have someone that excelled defensively than a a "classic" pg that can't stay with his man.
Hear hear.


Especially when you consider the other defensively challenged players on the roster.
Mind meld complete.

:borg:

kerosene
05-31-2008, 11:48 PM
Wade played the 2 in college didn't he?

Anthem
06-01-2008, 12:11 AM
Wade played the 2 in college didn't he?
Yep. Next to the ballboy.

Trader Joe
06-01-2008, 02:27 AM
Wade isn't a PG in the NBA though either. At least not to me.

Naptown_Seth
06-02-2008, 01:16 PM
Only reason you put Westbrooke at "point" is if you can pair him with Dunleavy. Dun's facilitation offsets Westbrooke's lack of it, and Westbrooke's defense offsets Dun's lack.

It gives you a mediocre backcourt, but that's a step up for us.
WEEEEEEEE :dance:
w00t mediocre

It would be a lot funnier if you weren't right. My only problem with Dun as the facilitator is that he's never really been a big assists guy despite the rep. In the GS trade debates I always end up hammering this point home, that Jack ran better assists numbers in the trade year in both Indy and GS, and few people saw Jackson as a big facilitator.


Honestly the negative part of W'brook as PG with Dun as SG rather than being Dun's replacement outright is that it implies to me a lot more of the ISO/single PnR and then drive for shot/pop a shot offense we got from JOB's style last year.

Westbrook would be all too happy to go over Foster and then spint into traffic for an awkward layup attempt, or worse yet settle for his weak (at this point) long jumper.


I agree with the defensive part, but wouldn't be even nicer if your SG was 'brook and Dun was dealt for a late first and someone like J Jack as your PG? Now you have two pretty solid backcourt defenders and you can let Russell play off the ball half the time where he actually is pretty handy on offense. Not in a Rip/Reggie way, but sort of a Kidd way, getting tough boards, disrupting the defense, and making nose for the ball plays.

Obviously I am in no way implying that his with the ball game is anything like Kidd by the way.

Anthem
06-02-2008, 01:20 PM
w00t mediocre

It would be a lot funnier if you weren't right.
Really? I was under the impression that it was funnier this way, because the pain causes a laughter response as a way of dealing with the awkwardness.

Guess that's why I'm not in the running for Most Humorous.