On Becoming a Better Point Guard

Dated Jul 13, 2021; last modified on Thu, 09 Sep 2021

Objective: Learn to read the game and make smart predictions. Reaction times are overrated; perception and prediction rule .

Watching film is a good way of training my mental basketball model. has a couple.

Offensive Playmaking and Scoring

tracks the following play types: transition, isolation, pick & roll ball handler, pick & roll roll man, post up, spot up, handoff, cut, off screen and putbacks.

At least these categories provide a baseline for what search terms to use. also has a miscellaneous play type section, so it’ll be interesting to see if a new play-type pops up in the future.

Offensive Movement

Resources:

Motion offense is pretty common in pickup games. Learning the principles behind it should help me read the floor better and shoot high-percentage shots.

The meta seems to be a 5-out offensive setup, where players occasionally cut to the basket.

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Replacing the Cutter. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.2

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Replacing the Cutter. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.2

Notice how the movement involve some initial cut into a threatening position, and not just a straight line. In general straight line cuts make sense when your defender has their back to you and therefore can’t see you.

I remember reading somewhere that change in pace is also potent. I frequently make the mistake of only focusing on raw pace, which tires me out fast.

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Ball Reversal. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.4

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Ball Reversal. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.4

says, “Initially, motion offence emphasizes the movement of players, with players needing to be able to play in all positions on the court.”

Why the word “initially”? At what point does motion offence no longer need movement and ability to play in all positions?

As a dribbler: go at your defender’s hip; be a scorer first; get both feet in the paint; jump stop; shot/foot fake to create penetration opportunities.

The “jump stop” part surprised me. Maybe that’s because if I keep dribbling in the key, then the ball will get stolen?

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Dribble Penetration - Receivers' Principles. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.5

Motion Offence - 5 Out - Dribble Penetration - Receivers' Principles. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.1.5

Pick & Roll Ball Handler

Resources:

Had limited success in P&R ball handler plays today. Coach always used to tell me to brush the shoulder of the screener. I don’t remember doing that, so maybe that’s why the P&R ball handler plays were ineffective. Luckily, we had a lights out 3pt shooter.

Options: penetrate the paint ready to shoot/pass; split between the two defenders; shoot a runner; step-back if on-ball defender goes under the screen.

“Dribble” is conspicuously missing. Dribbling in the paint will probably lead to a turnover.

On Ball Screens - Dribbler Options. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.2.10

On Ball Screens - Dribbler Options. Credits: FIBA Coaches Manual 2.2.10

Tip: drive hard to create separation.

Hard drives prompt the defender to commit, which frees up other options.

Often, a “big” sets the screen for the ball-handling guard.

Creates a room for mismatches that can be exploited. Furthermore, if the big is not involved, then the paint will probably be too crowded.

A common mistake I make is always going for a hard drive after a screen. I’m not tall/athletic enough to finish at the rim against a big. Furthermore, if the big is coming for me, then my big has a mismatch!

References

  1. Players Playtype | Stats. https://www.nba.com/stats/players/playtype-misc/ . Accessed Sep 6, 2021.
  2. Schuhmann Film Studies: Breaking down the NBA's best teams. https://www.nba.com/news/schuhmann-film-study-2020-index . Jul 30, 2020. Accessed Sep 6, 2021.
  3. Film Study: Mavs' efficient offense still has room to improve. https://www.nba.com/news/film-study-mavs-efficient-offense . Jul 13, 2020. Accessed Sep 6, 2021.
  4. FIBA Coaches Manual > Offensive Tactics and Strategies > Screening. https://wabc.fiba.com/download/ . Accessed Jul 15, 2021.
  5. FIBA Coaches Manual > Offensive Tactics and Strategies > Offensive Movement. https://wabc.fiba.com/download/ . Accessed Jul 15, 2021.