By Paul M. Banks
In recent years, we have seen how drafting a point guard can help change the face of an NBA franchise. Think of the impact Chris Paul has had on the Hornets, Deron Williams in Utah, Rajon Rando with the Celtics, or just this past year, what Derrick Rose brought to the Bulls. And the crop of point guard prospects in this past draft was the deepest of this decade, possibly of all time, and could produce a couple players who may have the impact of the aforementioned young NBA floor leaders.
In a society so obsessed with celebrating and glorifying the military (and warfare in general), being labeled with the term “floor general” makes you more than just a star basketball player- it places you on a pedestal few even dream of reaching. That’s why the position is called the “one,” because you come first, top of the food chain, numero uno. Or maybe it’s “the one,” like “the chosen one,” the savior. All in all, there’s more poeticism in playing the point guard than any position. I asked a lot of star collegiate point guards what the term means to them.
UConn alum and Pacers’ draft pick A.J. Price
“How effective you can make the team run? How efficient can your team be while you’re out there at the one? It’s about having leadership, being a vocal leader, small things telling people where they need to go, where they need to be and delivering the basketball.”
“I’m a big Chauncey Billups fan, I’m trying to get my body to where his is at, so I can perform like him. He’s able to guard twos, he’s able to stay in front of ones and everywhere he’s gone, the team has gotten better. He shows floor generalship,”
It’s the most important position on the court. It’s like the quarterback in football, you’re making the calls, it’s up to you to execute. You got to be headstrong to play the one, no room for error, to be shaken up or rattled- because the team’s going to follow you. Teams understand the need to have a steady guy at the one, who is always under control, a la Chauncey Billups or someone like that.
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry:
“The one that when things are tight, you can look to, to tell you where to go, what play to run, handle the pressure at all times, being the most solid guy on the court at all times.”
“You have to execute plays, and the play starts with you most of the time, so if you don’t do your job, then you have to be mentally tough.”
Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez
“You gotta be a leader you got to make sure everybody around you is happy.”
76ers’ Jrue Holiday
“Captain. Point guard, but it doesn’t always have to be a point guard, just a guy that runs the floor, who knows the team, knows the coaches and communicates in a way that runs the team.”
Marquette alumnus Jerel McNeal
“Whenever you come into the game as a point guard, you have added responsibilities of getting everyone involved, knowing your offense inside and out and having great leadership at all times.”
“It’s something like you said, it’s not only about physical toughness, but also mental toughness, but also being able to know different guys and know where they’re most effective and the different spots they need to be throughout the course of a game.”
Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas
“Every point guard does need to be the Floor General. He has to run the offense. He has to tell people where to go. He has to stay calm and he has to keep his composure…I try to keep it under one turnover a game, but mostly I just try to play solid at all times. It does get to me if I am turning the ball over, then I know I just need to clam down and make the easy pass.”