Originally published in SLAM 124
The 6th Man: Point guard. It even sounds dope. Strong. To the, well, point. On, well, point. I don’t know if I speak for the whole staff on this topic, but to me personally, playing point guard is where it’s at. If you’re big, I guess you see the game totally different. But if you’re average size or smaller, how could you not want to be a point guard? The other team scores? Turns the ball over? You get that rock and do your thing. The demand to have this role always shows in those awkward moments at the beginning of random pick-up games, when players vie to be the one who gets that responsibility.
By the time you get to high school, if your coach knows what they’re doing, the debate is over. You’re either a point guard, or you’re not. The very good ones take their wide-ranging abilities—leadership, smarts, ballhandling, shooting skills—to college and continue their maturation. The best ones take those abilities, hone them, and finally get what, to me, is the ultimate dream job: running the point for an NBA team. Imagine: world-class leapers on the wing, a 7-1 cat on the block and a dead-eye shooter outside the arc, and you get to choose who gets the ball, and when. And, if you’re really nice, you just keep the ball and score yourself.
These days, there’s no doubt who the nicest point guards are. Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Same Draft class, same confidence, same responsibilities, same gold medals. And honestly, same boredom with being linked. But they better get used to it. We may not be the first to say it, but let us be the most definitive (and backed by the best photo shoots): present and future NBA PGs, if you ever want to be considered the best, you need to deal with these two.