What Does A Point Guard Do In Basketball?


The point guard responsibilities are many, it is believed to be the most important role on the court out of all the positions. The point guard usually is the designated captain of the team due to the player’s role.

What does a point guard do in basketball? A point guard is the extension of the coach on the court, the point guard leads the team by setting up plays while also understanding the tempo of the game and controlling the ball. The point guard has a high basketball I.Q. and knows the strengths and weaknesses of his teammates.

The role of a point guard seems endless, here you will find the most important duties of the point guard. I have also created a chart of the types of point guards you see in the NBA and their roles.

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Point Guard’s Role

Runs The Offense

The point guard is like the quarterback in a football game but in this case basketball, the pg will make the play calling and communicate with the coach. Then, in turn, tell the players on the court what they are running on offense and defense.

Recognizing defensive sets and adjusting is important, making sure players are in the right spots while spotting the mismatch is crucial in maximizing each possession. Feeding the ball to the player that is in a rhythm and is catching fire is important for that player and the team.

Leader On The Court

The Pg’s role values his teammates and knows their strengths and weaknesses while utilizing them to the best of their ability during the offense. Knowing their teammate’s tendencies and where they will be on the court maximizes each possession to score points.

Usually the captain of the team, the pg is a positive leader by example, makes the players around him better and lifts up his team when in need to persevere past times when it feels pointless.

As the captain, the player will push his teammates to work harder in practice, motivate his teammates before games. More importantly, I can talk to a teammate and critique them.



The mindset of the Pg is to win the game by any means necessary if that means not scoring by putting his teammates in a position to score then so be it. This can also mean the opposite to if the pg needs to take over and score down the stretch they do so.

The pg thinks of the team first as winning is most important, not padding stats. Good point guards see loses as their own fault and evaluates what they could have done differently to of help their team win.


Controlling The Tempo

Controlling the tempo is important and a good Point guard recognizes when a team is on a run, a timeout helps but if the tempo has been fast braking by the opposing team. While the pg team is not a fast break team then controlling the tempo and not playing the way the opposing team wants the team to play is on the point guard to make the adjustment by slowing the game down.


Excellent Ball Handler

It is obvious that a point guard must know how to dribble a basketball, ball handling and passing are crucial in this position. With teams, full-court pressing man to man, a good point guard must be able to control the ball while making good decisions on the floor.

The full court man to man defense can be difficult for players to not turn over the basketball. A strong ball handler is a threat to the defense and will be given respect to the dribbler preventing more turnovers.

Think about it, the ball should be in the hands of the best ball handler as they will see the ball most by default.

Types Of Point Guards

Using NBA Point guards as examples will be easy to envision how they played and what player type they are or were in this case. In the chart, you can see the type of point guard the player was beside the name.


Types Of Point Guards  NBA Player’s
Pass First John Stockton, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Ricky Rubio
Score First Russel Westbrook, Steph Curry, Jamal Murray,
Balanced Chris Paul, Kyle Lowery
Defensive Patrick Beverly, Marcus Smart


It is interesting to see these player’s NBA stats are similar to their college stats, it appears that their role as a player doesn’t change all that much when entering the NBA. Westbrook and Smart only played one year in college and I think Smart’s points per game will eventually go up as he’s only in his 5th season.


Player   NCAA Stats Best Season NBA Stats Best Season
John Stockton 20.9 (pts) 7.2 (ast) 3.9 (stl) 17.2(pts) 14.5 (ast) 2.7 (stl)
Steve Nash 17.0 (pts) 6.0 (ast) 1.3 (stl) 18.6 (pts) 11.6 (ast) 0.8 (stl)
Jason Kidd 16.7 (pts) 9.1 (ast) 3.1 (stl) 16.9 (pts) 10.8 (ast) 2.3 (stl)
Ricky Rubio N/A 12.7 (pts) 6.1 (ast) 1.3 (stl)
Rusell Westbrook 12.7 (pts) 4.3 (ast) 1.6 (stl) 31.6 (pts)  10.4 (ast) 10.7 (reb) 1.6 (stl)
Steph Curry 28.6 (pts) 5.6 (ast) 2.5 (stl) 30.1 (pts) 6.7 (ast) 2.1 (stl)
Chris Paul 15.3 (pts) 6.6 (ast) 2.5 (stl) 22.8 (pts) 11.0 (ast) 2.8 (stl)
Jamal Murray 20.0 (pts) 2.2 (ast) 1.0 (stl) 18.2 (pts) 4.8 (ast) 0.9 (stl)
Kyle Lowery 11.0 (pts) 3.7 (ast) 1.9 (stl) 22.4 (pts) 7.0 (ast)1.5 (stl)
Patrick Beverly 13.0 (pts) 2.8 (ast) 1.5 (stl) 12.2 (pts) 2.9 (ast) 1.7 (stl)
Marcus Smart 18.0 (pts) 4.5 (ast) 2.9 (stl) 10.6 (pts) 4.6 (ast) 1.6 (stl)


It just shows that point guards have different roles and responsibilities. The way they have developed their game, they have mastered that player type and that is why they are an elite player playing in the NBA.

Pass First Point Guard

The point guard is always looking to push the ball in transition especially after an outlet pass from the bigs, this PG dictates the offense gets everyone involved and maximizes player efficiency to score the ball. This type of point guard everyone loves playing with as the ball is moving on offense and players see opportunities to score.

This type of point guard will shoot when he is open or sees a clear opportunity to score. This player makes teammates around him better.


Positives Negatives
Gets his teammates involved Passes too much miss an opportunity to score
Unselfish Passive on offense
Knows where players like to shoot from The defense may read the player
Movement of the ball May not be a confident shooter or scorer
Runs pick and roll well Limited to touches due to his known role


Score First Point Guard

Always looking to score, will pass the ball looking to get the ball back. The ball is in the player’s hands a lot, Is extremely aggressive going to the basket, passes when trying to bail himself out. This player can be difficult to play with as the rest of the team has no rhythm and has not seen the ball in a few possessions. This Point guard will have more turnovers also.


Positives Negatives
Scores Points when needed Selfish at times
Can catch fire Will continue to shoot when cold
Can score in any fashion Players on the team can’t get a rhythm going
Is aggressive on offense Lacks defense as they save all their energy for offense
Draws fouls Bad shot selection

Balanced Point Guard

A balanced point guard is a combination of a scorer and passer when seeing the opportunity to score they will take it. Runs the offense pushes the ball, will not force shots. Likes to run pick and rolls, is patient on offense and scoring may fluctuate from game to game.


Positives  Negatives
Score and pass Fluctuates in Points
Is not selfish May miss opportunities to score or pass for easy baskets
Likes to run pick and rolls Increase in turnovers
Is a threat to the defense is not readable Needs the ball a lot to create


Defensive Point Guard

Brings up the ball on offense runs set plays, his offense is on defense, loves to be a menace on defense, thrives on big defensive plays and knows the value of each possession. Plays full court man to man defense after a scored basket. Scores a lot of points on steals and forcing turnovers. Guards the best player on the team and holds them to half the points the player is used to averaging.


Positives Negatives
Defends the best player on the opposing team Does not score a lot of points
Is the defensive captain May get into foul trouble
Forces turnovers May not be a creative passer
Scores points off steals May get into altercations
Defends full court Plays dirty leads to technicals



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