Daaaaaaamn. That’s all a fourth grader could say. And it wasn’t even like I actually spoke the words either; my nine-year-old cheeks would’ve gotten smacked if I had. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. Still, I knew special when I saw it. Allegany Community College. Cumberland, Maryland. Steve Francis was ill even before the NBA, even before Maryland. Back then, in case you forgot, The Franchise was just beginning his takeover.
At the time, the scoring point guard was completely in. The evolution was here. It was a new day. But as we’ve gotten deeper into this century, we’ve gotten smarter. Just being able to get in the lane and score isn’t enough. You’ve got to be smart, got to be selfless and got to be poised. Many of the league’s current point guards are like new and improved versions of Francis. But the question remains: Is there a single quality, as a point guard, that stands out above all of the others? To succeed, does a player most need The Glove’s ball-hawking? Stockton’s grittiness? Rondo’s awareness? Westbrook’s explosiveness? Kidd’s all-around floor game? Cousy’s cool? Paul’s command? Francis’ athleticism?
It’s been a long time since a point guard came along with the vast array of skills that Derrick Rose has. In fact, we aren’t sure if we’ve ever seen a lead guard as strong, skilled and as clutch as Chicago’s newest MVP candidate is. He has it all. Coming up, everyone had doubts about Rose. Yes, he was an athletic machine. But people questioned his point guard skills, his leadership and his jump shot. Times have certainly changed. Now, we think he’s answered those questions quite nicely, and done a good enough job that he is our newest cover boy. Yet, we aren’t sure what one thing actually makes him tick, actually makes him the baddest new dude on the block.
I could go on and on about what characteristic is most important to every young lead guard, but that’s where y’all come in. I will now go back to watching Stevie Franchise mixes. Okay, maybe he wasn’t exactly a Hall of Fame point guard (or maybe not even a point guard at all), but daaaaaaamn he was fun.
What is the most important skill a point guard needs? Think it through because the best answers will be printed in the next issue of Dime.
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