You Say Playmaker...I Say Playdoh

Recently a debate over Tyreke being a Playmaker or not made me want to raise the discussion up and solicit the input form a larger audience. After the break I will put forth some definitions on the topic and solicit your collective genius to see if we can answer two fundamental questions: What makes a basketball player a playmaker and does Tyreke qualify?

Definitions of Playmakers from several sources (edited for relevance):

Definition of Point Guard:

  • the position of the player responsible for directing the team's attacking play.
  • The point guard's role is similar to the director on a movie set, as he calls the plays and directs the offence. As it's his job to get the ball to his teammates in the best position where they can score, he is usually the best passer and dribbler on the team. Point guards are often the smallest and quickest players on the team and are often referred to as the one guard or the lead guard. Point guards typically are judged by how well they distribute the ball to their teammates, resulting in assists.

Definition of a Shooting Guard:

  • the player responsible for attempting long-range shots.
  • The shooting guard is normally relied upon to be able to shoot from the outside and provide some scoring punch. Shooting guards are usually taller than point guards, and may take a higher number of shots. The shooting guard position relates to the #2 position on the floor, being referred to as the two guard or the off guard.

Conclusion: On offense Tyreke is a point guard by definition. He brings up the ball, directs the offense, needs the ball in his hands to be successful, is an skilled dribbler both one on one and in traffic, an above average passer and creates scoring opportunities for others. He is not a very good shooter from long range and is not as effective working without the basketball, being set for catch and shoot opportunities nor peeling around screens to shoot in motion, think Reggie Miller and Kevin Martin. As a point guard you can get away with no shot so long as you can dish and finish, and you don't have to finish if you have an outside shot. Since Tyreke can both dish and finish he is already all star worthy. In fact he could retire as one of the best finishing Point Guards in the league outside of Magic and Oscar.

By definition Tyreke is not a true Shooting Guard. However, he has the finishing skills of the elite shooting guards in the league making him more valuable than most point guards in the NBA and functional at the 2 as well. 2s are usually stronger finishers because of their athleticism and greater physical tools. Most 2s can shoot, only some are scorers (create their own shot) and only the elite can do both. Given this criteria, Tyreke makes for a slightly above average 2 in the league but likely will never be as versatile playing the 2 as Kobe or Dwayne simply because he doesn't have the athleticism nor shooting skills. He won't first step past ya, dunk over ya, fade back from ya, or even from down town ya--all things that the best 2s can do. I am not trying to sell him short, but when is the last time you saw Tyreke with a windmill jam over a power forward or hit the three from the deep corner in a game? He is an elite player already in this league just not an elite 2.

On defense however, he is an effective defender guarding the 1,2 and 3 positions with his greatest success coming against most 2s in the league. He can be beat with a speedy point guard's first step, shooting guards deft at creating separation to get their shot off and combo forwards who know how to bang with strong footwork, that can play with their backs to the glass on the low block. Expect him to rival Scottie Pippen in terms of defensive versatility when his career is over.

So, I believe when you look at his talents and the authentic definition of the word playmaker, Tyreke absolutely fits the bill. There should be no argument despite Tyreke's need to expand his repertoire as he matures.

How do you define playmaker and how does Tyreke fit or not fit into that definition?

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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