Addressing a popular misconception in the NBA

In the on-line hoops community, there’s a specific concept which has been adopted as Gospel Truth that is fundamentally incorrect, concerning how the game works, in the NBA.

These eyes have read a host of different NBA observers make the following statement about how an NBA player’s ‘position’ SHOULD BE determined, when assessing what that player’s ‘role/spot’ is in this League:

“Since the Offense can, at all times, decide at which position to use a specific player, during a specific possession in a game, it’s the Defensive role a player has which determines what his actual ‘position’ is in the NBA, exclusively.”

Now … although this statement looks and sounds simple enough, and seems as though it might have some credence … nothing could be further from the TRUTH, pertaining to the NBA game.

Exhibit A

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Solomon, Ukic battle still wide open
“He’s crafty, he gets in that paint,” said Mitchell about [Roko] Ukic, who is surprisingly quick for a 6-foot-5 guard. “He had a stretch [against CSKA] where he made four or five really good NBA basketball plays, where he turned the corner and set guys up for easy shots. That’s what a point guard does.”

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Please notice carefully what this real life NBA head coach actually says concerning Roko Ukic, a young Point Guard for the Toronto Raptors.

Does he mention ‘Defense’ anywhere in the comments he provides for this article?

Does he mention ‘Rebounding’?

Now … ask yourself the following question, as well:

“How come this real life NBA head coach is mentioning this Offensive aspect of the game while discussing, ‘What it is a Point Guard does, in the NBA’?”

The cold, harsh, unbiased ANSWER is that … despite what you might think yourself or may have been led to believe by others …

It’s not ONLY what a player does on the Defensive end of the floor that determines the ‘position’ of that player, in the NBA, in the mind of each and every real life NBA head coach.

The simple fact is … there are many different ways a NBA head coach can choose to defend against specific (i) offensive systems, (ii) set plays, and (iii) players, in general. If he chooses to, a NBA head coach can effectively ‘hide’ a specific player on each and every defensive possession within a game. This is something which is totally within his control.

However, at a given point in time, what a specific player’s actual Skill Set is … in the three [3] different phases of the game, i.e. Offensively, Defensively & Rebounding … is NOT. 

THIS is what determines a player’s actual ‘position’, in the NBA … not what he can do, exclusively, at the Defensive end of the floor.

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