Combo Guards

By ChrisH
Nov. 04, 2016

At this point and time, the league has become position-less. Very specific names for positions are only necessary for novices who follow the game of basketball. For us basketball junkies, we know that there are only a few positions that matter-guard, forward and center. Things like “point guard” “shooting guard” and “small forward” were created so that people could keep up with players. I do think it helps when it comes to awards and debates.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

But honestly, we can get rid of the positions. Shooting guards aren’t really just that anymore and power forwards must be able to shoot like small forwards but rebound like centers. Teams basically only want players that can do multiple things and play various positions.

Which leads me to James Harden. He is one of the players that make me question if we need positions at all. Before this season, Harden was considered the best shooting guard in the NBA. He led the league in points scored a few seasons and is known for his notorious foul-drawing skills. Now that Mike D’Antoni is coaching the Houston Rockets, Harden has the luxury of playing point guard. He already sort of had this role the last few seasons but now it’s official.

James Harden is averaging 31.8 points, 12.4 assists and 7 rebounds per game. We knew he had great passing ability, but not very many people thought he would rack up the assist at this rate. Players like Ryan Anderson and Clint Cappella truly benefit from Harden’s ability to not only score but also distribute. Harden draws the defense at all times so his teammates can feast on open shots.

Kyrie Irving is a shooting guard. I repeat, Kyrie Irving is a shooting guard. Since he started playing with Lebron James, we’ve seen Kyrie Irving’s point guard responsibilities dwindle are a consistent basis. At times he can be seen resting in the corner, waiting to catch and shoot. No longer is Irving expected to run the show. He doesn’t have to constantly dribble the ball up the floor.

Kyrie Irving is averaging 26.8 points, 4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has proven himself to be one of the best catch and shoot players in the NBA. Last year during the Cavaliers championship run, Irving shot 58% on midrange shots. Even more shocking is the fact that he shot 58% on assisted 3 pointers. That sounds exactly like something you want from your shooting guard.

So now that James Harden is in the point guard category, where does he rank? Is he above Chris Paul? Tony Parker? Where does Kyrie Irving rank as a shooting guard? Is he better than Klay Thompson? The NBA positions are changing drastically.