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Tiny Dancer

Listening to Mike & Mike this morning I got to hear Tiny Archibald talk about the point guard position and in particular Steve Nash. He had some great things to say but what struck me were a few key words and phrases that he used time and again. Words like "rhythm and tempo."

I get the feeling that playing point guard (or as Tiny likes to say, the point person) is like playing an instrument. Even more than that, its like playing jazz. Maybe you can find someone who has all the tools to play an instrument, but if he doesn't feel the music, if he never gets the emotion of what the jazz is about, he'll always just be a player playing notes from a sheet of music.

This is why I've never been a fan of converting small shooting guards into point guards. Maybe Joe Forte had the build of an NBA point guard, but that didn't mean he could play it.

Marcus Banks is a point guard by trade and has all the tools. I just wonder sometimes if he really "gets it." To use the analogy, he can play all the right notes, he can play them fast and slow, he can even excel in some aspects (in this case defense). Still, I get the feeling that if left to improvise and just jam with the boys, his natural inclination would not produce great jazz. Breaking away from the analogy, I think he wants to score. He feels it in his bones. I'm not so sure he feels "passing" in his bones. That's not to say he can't be a very productive "one" for us. He'll be a shutdown defensive guard and a guy that can break a press with the best of them. If we really get going with the up tempo game, I think he'll thrive in that. I just don't know if he'll ever really turn the corner as a pure passer.

Delonte is another matter. I know he "gets it" just by watching him. He already plays jazz. He doesn't always play it well and he doesn't have the "chops" that Marcus has. However, the best point guards aren't typically the fastest or best athletes. Nash, Stockton, Kidd, all are limited athletically (not that I'm putting him anywhere near this category). However, as much as I know he "gets it," it also seems clear that he's got a ways to go learning the position. He's hesitant where he should be aggressive. If he's going to be a floor general, he's going to need to take control of the floor. Right now, he can read and react to what is there. What we need is for him to take what is there and change it based on what he does. When the defenders are going to be double teaming Al, he's going to need to shove the ball down their throats and force them to react to him. That way, either the D will slack off Al or if they don't they'll leave someone else wide open.

Either way, both of our future point guards have a lot of work to do. We've seen this year what effect a great point person has on a team when used properly. We can only hope that one or both of them can take that next step and really get it. That would be music to my ears.