Point Guards | Syracusefan.com

Point Guards

SWC75

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There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about how we don’t really seem to have true point guards any more. The guys we have had playing the point have bene converted ‘2’ guards or, in one case a converted small forward. I decided to look at the numbers of the guys who have played point for us in this decade and focus on stats that have a bearing on what kind of a point guard – and how good at it- each has been. I can think of four statistic or comparisons between statistics that bear strongly on those issues. The first is the traditional means of evaluating a point guard: assist to turnover ratio. Another would be assists per 40 minutes of play. I want my point guard to do more than just bring the ball up and pass it sideways. I want him to penetrate the defense and score or draw the defense to him and dish for scores, either inside or outside. The two stats that would measure penetration is the percentage of field goal attempts that are two point attempts vs. three point attempts and the number of free throw attempts per 40 minutes.

2009-10
Scoop Jardine had 151 assists and 67 turnovers, a 2.25-1 ratio. He averaged 7.8 assists per 40 minutes. He took 233 field goal attempts, 54 from three point range so 77% of his shots were from two point range. He got to the line 92 times, 4.7 per 40 minutes. Short hand: 2.25-1, 7.8, 77%, 4.7
Brandon Triche: 1.39-1, 5.3, 60%, 4.4
I’m going to throw in Andy Rautins because he was actually our best passer: 1.74-1, 6.0, 19%, 2.8
Comments: Scoop was the best and most natural point guard on that team. Andy passed well, particularly to the post but was no point guard. Brandon was more of a combo guard.

2010-11
Scoop Jardine: 2.05-1, 7.3, 58%, 3.9
Brandon Triche: 1.39-1, 4.0, 52%, 3.8
Comments: Again, Scoop was the point guard, although he was more prone to shoot from outside. Brandon always insisted he was a point guard but at best he was a 2 ½ guard.

2011-12
Scoop Jardine: 2.13-1, 7.8, 61%, 3.0
Brandon Triche: 1.86-1, 4.6, 58%, 3.8
Dion Waiters: 1.92-1, 4.4, 68%, 5.7
Michel Carter-Williams 3.38-1, 8.0, 69%, 3.4
Comments: Scoop is still the point guard of the three, although he’s shooting even more form the perimeter. Triche has improved but he’s still a combo guard and Dion is a better one. MCW had the best point guard numbers in limited play, much of it against the other team’s reserves. This team had two NBA guards coming off the bench!

2012-13
Michael Carter-Williams: 2.15-1, 8.3, 70%, 5.3
Brandon Triche: 1.32-1, 4.3, 62%, 5.0
Comments: MCW was probably the best all-around point guard of the decade, more aggressive than Tyler Ennis. Brandon Triche played on teams that were 121-26 (.823) in his career. Frank Howard so far is 82-51 (.617) by comparison. This was the year we made the drive the centerpiece of our offense, so the number of free throw attempts has gone up. It was all about getting to the basket more than movement and running. Still, MCW got a ton of assists.

2013-14
Tyler Ennis: 3.2-1, 6.2, 76%, 4.5
Comments: Tyler Ennis is the only guard listed as he had 188 assists and the next highest total was Jerami Grant with 44. If MCW was the biggest talent at point guard, Tyler was the purest. He slowed things out and made us a more deliberate team but the result was probably the best turnover margin we’ve ever had (+4.4 per game) as both Tyler and Trevor Cooney were terrific ballhawks, (I think they were #1-2 in the conference in steals). But it also tended toward lower scoring, closer games. As long as we were winning close games, we were unbeatable. When we started losing them, we went from 25-0 to 3-6 down the stretch, including a loss to a last-place Boston College team as a 25-0 #1 ranked team at home.

2014-15
Kaleb Joseph 1.65-1, 5.6, 81%, 2.7
Michael Gbinije 1.67-1, 4.1, 58%, 3.7
Comments: This year was the beginning of problems at point guard and was also the beginning of what can be called the “bubble team” era. Joseph wasn’t awful but wasn’t MCW, Tyler or even Scoop, either. And he declined, rather than improved during his career. JB turned more and more to G-man to play as a point forward, but that’s not the same as a ture point guard.

2015-16
Michael Gbinije 1.52-1, 4.6, 52%, 4.6
Frank Howard 2.00-1, 6.7, 70%, 3.3
Kaleb Joseph 2.00-1, 4.2, 54%, 1.8
Kalen played only 114 minutes in 19 games this season and became irrelevant except by his absence. Frank Howard played 335 minutes and had good point guard numbers but couldn’t shoot, (he and Joseph were a combined 4 for 32 from three). Mike had 160 assists to lead the team. Trevor Cooney had 86 and Malachi Richardson 77 but they were never point guards so Mike was our guy. He could shoot form outside and drive to the basket but he really didn’t break down a defense the way a true point man would.

2016-17
John Gillon 2.56-1, 7.3, 50%, 4.3
Frank Howard 2.11-1, 9.0, 59%, 4.0
Comments: This was the year we had the best point guard play since Tyler Ennis but we didn’t make the tournament because we played lousy defense. The diminutive Gillon, (who is probably taller than I am), was big reason for this. He gave us a short backcourt and his degree of defensive effort was erratic at best. But his point guard numbers are very good, (with more two point shots and trips to the line than I remember). And his games against NC State and Duke will never be forgotten. We sure could have used him against the Wolfpack this year. Frank Howard was much more of a point guard as a freshman and sophomore than as a junior and senior, although he started this season to find the range from outside, hitting 32%.

2017-18
Frank Howard 1.39-1, 4.9, 59%, 4.6
Howard Washington 1.43-1, 3.6, 29%, 3.6
Tyus Battle 0.87-1, 4.9, 59%, 5.6
Frank was it at the point and Geno Thorpe left early and Howard Washington got hurt. Tyus Battle, as Jim Boeheim famously insisted to Brent Axe, was not a point guard. I put his and Washington’s numbers in there anyway as a basis for comparison. Frank developed into a good outside shooter, the one with the greatest range on the team and scored 14.4ppg while hitting 33% of his three pointers. But he made way too many bad turnovers, 126 to Tyus’s 87. His assists were way down.

2018-19 (so far)
Frank Howard 1.56-1, 4.4, 36%, 2.0
Tyus Battle 1.33-1, 2.6, 70%, 6.1
Comments: Surprisingly, Frank’s assist to turnover ratio has actually improved form last year but it still falls short of the desirable 2-1 level. His assists have continued to decline and his shooting is much more from the outside and his trips to the line rare. Battle has had a couple plays where penetrated and kicked out to Buddy Boeheim but his assists are actually way down. Of course, passers assist shooters to score and shooters assist passers in getting assists by scoring and we haven’t done a lot of that this year.

2016-17 is the only time in the bubble era we got quality point guard play and that was inconsistent. It’s a big reason we’ve been on the bubble so many time, (but not the only one). Some years, including this one, we haven’t really had a point guard at all.
 

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