The point guard. Over the the past decade or so it has become the most important position in the NBA. As Lakers fans we of course had the pleasure of watching the man widely considered the best point guard ever in Magic Johnson.
Today I’m taking a look at how I see the point guard rotation playing out for this season. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson should be the starting back court. They can switch between both guard spots, taking turns running the offense. Both are seen as combo guards and have the quickness and shooting ability to play both positions. So with Russell being the starting point guard, I can see Clarkson also playing some point with the second unit.
Newly signed Marcelo Huertas will also see the most time at point guard with the second unit. He will be solid to spell both Clarkson and Russell to make sure Byron Scott doesn’t run them into the ground.
I can see back court pairings of Russell/Clarkson, Huertas/Russell, Huertas/Clarkson. Lou Williams cold also fit in the back court with any of those three guards, or Williams can potentially play spot minutes at the point with Kobe playing his natural position at the 2 for a few minutes. One positive I will say about the roster, is they have plenty of back court versatility. I personally want to see one of Russell and Clarkson on the floor at all times. They are the future of this team, give them as much time on the court as possible.
Ideally, Scott will be a bit more flexible in his offensive philosophy and try to play at a more uptempo pace. The young guards need to be in the open floor more, and run more pick and roll in the half court. Clarkson and Russell running 1/2 pick and roll together can be dangerous, or just high pick and roll with a big, and on the opposite side of the floor opening up a cutting lane for the off ball guard. Both guards are capable of using their height to see over most defenders, making their court vision that much more dangerous.
Marcelo Huertas can also bring his own unique skills to the point guard rotation. Huertas is a solid pick and roll player who can find the open man out of his dribble penetration coming off of a high screen. He can hit the open spot up jumper when he is playing off the ball or even knock down the occasional mid-range jumper when he comes off the high screen. And if Huertas is running the point, there is even more reason for the team to play more uptempo, as he can find the guards streaking down the wings on the fast break. In the half court, Huertas can run the pick and roll effectively, whether it’s finding the roll man, or and off ball cutter, or even getting to the rim for his own shot.
As far as the distribution of minutes, Clarkson and Russell should play around 25-35 minutes a night, with Huertas backing them up with 20-25 minutes. If Scott wants to go with more scoring for stretches, or if he indulges his tendency to lean more on the veterans instead, I expect to see Lou Williams with some minutes at the one, sharing the back court with Kobe. We all know there will be times when Scott will lean on the vets late in a close game, instead of playing the young back court in those situations and using it as a learning experience for them to help their games grow and have them gain the knowledge of different situations. How much this happens, though, will depend on just how quickly Russell and Clarkson prove themselves as consistent and dependable options.