Over the past few years, the NBA has undergone major changes. Teams are more reliant on the three point shot and the center position is becoming obsolete. But has the NBA evolved enough that a team can have success with two point guards on the court?
The Phoenix Suns have been rocking a two-point guard backcourt for some time. Their last playoff appearance was in 2010.
Currently, the Lakers are starting both point guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, and both look to be apart of the Lakers’ long-term plans. It remains to be seen if this will be a successful backcourt.
The most successful dual point guard system was that of the ’89 Pistons team that won a ring. Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas averaged a combined 14 assists a game and led one of the best defensive teams the NBA has seen. Dumars and Thomas were talented players whose talents complimented one another. Dumars was an excellent 3-point shooter. Thomas was an aggressive slasher. Their strengths fit one another.
Similarly, Russell has proven to be an excellent perimeter shooter and Clarkson attacks the rim more times than not. In fact, both are looking to expand their game. Numerous videos of Clarkson knocking down threes have emerged and Russell has shown us a variety of post moves in Summer League. Both are talented players, who over time will develop a strong chemistry that will help them coexist together on offensive end.
However, unlike Dumars and Thomas, Clarkson and Russell are not known for their defensive prowess. The Lakers were close to last in most defensive categories and part of the blame falls on the two point guards. If the two wish to succeed on the court together, then they will have to become much better defenders.
Fortunately, they have the tools to improve. Both are tall for the point guard position and can learn a lot from veteran Luol Deng, who is known for his defense.