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Point forward

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Point forward
檔案:LamarOdom.jpg

Point forward is an unofficial playing position in basketball for those who share the best attributes of both a point guard and a forward.

Although all-time great Oscar Robertson played long before the role of a point forward was envisioned, his combination of skills made him something of a model for that concept. The use of bigger skilled players to create mismatches was developed by offensive mastermind Don Nelson as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. In addition, the 6'9" (2.06 m) Magic Johnson, though not a "point forward" himself, ushered in the use of bigger, forward-sized players at point guard by showing coaches the advantages of that type of player. The first actual point forward is often believed to be Paul Pressey of Nelson's Bucks in the mid-1980's, though John Johnson, who played for the Seattle SuperSonics in the late 1970's, is sometimes considered to have been a forerunner to Pressey. [1] Rick Barry is also viewed by some NBA observers as an early point forward prototype.

However, players used in that capacity were few and far between until Scottie Pippen popularized it with the Chicago Bulls of the late 1980s. He was sculpted into the role by Bulls coach Phil Jackson (and teammate/fellow all-time great Michael Jordan), and secured his position as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of All-Time by combining great athleticism with scoring, passing and the ability to defend the opposition's best player, including the opposing point guard, as he demonstrated in the 1991 NBA Finals by flustering Magic Johnson.

After Pippen, many players emerged as being versatile enough to take on a point forward's role. Grant Hill, formerly of the Detroit Pistons and currently with the Orlando Magic, picked up the torch in the mid-1990's, proving himself one of the most versatile, athletic and talented basketball players in the history of the game with his combination of size, strength, swiftness and skill. Another successor to Pippen at the position was Penny Hardaway, though his effectiveness (like Hill's) was ultimately limited due to injury.

Over the past decade, notable players who have taken on the role of point forward include Antoine Walker, Brent Barry, and Jalen Rose. Kevin Garnett is also widely known to possess an uncanny dribbling ability for a 6'11" (2.11 m) power foward, and filled in the role of point guard in the 2004 playoffs when starting point guard Sam Cassell was injured. Point forwards today include Cleveland's LeBron James, Houston's Tracy Mcgrady, and Lamar Odom of the Lakers.

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