10 Most Common Basketball Point Guard Plays

Last Updated on: 29th April 2024, 06:26 pm

point guard plays

As the maestro of a basketball team, a point guard’s role is akin to a chess grandmaster, strategizing and dictating the game’s flow. A well-executed play can outwit the defense, capitalize on an opponent’s weaknesses, and ultimately lead to scoring opportunities.

This interactive guide aims to illuminate some of the most common and influential plays in a point guard’s arsenal, from the essential pick-and-roll to the tactical backdoor cut.

Our journey begins with the classic Pick-and-Roll, a cornerstone play that hinges on teamwork and communication—followed by a brief demonstration of Drive-and-Kick. This play exhibits the point guard’s aggression coupled with a keen vision.

Next, we delve into the subtleties of Pick-and-Pop and the intricacies of Isolation Plays that demonstrate a point guard’s prowess.

For those bigger guards, we unpack Post-Up Plays, showcasing how physicality can be a point guard’s advantage. Meanwhile, the Give-and-Go reminds us of basketball’s beauty in its simplicity. Then we discuss the strategic maneuver of the Dribble Handoff, followed by an explanation of the vertical spacing in the High-Low Play.

Transitioning to fast-paced strategies, we shed light on Transition Plays that display a point guard’s swift decision-making abilities. Lastly, we delve into the stealthy Backdoor Cut play, illustrating the combination of deception and timing.

So, get ready to immerse yourself in these tactical maneuvers. Each section comes complete with a supporting video to help visualize the play, offering you a comprehensive understanding of the art of point guard plays in basketball. Stay tuned and elevate your game!


This is one of the most common plays in basketball. In a pick-and-roll, a teammate sets a screen for the point guard, who then dribbles around the screen, forcing the defense to decide. The point guard can drive to the basket, pass to the screener, who rolls toward the basket, or pass to an open teammate if the defense collapses.


In this play, the point guard drives aggressively toward the basket, drawing in the defense before passing (or “kicking”) the ball out to an open teammate on the perimeter for a shot.


Similar to the pick-and-roll, but instead of the screener rolling to the basket after setting the pick, they move to an open area on the court to receive a pass for a jump shot.

Isolation Plays

This is when the point guard takes on their defender one-on-one. This is often used when the point guard is a potent scorer or has a favorable matchup against their defender.

Post-Up Plays

Although it’s less common for point guards, some larger or more physical point guards might post up smaller defenders, backing them down near the basket before attempting a shot or making a pass.


This is a simple yet effective play where the point guard passes to a teammate and immediately moves toward the basket to receive a return pass.

Dribble Handoff

This play begins with the point guard dribbling toward a teammate, who then takes a handoff and drives toward the basket or takes a shot.

High-Low Play

In this strategy, the point guard passes the ball to a teammate in the high post (near the free-throw line). The high post player looks to pass to another teammate, cutting toward the basket or in the low post.

Transition Plays

These are fast-break situations where the point guard pushes the pace after a defensive stop, looking to score or create a scoring opportunity before the defense is set.

Backdoor Cut

The point guard passes to a teammate, usually on the wing or in the post. In contrast, another teammate makes a backdoor cut toward the basket. The point guard’s initial pass recipient then quickly passes to the cutting player for a layup or dunk.


As we’ve journeyed through the numerous strategies and plays, it becomes clear that a point guard’s role is complex, requiring a fusion of physical skills, mental acuity, and an intimate understanding of the game. The versatility and adaptability of the point guard are genuinely what makes basketball such an exhilarating sport to watch and play.

From the indispensable Pick-and-Roll to the swift Transition Plays, the point guard serves as the team’s heartbeat, setting the rhythm and shaping the game’s narrative. They’re not just players but leaders, strategists, and sometimes, the unsung heroes of a thrilling victory.

Remember, understanding these plays is just the first step. Mastering them requires practice, teamwork, and a relentless pursuit of improvement. Keep refining your skills, developing your game IQ, and nurturing your leadership abilities.

Thank you for embarking on this exploration of point guard plays with us. Whether you’re a seasoned player, an aspiring point guard, or a passionate fan seeking a deeper understanding of the game, we hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and a newfound appreciation for the artistry that unfolds on the basketball court.

Michael J Jordan, one of the tallest point guards in the NBA, once said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Now, it’s your turn to ‘make it happen’ on the court, armed with the knowledge of these essential point guard plays.