Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin Lead The Evolution Of Point Forward In The NBA

There is a new interesting phenomenon in this 2017/2018 season. That phenomenon is the evolution of the point forward position with the big and athletic players running the offense. The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin are the solid example of that evolution.

Point forward position was introduced in the 1980s by Don Nelson when he coached Milwaukee Bucks. In the 1983/1984 season, the Bucks’ point guard Nate Archibald was injured and coach Nelson had no other option in the point guard. Coach Nelson decided to play small forward Marques Johnson running the offense for Milwaukee Bucks.

The strategy worked very well. Milwaukee Bucks was able to defeat all their opponents in the playoffs before Boston Celtics defeated them in the Eastern Conference Finals. Afterward, many NBA teams began to emulate the point forward position. Usually, only small forward is used for the point forward.

This season, two players with the size and strength of the power forward lead the evolution of the point forward. Those players, Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin, have to be the playmakers as their teams currently do not have a good point guard.

For the 76ers, they have to sideline the rookie point guard Markelle Futz after he injured his shoulder before the season began. Afterward, Coach Brett Brown put Ben Simmons to make the play for the team.

While in Los Angeles, coach Doc Rivers has to find the best solution for the playmaker after Chris Paul’s departure. So, he decided to put Blake Griffin to run the offense for the Clippers.

Blake Griffin plays as point forward to distribute the ball.
Blake Griffin runs the offense in the game between Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 1, 2017, in Los Angeles. [Image by Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo]

In Philadelphia, Simmons began to escalate his skill as the ball distributor. In the last game against Atlanta Hawks, on Wednesday, Simmons has adapted well and showed his remarkable ability to play the point guard. He contributed 19 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists as the 76ers defeated Atlanta Hawks 119-109.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the season, Blake Griffin ran the offense for the L.A. Clippers. During the game against Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, he delivered more assists than point guard Patrick Beverley as the Clippers won the game 119-98. Beverley only posted three assists, while Griffin delivered seven assists with 20 points and six rebounds.

Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin have begun to lead the evolution of point forward in the NBA. Traditionally, NBA teams only use small forward in the position. But for Griffin and Simmons, their huge physique and agility have created dozens of mismatch on the court that gave them opportunities to suddenly attack the rim.