basketball positions

basketball positions

Today we are going to learn the most important basketball positions that kids and professional teams uses. Knowing these positions in a basketball positions will help you a lot in so many stages of basketball games. They are as follows:

  1. Point guard (PG)
  2. Shooting guard (SG)
  3. Small forward (SF)
  4. Power forward (PF)
  5. Center (C).

In basketball recreation, you may be asked as a starter, who is the leader in a basketball team during a game on the court? Well, it is the point guard. The position of a point guard should not be neglected at all in a team because it requires lots of ball handling skills. The point guard should as well be able to facilitate the team in a crucial game play.

The shooting guard is another important role in a team. He is deemed the best shooter, and should have the ability to aim and shoot from a longer distance on a court. The shooting guard sometimes is seen as the best defender in some cases.

Another great one is the small forward whose skill and aggressive ability normally allows him to target the basket accurately while handling the ball. He can make cut from any position to aim the basket with his effort being to open up spaces for shots.

The power forward is a very good basketball role in a team. It also requires lots of skill to possess the ball and dribble at great pace to the basket.

The last and not the least is the center that is often regarded or called the “frontcourt”. His role is to act as the team’s primary shot blocker or rebounder. He should be able to receive passes and take inside shots.

Years ago in basketball, there were only three basketball positions which was recognized by the Governing bodies. The basketball position numbers included (two guards, two forwards, and one center). This recognition was solely based on were the players used to be located on the court.

While the guards could be typically found outside from the hoop, the forwards were used to near and outside of the baseline. The player that could be found on the center is the KEY.  Historically around 1980s, a lot of strategy used by teams evolved after the three-point shot was introduced into basketball. Higher specialized basketball positions and roles for players was developed, this is why we have the five position designs on the game that is been used today.

Nevertheless, availability of personnel and individual strategy employed by teams could thoroughly alter any positions is employed by a particular team. A perfect instance is the ‘dribble-drive motion’ offense and the one we call the ‘Princeton offense’ which uses four guards as interchangeable guards and just one center. This is a formation that is known as a four-in and one-out formation. Any other formation used are also prevalent.

Most teams use hybrid or non-standard positions, away from the normal 5 positions in basketball. These positions am talking about could include:

  • A hybrid small forward/point guard
  • The swingman
  • Point forward
  • A hybrid small forward/shooting guard
  • The big
  • The stretch four
  • A hybrid power forward/center
  • A power forward: who has the ability to aim and shoot from a long range of core shooting guards.
  • etc.

Well historically, any player who acquired one of these position is expected to stick to the role they are given. The game for quite a long time have advanced in a way that almost every player should be able to fill up two or more roles or even all basketball positions at any given period.

Its not a rule, but simply the nature of the modern game now. Every team wants to win and the players are required to move around a lot which makes it difficult to differentiate each players role on the court, simply because there are different positions in basketball today. The game yet is more flexible now than ever, when the players can do what is really required of us in any situation.

Read Also: basketball games

Now let’s see what is required of each of the roles.


basketball positions explained

Point Guard Basketball  

The point guard basketball player, is the player we call the ‘ONE’. Often he is regarded as the team’s best ball handler and passer. The PG regularly should be able to create shots for themselves and any of their teammates as well as be the point of assist player on the court.

He possesses a great pace which he can use to make shots in one of these lines, the ‘three-point line’ or ‘in the paint’ which is dependent on the skill and level of the player.

He should have good court vision to create open shots for the receivers and drive the ball down the court in order to initiate offensive plays at all times.

Any point guard on the court are seen as the “coach on the floor” or the “floor general”. They have the ability to read the game and find the games loopholes of the opponent’s weakness on defense as well as the strength of their own team’s offense.

The PG’s are bestowed with the respectful task of directing plays, making a great equivalent position of quarterback which was used in American football, playmaker in association football (soccer), setter in volleyball, center in ice hockey.

Good point guards has the ability to elevate their teams efficiency and they are always the highest assist players. In most cases they are called the dribblers or play-makers.

The player who fills the PG position must not be selfish (there’s nothing worse than a selfish point guard). He should aim to have their teammates involved on the offensive end of the floor.

But there is one irony you may really laugh at, in NBA, point Guards are often the shortest players on the team. They are often 6 feet and 4 inches (1.93 m), they are even shorter than that sometimes.

Notable Point Guards: Stephen Curry, John Stockton, Magic Johnson Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul.

Shooting Guard Basketball

SG is the short abbreviation of Shooting Guard basketball which is known as the two on the court or off guard. This role is generally regarded as a winger simply because of the way it’s commonly been used in the positions along with the small forward.

A lot of shooting guards are very prolific when it comes to the three-point range. They are the best defenders on every team besides how they are able to shoot the ball. They have the ability to move from point to point without the ball in search for an open looks for themselves.

Most shooting guards do have a great knowledge of ball handling skills, since they can create shoots for themselves without dribbling. Sometimes they take on the duty and role of a point guard, because of their versatility in passing the ball around. It suggests the name Combo Guards for them.

Skillful shooting guards do play and assume the responsibilities of a small forward. There is regulatory range of 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) to 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) for shooting guards in the NBA league.

A Shooting Guard is always one of the most dangerous basketball positions and threat a team should have against their opponents.

habits of successful shooting guards:

  • Know where you are best
  • Theory of fast food
  • Scoring the ball without dribbling
  • Get good at the opposite
  • Master the mid-range
  • Simplify your shot
  • Learn how to read space
  • Take shots at will on space

Notable Shooting Guards: James Harden, Klay Thompson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Bradley Beal, Reggie Miller.

Read Also: basketball defense positions

Small forward Basketball

Of the main five basketball positions, the SF which is the abbreviation of Small Forward basketball otherwise known as the three, is the most skillful. Skillfulness and versatility is the secret of small forwards. This is due to the nature of their role, which is more like a shooting guard.

In other words, The Small Forward is usually the shorter of the two forwards on the team but plays the most versatile role out of the main five positions.

Small forward and shooting guard basketball player positions are often interchangeable and referred to as wings.

SFs are long and athletic which allows them to play incredibly disruptive on the defensive end of the court.

Small forwards have unlimited assets, such as pace and strength inside the court. One common threat that every small forward possesses is the being able to “get to the line” and commit their opponents with fouls through aggressive attempts such as Post up, slam dunks, or even lay-ups.

Every small forwards must have the ability to shoot accurately when called upon. Majority of these players always gain a greater portion of their points through the foul line. When shots are required from a long range, they are always there to deliver besides driving the ball to the basket.

SFs have the ability to pass accurately which often gives them the chance to second the point guard in their roles as point forwards. They should be able to do lots of things while playing on the court.

They should have the ability to play in roles such as defensive specialists as well as swingmen role.

NBA small forwards usually range from 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) to 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m)

How to Develop a Small Forward’s skills:

  • Ball Handling
  • Shooting
  • Defense
  • Pick & Roll defense
  • Dribble moves
  • Finishing
  • Setting screens
  • Passing
  • Creating Space
  • Post-Up game
  • Notable Small Forwards: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Larry Bird, Kawhi Leonard, Scottie Pippen.

Power forward Basketball

The PF is another one called the Power Forward basketball and known as the four that we will talk about. Their role is very common with that of the center, ‘low blocks’ or down in the “post”. The PF is very aggressive in scoring for their team.

As well as they could score close to the basket, they also have the ability to make shoot that we see as mid-range jump shots that ranges 12 to 18 feet from the basket.

 Most power forwards are now popular as stretch fours, because they have been pushing their shoots to three-pointers.

Another role they assume is defense and they simply have to put up a lot of strength to guard bigger players at the basket. They are also expected to put in some skills that will enable them guard players with lots of pace away from the basket.

Most Power Forwards are very generous on the court than centers, simply because they are playmakers as well and are not on low blocks.

NBA league stats shows that Power forwards have 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) to 7 feet 0 inches (2.13 m).

Notable Power Forwards: Anthony Davis, Raymond Green, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Kevin Love, Dennis Rodman, Paul Millsap.

Read Also: basketball team positions

Center Basketball

Center basketball is the final player called the five. He is always near the center or very close to the baseline (“low post”). There is no taller player on the floor than the center. the role of the center is to score “down low” or “in the paint” (in the key, near the basket).

Sometimes you will even find out that most centers are very good in perimeter shooting. They have a resounding character at gathering rebounds, contesting shots as well as setting screens on plays.

Typically, the center position is considered one of the important positions. Before now the range of players used on the center was very slower back to the basket players, now the players that are found in this position are normally Power Forwards. These players can dominate the center with their mismatch ability or their defensive skills which they use to shoot from any high post.

A lot of this option to swap the center from his skill to adequate knowledge out of his position is because of the lack of enough centers that possesses great combination of skill, durability and ideal height.

This is solely common because of the recent development of faster paced plays in basketball, which demands less typical center play, with more of up-and-down the court play style.

Defensively, the 2 main responsibilities of a center is to rebound the basketball and defend the basket as well.

NBA stats shows that centers range between 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) and can even be taller than this range.

Notable Centres: Shaquille O’Neal, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Wilt Chamberlain, DeMarcus Cousins, Bill Russell, Rudy Gobert.

these are just a few of the basketball positions that have been running in today’s games.