All The Positions In Basketball (Explained Thoroughly)

All The Positions In Basketball

All The Positions In Basketball


Basketball usually has 5 precise player positions. 2 forwards, 2 guards, and 1 center. To be more specific, the positions are:

  • Center
  • Power forward
  • Small forward
  • Shooting guard
  • Point guard

All the positions in Basketball comes with their own roles and duties. Plenty of years ago, the players playing for these positions would adhere solely to their role, while avoiding anything out of their position.

The power forward and center handled and dominated 90% of the rebounding, while dribbling the ball was few and far between for them. The guards would dribble the ball up and down the court, however, they'd not enter the key area regularly.

Although Basketball has come a long way, the players filling all the positions in basketball still are assigned with precise responsibilities.

Let's analyze all the positions in basketball below:

The 7  Spots: All The Positions In Basketball Explained


(1) Center



The center, aka 'five' is traditionally the tallest and strongest fellas on your team hanging around the basket most of the game.

Offensively, majority of the centers can't perform consistent mid-range shots or 3-pointers. And that's because it's not their prime focus either.

Rather, they'd make frequent scores, netting most of their points by hanging around the rim and scoring off offensive rebounds or simply by little passes while a perimeter player barges in and their defender gets forced to offer help defense.

For this to happen, they must have skilled hands and a tiptop basketball IQ in order to know where to move the rim around to offer passers the most perfect angle.

The greatest of the center, have a quality post game and can hit the goal with an array of moves from the low post area. This rings especially necessary when they get shift onto a dwindled or weakened player.

Defensively, the 2 prime duties of a center is defending the basket alongside rebounding the basketball.

The center essentially doesn't have to be a superb shot blocker (although that'd help verily), simply filling in the space and creating pressure on the opposition to alter their shots is almost always good enough to keep them from scoring.

(2) Power Forward



The power forward, aka the 'four' typically is the 2nd tallest fellas on your team who need to be strong and skillful.

In previous years, the players occupying this position consistently played close to the rim and made most points in the paint.

In this day and age, the power forward requires a quality mid-range jumping shot. And this would be even more effective had they been able to hit a 3-pointer consistently. Players capable of doing this is called a 'stretch four'.

Whether these players spend majority of their time in the 3-point line or on the perimeter depends on the offense that the coach selects to run for their team.

Defensively, having better strength and size is crucial to beat the opponents and ensuring the rebounds.

(3) Small Forward



The small forward, aka the 'three' often is the most varied amongst the all the positions in basketball, offensively and defensively.

These players are tall and athletic, allowing them to be staggeringly disruptive at the defensive side of the court and typically makes them the best defensive player on the team.

The greatest small forwards have an offensive game as well.

Just like the shooting guard position, they can score consistently from outside and inside, and barge in and create opportunities for other fellas on the team.

Simply put, they're the top dogs of a basketball squad. They're capable of doing everything on a basketball court, including assisting the 2 'bigs' with rebounding on the defensive side of the aisle. 

(4) Shooting Guard



The shooting guard, aka the 'off guard' or 'two' often is amongst the shorter fellas on the squad and typically begins and offensive possession flying through the air.

This is a scoring position often filled by the best outside shooter on the team. However, the shooting guard position demands beyond outside shooting.

This player has to shoot consistently from close, mid-range and outside alongside a variety of layups including euro steps, floaters and reverse layups.

Being powerful enough to score from anywhere on reveals that their shooting guard would always be a threat and lots of basketball plays could be run for them.

They're also the squad's 2nd ball-handler helping the basketball up the court if the point guard competes off against a strong opposing defender.

(5) Point Guard


The point guard, aka the floor general or 'one' often is amongst the shortest players on the aisle with the duty of advancing the ball up the aisle and arranging the offense of the team.

This position requires the players to be extremely skillful at passing and dribbling, while turning the ball over to the opponents every few and far between.

After the offense of the team has been arranged, the point guard has to read what the defensive players are doing and come up with intelligent decisions. High IQ is vital for this slot, which is why this position is often called the on-court coach.

The player on the point guard slot has to be selfless.  Seriously, a selfish point guard can blow up on your face. And after it blows up on your face, it can circle back and bite you in the ass. Alright, I'm exaggerating. But for good reasons. 

Point Guards' main aim is to get their team players included on the offensive side of the aisle. This demands them to have extremely clear playbook knowledge alongside understanding the team members' strong and weak sides. Know what slots of the court your team fellas can dominate lets the offense reap benefits from the mismatches.

Just like all the positions in basketball, the point guard ought to be capable enough to push down an open outside shot alongside penetrating and passing to their team fellas.

Defensively, the players on this position are there to guard and disrupt the opponent's prime ball-handler by playing aggressively (but with intelligence) full-court defense trying to top the basketball loose, however, assuring that they always remain between their oppositions and the goal.

(6) Sixth Man


The first player to come off the bench to attend the game is called the 6th man. This player can be different from game to game, however, most teams have a precise sixth man entering each game first from the bench.

In terms of skill, the sixth man oftentimes is as skillful as the 5 beginning players. And potentially better than many of them. As a side note, it is not a great idea to start with you 5 greatest players on the aisle.

The sixth man usually are a varied player filling several basketball slots. Who they replace on the court typically depends on match-ups and the players who perform poor.

The prime requirement of a sixth man is bringing the best energy to the game while stepping on the court.

(7) The Bench


The remaining players who start the play on the sideline (typically 2-4 or more) are called 'the bench'. How long do the players taking the bench get on the court? Well, that varies staggeringly on the extent of competition the team is facing.

In terms of youth basketball, I prefer coaches offer all the players equal court time till the last minutes of a nail-biting game.

In terms of high school or older, the bench players oftentimes have a lot less duty on the team when it comes to playing time. While some would get 10 - 15 minutes, others wouldn't get a even one whole minute.

No matter how much time they get on the court, the players on the bench have to be consistent with their positivity and urge the players on the court.

Never ever demean the importance of a stellar bench presence.

To Wrap It Up

Things are a little different in the game's of this day and age. We now have flowed into and era of 'no-position basketball'.

This means all the players now must do a little of everything, no matter which slot they are positioned into.

Now there are 7 feet point guards holding their backs against the big men in the league in terms of combating the rebounds. Just like the centers who could lead the fast break with ease.

If you are aiming on making your best players performing in the elite competitions around the world one day, you have to train them to play and guard any sort of position on the court.

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