Basketball position

Basketball position

The three basketball positions normally employed by organized basketball teams are: guard, forward, and center. More specifically, they can be classified into the five positions: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. The rules of basketball do not mandate them, and in informal games they are sometimes not used. They are grouped into two conceptual units: the backcourt and frontcourt.

Backcourt (Guards)

Point guard

The point guard, also known as the "1", is the team's floor general and the best ballhandler on the team.

hooting guard

The shooting guard, also known as the "2", is usually the team's best shooter. A quality shooting guard should be able to consistently hit 20-foot/6-meter jump shots. Besides being able to shoot the ball, shooting guards must also have good ball-handling skills because they have to be able to create their own shot off the dribble. Finally, they should also be able to make good passes. The Shooting Guard needs to be able to take long-shots, around the 3point line. This is because there will be much tighter defense inside the keyhole, therefore the Shooting Guard needs to learn how to get free then take a shot.

For example, Kobe Bryant is the NBA's top shooting guard. Gilbert Arenas has played both guard positions in his career (Shooting guard and point guard). Perhaps the best example from history is Michael Jordan

Frontcourt (Forwards)

mall forward

The small forward also known as the "3", is typically somewhat shorter, quicker, and leaner than power forwards and centers, but on occasion are just as tall. The small forward position is considered to be perhaps the most versatile of the main five basketball positions, due to the nature of its role, which is sometimes similar to that of a power forward, and other times more resembles the role of a shooting guard.

Small forwards are primarily responsible for scoring points and also often as secondary or tertiary rebounders behind the power forwards and centers, although a few who play as point forwards have considerable passing responsibilities. Many small forwards in professional basketball, however, are prolific scorers. The styles with which small forwards amass their points vary widely, as some players at the position, like the New Orleans Hornets' Peja Stojakovic, are very accurate straight-up shooters, while others like Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest prefer to "bang inside" (initiate and/or not shy away from physical contact with opposing players), while others are primarily slashers, such as Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets. Another excellent small forward in the NBA right now is the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James. He has a variety of weapons, such as a shooting ability, quickness, and strength inside. One common thread between all kinds of small forwards is an ability to "get to the line", that is how opposing players called for committing shooting fouls against them, as fouls are frequently called on the defense when offensive players "take the ball hard" to the basket, that is, aggressively attempt post-up plays, lay-ups, or slam dunks. Therefore, accurate foul shooting is an imperative skill for small forwards, many of whom record a large portion of their points from the foul line. Small Forwards should be able to do a little bit of everything on the court. For example, LeBron James averaged close to 30ppg, 8rpg, and 7apg.

Defense is often a major priority for small forwards, who are often counted on using their athleticism and size as defensive advantages. Many small forwards are excellent defensive players including Artest, who is generally regarded as one of the best defensive players in the league today.Fact|date=August 2008 Shawn Marion of the Miami Heat (previously with the Phoenix Suns) and Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons are able to guard any position on the floor with their length and athleticism and are often called upon to do so. Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs, while not a star offensive player, is a masterful and tenacious defender, both on the perimeter and closer to the hoop. Former small forwards known for their defensive abilities include Scottie Pippen, one of the best one-on-one defenders in the NBA for most of his career.


The center, also referred to as the "5", usually plays in or around the free-throw lane near the basket (referred to as the "bottom of the key" or the "low post"). The tallest player is more likely to be assigned to the position of center, as a larger body is typically less mobile. This fits well with the jobs of being a center. However, mobility is always a positive. The center will most often attempt to score "down low in the paint" (near the basket in the free throw lane). Centers contribute to the team by using their physique and skill to score while they're close to the basket down low, gathering both offensive and defensive rebounds, and "setting the pick" in pick and roll plays.

Dwight Howard is an example of a current elite center in the NBA (although he often plays Power Forward). He plays for the Orlando Magic. Shaquille O'Neal, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain are considered all-time greats at the center position. []

ee also

* Starting lineup

External links

* [ "Shooting Guard Tips" from]
* [ "Point Guard Tips" from]
* [ "How to Play Basketball Offense - Description of Team Positions" at]
* [ "Offensive & Defensive Basketball Plays For Various Positions" at]
* [ "How Basketball Works" at]
* [ "Basketball players" at BBC Sport Academy]
* [ "How Basketball Works" at]
* [ Basketball Positions Explained at]


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