Understanding Basketball Positions

Gaining an idea of the major basketball positions

Before you start playing basketball in earnest, you must know about the main basketball positions. There are no hard and fast positions laid down in the game of basketball which will have to be maintained. So, in informal games, the basketball positions are often dropped or one player can play in many positions. However, according to the strategy of the game, there are five main basketball positions. These can be grouped into two: the offensive positions and the defensive positions.

Various basketball positions

The different basketball positions are as follows:

• Point guard is the team leader. Typically, he has the best skills to handle and pass the ball. He calls the plays and often directs the other players. Because agility was a key factor, point guards were often small, fast players. This changed after the advent of Magic Johnson on the scene of basketball that used his great height to advantage. Today, instead of height, leadership qualities and talent for running and passing are considered while selecting the point guard.

• The next basketball position is the shooting guard. He is also called two and is typically the best shooter of the team. They create their own shot from dribbles. Long outside shots and three point shots are their forte. The position of shooting guard is generally the top scorer in the team. One of the best known and most versatile shooting guards was Michael Jordan.

• The next basketball position is small forwards, also known as three. They are typically shorter and fast runner, handling defense well. It is the most versatile of all basketball positions. The position of the shooting guard and small forward is often interchanged.

• The number four on basket ball positions is held by the power forward. The main job of the power forward is to score on rebounds and clear some area under the basket. They also block shots.

• The final basketball position is the center. He is typically the largest member of the team and has to combine a number of skills. He is a good shooter, a shot blocker as well as a strong rebounder. In is common knowledge that a strong center is the key basketball position in order to secure a win. This basketball position is also called five or pivot.

Apart from these five principle basketball positions, the bench can definitely be included in the list of important basketball positions. Basketball is typically played by five players. However, it is a very fast paced game and often tiring – even for professional athletes. So, it is vital to have a good bench to support the team. Typically, at least three bench players can end up playing for considerable time.

You should be well conversant with these different basketball positions in order to understand and enjoy the game. However, in a play, one player can end up playing multiple roles because basketball positions are not fixed by the rule of the game.


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