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The 5 Positions of Basketball

Traditionally, there are 5 positions of basketball as part of an overall strategy in their offensive and defensive schemes.

In basketball, unlike sports like football, baseball and soccer, as per rules, there are no specific positions.

Players can be interchanged or a player can play many positions. Also, teams can try different setups like, for example, a three guard offense.

Generally, the positions occupied by a player depend on the player’s size, athletic ability, skills and responsibilities. Let us take a look at the 5 positions of basketball.


Size is most important in this position. The center is usually the biggest and slowest player. Their main job is to get rebounds and score points when close to the basket.

They are usually not expected to dribble the ball much nor shoot from more than 15 feet away.

He stays around the paint which is the colored part of the floor around the basket. The center can be a big scorer but also needs to be a strong rebounder and shot blocker.


There are two types of forwards, the position next in size to the center. The power forward is the next big player after the centre. They generally do not stray out and shoot long shots but play near the painted area and by the basket.

They try for short-range shots. The small forward are some of the smallest players on the team. They play farther away from the basket. The player must be able to shoot well from long range or get near the basket and get rebounds. He usually plays around the wing or corner and usually drives along the baseline. He should be a solid rebounder, a good runner, a hard driver and a good passer.


There are two types of guards- the shooting guard and the point guard. The shooting guard is responsible for making long outside shots. He should also be a good passer and help the point guard with the ball handling. Shooting guards are often the best scorer on the team.

Among the 5 positions of basketball, the point guard is the team leader and is often considered the most important position in basketball. They call out plays, and control the tempo of the game.

They have to run the offense and distribute the ball. A point guard needs good ball handling skills, passing skills as well as strong leadership and decision making skills. They are often best at dribbling. They have the ball in their hands the most out of any position.
All these positions are often referred to as numbers, from smallest to biggest, point guard being 1 and Centre 5. The shooting guard is 2, small forward and power forwards are 3 and 4.


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