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The Basketball Positions

If you are not sure about the basketball positions, this information will be very useful. Even if you’re, or probably you play a certain position in your team, read on because there’re some tips on what every player needs to know about his position in order to be the best he can be.

As you probably know sometimes people (coaches, announcers, players, or just about everyone) refer to the position as a number. So, right next to the basketball position is the number they refer to.

Point Guard

The playmaker. He needs to be a great ball handler, the fastest in the team and with developed passing skills. His job is to take the ball to other side of the court and set up the offensive plays.

The point guard must make sure that the ball ends up in the hands of the right person at the right time. Additionally, they should be able to read defense and penetrate. I’ll list some famous players who play their position as I go along to each of them.

Probably some of the best ones as a point guard are Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Bob Cousy, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and John Stockton. If you’re a point guard (position number “1”), you can watch the game these guys play. I know you’ve probably watched them but watch even closer – okay?

Shooting Guard

Similar role as the one of the point guard except he’s usually a better shooter. The team counts on him to make those winning shots (most of the time – because it depends on the player and the team of course). Also, he must learn how to move without the ball as well as develop great dribbling abilities.

Famous shooting guard are Dwyane Wade, Gilbert Arenas and the best example, Michael Jordan.

Small Forward

They can vary in size and are not necessarily small even though in some cases they can be just as tall as the centers. But for a player to be a small guard he MUST be fast, quick, agile, swift, call it what you want, he needs to move with speed.
The scoring and ball handling abilities are also typical for this basketball position. Sometimes they can be formidable defenders like Ron Artest, Bruce Bowen and Scottie Pippen. Some other nice example are Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and some of the older ones like Larry Bird, Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and James Worthy.

Power Forward

Naturally, these guys are bigger than the small forwards. They are often times the best defenders and rebounders. Together with the centers they control the area inside the key. This position is a subject to many subjective discussions.

For example, for Tim Duncan, many would say that he plays as a center and they’re right. Many games he plays exactly like center but officially his position is a power forward. Others are Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Kevin McHale, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor and some younger ones like Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki.


Their job is to be big:) Seriously, they’re crucial for the team’s victory. These are guys who are supposed to dominate on both ends of the court, right under the basket. It’s the center’s responsibility to guard the other center, often set up screens, block shots and dominate the low post.

It’s almost as important for them to be fast as it is to be tall. If they can combine these two skills, they’ll become deadly offensive and defensive weapon. Wilt Chamberlain comes to mind. Without discussion, the 5 best are Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal.

The Sixth Man

One of the best things about Red Auerbach is that he didn’t necessarily use his first line of 5 players. He’ll use the substitutes a lot and leave the ones who “click” the most on a given night. Those with the best “chemistry”, if you will. That was one of the key ingredients to the Boston Celtics.

They had a great line of players on the bench willing to give 200%. And so, no one should underestimate their importance and value of the sixth man. Many times it’s hard to decide for the coach, who he should use when the game is on the line.
Sometimes they need 2 or 3 points and sometimes all they need is exceptional defense. The sixth man however, must follow the game and notice the tempo and flow of the game so that he can adapt with the rest of the teammates.


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