What Are The Basic Positions In Basketball

In basketball there are 5 players but what are they called? In soccer, there are centres, mids, and defense. In Hockey, you have positions including right wing, left wing, centre, left defense, and right defense. In basketball, more specifically, we have the point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and centre. All these positions are given numbers to make things easier. Here are two pictures specifying these positions: Here is a simple but accurate picture showing where the player's position usually plays
Basketball_Positions.png

Point Guard

The point guard, "1," is extremely important in the game. He is usually the best ball handler and best passer, probably quite experienced. A coach would never want some unexperienced player be the point guard. He/she is also mostly the one that brings the ball up the court, and controls most of the game. All the other players depend on the point guard to know where they and planning on moving around to.
Some well known or great examples of point guards are:

  • Magic Johnson, from the LA Lakers - an exceptional point guard
  • John Stockton, from the Utah Jazz - almost as great as Magic Johnson
  • Jerry West, from the LA Lakers - He did mastered every skill and proved it in his games
MagicJohnson_display_image.jpg?1285124674 Magic Johnson heading for a lay-up

Shooting Guard

Also, known as the "2," is usually the best shooter on the court, hence the name shooting guard. Somtimes the shooting guard is special to long range shots, and also posesses most of the the abilities that the point guard exhibits. These include good ball handling skills, the ability to drive to the net, and also great passing skills. Every now and then, the shooting guard has the ability to take a similar role to the point guard.
Some well known or great examples of point guards are:

  • Michael Jordan, from the Chicago Bulls, and the Washington Wizards - A classic and amazing player!
  • Kobe Bryant, from the LA Lakers - Exremely well known
  • Jerry West, from the LA Lakers - Not only a point guard but also a great Shooting Guard
A_young_Jerry_West.jpg Jerry West dodging a player from the Portland TrailBlazers

Small Forward

This position is known as the "3," and is probably the most versatile player on the court. This player is usually quite lean but still as tall as power forwards, or even centres. He/she can both act as a power forward, ("4"), or as a shooting guard. To act on behalf of these positions, the small forward must know the skills needed or else, there would be some difficulty in the game. Also the small forward usually has the ability to running shots, like lay-ups, or slam dunks, therefore also retains exceptional foul shot skills. Being in the middle of the five players (3 is the midpoint of 5), the small forward is also expected to play good defense, and also to play defense in different positions.
Some well known or great examples of small forwards are:

  • Larry Bird, from the Boston Celtics - Has won countless awards for his exellence
  • Julius Erving, from the New Jersey Nets - Like Larry Bird, he has also won many awards
  • Scotty Pippen, From the Chicago Bulls - Well known for his amazing statistics
Julius-Erving-4.jpg A picture Julius Erving with his signature jumping up for a shot at the net

Power Forward

When you look at the picture at the top of this page, you will notice that the power forward, or "4," plays near the hoop on both team's ends. The power forward actually has a job almost identical to that of the center, the "5," and also similar physical features. Normally the power forward is quite tall, but is a bit shorter than the center, and is also a good reason to play near the net, to block in defense. The power forward usually plays in a zone defense on the offensive side, and plays a man-to-man defense on his/her side.
Some well known or great examples of small forwards are:

  • Tim Duncan, from the San Antonio Spurs - Considered one of the best power forwards by the NBA
  • Karl Malone, from the Utah Jazz - Nicknamed "The Mailman," this player has work his way to earn a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Chris Bosh, from the Miami Heat - Holding incredible shooting skills, and athleticism that literally no one can overcome
316x424.jpg Chris Bosh jumping up for a clean shot at the net

Center

Obviously, this last position represents the "5" of the players on the court. The center is usually the tallest of the five players, having more of a build and strength, and plays even more deep than the power forward, almost at the baseline. Being quite tall and playing near the baseline, the center is mainly used to score points a lot easily and posses quick rebounding skills. The center is also fully capable of playing strong defense; setting picks or just basic defense. Centers also rarely get the chance to score free throw, or foul shots. Many centers struggle against shooting free throw.
Some well known or great examples of small forwards are:

  • Yao Ming, from the Houston Rockets - Known as the tallest NBA player and is now retired
  • Dwight Howard, from the Orlando magic - A remarkable player that has lead his team to great heights
  • Shaquille O'Neal, mainly from the Los Angeles Lakers - One of the most well known centers and has won endless awards
Shaqattack_display_image.jpg?1285125964 Shaquille O'Neal holding onto the rim of the net after a slam dunk

Guarding/Defense

Overall, all of these positions "1" through "5," all play man-to-man defense. However, in some cases these players play another form of defense called zone defense. Zone defense is where each player is responsible for guarding an area of the court instead of guarding the player of the similar position.


Sources

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