Guide to the Fundamentals of Basketball Positions

You’re at the right place for discovering the five basic basketball positions.

Knowing this info is one of the first steps in understanding basketball.

A basketball team consists of the following basketball player positions: two guards, two forwards and one center.

Even though there are two guard and two forward basketball positions , each has different roles and responsibilities.

No matter the position you play, you want to make sure that you understand the other positions on the court.

When you know the roles and responsibilities of all positions, you’ll become a more effective player.

Have you ever heard a coach or announcer call some basketball players’ positions by a number rather than a name? To be sure you are certain of which number goes with which basketball position:

1 – Point Guard

2 – Shooting Guard

3 – Small Forward

4 – Power Forward

5 – Center

What follows on this page is a detailed explanation of each basketball player position as well a discussion on a bonus position.

Basketball Positions

Basketball QuicknessPosition #1) Point Guard

The point guard (lead guard) often acts like a football quarterback, calling plays and directing the offense.

It’s the point guard’s job to bring the ball up the court and set up the plays.

Therefore, this player is usually a team’s best dribbler and passer. This position is very, very important to a team’s success. Without a good point guard who plays mistake-free ball, very few teams will win a championship.

To be a great point guard, you need to improve your speed & quickness!
Position #2) Shooting Guard

This guard has similar duties to the point guard but usually doesn’t bring the ball up the court. Can also be called an “off” guard. Even though they don’t set up the offense or handle the ball as much as the point guard, they can actually play both positions well.

The big difference between the point guard and shooting guard is that the shooting guard is usually one of the team’s best scorers. They’re counted on to hit from the outside and usually take more shots than the point guard. A player that can combine the skills of both guard positions is the most dangerous.

Position #3) Small Forward

Just because they’re called “small” forwards doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually physically small.

They’re known primarily for their scoring and ball handling abilities.

This position is usually handled by the most talented player on the court.

Making sense so far? Good! See? Understanding basketball isn’t so hard, is it? For more fun learning, check out basketball drills also.

Position #4) Power Forward

Also can be called a “big” forward, these players are usually a bit bigger and stronger than other players and known for their size, defense and rebounding. Sometimes, power forwards like Karl Malone or Charles Barkley are also known for scoring a lot. Most, though, are best known for being their team’s best rebounder or defender.

Position #5) Center

This basketball position is very important to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Centers are usually the tallest players on the court and are often the focal point of their team’s offense. A center’s duties are just as important on defense. They have to defend the opponent’s center (who can also be a monster player) as well as block shots and rebound.

Bonus Position: The Sixth Man

Never under-estimate the importance of the quality of play yourteam gets off the bench. The main substitute to come off the bench is called the “sixth man” and is a basketball player position that is important to the success of all teams. The sixth man can either play a variety of positions or does one specific thing very well. These specialties may include skills such as being a great long-range shooter, playing solid defense or being able to play two or three positions well.

More Basketball Fundamentals