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Basketball Positions and their Purpose

Understand the positions in the game of basketball and how they function in the game. The positions are usually determined in accordance to the player's height and his playing style.

Last updated: 27.05.2021
Basketball Positions and their Purpose

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Again for the ones who know the game, this article isn't mainly for you but I'd still recommend you'd read it, you might end up learning something new. And for the ones who don't completely know or understand the positions in the game of basketball and how they function, well today we will be breaking that down for you.

As the majority knows, in a game of basketball, teams play 5 on 5 basketball for 4 quarters and the team with the higher score wins. The 5 positions of basketball are point guard (PG), shooting guard(SG), small forward (SF), power forward (PF) and center (C). The positions are usually determined in accordance to the player's height and his playing style. The point guard is usually the shortest guy on the team and the center is the tallest due to how their positioning affects the game. Let me break that down for you-:

Point Guard:


A point guard is the orchestrator. He is the one that handles the ball and runs the team's offense. He is the first line of attack for any team and in today's day and age, having a good point guard is extremely valuable for the entire NBA.

The point guard knows the team's entire offense in the back of his head and knows how to run the ball, which player to feed the ball to and what plays to make in accordance with the other team's defence. The point guard is also responsible for controlling the team's offensive pace as well. He usually decides when to run the floor on a fastbreak or when to slow the ball down and run the play.

Average Height - 6'0-6'3

Some of the best point guards-:

Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson, John Stockton.

Shooting Guard:

The most lethal position since the start. Even if the league is in the point forward player type era like LeBron James and Luka Doncic, the shooting guard position was, is and will remain the most lethal position. And one of the main reasons is because the shooting guard has been the main choice of offense for most of the teams in the past. As the point guard brings the ball up the court, the first choice of offense has been the shooting guard due to their, as the name suggests, shooting. Some of the best players in NBA history have played this position like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. A shooting guard's responsibility is to spread the floor and make three's, along with the occasional two pointer and also be the secondary ball handler as well.

Average Height- 6'3-6'6

Some of the best shooting guards-:

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade.

Small Forward:

The era we are in right now, the era of small forwards. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetekounmpo all started from this position and then transitioned onto dual positions but that's a different conversation. The small forward position has been generally seen as a slasher position. A player with good height and agility to beat defenders off the dribble and finish at the rim. A good sense of athleticism also comes in handy while posterizing defenders. But a small forward's usual responsibility is to get points by finishing at the rim and helping with the occasional rebounding as well. Now we're in an era where the small forward runs the offense but that is not how the position started.

Average Height- 6'6-6'9

Some of the best small forwards-:

LeBron James, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen

Power Forward:

This position is one short of the center. A power forward plays inside the 3point arc. His positioning makes the power forward generate his offense from the post. Majority of the big men in the league prefer to play this position as it may involve generating your offense by colliding and bruising into defenders but the power forward is one of the most vital positions that has the ability to play a huge role both on the offensive and defensive side of the floor. Power forwards don't usually play outside the 3 point arc but lately we have seen the league over run by stretch bigs that also have the ability to space the floor.

Average Height- 6'9-7'0

Some of the best power forwards-:

Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett.


The most dominant position out of the five, the center position. A center much like the power forward plays inside the 3point arc, bruising and colliding with defenders throughout the game. Even though we may not have a lot of great centers in the league, there was a time when the league had an abundance of great centers who provided both defense and offense as well. The center, like the power forward goes for rebounds, are responsible for setting screens on defenders and also be the defensive leaders of the team because having a good center makes a lot of difference.

Average Height-6'11-7'2

Some of the best centers-:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Shaquille O'Neal.

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