Basketball Player Positions

Learning Basketball player positions is quick and easy because there are only 5! The 5 players on the court for each team play both offense and defense. The positions are characterized by the offensive role of the player. On defense, the players typically guard those with similar positions and skills as their own.

The position can be called by number (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) or by name (point guard, shooting guard, etc). Let’s get started!

Position #1 Point Guard

The Point Guard is the main ball handler and brings the ball down the court. Much like the quarterback on a football team, the point guard is the leader of the basketball team and runs the plays.

Top Point Guards

Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Lindsay Whalen

Position #2 Shooting Guard

The Shooting Guard is a skilled shooter. Also known as the 2 Guard, this player’s primary role is to score points for the team. However most 2 Guards are also skilled ball handlers and team leaders along side the Point Guard.

Top Shooting Guards

Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Cappie Pondexter

Position #3 Small Forward

The Small Forward is usually the most skilled and versatile player on the team. The 3 player is responsible for scoring, rebounding, drawing fouls on offense, and defending against the opponent’s top scorer.

Top Small Forwards

Lebron James, Scottie Pippen, Maya Moore

Position # 4 Power Forward

The Power Forward is larger in size than the Small Forward and is mainly responsible for rebounding and inside or mid-range jump shots.

Top Power Forwards

Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, Glory Johnson

Position #5 Center (High Post)

The Center is usually the tallest player with great strength and body mass. The Center uses body size to get to the basket for scoring and rebounding.

Top Centers

Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Brittney Griner

Extra Point: The 6th Man

While a team’s starting 5 constitutes the best player at each position, another very important role is the 6th Man. This is the player who isn’t a starter but is “first off the bench” (meaning the first player to substitute in).  The 6th Man can usually cover several different positions and often plays equal, if not more, minutes than some of the Starting 5.

Top 6th Man

Kevin McHale, Manu Genobili , DeWanna Bonner 

Category: Basketball