The Positions in Basketball and Their Roles

The Positions in Basketball and Their Roles

For many fans, basketball is the greatest sport. It’s fast and rigorous, making it exciting to watch and fun to play.

Here are some of the positions in basketball and their roles on the court.

Point Guard

The primary role of the point guard is to set up other players to score. They’re skilled in dribbling, passing, defending, and stealing. They usually won’t shoot the ball, passing it to another position instead.

Some of the best players in history have been point guards. Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, and Magic Johnson are a few of the most well-known. Point guards are usually the shortest players on the team, allowing them to assist in short-range situations.

Shooting Guard

If the point guard’s job is to retrieve the ball and set up scoring situations, the shooting guard’s job is to get it in the net. They must be able to dribble and sink shots from long distances. This highly-offensive position is essential when the team is behind and needs a few three-pointers.

James Harden, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan became stars because of their ability to open up the floor for the entire team. When shooting guards can sink shots every time, they force opponents to give them their attention, allowing other players to get in their own shots.


Centers usually spend their time near the basket, getting rebounds and scoring close shots. The ability to defend and block shots is essential for these players. It’s a more defensive position meant to assist team members’ shots.

Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were some of the most successful centers in NBA history, probably because you need to be tall to do well in the position. Check out the top five college basketball centers of all time for more examples.

Power Forward

Power forwards are similar to centers but much more aggressive. They usually hang out inside the three-point line, getting rebounds, setting screens, and defending opponents. However, they can also make difficult shots if given the opportunity.

Examples of power forwards that have played in the NBA include Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, and Kevin Garnett. These individuals had high scores, rebounds, and assists, making them incredibly valuable to their teammates.

Small Forward

Small forwards are all-rounders who must be able to do everything well. They move all over the court on offense, scoring long and short baskets. On defense, they post up and defend against players in the frontcourt.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Larry Bird all played small forwards since they could easily fit into various roles. These individuals had well-rounded skill sets that their team members could rely on in difficult situations.

Each Role Has Its Merits

While the roles of each player aren’t necessarily defined, individuals tend to gravitate towards certain positions based on their personal strengths.

Knowing the positions in basketball and their roles will allow you to enjoy games to the fullest.

Dianne Pajo
the authorDianne Pajo
Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.