Before we dig into all the rules and maneuvers of basketball, I thought it we should introduce you to all the hotties. Um. I mean players!
Now, I promise the players and positions of basketball is much simpler to learn than Football Players & Positions, where there are about 50 different things to memorize. Or even the 9 positions of baseball. In basketball, there are only 5 positions!
- Point Guard
- Shooting Guard
- Small Forward
- Power Forward
Each position is both offensive and defensive, meaning they don’t switch with another player when the ball switches possession.
The five players are broken down into The Backcourt and The Frontcourt
The Point Guard (or 1 guard):
The point guard is basketball’s equivelant of football’s quarterback. The point guard is responsible for “running the floor.” He’s the guy that is usually bringing the ball up the court and sets the play in motion. You’ll often see him wave one hand in the air in a signal. That signal is the play-call (just like the QB does when he calls an audible play!). He is the floor leader and shot-caller.
To run the floor, the point guard has heightened awareness of what’s going on around him. He is the best ball handler on the team. In English, that means he can tell in a split second who is open to catch the ball and he has precision passing (just like a QB!).
Point guards tend to be the shortest member of the team, ranging from 6 feet to 6’3ish. Their agile compact size allows them to slip by defenders, run up the court quickly, and even drive through the middle to the basket.
Famous Name Dropping: Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Jason Kidd, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Nate Robinson, and my personal favorite, former Chicago Bull B.J. Armstrong
The Shooting Guard (or 2 guard)
The shooting guard is usually the team’s best shooter. He can create the points from just about anywhere on the floor but tends to be a great outside shooter (meaning, from way far away from the basket). These guys are slightly taller than point guards at 6’4-6’7. Something about that height range must make the perfect arch when shooting!
Famous Name Dropping: Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, and of course, the best shooting guard of all-time, Michael Jordan.
Guards on Defense
Guards are known as the “pick-pockets” of basketball. When defending the opposing guard, they tend to poke the ball away (a steal), or “pick the pocket” of the player. They are quick and guard the perimeter of the court, hoping to stop outside and 3-point shots.
The Front Court
The player in the small forward position needs to be adaptable, strong and very quick on his feet. The Small Forward is a little bit of a hodgepodge position because sometimes he plays frontcourt as a forward, and othertimes he switches over into the backcourt as a shooting guard. He is usually a bit taller than the shooting guard, ranging from 6’7-6’11 and usually very strong. They have to be able to shoot from outside and be strong enough to drive in through the defense to shoot from closer to the basket.
Because they do a little bit of everything, they are one of the hardest positions to read and to defend.
Famous Name Dropping: LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Carmelo Anthony, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen
The Power Forward (4)
Like the name implies, the power forwards are the strong, powerful forces on the team. These guys play close to the basket and have mega power to muscle through the defense to get their shots. Think of them like the offensive and defensive linemen of basketball. Tall (6’9-6’11) and extremely built, they are not opposed to pushing other players out of their way!
Famous Name Dropping: Dirk Nowitski, Kevin Garnett, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone
The Forwards on Defense
Like I said, the forwards are like the linemen of basketball, not shy about pushing people and blocking their way. Very strong and powerful, they block the post, or middle of the court. They are also known to block shots. Because of their strength and size, they often accumulate more fouls than the guards when trying to defend.
These are the super tall guys that hang out right underneath the basket. Most centers hit the 7 foot mark and have an arm wingspan the size of most people’s bodies, meaning they can reach really, really far. They are not known for their outside shooting, ball handling, or free throw shooting for that matter. But they are known for their drunks and ability to dominate under the basket!
Famous Name Dropping: Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Greg Odon, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar
The Centers on Defense.
The Centers are the last line of defense en route to the basket. These guys stand tall, dead center, in hopes of stopping a drive to the basket or blocking a shot.