What Basketball Position Should I Play? An Overview of All 5 Positions

What Basketball Position Should I Play?

Attention all basketball beginners! Are you feeling confused about what position to play? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered.

Basketball is not just about scoring points, it requires specific skills, physical attributes, and a mental approach.

Each position on the court requires a unique set of talents, and players are often placed in a position that suits their natural abilities.

But don’t worry about not knowing where to start! In this blog, we’ll go through each basketball position and help you answer the question: what basketball position should I play?

So, let’s get ready to dribble, shoot, and dunk our way into finding the right basketball position for you!

The #1-5 Basketball Positions Explained

Basketball is a sport that requires each player to have a specific role on the court. These roles are known as positions, and there are five of them in total. The traditional positions are as follows:

The #1 basketball position is the point guard, who is responsible for leading the team’s offense and setting up plays.

The #2 position is the shooting guard, who is a primary scorer and also helps bring the ball up the court.

The #3 position is the small forward, who is a versatile player that can score, rebound, and defend.

The #4 position is the power forward, who is a strong player that focuses on rebounding and scoring near the basket.

Finally, the #5 position is the center, who is typically the tallest player on the team and specializes in rebounding, defending, and scoring near the basket. Check out our guide on how to play center in basketball.

Together, these five positions create a balanced and dynamic basketball team.

What Basketball Position Should I Play?

Each position has unique responsibilities, strengths, and weaknesses, making it important for players to understand their own skills and preferences when deciding which position to play.

Whether you’re new to basketball or looking to switch positions, understanding the different roles on the court can help you find the right fit and improve your game.

In this article, we’ll explore the five basketball positions and what kind of player is best suited for each one.

Point Guard

Point Guard is the most important position on the court.

It is a position that is usually reserved for a superb ball handler, passer, and decision-maker. A point guard traditionally is responsible for bringing the ball up the court, setting up plays, and ensuring their team is executing strategies effectively. If you enjoy running the show and have exceptional court vision, the Point Guard position may be perfect for you.

Notable point guards: Steph Curry, Chris Paul, Jrue Holiday

Steph Curry(left), Chris Paul(middle), and Jrue Holiday(right)

Shooting Guard

Shooting guards are offensive players who are responsible for scoring points and defending the opposition’s guards.

Shooting guards must be excellent jump shooters and have the ability to move well on the basketball court without the ball to receive passes from their teammates. If you are a player who enjoys taking shots and can execute them with ease, consider being a Shooting Guard.

Notable shooting guards: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Anthony Edwards

Michael Jordan(left), Kobe Bryant(middle), and Anthony Edwards(right)

Small Forward

Small Forwards are versatile players who contribute in many areas, including scoring points, defending, and rebounding.

They are usually the second or third scoring option on the team and must be able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Small Forwards must have strong physique and a good understanding of the game, especially if they’re tasked with guarding the best scorer on the opposing team. If you are somebody who loves to play a variety of roles in the game, the Small Forward position might be the one for you.

Notable small forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James(left), Kevin Durant(middle), and Kawhi Leonard(right)

Power Forward

A Power Forward is a position that is perfect for those who play basketball physically and have a large stature.

Power Forwards must have excellent rebounding and inside scoring skills and are responsible for defending the big men on the other team. It requires a dominant post presence to play as Power Forward, so players with superior strength and toughness will be best for this position.

Notable power forwards: Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett

Dirk Nowitzki(left), Tim Duncan(middle), and Kevin Garnett(right)


A center is the tallest position on the court.

They are responsible for rebounding, scoring points near the basket, and blocking shots. Larger players are more fitted for center position as they can use their height to dominate possession. Centers must have good positioning skills and be aware of their surroundings for effective defense. If you are comfortable with physical play and have a towering height, then you are best suited for the center position.

Notable centers: Shaquille O’Neal, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid

Shaquille O'Neal(left), Nikola Jokic(middle), and Joel Embiid(right)

Key Considerations for Successfully Choosing Your Basketball Position

First and foremost, players should consider their own skills and strengths. Are you a strong rebounder? Do you have a good outside shot? These factors can help determine which position is best suited for your abilities.

Additionally, players should think about their physical attributes, such as height and strength, as some positions require more size and power than others.

Another important factor to consider is team dynamics. Is there already a strong point guard on the team? Do you have a teammate who is a great rebounder? Understanding the needs of the team can help guide your decision-making process.

Ultimately, choosing the right basketball position requires a combination of self-awareness, physical ability, and team awareness.

A New Era of Positionless Basketball

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards positionless basketball, most notably in the NBA.

This means that players are no longer restricted to the traditional roles of point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center.

Instead, they are encouraged to be versatile and play multiple positions, depending on the needs of the game.

This shift towards positionless basketball is driven by several factors, including changes in offensive strategies and the increasing importance of athleticism and speed on the court.

Rather than focusing solely on their assigned position, players are expected to be able to handle the ball, shoot from outside, and defend multiple positions.

This new era of positionless basketball requires players to be adaptable and multi-skilled, which has led to more dynamic and exciting gameplay.


I have been a center my entire basketball career and was expected to perform the duties of a center like rebounding, defending the low post, and scoring near the basket. One thing I did to set myself apart is develop the ability to space the floor and hit the outside shot. This can be useful for any team that might have more slashers and guys who can drive to the basket.

Although you may be in a certain position, developing skills outside your position can set you apart from the competition and help you become a real asset to your team.

Now that you know the roles and responsibilities of all positions, you can easily identify which position suits you best.

Don’t hesitate to try the position that catches your fancy. You can try out different roles in the game and find the position that suits your skillset and abilities.

Remember, no matter what position you play, teamwork and collaborative effort is the key to winning the game. Good luck on the court!

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