There are three basic positions in the game of basketball. These are guard, forward, and center.

Guards are normally the shortest players on the team and are also called backcourt players since they are generally positioned at the backcourt. The backcourt is the side of the half court away from the basket. Forwards and centers are the taller players on the court, with the center being the tallest. The forward and center positions are called front-court positions because these players are commonly lined up in front of the basket.

There are two types of guards. These are the point guard and the shooting guard. Likewise, there are also two forward positions, and these are the small forward and the power forward. The center is one of a kind.

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Point Guard

The point guard is usually the shortest player on the team. He is often referred to as the ball handler and playmaker because his main task is to bring the ball to the team’s offensive end and direct the offense.

As a point guard, a player needs to be unselfish because the point guard sets up his teammates and gets them involved in the offensive play. That player also needs to have a good basketball IQ because a point guard has to read what the defense is giving them and adjust the plays accordingly. This is the reason why the point guard is sometimes called the floor general. He is the coach’s extension on the basketball court.

Shooting Guard

The position’s title is pretty much self-explanatory. A shooting guard is usually the team’s main scoring option. As the name says, the player is primarily designated to shoot the ball and score points for his team.

Since the shooting guard is the team’s top scoring threat, that player should be able to score from all parts of the basketball court, whether it’s from behind the three-point line, the mid-range, close to the basket, floaters, layups, or dunks.

Small Forward

The title of the position sounds contradictory. Small and forward. Smaller players are often in the team’s backcourt, while forwards are the taller players in the squad. The small forward is the most versatile position on a team.

He is a cross between a guard and forward, meaning he can shoot and pass like guards but can rebound and defend like forwards. Likewise, because he is a “cross-breed” on the court, he has to be able to play both on the inside and outside.

Power Forward

Usually the second-tallest and second-biggest player on the team, the power forward is an inside operator who, alongside the center, is in charge of manning the team’s interior. As with its adjective, this player has to have “power,” meaning he should be a force inside the paint.

When we say “force,” we mean controlling the boards and getting rebounds, blocking or altering shots, and also scoring around the basket with post moves or short baskets.


As the title suggests, this position is at the heart of the formation. The center is the tallest player on the team and is positioned nearest to the basket. This player is the key to the frontline, which is the team’s main defensive unit. As such, he spends most of his time close to the basket, either protecting the rim on defense or scoring inside points on offense.

Rim protection doesn’t just mean getting rebounds and blocking shots. It also includes getting deflections or altering shots.

Position by Numbers and Hybrid Positions

These five positions are sometimes also referred to by numbers. The point guard is called one, the shooting guard two, small forward three, power forward four and the center five positions. The first player off the bench, regardless of position, is called the team’s sixth man.

As the game of basketball has evolved over the years, so have the positions. With the arrival of multi-talented basketball players in the scene, some “hybrid” positions have been created.

One such position is the point forward. The point forward is a traditional forward (either forward positions) who functions as the point guard. This type of position creates mismatches because of the player’s height and length.

Another position that has emerged in recent years is the stretch Four. This position is a power forward (four position) who is able to stretch the defense with his ability to shoot from the outside, most notably from behind the three-point line.

No “I” in a Team

As they say, there is no “I” in a team. A team is composed of 12 players, with 5 playing together at one time. These five players have different roles, but they are all interconnected.

The point guard starts the offense by calling out the play. The play may be designated for the shooting guard, either forward, or the center. Regardless, though, of who ends up taking the shots, the play is always directed by the point guard.

On defense, the center is the defensive anchor. Because he is in the middle, he sees the entire floor better. The guards harass the ball carriers and pressure the passing lanes. But once the offensive players elude these guards, it’s the frontline that helps. When the forwards help, it’s the center that’s left manning the middle. He is the last line of defense, and that’s crucial.

So you see, one player cannot do it all by himself. Basketball is a team sport, but if there are two most crucial positions on the basketball court, it’s the point guard on offense and the center on defense.

Height Is Might

Basketball is historically a big man’s game. That’s because the taller you are, the closer you are to the basket, and when you are that close, it’s easier to put the ball through the hoop. Likewise, when you are longer, it’s easier to defend your opponent, especially with outstretched arms.

The greatest team in the history of NBA basketball had a dominant man in the middle. The Boston Celtics won 10 championships during an 11-year period. The one constant during that period? Center Bill Russell. In fourteen NBA years, Russell won 11 NBA titles, proving that height is might in basketball.

Aside from Russell, some other dominant centers were George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Bill Walton. Most recently, big men Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan led their teams to multiple championships in the NBA.

In recent years, though, teams have won titles without a dominant big man. Michael Jordan won six without one. LeBron won a couple in Miami and one in Cleveland without a top-notch big man. Currently, the Warriors are dominating the NBA with small ball basketball. So while the big man is important, he isn’t the only key to winning games – and wagers, if you’re betting on the game.

Basketball Positions and Betting

While we said that a big man doesn’t solely determine the outcome of a game, having one is most advantageous. A dominant center gets rebounds and blocks. These lead to possessions, possessions to points, and points, as we all know, determine the outcome of the game. Sure, it’s the scorers who put points in the hoop. But without possessions, there are no baskets to score in the first place.

Aside from the center, the most important player on a team is the point guard, because as we said earlier, every play begins with him. He is responsible for putting the ball in the hands of the shooters. You can be the best shooter in the world, but if you don’t get the ball, you don’t get to score. The point guard does that, both directly and indirectly. Most of the time, he delivers the assist pass. But there are times when all he does is read the defense and call the right play. Either way, he is responsible for calling out the play.

Sometimes, when we make a basketball bet, we do so with our heart. We all have our favorite teams by some affinity. But no matter how good our favorite teams are, basketball is a game of match-ups. As they say in boxing, styles make fights. So while there is no foolproof strategy in sports betting, there are the basics.

The point guard and the center are the keys to offense and defense, respectively. The better these players are, the more chances the scorers will have of getting their scoring opportunities. That’s all the advantage you need when you want to win games. And wagers, too.

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