A lot of players get this question confused when they're starting out playing basketball. Picking your position in basketball has a lot to do with your skill set and role and what position you want to play.
In this article I will be going over simple tips and general rules you can go by when picking your position in basketball.
What Roles do you want to play
This is something that you have to decide for yourself. A lot of players when deciding positions will listen too much to what other people are telling them, and sometimes to be successful and play the style of game you want to play, you need to block out that noise and play the way you want to play.
Think about it like this, I am sure growing up people told Charles Barkley that he should be a guard and lose some weight. But the things that made him such a great player, such as his weight, and speed, allowed him to be a Hall of Fame player at the power forward position even though he only stood 6"4.
So when deciding what position you want to play, you need to discover that for yourself. Test out and see what style of play allowed you to be the most successful, and have the most fun on the court. And adding all that together you should be giving yourself a better idea of what position is right for you when talking about basketball positions.
What should you play
Now while I do advocate to play a position, you want to play, I also think it's important to keep in mind the position you should be playing to have the most success out there on the court.
One factor that can determine this is your size. While it might be a more position less game now more than ever, it is going to be hard to be an effective center if your under 6 feet tall. Or on the other hand if your a really big and tall player, and do not have great ball handling ability, it might not be the best idea to be the teams point guard.
Understand the modern game
Its important when picking a position to play, to understand the modern game and what comes with it. What I mean by that is too not be a one dimensional player.
You see in today's game you are not set to any set position just based off your height or size. So its important for you as a player to develop your skills regardless of what position you are.
That is why even if you are a taller player, you still can be a guard if you want to be, your not limited by your height anymore. And even as a shorter player, if your strong and have the strength to guard bigger players, you can be more of a big man even in the modern game. Just like P.J Tucker.
Utilizing your Natural Abilities
Now I touched on height and size earlier when talking about what position you should play in basketball. But its also important to utilize your natural abilities or things you are naturally better at.
For example things like speed, strength, size, shooting ability, and skills you are just naturally better at when talking about basketball, like passing, or creating for your teammates. These are just basic things to think about when you pick your position and what role you would like to play in basketball.
What Your Team Needs
This can be very hard for some players, as sometimes the position they want to play is different then the position that there team might need.
Now I am not saying your cannot play all different type of positions on the floor, in fact you can. I see this in the high school level all the time. For example a lot of NBA players in high school, will play there teams center position, and then go and bring the ball up, and play more of a point center.
But sometimes if your on a team where your the tallest player, or the shortest player, your going to have to base your game, and prepare to play the position that your team might need.
For example if your the teams tallest player you might have to gain some strength in the off season to guard, other teams center. Or if your one of the shorter players on the team, you might need to work on your guard skills and get better at things like shooting or dribbling.
Another situation that comes up when deciding your position based of your teams needs, is if your playing with really talented players who have the ball in their hand a lot.
If this takes place you might need to move to more of a 3 and D type of player. Or a player who plays more off the ball, and scores off things like cuts or spot up shooting.
Think about Kevin Love when he moved to Cleveland, even though he was still the same position, he had to adjust his game and switch to more of a traditional center role when he was on a team like the Timber Wolves in the early stages of his career when he was the teams star player.
For more information on the type of position you need to play in basketball check , out the video below.
Below I will be giving you an idea of which position you should play based off the more traditional position types in basketball.
Remember even if you do not fit these positions exactly you could be a combo of the two, or different types of positions.
1. Point Guard
The point guard in basketball is a position that has changed a lot over the years.
As a point guard you will be responsible for creating shots, and running your teams offense.
You should focus on this position, if you are a player who has a good basketball IQ, great basketball skills, like dribbling, shooting, and passing. And a player who can read and understand defenses.
This position should also be a player who can look to score and create his own shot. Guys like James Harden, and Luka Donic, are players who are changing this position.
Because even though they are not your more traditional point guards, they play this role on there team, because they create a lot of shots for there teammates and are the primary ball handlers when running there teams offenses.
So if your a player comfortable, playing this role on your team, you should work on your point guard skills, and ask your coach to run this position on your team.
2. Shooting Guard
As a shooting guard you are a player who plays more off ball, and is primarily looking too be your teams scorer, and is a player who is always looking to get there own shot.
So as a shooting guard you will want to be a player who can shoot very well, and have a natural act to score the ball. Think of players like Bradley Beal, or Klay Thompson as an example.
So if your a player, who is a natural scorer, and likes to create his own shot. Then choosing the shooting guard position will be right for you.
3. Small Forward
Now as a Small Forward you are a player who needs to be versatile, and have the ability to guard and do multiple things on the court.
A lot of times these players are very athletic, and can play both Guard and Big in many different circumstances and situations.
When thinking about Small Forwards think about players like Lebron James, or Kevin Durant.
So if your a player who is athletic and a versatile player then playing small forward might be right for you.
4. Power Forward
As a Power Forward you are a player who is very similar to a small forward.
But one of the main differences is, that you will be asked to play more of a big in most situations, and in some situations, you will have to play and guard centers.
As a power forward you will still need to have good basketball skills like shooting, and dribbling.
But one of the main requirements for being an effective power forward is to be a player who can excel at getting rebounds and doing gritty things for your team, like rebounding and defense.
If you are a player who likes to play more in the paint, and you have attributes such as strength, athleticism, and decent height, then you should consider, basing your game around the position of Power forward.
A center might be one of the most changing and hardest position in today's modern game.
As a Big man you need to be a player who can be an anchor and presence in your teams paint.
You will be asked as a center to be able to score in the paint, run the floor in transition, block shots, finish well, and get rebounds.
Many centers today's are versatile and can even shoot and dribble well. So just because you have a great basketball skills that does not mean you cannot be your teams center. In fact I would even recommend centers to learn and enhance those skills to be a more effective center.
But no doubt as a center you need to have heart, and incredible hustle. Guys like Tristan Thomson have made a whole career by being centers who hustle and do the gritty and hard plays that teams require.
In fact guys like Draymond Green, and P.J tucker have been players who can play this position because of there heart and hustle on the court, even despite there size.
So if your a player with good size, strength, and heart, and feel more comfortable playing close to the basket, then choosing to base your game, of the center position might be a good choice for you.
Other Frequently asked questions
Question: I am a player who finds myself identifying with multiple different positions in basketball, should i pick one and focus my skills around that, or should I try to combine the two?
Answer: Like I said basketball is becoming more and more position-less by the year so as a player, I always recommend to learn and incorporate different skills.
This will make you a better player as a whole, and allow you to be more impactful and useful for your team, as you can be a player who can do multiple things for your team.
Question: I am a player on my team who is playing a position that I do not feel like benefits my talents. How do I switch this and change this?
Answer: When talking about postilions for basketball, it is very important to always play what you feel most comfortable with doing and you have the most fun doing.
This might sound more like a team and coaching issue you need to address, if you need help with your coaches check out this article here, that will give you some ideas on how to talk with your coach regarding the position you are playing.
Question: What position is best for a shorter player?
Answer: Most times the shortest players on a team will either play the point guard or shooting guard position.
I recommend to play point guard if you are a shorter player, because this position will allow you to be the most effective player you can be on the court.
Being shorter can also be your super power in the point guard position, because your height will allow you to dribble lower and easier, while also giving you the ability to get low in a stance, and really pressure other teams guards.
As you can see the position you play in basketball is not always so cut and dry. That is why it is important for you as a player, to decide for yourself, and do the proper research to see what will work best for you.
I hope this article gave you a better idea on what position you should play in basketball. Let me know what position you play and what made you decide that?
Thank you for reading, and as always keep hooping my friends.