View Full Version : Basketball Basics

05-14-2002, 03:29 PM
I am a huge basketball fan, but I'm afraid I'm lacking in knowledge about some basic terminology that gets thrown around, and was wondering if someone could help me out. For example, if a player plays the '3' or '4' position, what exactly does that mean? Also, what is the difference between a small forward and a power forward, etc.? Lastly, what or where exactly is the low post? Thanks anyone.

05-14-2002, 04:47 PM
Roles have become blurred over time. It used to be there was a center, two forwards and two guards.

Now the center is called a 5.

The bigger of the two forwards, who is almost center like but usually a little shorter, is called the power forward or 4.

The smaller of the two forwards has guard characteristics and is referred to as a 3.

The off guard, who is less of a ball handler, is called the 2. Sometimes the 2 and the 3 are virtually the same type of player and are close to the same size.

The guard who handles the ball is called the point guard or the 1.

There are all sorts of hybrid players who are too big or too small for the positions they play but play them anyway. Dirk, as an example, is probably a small forward(3) offensively but a 4, size-wise. He is too slow to cover the 3s away from the basket area.

The low post is the area near the basket but just outside the free throw lane. If you look at the lane there is a small square on the edge of the lane that is on each side of the lane. It's used to give the players an idea where to stand when free throws are being shot. It's probably why the position is called the "low blocks", because the squares are like blocks. Players like to set up down there and make a short shot. Usually the defender tries to keep the offensive player from catching the ball that close to the basket since a good player can use the back board to bank the ball into the basket for an easy two points.

05-14-2002, 04:52 PM
thanks, david!

05-14-2002, 05:19 PM
you're right david, the roles are/have become blurred.

part of it has to do with there being few legitimate 5's.. more of it has to do with taller, more athletic big men that can play several positions

05-14-2002, 06:40 PM
Good answer though...