In the original basketball rules there was no limit to the number of players on the court. In fact, there were games consisting of 50 players on a side. However, in today’s modern game five players are allowed on the court at one time. These five players, typically, consist of two guards, two forwards and a post or center. Each of these positions requires specific responsibilities and skills.
A team’s playmaker (coach on the floor). Usually the shortest player on the team. Must possess good passing and dribbling skills. Must make good decisions taking advantage of each teammate’s strengths and capabilities. Must have good court vision taking pride in passing and creating open shots for receivers. Rarely turns the ball over. Most shots will come off dribble penetration. Also, must be able to recognize opponents’ defensive deployment and defensive mismatches along with being alert to the score, time, team foul situation and timeout remaining. Is responsible for defensive balance on teammate’s shots.
A team’s best outside shooter. Hard to guard. Must have the ability to create open shots within their range and not let ego or outside pressures take them outside their range. Knows how to use teammate’s screens to get open shots. Must acknowledge teammate’s feeds. Has offensive rebounding responsibilities along with secondary ballhanding responsibilities.
A team’s best all purpose player who can play inside and outside. Must be aggressive and strong enough to mix it up inside, but agile enough to play outside. Second best outside shooter and penetrator. Most shots will come from the baseline. Has primary offensive rebounding responsibilities along with being a team’s defensive stopper.
A team’s second biggest and strongest player. Must be able to post up as well as make 15’ medium range shots. Interchangeable with post. Must be able to set good screens on offense and has defensive rebounding responsibilities on defense.
A team’s biggest, strongest player. Mainly plays in low post area near basket. Must be able to post up and be an offensive treat inside. Must be able to set solid screens for teammates. Must be able to defend the post area. Has primary defensive rebounding responsibilities. It is a definite advantage to have a dominate post player.
A team’s first sub. The importance of the sixth person(s) role in basketball cannot be over emphasized. It is one thing all excellent teams have in common. Establishing and utilizing the sixth person role, in many ways, is a much more important coach’s decision than determining the starters. To be successful, the sixth person(s) must possess better skills and leadership than some of the starters. In addition, the sixth person usually can play multiple positions. Without exception, when they enter the game, their role is to energize and make the team stronger.
A vital but often overlook position is a defensive "Stopper." Having an outstanding defensive player, one who not only can deny or disrupt a great offensive players from receiving the ball but, in addition, are masters of one-on-one defense is essential to any championship hopes. Successful defensive Stoppers are a result of having solid on and off ball defensive fundamentals along with a strong attitude and relentless determination. They are highly challenged and motivated when it comes to stopping and frustrating the opponent’s leading scorer. They thrive on the responsibility and opportunity of denying a good shooter a last second shot opportunity. Since a Defensive Stopper’s role is primarily that of a defensive specialist, any offensive output is a bonus. Their job is to stop not score.