Basketball Vocabulary for Dummies

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*Extension of the “Sports for Dummies” article in the Print Edition of The Blotter.

By Kayln Reyer

Actual Definition: Point guard

The point guard also known as the one, is typically the team’s best ball handler and passer. They are often quick and are able to hit shots either outside the three-point line or in the paint, largely depending on the player’s skill level. Point guards are looked upon as the ‘floor general’ or the ‘coach on the floor’.

Dummy Definition: The point guard is the man that usually stands on the very outer circle.

Actual Definition: Shooting guard

The shooting guard, also known as the two, is usually the team’s best shooter, and typically is consistently able to hit long-range shots (of 20 feet or more). Besides being able to shoot the ball, shooting guards tend to have good ball touching skills and the ability to drive the ball to the net, often creating their own shots off the dribble.

Dummy Definition: The shooting guard stands on the side of the longest line.

Actual Definition: Small forward

The small forward (SF) is colloquially known as the three. European small forward height ranges from 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) to 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m). The small forward position is considered to be perhaps the most versatile of the main five basketball positions, due to the nature of its role, which is sometimes similar to that of a power forward, but more often resembles the role of a shooting guard. Thus, the small forward and shooting guard positions are often interchangeable.

Dummy Definition: The small forward stands to the side of the basket on the inner circle.

Actual Definition: Power Forward

Also known as the four position the power forward plays a role similar to that of the center, down in the “post” or “low blocks”. On offense, they are often the team’s most versatile traveler, being able to score close to the basket while also being able to shoot mid-range jump shots from 12 to 18 feet from the basket. On defense, they are required to have the strength to guard bigger players close to the basket, while having the athleticism to guard quick players away from the basket.

Dummy Definition: The power forward also stands to the side (Diagram shows the left) of the inner circle.


Actual Definition: The center, also referred to as the “big man” “five” or the “pivot”, usually plays near the baseline, close to the basket. The center is usually a key player in the game of basketball.

Dummy Definition: The center is normally the tallest gentle giant and is a key player.




*All info/graphics provided by Wikipedia

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Basketball Vocabulary for Dummies