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Basketball is a sport generally played by five players per team. Historically, these players have been assigned to positions defined by the role they play on the court, from a strategic point of view. Broadly speaking, the three main positions are guard, forward, and center, with the standard team featuring two guards, two forwards, and a center. Over time, as more specialized roles developed, each of the guards and forwards came to be differentiated, and today each of the five positions are known by unique names, each of which has also been assigned a number: point guard (PG) or 1, the shooting guard (SG) or 2, the small forward (SF) or 3, the power forward (PF) or 4, and the center (C) or 5.

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  • Basketball positions
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  • Basketball is a sport generally played by five players per team. Historically, these players have been assigned to positions defined by the role they play on the court, from a strategic point of view. Broadly speaking, the three main positions are guard, forward, and center, with the standard team featuring two guards, two forwards, and a center. Over time, as more specialized roles developed, each of the guards and forwards came to be differentiated, and today each of the five positions are known by unique names, each of which has also been assigned a number: point guard (PG) or 1, the shooting guard (SG) or 2, the small forward (SF) or 3, the power forward (PF) or 4, and the center (C) or 5.
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  • Basketball is a sport generally played by five players per team. Historically, these players have been assigned to positions defined by the role they play on the court, from a strategic point of view. Broadly speaking, the three main positions are guard, forward, and center, with the standard team featuring two guards, two forwards, and a center. Over time, as more specialized roles developed, each of the guards and forwards came to be differentiated, and today each of the five positions are known by unique names, each of which has also been assigned a number: point guard (PG) or 1, the shooting guard (SG) or 2, the small forward (SF) or 3, the power forward (PF) or 4, and the center (C) or 5. The point guard is the "leader" of the team on the court. This position requires substantial ball-handling skills and the ability to facilitate the team during a play. The shooting guard, as the name implies, is often the best shooter, as well as being capable of shooting accurately from longer distances. The small forward often has an aggressive approach to the basket when handling the ball. The small forward is also known to make cuts to the basket in efforts to get open for shots. The power forward and the center make up the frontcourt, often acting as their team's primary rebounders or shot blockers, or receiving passes to take inside shots. The center is typically the larger of the two. Besides the five basic positions, some teams use non-standard or hybrid positions, such as the point forward, a hybrid small forward/point guard; the swingman, a hybrid small forward/shooting guard; the big, a hybrid power forward/center; and the stretch four, a power forward with the shooting range of typical shooting guards. In the early days of the sport, there was a "running guard" who brought the ball up the court and passed or attacked the basket, like a point or combo guard. There was also a "stationary guard" who made long shots and hung back on defense before there was the rule of backcourt violations.
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