Basketball is a team sport. It is important to have everyone playing together in order to achieve the goal of winning a championship. But every team has strengths and weaknesses. Some have very dominant players on the wing, while others have a seemingly unstoppable center, controlling the paint and enforcing his will. So which is the most important position on the court for any team? Let’s take a closer look.
The Case for the Point Guard
The general consensus is that the point guard is the most important position on the court. And there are many reasons to agree with this statement. After all, they hold the ball the majority of the time. They bring it up the court, and they set up the offensive plays almost every time. If a team has a highly skilled point guard, the entire offense flows much more smoothly. They are the closest thing to a coach on the court, as they direct their teammates on where to go and when.
Additionally, a point guard has the advantage of viewing the court from the top of the key. This allows them to see where the holes are located in the defense, and to play off those gaps and either score themselves or put their teammates in the best possible position to put points on the board.
The Case for the Center
However, throughout the history of the NBA, we have seen that a truly dominant center can simply dominate a game. Someone like Shaquille O’Neal for example, could score almost every time he touched the ball. Nobody could stop him. They could only hope to slow him down. But even fouling him was often not enough to keep him from putting the ball in the basket. Some of the greatest players in NBA history have been centers. Players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain are always in the conversation of the greatest players of all time.
The Case for the Shooting Guard and Small Forward
But even then, you can look at players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who were the most dominant players during their respective eras. Each of them was considered a shooting guard, who sometimes played small forward as well, depending on the lineups on the court at any given time. Moreover, some small forwards have been invaluable to their teams as well, including LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kevin Durant, Julius Irving, and many others.
The thing that is similar to many of the players listed above is the fact that they typically had the ball in their hands, despite not being their team’s point guard. They were just the best players on their respective rosters, and justifiably saw the ball more than anyone else.
Can It Even Be Settled?
So which position is the most important on the basketball court? This is a question for the ages that really has no clear cut answer. If a player from the small forward position can handle the ball like a point guard, they essentially aren’t playing their own position in typical fashion. They are playing a hybrid position, which includes being able to score, pass, and rebound with the best of them.
Still, there is no denying that without a true point guard, any team will struggle to have a flow to their offensive attack. Even the greatest players in the world need help. And that help is likely best suited in the form of a strong game manager from the point guard position. Someone who can help to control the tempo and to put the ball in the hands of the teammates, who are in the best position to score points.