Basketball Forward Types
A forward in basketball is one of five player positions on a basketball team either referring to the small forward (SF) or the power forward (PF). Forwards are able to play both inside the paint and outside of it on offense and should be aggressive and rebound-minded on defense.
The small forward is a well-rounded player, typically being skilled in all areas of the game. They’re athletic and athletically built, allowing for quickness and aggressiveness on defense. They also must be able to make shots from inside and outside of the paint and be able to drive towards the basket and create opportunities for their teammates in each play. Think of Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James, who are great on both sides of the court.
The power forward is like a mix of the center and the small forward, being tall and built, but also being a diverse player capable of shooting from the inside and outside of the paint, as well as a screen-setter and off-the-ball playmaker. Most power forwards are better at close range, but being a good 3-pointer shooter as well can be a real asset. Defensively, they are in charge of boxing out the offense and getting rebounds for their team. Anthony Davis or Breanna Stewart are good examples of great power forwards.
In basketball, a point forward is a player that plays the forward position but still brings the ball up the court, even though that role is typically reserved for a point guard. Point forwards are still expected to be the primary ball-handlers and distributors, as well as initiate the offense, just as a point guard typically would.
Point forwards are able to use their physicality to score in addition to dribbling and distributing. Whenever a point forward is being used, it probably means the team is also using a point guard that is adept at scoring, or a combo guard or shooting guard instead of a point guard. Having a point forward gives an offense more scoring options and allows a dominant forward to use isolation plays more easily.
The most obvious point forward example is LeBron James. Even since his first NBA game, James has been an avid ball handler and distributor, creating openings for teammates by threatening with his scoring prowess. Other historically significant point forwards include Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Ben Simmons.