The center is one of 5 positions on the basketball court. Centers are typically the tallest and most physical members of the basketball team. Traditionally, most centers will stay in the low post area and don't need to be the best dribblers, shooters, or playmakers. With size as their biggest advantage, the center can focus on rebounding, shot blocking, and post moves to add value to their team. However, in modern basketball, many centers are beginning to expand their range and skills to become more outside players. Some notable centers include Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwan, and Shaquille O'Neal.
|IMPORTANT: The center is commonly abbreviated as C or the number 5, like in our diagrams.|
Centers are responsible for taking jump balls at the start of each game. The jump ball occurs in the circle at half court and is where the ball is put into play at the start of a game or overtime period. On a jump ball, the center will go against a member of the other team, leap into the air, and attempt to tap the ball with one hand to a teammate.
Centers spend most of their time close to the basket and near the paint by the low post. Since the center is generally so tall, he has a great height advantage that makes hitting layups, close shots, and even dunking an easy task. A skilled center should have a variety of post moves under his belt to use during game situations.
The center is a tall player. This size attribute enables the center to be great a great asset to the team both on offense and defense. In addition to taking jump balls, the center has many roles on the court.
When on offense, the center has the following roles on the court:
When on defense, the center has the following roles on the court:
There are few important statistics that define how good a center is:
Here are some of the best centers of all time to play basketball in the NBA:
Here are some of the top centers in the 2018 NBA season: