It’s a bit ironic that even in a “position-less” era, we still cling to the terms “guards”, “forwards” and “centers”. Even the more modern terms of “points”, “wings” and “posts” now seem inadequate.
Historically, coaches would put two guards, two forwards and a center (or a point, two wings and two posts) on the floor at the same time (even all the time)-even if those 5 players weren’t the “best” five players or even the five players who “played the best together”.
That thinking still exists but as time goes on, it is being replaced by space and pace position-less advocates who will play any combination of players together-including 5 guards. If the names of positions these days is really inconsequential, then why not go to more descriptive names for the various roles that players perform?
Without making it too complicated, on offense let’s call players Playmakers, Finishers and Transporters. On defense let’s call them Defenders, Helpers and Protectors. If a player is only one of the above, we’re referring to a role player. Two or more means we have a Hybrid with each additional role adding value.
Of course, going through this exercise doesn’t really diminish or increase a player’s value. It may just help to crystallize what individual players bring to the table and how to best blend and utilize all the ingredients. Looking through this lens makes it easier, I believe, to embrace position-less basketball.
We all know that in a perfect world, we want all of our players to have all six attributes but we obviously know better and try to mix and match personnel to suit a team, a matchup, a style of play, a tempo etc. Concentrating on players’ roles instead of positions might just be a fresh approach to evaluating our own personnel as well as our opponents.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.