How Many Players On A Basketball Team: Quick Guide

Many often wonder how many players on a basketball team because sometimes we see a match where each team has 5 players, but sometimes only 3. 

So why is there such a difference? What are positions? Scroll down and get the answer.

How Many Players On A Basketball Team?

The number of participants in the leagues is not fixed

Street and professional basketball are the two primary forms of competition in this sport. The players on the court in each state and each league is also not fixed. Here are the specific amounts:


FIBA rules make the game simpler. The number of players has 12 participants, 5 of which can play directly and 7 on the bench. This number also applies to games at the Olympics.


American leagues like the NBA often use their own rules. There are 20 basketball players, but the official list has only 15 names, 13 are active, and 2 are inactive.

Read more: Indoor Vs Outdoor Basketball


WNBA matches follow FIBA rules, meaning only 12 sportswomen. The number of athletes competing on the field is 5, and the number of substitutes is 7.


The NCAA and NBA use the same American rule that each crew has a maximum of 15 athletes during the season. Of these, only 13 people can enter the field; the rest are substitutes.

High School

Each high school federation has its own set of rules. According to NFHS (National Federation of High Schools), up to 20 names are on the list. This number is more significant than college or professional-level leagues because college basketball wants to find young talent.

Street Form

The game of basketball format is less restrictive than indoor tournaments. Most streetball matches have 3 contestants and one substitute.

Read more: How Many Steps Can You Take In Basketball

What Positions Does A Team Have?

Each position has its role

This sport consists of 5 positions corresponding to 5 contestants playing on the field. The playing field has 3 clear areas: the area outside the 3-point line, the middle of the 3-point line, and the trapezoidal area. 

The role of the positions corresponds to the active site of each participant.

Shooting Guard (SG)

SG is a scorer, a vital column position, operating outside the 3-point line. Those taking on this position must have an outstanding defense, score well, and often be good candidates for the captain’s role.

Shooting guards are the most versatile when they can play independently on the field and create impressive shots, making the opponent move far away to block the shot. Thus, SG must have good technique, quick judgment, bravery, and flexibility.

Read more: Who Is The Goat Of Basketball

Small Forward (SF)

The SF has an operating range inside the 3-point area, trapezoidal center zone. Since the small forward is in charge of scoring, he must be versatile, agile to steal the ball, and smart during the game to understand his teammates.

Power Forward (PF)

Power forward is active in the 3-point and central area of the trapezoidal. This person performs the crew’s most important tasks, such as scoring when the ball bounces off the board and actively supporting the Center when attacking and defending.

That’s why contestants in this position must have height and muscle strength; performance must be very good. Usually, PF will play fixed according to the coach’s strategy.

Center (C)

These sportsmen need the biggest body on the column but only a little technique because they usually only work in the 3-point area and the central trapezoid. The main task is scoring under the basket, rebounding, and blocking the opponent’s attack.

Point Guard (PG)

PGs operate outside the 3-point line. They are like the conductor because they must be able to control the game, pass the ball well, and have accurate 3-pointers.

What Are The Substitution Rules In The Basketball Game? 

The rule on substitution has many complicated regulations

There is no limit to the number of substitutions in a match, but there is a time constraint. A column may only make a substitution when the ball is dead; the game clock stops with the approval of the referees. A crew can change one or more participants at a time.

Substituting contestants will stay outside the touchline until the referee allows them to enter. The exiting participant will go directly to the home crew’s area seat. The process must take place quickly.  The basketball rules maximum time is 30 seconds.

A free thrower cannot be substituted unless injured or sent off. There is no change during a free throw or when a free throw has been completed.

Read more: What Does PF Mean In Basketball


How many players on a basketball team? What is the role of the positions? The above information has helped you find the answer to this question. This article will help you better understand this fascinating sport. Thanks for reading.

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  • Dalvir O'Connor

    Meet Dalvir O'Connor, CEO and founder of Sportssio, boasts 15 years of experience in sports knowledge and analysis, backed by his Master's degree in Sport Psychology....

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