The pace and skill of basketball make it a hugely enjoyable sport to watch. This applies even for novice spectators who are yet to develop a full understanding of the sport.

Although, having a deeper understanding of basketball does enhance spectator enjoyment. This includes understanding how many players are in a basketball team and which role each player carries out.

To help fans develop this increased awareness, we’re going to take a look at the makeup of a professional basketball team.

How many players are in a professional basketball team?

Professional basketball teams that play in the NBA have 5 players on the court at one time, as well as other personnel in attendance. The table below provides a closer look at the number of players and personnel involved.

Role in teamNumber of Players
Player on court5
Substitute player7
Main trainer
Assistant coach2 or 3 

Each team also has a team doctor, a manager, and other relevant personnel in attendance.

Role of each player in a basketball team

There have been some incredible basketball players over the years, and they have each played a vital role on court. Take a look at the table below for more information about what playing in each position involves.

Player PositionRole
Point GuardAs this player tends to dictate the attack for the team, they are excellent at dribbling. They also have highly developed skills in the areas of stealing and holding the ball. The player in this position handles the ball well and hits it more than other team members.
Shooting GuardThe shooting guard has to have a good level of all round skills and is often required to put the most into a game. They are the all-round player that keeps the game moving and often receives the most criticism when the team loses.
Small ForwardPlayers who take the shooting guard role can also often fill this role with ease as there are many similarities. However, this role tends to demand more focus on using physical strength, cunning, and agility to win the ball and run up quickly rather than exceptional dribbling skill.
Power ForwardPower Forwards are expected to put pressure on their opponents, inside and outside the penalty area. This means that individuals who perform this role normally have strength and power. These attributes enable them to compete and hold the ball well.
CenterThe role of a center is mainly to block and rebound. They need to provide resistance to the opposition in the box. Any player fulfilling this role has to be strong and tall in order to be truly successful. They also need to have a decisive and often bullish manner.  

This is a basic overview of the number of players in a professional basketball team and the role they each play. It provides an increased understanding of the game for rookie fans. 

Credits to JustGamblers for their help with data and information.