What Is The Difference Between A Center And Power Forward?

What Is The Difference Between A Center And Power Forward

Key Takeaway: In basketball, the power forward and center positions have distinct roles and strengths. Power forwards focus on scoring abilities and outside shooting, while centers excel in defense, rebounding, and inside scoring. Coaches play a crucial role in determining which position suits a player best based on their individual skills and attributes.

In basketball, there are a total of five positions. Each position has its own purpose, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. The five basketball positions are point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. 

The point guard is the one who handles the ball and the coach on the court. The shooting guard is the best shooter on a basketball team, and his/her team will rely on him/her for a clutch or buzzer-beater shot. The small forward is usually the fastest version of the power forwards. Small forwards love to destroy the rim! 

The two positions I didn’t mention above are the power forward and the center position. These two positions are a little bit common in height. However, each of them has its own different kinds of play styles. The power forward usually plays a high post and takes outside shots, while the center plays a low post and is more adept at shooting inside than outside. 

Let’s learn more about this topic. We will discuss the differences between a center and a power forward in basketball. We will talk about the roles of each of them on the court. Also, if you are a tall basketball player and you are confused if you are going to play center or power forward, don’t worry! Because we will help you decide. If you are ready, let’s go! 

What Is The Difference Between A Center And Power Forward

Differences Of Centers And Power Forwards In Basketball

Power forward and center are from the five basketball positions. These two positions are different. They have different kinds of roles, skills, and training programs.

A power forward is a small center with more scoring ability than the center. Power forwards will put a little bit of work on improving their inside shots, but they will focus more on improving their jump shots and three-point shots.  

The centers are the tallest players on the court. They are more focused on improving their inside shots rather than improving their jump shots. Centers focus more on improving their rebounding and shot-blocking skills. Basketball teams need centers to guard the rim and to get an easy shot inside. 

Power forwards have more scoring ability than the center. However, centers are more adept in defense compared to power forwards. Both of them move slow compared to small forwards. But because the body of the center is wider, it is easy for them to guard any player going inside the rim. 

Power forwards are used by coaches for scoring. While the centers are for defense. Centers are usually a little bit taller than the power forwards. That is why they are more reliable in guarding the paint. Power forwards are tall too, but they are not as proficient as the center when it comes to defense. 

The centers and power forwards may switch positions on the court, and they switch for purpose. Sometimes their coaches told them, and sometimes their opponents forced them to. However, they may switch positions, but they will never switch skills. 

Power forward will still use his/her skills even if he/she is in the center position and the same with the center. They will use their strengths and will not play out of their comfort zones. If the power forward will try to play as a center, he/she has a high chance to perform better compared to the center that tries to play as a power forward. 

Who Is Better, Centers Or Power Forwards?

It depends on lots of factors. We can’t conclude on who is better from the two positions without knowing the strengths of each position. Let’s try to compare them, and you can decide for yourself who is better between the two. 

Power forwards are quicker than the centers. They can run fast and jump higher than the centers. Power forwards are more adept outside shooters, and they have better percentages on the free-throw line. However, power forwards is weaker in strength compared to centers. They have a difficult time playing inside and will rely more on their outside shooting. 

Centers are the tallest player on a basketball team. They are also the strongest players, and they are stronger than the power forwards. Centers are more proficient in rebounding and shot-blocking than the power forwards. They have a better percentage on the paint than power forwards. 

However, centers are not good at free-throws and outside shooting. Centers are poor ball-handlers and passers than the power forwards. They are also prone to foul trouble because they are the ones who mostly contest shots inside the paint. 

Now that you know the strengths and weaknesses of the two positions, I hope you can determine who is better. However, let me tell you that there are no positions a hundred percent better than the others. Center is not a hundred percent better than power forward and vice versa. These two positions have different strengths and weaknesses. They have different kinds of roles on the court. 

Centers may be better in some aspects than power forwards, and power forwards can also be better in some aspects than centers. Centers and power forwards will rely on their strengths to perform better inside the court.

What Is The Difference Between A Center And Power Forward

Should I Become A Power Forward Or Center?

Are you a tall basketball player but don’t know if you will play as a power forward or a center? If you are a beginner in basketball, it is normal not to know what position you should be in. Don’t worry. I am here to help you decide what basketball position is right for you! 

First, you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you are good at rebounding, inside shots, and hustle plays, the center position may be the right position for you. But if you play like Kevin Love, the power forward position is for you. 

However, you can’t determine this on your own. You need to have a coach to help you determine what kind of position you should play. Coaches will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. 

To be real with you, you should not focus on determining what position you should play. All you have to do is to work hard. You need to be consistent in your training routine. Don’t get bothered about what position you should play. You will determine that in the middle of your journey. 

While you are working hard, your coach can identify what is the right position for you. If your coach sees that you are proficient in scoring inside, getting rebounds, blocking shots, and defending the paint, your coach will make you the center. But if your coach sees that you play like Kevin Love or Zion Williamson, your coach might put you in the power forward position. 

If you want to become a center, execute the practices that the centers do. Improve your rebounding skills, spend more time shooting inside the paint, and improve your shot-blocking skills. 

But if you want to become a power forward, execute the practice power forwards do. Improve your free-throw shooting, practice your jump shot every day, shoot 1000 shots outside the arc, and do the exercises that will increase your speed.  

Information About Center Position

The center position is played by the tallest player in a basketball team. They are the tallest players on their team. During offense, the centers are the ones who will set screens and engage in pick and roll plays. 

This position requires lots of strength and patience. A center should be powerful so that he/she can battle inside the paint. This position is very physical! Coaches tend to give their centers lots of resting times because coaches know how much physical battling inside the paint. Centers receive lots of elbows, pushes, and shoving underneath the rim. 

During the defense, centers are the defensive captain of their team. They have the best view on the court, and they can see every cut and back door play. Centers are the tallest players on a basketball team, which is why they can effortlessly see what is happening on the court. 

Centers need to be inside the paint always to prevent the opposing team from scoring easy shots inside. They are the ones who usually contest layups, dunks, and floaters. Centers are also known as the rim protector, and they will make it difficult for their opponents to score inside the paint. 

Let’s check the different strengths of the center:

  • Big and strong
  • Adept in defense
  • Proficient shot-blocker
  • Can effortlessly put the ball into the rim
  • Has big hands 
  • Can see everything on the court
  • Best rebounder on the court
What Is The Difference Between A Center And Power Forward

Information About Power Forward Position

Power forward is also known as the shorter center. This position is fit for tall players that can move fast on the court. Power forwards are a mix of a small forward and a center. They are proficient scorers compared to centers because they can score inside and outside. 

Power forwards can shoot threes, and they can also post-up in the low-post. If they are posting up, they will either drive quickly inside the basket or do a fade-away jumper. Power forwards are also good defensively, and they can guard the center of their opponents. 

Sometimes coaches will put their power forwards in the center positions and their small forward in the power forward position. Coaches do this to make the game fast. This is a good strategy if you want to score more in fast-paced. 

The strengths of the power forwards are:

  • Can shoot threes
  • Quicker than the center
  • Have a proficient free-throw percentage
  • Can play as a center or small forward
  • Have good ball-handling than centers
  • Proficient in rebound and shot-blocking
  • Can create mismatches

Final Words

Centers and power forwards may be slightly the same when it comes to their roles on the court. However, both positions have different strengths and weaknesses. We can’t form a conclusion about who is better from the two because these two positions have their own set of skills and talents. All we know is that the skills and talents of these two positions are essential to help a basketball team win many games. 

Who do you think is better? Centers or power forwards? Comment your answers below! 

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