Height is one of the main things that NBA recruiters typically look for in their players. It’s also what people are most curious about when it comes to basketball players.
When evaluating whether a player deserves a spot on the NBA draft board, physical measurements and test results aren’t the only determining factors. But a player’s height does highlight a few of their positive attributes as well as give an idea of the certain limitations they might have.
So, how tall are NBA players exactly? And what is the average height among them?
Average Height Of An NBA Player By Position
You might be wondering “what’s the average height for a man in the US?” The average American male height is 5’9”, which only emphasizes how tall NBA players are.
During the 2021-2022 NBA season, the average height of NBA players was about 6’6” or 198.6cm tall, which is 8 inches taller than the US average height for males.
But one thing you should know is that not every player in a team is required to be tall. You’ll notice that most teams have significant height differences between their players. Each position has a different height requirement.
Average Height of a Point Guard
The point guard responsibilities involve handling the ball so tall players aren’t really a requirement for this position. They’re usually the ones playmakers on the court.
In 1952, point guards were often seen as the shortest players on the court with an average height of 6’. But, over the years, the average height has seen a significant change. In 1987, NBA point guards were usually about 6’3” tall.
Magic Johnson was the tallest player in this position in the history of the NBA with a height of 6’9”, although this height wasn’t exactly ideal for Johnson’s position on the court at that time.
The shortest point guard in the NBA is Muggsey Bogues at 5’3”. Instead of height, basketball IQ and playmaking skills are the main considerations for the point guard position.
These past few years the average point guard height lies somewhere around the 6’ to 6’3” range.
Average Height of a Shooting Guard
The team’s best shooter is placed in the shooting guard position. They should be able to shoot the ball no matter how far the distance is. Dribbling skills are also a requirement for a shooting guard.
Height isn’t too important for the shooting guard position either. Sometimes, NBA teams appoint their shortest member as their shooting guard. What’s required of this position is being able to quickly pass the ball and have the skills to see the court from a perspective that lets them make the right choices on the court.
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One of the NBA's best shooting guards is James Harden, with a height of 6’4”. In 1952, the average height for a shooting guard was around 6’1”. It changed to 6’5” during the 2005 NBA season.
These days, shooting guards usually fall at around 6’3” to 6’5” tall. Corey Brewer is one of the tallest shooting guards with a height of 6’9”.
Average Height of a Small Forward
This position is important in court. They’re responsible for facing head-to-head against the players from the other team and roaming all over the court. A small forward player needs to be of average height for making small shots, playing inside and outside the court, and making long shots.
A small forward is also incredibly agile and good at shooting. In 1952, small forward players were around 6’4” tall. It gradually increased over the years, peaking at 6’8 in 2015.
The NBA's best small forward is LeBron James with a height of 6’7”. Kevin Durant is also another incredible small forward at 6’8” tall. In the recent season, the average height for this position falls at 6’7”.
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Average Height of a Power Forward
The responsibility of power forwards has changed over the years. Back then, they were given to the tallest players in the team since they focused mostly on rebounds and lay-ups.
Now, power forwards focus more on scoring 3-pointers. But in terms of height, some of the taller players in the team are still usually given the position of power forward, with an average height of around 6’7” to 6’11”.
Instead of height, it’s the average weight of players in this position that has seen the most change. In the last four years, the average weight decreased by around 10 lbs., allowing the players to move faster and more flexibly and improving their performance on the court.
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Average Height of a Center
The center position is usually given to the team’s tallest player since they need the advantage of height in order to make rebounds and close shots. They’re usually found close to the basket, making shots and blocking the other team from scoring.
Physical strength is also needed for a center. Two of the more notable centers are Rudy Gobert and Shaquille O’Neal with their heights being at 7’, which was also the average height for a center player in 1996.
Right now, the average height of center players falls around the 6’9” to 7’ range.
Average NBA Height Table
This table showcases the average height of each team for the new NBA season.
|Team||Number of Players||Average Height|
|Golden State Warriors||13||199.3cm|
|Los Angeles Clippers||17||199.3cm|
|Los Angeles Lakers||14||199.1cm|
|New Orleans Pelicans||15||199.1cm|
|New York Knicks||13||199.5cm|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||18||201.7cm|
|Portland Trail Blazers||15||198.7cm|
|San Antonio Spurs||15||201.0cm|
How Tall Is The Average NBA Player?
Every new season sees a change in the average NBA height. Players during the earlier seasons weren’t as tall as the players we currently see now.
In 1952, the average height was 6’4”. It changed to 6’7” in 1987. Although the average height decreased a little in the subsequent years, it’s still taller than it used to be back then.
Right now, the average height of NBA players is 6’6”.
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Change in NBA Height Trends
Every season, the heights of NBA players are assessed and the average results are always a bit different every time. The average height for the different positions changes every year.
Since the early NBA years, the average height has steadily increased with players becoming taller and taller. This led to people believing that height is the ultimate requirement for being an NBA player.
However, in the early years, most of the taller players did not contribute as much to the game. During the 1980s, positions were then decided and assigned based on the players’ heights.
It was obvious that some positions, like the center position, for instance, required significant height advantage to perform their roles well.
Although height isn’t the ultimate requirement for becoming a basketball player, it is still essential nonetheless.
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Have NBA Players Always Been That Tall
The height trend of NBA players from 1952 until the current year shows an increase since the first recorded season of NBA. Looking at the average height back during the early years of the NBA, we can see that players back then were almost three inches smaller than the basketball players of today.
Interestingly enough, the average height for players peaked in 1987. Since then, the average height never went past the 6’7” range. But, the average weight of players did increase which could be attributed to players becoming more athletic and muscular, instead of becoming taller.
Minimum Height Requirements for NBA
There are no official height requirements to play for the NBA. For instance, Muggsey Bogues was only 5’3” but he played for 15 seasons.
If you dream of making it into the NBA, then your height shouldn’t be a deterrent. Instead, you should focus more on improving your skills and talents to give the scouts a reason to put you on the draft board.
Who are the 10 tallest players in NBA history?
These are the top ten tallest basketball players in the history of the NBA, along with the teams they played for:
- Gheorhe Muresan – 7’7” (played for the Washington Bullets and New Jersey Nets)
- Manute Bol – 7’6” (played for the Washington Bullets and three other teams)
- Slavko Vranes – 7’6” (played for the Portland Trail Blazers)
- Shawn Bradley – 7’6” (played for the Philadelphia 76ers and three other teams)
- Yao Ming – 7’6” (played for the Houston Rockets)
- Chuck Nevitt – 7’5” (played for the Houston Rockets and five other teams)
- Pavel Podkolzin – 7’5” (played for the Dallas Mavericks)
- Sim Bhullar – 7’5” (played for the Sacramento Kings)
- Tacko Fall – 7’5” (played for the Boston Celtics)
- Mark Eaton – 7’4” (played for the Utah Jazz)
Shortest NBA Players in History
This list shows the players with the shortest height in NBA history but made up for it with lots of heart:
- Tyrone Curtis ‘Muggsey’ Bogues – 5’3” (played for the Washington Bullets and two other teams)
- Earl Antoine Boykins – 5’5” (played for the Denver Nuggets)
- Anthony Jerome ‘Spud’ Webb – 5’7” (played for the Detroit Pistons)
- Calvin Murphy – 5’9” (played for the Houston Rockets)
- Nate Robinson – 5’9” (played for the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics)
- Michael Adams – 5’10” (played for the Denver Nuggets)
- Damon ‘Might Mouse’ Stoudamire – 5’10” (played for the Portland Trailblazers)
- Avery ‘Little General’ Johnson – 5’10” (played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks)
- Allen Iverson – 6’0” (played for the Philadelphia 76ers)
- Chris Paul – 6’0” (played for the Los Angeles Clippers)
Correlation of Height and Victories
There is no exact correlation between a player’s height and their chances of winning a basketball game. Although it is an important aspect, the conditions for every game never stay the same and there are always different factors at play such as differences in tactics, injuries, and other factors that influence a game.
A player being tall doesn’t guarantee a victory in basketball. For example, Michael Jordan, a former NBA player who is considered a legend in the basketball scene, was 6’6” but was incredibly versatile and won six championships in eight years.
You don’t have to be the tallest in your team to be incredibly successful as a basketball player. Other skills are needed in a basketball game and height isn’t the only requirement.
Although the average height for NBA players has not surpassed its peak in 1987, it is still significantly larger than the average height of an ordinary American citizen.
However, this shows that the NBA isn’t all about the height of the players anymore. Instead, scouts have paid more attention to other aspects such as basketball IQ and their different skills on the court. The requirements to be drafted may vary depending on the location but height is no longer a main factor.
Modern basketball now encourages and prioritizes skill over anything else, which only makes basketball games even more enjoyable and exciting to watch.
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