What is a Post Player in Basketball? Ultimate Guide

Though modern basketball may seem like a 3-point shooting contest today, plenty of moves can give a team more scoring options if they would utilize them.

One of those moves is usually employed by a post player, also referred to as post moves.

So, what exactly does a post player do, and how can they impact a basketball game in their favor?

Post players are those who usually players as a small forward, power forward or a center. They’re players who score and defend near the rim by using their huge bodies and height. Some popular post players include Tim Duncan, Shaquille Oneal, and Hakeem Olajuwon.

What is a Post Player in Basketball?

If you’re frequently watching basketball, particularly the NBA, you may have noticed players asking for the ball near the rim or around the painted area. 

The court region that is usually painted spanning from the free-throw line down to the baseline is called the post. The player taking most of his shots in this area is called a post player.

A post player plays comfortably with his back to the basket and is not afraid of contact.

They usually have a variety of moves at their disposal, like hook shots, jump shots, and step-throughs using their fancy footwork as they wreak havoc in the paint. 

The most influential post players have a combination of size, strength, length, and skills to bully the defense for a high-percentage two-point or get to the free-throw line.

At the same time, they should be quick to play defense and limit shots around the rim, and secure rebounds at both ends.

What Position is a Post Player in Basketball?

Post players are the power forwards and centers that dominate the painted area and have various moves in their scoring repertoire.

Since height and size are typically advantageous for post players, the 6’10 and taller frame of power forwards and centers make them more effective in scoring inside and around the post.

At the same time, this height advantage makes them great rim protectors and shot disruptors on the defensive end.

What are the Roles of a Post Player?

What are the Roles of a Post Player

A post player spends most of his time around the painted area for both the offensive and defensive end of the floor.

On the offensive end, his large body and commanding presence are his assets as he tries to score using various post moves near the rim to score or draw fouls to earn his points at the free-throw line.

A post player’s length and frame are utilized to contest or block shots of the opposing team’s post players on the defensive end.

Rebounding is also an essential role of post players. Since they are closest to the basket, they should fight for position to get a defensive rebound to stop the opponent’s possession or get an offensive rebound to extend their team’s possession.

Top 5 Tips to become a Better Post Player

A good post player doesn’t always rely entirely on their size and strength, though it certainly gives an advantage.

However, there are still moves that you can learn and master to bring your post-game to a higher level.

1. Get into position

Getting into position to receive the ball closer to the basket is crucial to scoring in the post.

Since the painted area is occupied by opposing post players, the battle will require a higher level of physicality.

Posting up or playing with their back to the basket is one way to get into a better position over the defender. It would be easier for the post player’s teammates to pass him the ball by posting up.

Aside from getting into position, understanding where you’re located in the court is also crucial.

Knowing your location relative to the basket will give you an insight into which post-move to use against your defender.

2. Master how to finish with both hands.

As a post player, your role in the offense is to score high-quality shots near the basket.

However, your opposing post player’s job is not to allow you to get those shots so that they will force you away from your dominant side.

So, mastering how to finish with both hands increases a post player’s chances of scoring even if forced to shoot with a non-dominant hand.

This will open more scoring options with post moves.

3. Master your footwork.

The best post players in NBA history also have the best footwork, so improving it is required to take your game to a higher level as a post player.

Mastery of post-up footwork will help create scoring opportunities by learning how to step away or step-through defenders on the post. Just watch Hakeem Olajuwon if you need more proof.

4. Accept that the post is a physical battle.

Basketball is a contact sport, and a post player would have to embrace it.

By mentally preparing to get hurt in the paint, you will be more prepared to persistently attack the opposing team to score or get them into foul trouble.

It is also essential to properly use physicality and avoid unnecessary fouls because it is a given that on the defensive end, the opposing post player will also try to use their body against you.

5. Learn how to pass from the post.

If a post player proves that he can score from the post, the opposing team will have no choice but to double team. A teammate will most likely be open for a shot if that happens.  

So, the ability to pass out from the post when double-teamed is crucial to avoid turning the ball over or forcing to shoot bad shots.

The Most Popular Post Moves in Basketball

The Most Popular Post Moves in Basketball

Post players have various post moves to choose from depending on their position and their read from their defenders. Here are some of the popular actions in and around the post. 

Baseline Jumpshot

Many great players utilize the baseline jumper. As the post player receives the ball, he can mix and match a variety of shoulder fakes and pivots to increase his space from the defender and shoot a clean jump shot.

A variation of this shot is the post-fadeaway shot that gives more separation from the defender’s shot-blocking.

Jump Hook Shot

This shot commonly starts from the low post position with his back towards the basket.

Upon receiving the ball, the post player positions his body sideways or facing the sidelines with his shooting hand further away from the basket. As he jumps, he steps his foot closer to the basket and, with a sweeping motion, brings the ball up above his head and releases the ball with a flick of his wrist. 

Up and under

This move is simple but deadly. As the post player receives the ball, he does a shot fake above his head. If the defender commits and jumps to block the shot, the post player steps past him for an open lay-up.

Quick Spin Move

This move is a technique to move past or around a defender. What makes this more effective is if he is guarded closely. The post player can immediately do a single dribble and spin away from his defender for a quick lay-up or dunk upon receiving the ball.

Dream Shake

This move is a combination technique that utilizes a series of fakes, spins, and pivots to get past a defender for an open lay-up or jump shots.

The Dream Shake was named after a great post player and Hall-of-Famer, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.

The Best Post Players of All Time in the NBA

Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, the creator of the Dream Shake, is one of the best post-players of all time. He led the Houston Rockets in consecutive championships in 1994 and 1995. 

He possessed skills in the post that was too difficult to defend as he averaged almost 22 points per game in his 18-year career. Aside from his offensive prowess, he is also a threat on the defensive end averaging more than three blocks per game in his career.

He is also currently the 12th All-Time Leader in Points in the NBA.

Shaquille O’Neal

The Diesel is one of the most dominant players who ever played the game of basketball. With his massive frame, raw strength, and skill set on the post, defenders can only wish he misses his shot or forces him to work for his points on the free-throw line.

He averaged almost 24 points and 11 rebounds per game in his career and won four championships. He currently ranks 8th in NBA’s all-time ranking in points.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem owns one of the most unstoppable shots in NBA History, the skyhook. That move is virtually unguardable as it propelled him to six NBA Championship, six MVPs, and the current NBA’s All-Time Leader in Points. 

Aside from his offense, he is also an 11-time defensive team selection. Kareem finished his career averaging 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks.

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan, or as others would call him, The Big Fundamental, is a nightmare in the post. His back-to-basics playstyle may not be as flashy as his contemporaries. However, it still proved effective as he won five NBA Championships.

His defense presence is also a torment to his opponents. He is the leader in All-Defensive Team selections in the NBA.


Post players are crucial for every basketball team. They provide the needed scoring on the offense while also running back to play defense.

While height is undoubtedly an advantage, skills are essential to being a successful post player. So mastery of the fundamentals will bring your post-game to a higher level.


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