Average NBA Height by Year and Position

Compared to the average person, NBA players are by definition some of the tallest athletes on the planet. While all sports have their physical requirements, in the NBA, height is one of the key physical requirements for players in any position. Height not only gives basketball players advantage in terms of shooting but also helps defensive players keep the ball out of the hoop.

Average NBA Height

The average NBA height is 6’ 7 but this height tends to vary from one season to the next. In the 2019 -2020 season, the average NBA height was 6’5.4. However, the NBA height has fluctuated over time with the highest average height being 6’ 7 which was the average NBA height recorded in 1987.

Height is one of the things that are not teachable which is probably why people over 7 feet tall have a 17% higher chance than the average person of making it to the NBA. However, height is not everything and players like Steph Curry at 6′ 3 have shown that you do not have to be the tallest to be the best. Some NBA positions like point guards are not inhibited by height which is why players like Steve Nash and Steph Curry have managed to amass impressive accolades despite being shorter than the average NBA player.

Average NBA Height by Position

While all NBA players are tall, the average heights for different positions vary. The shortest players are usually the point guards while the tallest players are typically the centers and the forwards. In most cases, point guards need more skill and talent as opposed to height. This is why players for this position are picked for their agility and skill and not just based on height.

Point Guard Average Height

The average point guard height ranges between 5’11” and 6’3”. Currently, the tallest point guard in the NBA is Ben Simmons who stands at 6’11”. Historically point guards have been the shortest players in the NBA starting at an average height of 6’ in the 50’s to the current 5’11” to 6’3”. The shortest NBA player of all time Muggsy Bogues who was 5’3” was a point guard and had a 14-year career in the NBA.

For point guards, control over the ball, ability to dribble, agility, and court awareness are much more essential than height. Of course, it helps if the player has both skill and height. Some of the best point guards in the NBA right now include:

  • Steph Curry, 6’3” – Golden State Warriors
  • Luka Doncic, 6′ 7″ – Dallas Mavericks
  • Jamal Murray, 6′ 3″- Denver Nuggets
  • Kyrie Irving, 6′ 2″- Brooklyn Nets
  • Russell Westbrook, 6′ 3″- Washington Wizards
  • Ben Simmons, 6′ 11″- Philadelphia 76er

Shooting Guard Average Height

In the 1950’s the average shooting guard height was 6’1”, which then evolved over time to 6’5” in the 2000s before falling back to the current average shooting guard height of 6’3” to 6’6”. James Harden 6’5” currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets is one of the best shooting guards in the league along with other SGs like Paul George 6’8” of the Clippers, Devin Booker 6’5” of the Phoenix Suns and Bradley Beal 6′ 3″ of the Washington Wizards.

Power Forward Average Height

The average height of a power forward in the NBA is 6’8” To 6’10” and this makes them one of the taller positions on the court. Power forwards play multiple roles where height is a definite advantage including defending, rebounds, playing in the post, and setting up screens. As the game of basketball continues to change power forwards now shoot three points and mid-range jump shots so this position plays several roles.

In terms of height, power forwards are second only to the centers. Some of the best forwards in the game currently include:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6′ 11″ – Milwaukee Bucks.
  • Draymond Green, 6′ 6″ – Golden State Warriors
  • Pascal Siakam, 6′ 9″ – Toronto Raptors
  • Blake Griffin, 6′ 9″ – Detroit Pistons. …

Small Forward Average Height

Do not let the name fool you, the small forwards in the NBA on average have a height of approximately 6’6” to 6’8” which is anything but small. The small forward is a versatile position on the court and players in this position have been growing taller with time. In the 50s the small forward position had an average height of 6’4’’ which increased to 6’8’’ in 2015 and is currently between 6’6” and 6’8”.

  • LeBron James, 6′ 9″ – Los Angeles Lakers
  • Kawhi Leonard, 6′ 7″ – Los Angeles Clippers
  • Jimmy Butler, 6′ 7″- Miami Heat
  • Jayson Tatum, 6′ 8″- Boston Celtics
  • Khris Middleton, 6′ 7″- Milwaukee Bucks.

NBA Center Average Height

Centers are the tallest players in the NBA at an average height of 6’10”. In 1996 the average height of the center was 7’ the highest that it has ever been. In the current NBA some of the best centers in the game include:

  • Joel Embiid, 7′ 0″ – Philadelphia 76ers
  • Karl Anthony, 6′ 11″ – Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Kristaps Porzingis, 7′ 3″ – Dallas Mavericks
  • Jusuf Nurkic, 7′ 0″ – Portland Trail Blazers
  • Rudy Gobert, 7′ 1″ – Utah Jazz
  • Nikola Vučević, 7′ 0″ – Orlando Magic. …

Average NBA Height By Year

Over the past 20 years, the average NBA height has evolved. Here are the stats for the average heights by position over the last two decades.

Average PG SG SF PF C
2019-2020 6’6.3″ 6’2.5″ 6’4.4″ 6’6.4″ 6’8.2″ 6’10.6″
2018-2019 6’6.4″ 6’2.5″ 6’4.6″ 6’7.1″ 6’8.6″ 6’10.7″
2017-2018 6’6.4″ 6’2.4″ 6’4.5″ 6’6.9″ 6’8.7″ 6’10.5″
2016-2017 6’6.4″ 6’2″ 6’4.6″ 6’7.1″ 6’8.7″ 6’10.8″
2015-2016 6’6.5″ 6’2.1″ 6’4.7″ 6’7.1″ 6’8.8″ 6’10.9″
2014-2015 6’6.6″ 6’1.9″ 6’5″ 6’7.5″ 6’9″ 6’10.9″
2013-2014 6’6.6″ 6’1.9″ 6’4.9″ 6’7.5″ 6’9.1″ 6’10.9″
2012-2013 6’6.6″ 6’1.7″ 6’4.6″ 6’7.5″ 6’9″ 6’10.7″
2011-2012 6’6.6″ 6’1.7″ 6’5″ 6’7.6″ 6’9.2″ 6’10.8″
2010-2011 6’6.7″ 6’1.8″ 6’5.1″ 6’7.6″ 6’9.2″ 6’10.8″
2009-2010 6’6.7″ 6’1.8″ 6’5.3″ 6’7.5″ 6’9.2″ 6’10.8″
2008-2009 6’6.8″ 6’1.9″ 6’5.1″ 6’7.4″ 6’9.2″ 6’10.9″
2007-2008 6’6.8″ 6’1.9″ 6’5.2″ 6’7.5″ 6’9.1″ 6’10.9″
2006-2007 6’6.7″ 6’1.8″ 6’5″ 6’7.3″ 6’9.1″ 6’11.1″
2005-2006 6’6.8″ 6’1.8″ 6’5″ 6’7.6″ 6’9.4″ 6’11.2″
2004-2005 6’6.8″ 6’1.8″ 6’5.2″ 6’7.6″ 6’9.4″ 6’11.2″
2003-2004 6’7″ 6’2.3″ 6’5.1″ 6’7.3″ 6’9.4″ 6’11.2″
2002-2003 6’7″ 6’2.2″ 6’5.3″ 6’7.7″ 6’9.4″ 6’11.1″
2001-2002 6’6.7″ 6’1.8″ 6’5.1″ 6’7.6″ 6’9″ 6’11.3″
2000-2001 6’6.7″ 6’1.8″ 6’4.9″ 6’7.4″ 6’9″ 6’11.2″

Average Height By Decade

1950s

In the 50s the average NBA height was 6’5″. Compared to the average male height 5’8″, NBA players were still a lot taller compared to athletes in other sports. The decade produced some basketball legends including Bob Pettit 6′ 9″ , Neil Johnston 6′ 8″, and Paul Arizin 6′ 4″ .

1960s

In the 1960s the average NBA height was 6’5″ which was similar to the average height from the previous decade. Some of the stars of the 60’s included Wilt Chamberlain who was an impressive 7′ 1″ and is still regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Other greats from the era were Oscar Robertson  6’5″, Jerry West 6’3″ and Bill Russell 6’10″.

1970s

In the 70s the average NBA Average height rose marginally to 6’6″. Some of the most notable stars of this decade included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 7′ 2″, Julius Erving 6’7″, Elvin Hayes 6’9″ and John Havlicek 6’5″.

1980s

The average NBA height in the 1980s was 6’6″. Magic Johnson 6′ 9″, Larry Bird 6′ 9″, and Moses Malone 6′ 10″, all made their mark in this decade.

1990s

The average NBA height in the 1990s was 6’6″. Apart from Michael Jordan who is 6′ 6″, the other superstars that made the 90s NBA were Karl Malone 6’9″, David Robinson 7′ 1″, and Hakeem Olajuwon 7′ 0″.

2000s

In the 2000s the average NBA height increase to 6’7″. Stars like Kobe Bryant 6′ 6″, Shaquille O’Neal 7′ 1″, Tim Duncan 6′ 11″, and Allen Iverson 6′ 0″ were some of the most notable stars of this decade.

2010s

In the 2010 decade the average NBA height was 6’7″. Among the most notable starts of this period include LeBron James who towers at an imposing 6′ 9″, Kevin Durant who is a tad taller at 6′ 10″. Other stars of the decade include Stephen Curry 6′ 3″, Kawhi Leonard 6′ 7″ and Klay Thompson 6′ 6″ who continue to make the mark in the NBA.

Conclusion

When it comes to basketball, height will always be an advantage but it is not the only asset that players need to have. Depending on the position you play, the average height requirement will vary. However, in most cases no matter how tall you are skill, dedication and passion for the game are necessities for you to play and play well. As the game continues to evolve with time, the average heights in the NBA for different positions are also likely to keep on changing. However, given the nature of the game we can safely assume that the average height for an NBA player will remain in the 6’5″ to 6’7″ range.

Also Read:

Tallest Point Guards in the NBA

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