So yeah, I'm a pretty big noob when it comes to the sport. I've been a soccer fan all my life and it's always been my #1 sport however I want to start getting into Basketball. These questions could be pretty stupid so bare with me....
1. How do players transfer to different teams? For example in football there's transfer fees but I noticed in Basketball, the players become free agents and another team just simply picks them up and pays them. For example Lebron going back to Cleveland.
2. What are the standard positions on the court?
3. When does the season start?
4. Who are the best players?
5. What else should I know?
Thanks for the help in advance.
1. In the NBA every team has a salary cap. That means that you cannot pay salaries to the players that exceed a certain value. There's a soft cap, that if you exceed you have to pay luxury tax and there's the hard cap, that you simply cannot exceed. Each team tries to lure players by giving them the better salary and since you can't ever exceed a certain value, there's always some sort of balance of quality between teams. Now, there are some owners who are willing to pay the luxury tax, and others who aren't, so naturally the richest and biggest teams (Lakers for example) have an advantage over the smaller teams (Milwaukee for example). A great player like LeBron can receive up to 25 million per year and certain role players receive around a million per year. It is the general manager's job to create a balanced roster inside those financial limitations.
As far as transfers go, you can either sign free agents or you can trade players between teams. You can only do transfers of contracts of similar value. For example, you couldn't trade a player like Pau Gasol, who earns around 12 million a year, for a guy like Mike Miller, who earns around 2 million. You can however trade Gasol for Mike Miller and a guy like Brandon Jennings, who earns around 7 or 8 millions. It's a complicated system for someone who's used to football's rules. Free agents are guys whose contracts have expired and therefore are able to choose where they go next without any transfer restraints. Every summer there are a few big contracts that expire and during those times many teams do whatever they can to lure players into their team. A single good player in basketball is much more important than a single good player in football. A player like LeBron can change the entire fate of a team and instanly turn a poor team into title contenders.
2. There are five positions on the court.
- The center, usually the tallest player on the court (usually from 6'9 to over 7 feet), who takes advantage of his size and strength to play near the rim, rebound and impose his size on defense to contest shots from the opposing team. (Dwight Howard, Jonas Valanciunas, Roy Hibbert, Anderson Varejao - active. Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal - legends)
- The power-forward, usually also a tall player (from around 6'8 to 7'), but unlike the center, the PF is normally much more refined technically and can play everywhere in the court. There are different kinds of PFs though, some like Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh, can play just as well on the perimeter as they do near the rim, and because of their size and skill create huge problems for the opposing defense. Others, like Reggie Evans, have different roles, like setting screens for other players, rebound heavily and play tough and physical near the rim. To me this is arguably the most important position on the court and a good PF can hold a team together for a long time. (Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Zach Randolph active. Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman - legends)
-The small-forward, usually players from 6'5 to 6'10. This is the "middle position" and their role in a team depends very much on the sort of player they are. There are many different sorts of SF. They can be quick and athletic and play everywhere in the court, 3 point specialists who hang around the 3 point line, defensive specialists who can guard almost every position, complete players who can takeover multiple positions, etc. It's a position that can be almost everything, depending on the style of play the coach wants. (LeBron James, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony active. Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Julius Erving, George Gervin legends)
-The shooting guard, usually from 6'3 to 6'8. This is the position most "star" players play in because their style of play is very athletic and flashy. This position plays mostly around the perimeter with quick and explosive attacks to the rim as their bread and butter. Every team usually has a SG with strong offensive capabilities who can shoot from anywhere in the court. Because of this there are many SGs who are solely defensive specialists. (Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, Dwyane Wade, James Harden active. Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Reggie Miller - legends)
-The point guard, usually the smallest player on the court from anywhere from 5'5 to 6'4. The point guard is one of the most important positions on the court because it's his job to control a team's offense. He is the main handler of the ball and the one who most distributes the ball between the players. He is usually someone with a high basketball IQ who has a strong tactical knowledge, court awareness and passing ability. There are also more scoring minded point guards with good long distance shooting ability. A good point guard can make a difference between an organized, cohesive team and an individualistic one. (Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio, Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker active. Jason Kidd, Pete Maravich, Magic Johnson, John Stockton - legends).
3. The NBA regular season consists of 82 games by each team and usually starts in late October and ends in early April. The 8 best teams from each conference (East and West) qualify to the playoffs and play each other in best of 7 series until there is only one team left from each conference. The NBA finals are also played in best of 7 and the Eastern conference and Western conference champions play each other to determine the NBA champion.
4. The best player in the world currently is without a doubt LeBron James. He's one of the most physically gifted athletes in the history of sports, can play from Point Guard to Power Forward effectively and is also a really intelligent player. He can do pretty much everything on the court and be excellent at it. He's already one of the best players of all time. Other current great players are Kobe Bryant who is now close to retirement but is already a legend, Tim Duncan, another one who is really old but still a fantastic player (his team, the San Antonio Spurs won the title this year), Kevin Durant, who got the award for MVP of the season this year, James Harden, Chris Paul, Paul George, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose if he stops being injured, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker...
The all-time best is Michael Jordan, other greats are Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon, Julius Erving, Shaquille O'Neal.
5. I think that's pretty much it. If you like it the best thing to do is play it yourself. Learn how to dribble and shoot correctly, the proper form, then get a few of your friends together and have fun
Oh, and there's also basketball outside the NBA. The spanish, greek, turkish and italian leagues are the best european ones and the Euroleague is the equivalent of the Champions' League. The games are usually slower and less exciting but the level of play is also high. There are some slight differences in the rules too. The world championships and the olympics also have great basketball and it's always fun to see the american superstars face off against the rest of the world. The best international teams are USA, Argentina, Spain, Lithuania, Brazil, Italy, France, Russia and Serbia.