5 NBA Starters Who Are Playing out of Position

Denim MillwardContributor IIINovember 10, 2012

5 NBA Starters Who Are Playing out of Position

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    Depending on the composition of any given NBA lineup, it may be at times necessary, due to injury, underperformance or a litany of other reasons, to jam a square peg into a round hole.

    Playing an NBA star out of position is not just done out of necessity, but at times utilized to exploit certain matchups or to game-plan against a specific offense. 

    For the team, it may be the best option, but for the player it has to be frustrating as hell sometimes to be crammed into a spot where you just don't fit ideally. 

    While playing out of position may be a pain, it's a good opportunity to prove your worth to your team and increase your own value by way of displaying your versatility. 

    In perhaps the most famous "out of position" game in NBA history, Magic Johnson stepped out of the point guard role to play center in game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals for the Los Angeles Lakers in a winning effort over the Philadelphia 76ers. 

    Johnson, normally the point guard, put up 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists despite being pushed way out of his comfort zone. 

    The following five players may never duplicate Johnson's game 6 production, but they are the most obvious examples of NBA ballers playing out of their normal position. 

Brandon Jennings

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    While point guard may be all Brandon Jennings has ever known in the NBA, it's far from his ideal slot.

    Jennings is prone to shoot first and ask questions later, and is not exactly overly concerned with being the facilitator to get his teammates shots.

    Jennings is a scorer, pure and simple. He's much better with a pure point guard as a backcourt mate to help get him shots and facilitate for him. Instead, Jennings has pretty much the opposite in Monta Ellis, who also has never seen a shot he didn't like.

    Jennings should really be a shooting guard, but until a better situation is created for him in Milwaukee, he'll remain in the point guard role.

Josh McRoberts

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    Normally anchored in the post, McRoberts has started the past few games at small forward for the Orlando Magic.

    While it hasn't been a complete disaster since McRoberts does have some range, it's an odd sight to see a big, lumbering power forward at a wing position alongside Nikola Vucevic and Glen Davis.

    McRoberts is starting in place for the injured Hedo Turkoglu, a player not entirely dissimilar from McRoberts, but a much better fit at the small forward position. 

    Once Turkoglu comes back, I imagine "McBob" will be happy to move back to his more natural role.

Stephen Curry

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    Stephen Curry is eerily reminiscent of his sharpshooting father Dell Curry, who also played in the NBA and was one of the premier shooters in the league in the early to mid '90s. 

    Like father, like son.

    Stephen has virtually unlimited range at times, and can score in bunches when nagging injuries aren't plaguing him.

    The Warriors, currently devoid of a much better option at point guard, are starting Curry at the one position, when Curry should really be a two. 

    With Brandon Rush out for the season with a torn ACL, it'll be interesting to see if Curry and more traditional point guard Jarrett Jack will eventually share the backcourt, allowing Curry to move back to his natural role.

Thaddeus Young

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    There were a number of choices on the 76ers I could've gone with as far as players who are out of position go, as Philly is currently starting three small forwards, but Thaddeus Young jumped out the most.

    Young is starting with other listed small forwards Dorell Wright and Evan Turner. As Young is the biggest of the three by a decent margin, he has been given the power forward duties, while regular power forward Lavoy Allen has been starting at center.

    Young has done a fine job at power forward, most recently tallying up 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks as part of a 106-100 victory over the Boston Celtics last night. Still, it's safe to say Young is hoping for an eventual move back to his most natural position.

Raymond Felton

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    Felton was the third point guard chosen in the 2005 NBA draft, behind All-Stars Deron Williams and Chris Paul.

    While Felton hasn't quite achieved the success Paul and WIlliams have, he's done a fine job of manning the point for a number of teams in the NBA. 

    It's clear point guard is his best position.

    Recently, the New York Knicks have had a two point guard backcourt, starting Felton at shooting guard alongside veteran point guard Jason Kidd. While the two are in, Felton is clearly less comfortable than he is when bench scorer J.R. Smith comes in and Felton is moved back to his natural point guard position.