Identifying a player’s position is useful for all sorts of statistical analysis of basketball, but unfortunately position in basketball is not nearly as well-defined as position in baseball. The traditional breakdown into point guard (1), shooting guard (2), small forward (3), power forward (4), and center (5) works some of the time, but breaks down at the edges. Some teams’ offensive systems don’t differentiate between the roles for the two wing positions (SG and SF), or between the two post positions (PF and C). Some players play one positional role in their team’s offense yet typically guard an opposing player that plays a different positional role in his offense (e.g. Kirk Hinrich, who plays PG for the Bulls offensively but often defends opposing SGs). Many players play different positions at different times in the same game depending on which teammates they are on the court with. For all these reasons and more, having a list saying Player X is a PG, Player Y is a PF, Player Z is a SF, etc. is bound to be lacking.
How can positions be assigned in a more objective and informative manner?