There are a few key reasons why height is such an important attribute among NBA players compared to the general population. The average NBA player height is around 6'7", with most falling between 6'3" and 6'10". Basketball inherently favors taller players for several physical advantages.
First, a bigger frame is beneficial for crucial skills like rebounding, blocking shots and dunking. A taller player can more easily grab rebounds over others fighting for the ball. They also have an easier time blocking shots and finishing at the rim.
Longer limbs and higher reach are also advantages. Having a higher vertical leap and more arm span makes it easier to get shots off and make plays on both ends of the court. NBA players with a bigger wingspan can more effectively steal, pass and contest shots.
The tallest NBA players are often positioned as centers, where their size helps clog the key on defense and provide a big scoring and rebounding presence on offense. But even guards benefit from height to see over defenses and shoot over smaller defenders.
Genetics play a key role, as exceptional height is passed down. But training from a young age, proper nutrition and growth spurts also help NBA players maximize their vertical development compared to peers.
While skills are crucial, the height advantage provides tangible physical benefits that make it very rare for shorter players to succeed in the NBA. The league selects for genetic gifts that help dominate the game in ways average-height athletes simply can't.