Game Strategies: Frequently Asked Questions
Posted Sep 17 2002 12:36PM
NBA basketball can be a very strategic game. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about hoops strategies.
How many timeouts does each team get in a regular NBA game?
What does it mean when a team is "in the penalty"?
• Each team is allowed to commit four fouls in each quarter with no penalty. On the fifth team foul committed that quarter, that team is in the penalty or in a penalty situation.
• The penalty situation also occurs if a team commits more than one foul in the last two minutes of a quarter. Even if a team has not committed any fouls and there is less than two minutes remaining in the quarter, they are in the penalty as soon as they commit their second foul.
When a team is in the penalty and one of their players commits a foul, the opposition gets to shoot two free throws.
There are two reasons why a player will shoot a free throw after being fouled:
1. If he is fouled and the other team is in the penalty, then he shoots two free throws.
2. Every time a player is fouled in the act of shooting a basket that does not go in, he is awarded with two free throws, regardless of whether or not the team is in the penalty situation. If the player attempting a shot is outside the three-point line when he is fouled, he will be awarded three free throws. If a player is fouled in the act of shooting a basket successfully, he is awarded either two or three points for the basket (depending on where he was shooting from), plus he is awarded with one free throw because he was fouled. If he successfully makes this free throw, it is called a three-point play, or a four-point play (which is quite rare).
If he doesn't shoot a free throw after being fouled, then the opponent is not in the penalty, or he didn't get fouled while in the act of shooting.
What does it mean if a team has a "foul to give"?
What is zone defence?
•A 1-3-1 zone is used to double-team in the corners and take the offence out of a comfort zone where they can pass or shoot. The first "one" is the player who meets the point guard bringing the ball into the frontcourt. He will defend the player with the ball until it is passed or the player moves to either the right or left side of the court. The ball-handler will then be defended by one of the "threes" who is on the foul line extended. These defenders are responsible for restricting penetration in the middle of the court. The final "one" is the player who is located on the baseline, under the basket. This player, usually a centre or power forward, must protect the hoop.
•In a 2-3 zone, the "two" refers to the two players who meet the ball-handler as he crosses halfcourt. These players work as a tandem, double-teaming if the point guard picks up his dribble or covering for their teammate if the ball is passed to the side they are responsible for. The "three" refers to the three players positioned on the baseline to defend the post and rebound. Often smaller teams will employ a 2-3 in order to double-team the post and have three bodies close to the basket to crash the boards.
A matchup between players usually means that those players are going to guard each other. Often teams will match point guards to point guards, shooting guards to shooting guards, small forwards to small forwards, power forwards to power forwards and centres to centres. Some teams like to play with smaller players and try to be a quicker team or a perimeter-oriented team. Other teams may elect to go with big players and be intimidating inside. These strategies not only change from team to team, but also they change within teams depending on their players, and whom they are playing. The coaches are trying to create matchups that give their teams the advantage.
Why do teams double-team some players?
What does it mean to "rotate out of a double-team"?
What is a full-court press?
What are some key things to watch for on defence?
When an offensive player receives the ball on the wing and is facing the basket, what are his options?
1. Shooters and Screens: Players who are excellent shooters will normally have their opponents' quickest defenders covering them. Therefore, great shooters need to have specific plays designed to free them up for a good shot. Most good shooters are proficient at "running off screens", which means they use the stationary players on their own team (who by standing still are setting screens) to make it hard for their defender to follow them around. In this way, they create space between themselves and their defender, which allows them the time needed to receive the pass and take a good shot.
2. Penetrating Players: There is always an advantage for teams that have offensive players who can beat their defender with penetration, meaning they use their quickness and speed to beat them to the basket. When an offensive player beats his man with penetration, he will either have an easy basket, or a defensive player from the weak side (the side away from the ball) will have to come over and help his teammate. This could result in the penetrating player passing the ball to his open teammate for an easy basket.
3. Offensive Matchups - Creating Mismatches: Creating good scoring opportunities in basketball is all about what types of matchups are occurring on the floor. If you see a player scoring basket after basket, chances are he has an offensive matchup that works in his favour - this is sometimes called a mismatch. Some common mismatches in basketball:
5. Halfcourt Offence: More deliberate teams make the defence work by reversing the basketball from side to side. This tires the defence while the offence waits for the defence to make a mistake. This allows the offence to wear down the defence before they attempt to score.
6. Isolation Plays: If teams have a star player, they may like to get him in situations where he has the ball and room to create plays and score. In an isolation play, three players stand on the weak side of the floor, bringing their defenders with them. The other two players will be involved in the isolation (usually one in the post, one on the perimeter) where they will play a game of "two-on-two" on the strong side of the floor.
What is a pick-and-roll?
What offensive strategies can a team use against a zone defence?
1. Pass/Swing the Ball: No defensive player can move faster than a passed basketball – this is the theory behind swinging the ball. By moving the ball quickly from side to side (known as "reversing the basketball") the defence has to shift quickly, exerting energy and tiring the defenders. When the defence begins to tire, it is easier to catch defenders off-guard, making it possible to drive to the basket. If defenders try to anticipate where the ball is going, they may shift before the ball is passed. By using a ball fake for a pass, the offence may be able to pass to an open teammate for a layup.
2. Drive-and-Kick: Offences attack a zone defence by driving to the basket and "kicking" the ball to open shooters. A player with the ball on the perimeter attempts to drive to the basket. By doing this, he will draw at least one defender, sometimes two. When the defence reacts to the driver, the zone collapses and packs into the key, leaving shooters open on the perimeter. Perimeter shooters can make the defence pay by making three-point baskets.
What is the triangle offence?
The triangle or triple-post offence is designed to bring out the best skills and talents of an individual player within the framework of a team offence. It assumes all players have the versatility to play any position on the court, which was possible for the Bulls with talented mid-sized players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc. The offence consists of constant player motion, cuts and passing. The object is to space the floor to create opportunities to drive, pass, shoot or cut. Players must recognize mismatches of size and/or quickness between the offensive player and the defensive player.
The offensive team sets up the triangle on the strong side with a low-post player, a baseline player and a player on the 45-degree angle, forming a triangle. Each of these players, when with the ball, has the option to shoot, pass or drive. If the ball is passed, the passer cuts to the basket or screens away for a weakside player. The passer is replaced in the triangle by a weakside cutter coming to the strong side. It is important for there to be constant passing and movement by the offensive team.
Why do the last minutes of a basketball game take so long?