Like most sports, the winning team in basketball is determined by how many points your team scores. A high school game is only 32 minutes long, putting pressure on each possession to be efficient and productive. This article looks at three aspects of offense; shot distribution, selection and location.
If there are 60 possessions in a high school game (45 due to turnovers and free throws) and you shoot 45% from the field, your team will average about 21 made baskets a game. I would guess that your team could generate about 6 open lay-ups. If you fast break and press, probably a couple more. That leaves about 15 baskets your team still has to make.
The following questions are very important ones to ask and ponder:
1. Based on your team and offensive philosophy, where will those shots come from?(I mean where on the floor, not who).
2. What kind of shot distribution would you prefer from your team based on what you know about your team? Answer this based on how YOU want the shot distribution to be, not on what your team would want.
3. Now, the challenge is to match your “offensive plan for shot location and distribution” to match the offense you run. This will take some time, but the time will be well worth it. The biggest offensive mistake I see in high school basketball is the “aimless offense.” The “aimless offense is where there is no consistent base that dictates who shoots and where they shoot from. “Answer this: If you were a football coach, would you put your guard at quarterback and your receivers on the line? Of course, not. How does this relate to basketball?
In basketball would you have a 21% shooter taking threes? Who would you want taking more shots per game, a 52 % shooter or a 30% shooter? Who is allowed to drive the ball into the paint and can make plays consistently without turning the ball over? What have you defined as a “bad shot” for you team and do they all buy into it? These are questions that must be answered and decided upon before your next season.
The best advice I received was from Jim Crews, the current Army coach who had been a player and assistant coach at Indiana as well as the head coach at Evansville. He said that PURPOSE is the most important thing in offensive basketball. He advised me to do this: In practice while your team is in the middle of a possession, shout “Stop.” Ask them what they are trying to do. In other words you are asking what their focus of that possession is. If they say, “Trying to score, coach,” you must then address the specific purpose of their attempt to score.
This is an excellent thought and one that coaches need to ask themselves. Too many times the offense “searches” the defense without any clear purpose. Ultimately, someone will take a shot because they feel it’s time to take a shot. That is a recipe for defeat because usually the shot distribution, selection and location are way out of balance.This is a ton of things to think about but if you spend time on this, return your answers to me, we will be making great progress together!
Before your next season, I challenge you to analyze your offense in terms of the kind of shots you want on the offensive end. By looking at shot distribution, selection, and location, you will be designing a productive and efficient offensive machine!