Captain Obvious
Last month

A question for coaches

When I grew up playing basketball, all coaches taught that the goal of a 3 on 2 fast break was to finish with an easy layup or dunk finish. Essentially, using the number advantage to get a high % shot.

In recent years I have noticed that junior programs and particularly some State junior programs are running a 3 on 2 set up that results in the ball handler penetrating the key and then kicking out to two players looking to shoot the 3 ball. It seemed like an odd choice, so I thought I'd run some numbers to see if it was the right choice in terms of maximising your score.

If we say that there would be 15 of these opportunities per game and that the lay-up approach finishes with a score 80% of the time (reasonable numbers I think, but maybe could be adjusted), then

Lay up finish @ 80% = 24 points scored.

So what would the 3 point shooting finish need to be to make it the better option?

3 point shot @ 35% = 15.75 points scored on 5.25 successful shots
3 point shot @ 40% = 18 points
3 point shot @45% = 20.25 points
3 point shots @ 50% = 22.5 points
3 point shots @ 55% = 24.75 points

So assuming the 80% layup option is accurate, you would need to shoot the 3 ball at 55% to make it the better option.

Looking at last years U16 Nationals, the best 3 point shooters in the competition shot the ball at approx 46%, while most of the 3-point shooters (those whose main role was to be the 'shooter' and hence put up volumes of 3's) shot at less than 40%, meaning they lay up option is easily the best option.

Even if we drop the successful layup option to 70%, the team would need to shoot the 3 at a better % than the best shooter in the U16 Nationals to score more points.

So, is this something other coaches are pushing? Is it a Basketball Australia thing? Is it trying to be 'modern' just for the sake of it? Outside of elite level basketball, I don't see how it is the best option?? Then again maybe I'm too old school??

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Pop  
Last month

Great stuff. Thank goodness someone is starting to think about/look at some of the modern 'trends'.

Any chance the fixation with pulling all the bigs away from the hoop/key to set picks for outside shooters [then often blasting them for not dominating in the paint] could get some analysis too?

And the recent advent of 'floaters' of various ilks? Be interesting to see a comparison of the accuracy of running floaters with the much-maligned mid-range pull-up jump shot.

Lovely stuff. Thanks.

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Captain Obvious  
Last month

I'm a bit stuck between what is possibly preparing the kids for the future and what is actually beneficial.

I can imagine at NBA level it would work if you have Klay and Steph sitting on the 3 point line shooting open 3's, but at junior level it seems insane. None of the kids shoot at a high enough % to do this.

I also get what you are saying Pop about the use of bigs. I remember watching an U14 carnival where State player bigs were roasted if they did anything other than set a screen and get out of the way. If they dared drive and score rather than kicking to the sub 30% 3 point shooters the coaches were filthy. Utterly bizarre.

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Brunson  
Last month

Lets say you are talking about div 1. Div 2+ their shooting of 3's in most cases is a lot lower.

Firstly your 80% conversion rate is unrealistic. I would say 50% is more accurate. So that would be 15 points.

You mention the best shooter shot it at 46% but that is not all uncontested shots. Majority of their shots would be catch and shoot with some sort of pressure. So if all their shots were from an open 3 their percentages would be a lot higher. So I would say 40% they should be able to make.

So it is 50% contested layup (15 points) vs 40% uncontested 3 (18 points).

The notion of the wing should always go to the 3 point line is wrong in my opinion as it should depend on the player. I would rather a big (that isn't a good shooter) run the lanes and get a pass for a 2 rather than them go to the 3 point line and brick a 3. I think it is more important that a player read the situation and make a decision based on their abilities. If their team is up or down by a big margin then perhaps try their weaker option.

Moving forward as we continue to develop position less players, our bigs will develop their ability to shoot which is the direction we want to go.

I like this sort of discussion as it is important to discuss and question why we are doing things. I think the best of both ways (old vs new) is the best approach.

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!  
Last month

the kick out is about the middle 8 seconds of half court offence 8-16 of your 24 - not 3 on 2 fast break or trans offence - the lay up is still first option on fast break.

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Anonymous  
Last month

Just listened to a podcast that went through the analytics of the modern game. Layups, foul shots and corner 3s are the most effective shots in the game. Statistically the long 2 is the worst.
I think the example you are using they are mainly working on the kick out for the 3 in any advantage situation. If the 2 defensive players, even on a 3 on 2 break sink into the key then the best shot is a wide open 3. Most of the time you run an offence to get a wide open shot, why not on a break if the layup is taken away. I think the old 7 seconds or less Suns wouldn't even rank in the top 10 these days in terms of pace.

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Baller#3  
Last month

It's about getting the best available shot. You should never pass out of an open layup but indeed if that is taken away a wide open catch and shoot from the corner is a great shot for the right player. If there is no good shooter available I do not think you want a sub par shooter taking that shot.

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Anonymous  
Last month

3 on 2 layup thanks.

but there are also times when the lane runners have got much further up the court and might swing through (exchange to the other side), in that situation the 3 on 2 might be a drive and dish for the corner 3.

a typical 3 on 2 break, also allow provide opportunity to draw fouls, helps to get the opposition in foul trouble, it also slows the game down if the ball goes to the free throw line.

a typical 3 on 2 break would likely have better offensive rebounding opportunities and be defensive transition coverage, than 2 guys sitting in for the corner 3's and typically a big trailing up the court.

So miss the open corner 3 and it is quiet likely to generate a fast break opportunity at the other end.

Now if you want an up tempo run and gun game then look to shoot that transition corner 3.

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