Basketball Shooting Range

Basketball Shooting Range

Shooting range in basketball is how far a player is able to shoot in relation to the basket. The range can be anywhere from close to the basket to far behind the three point line. A player's ability to shoot usually declines as they get further away from the basket, eventually getting to a point where they are no longer in their shooting range. The range usually varies by position, height, and age.

Shooting Range by Position

Frontcourt Players

Frontcourt players are centers and forwards (power forward and small forward). These players, especially centers and those that are taller tend to have less range when shooting shots. They often shoot layups or dunks

Backcourt Players

Backcourt players are the two guards on the court (shooting guard and point guard). They both (especially the shooting guard) are capable of shooting from the three point line and even beyond.

Shooting Range by Height

Just like with positions, taller players have a harder time shooting from further. This is why when players like Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant (both are seven feet tall) come along and can shoot three pointers, they are very successful. Usually tall players have a hard time overcoming the fact that their hands are too large to grip a basketball in a shooting motion. Instead of continuing to shoot consistently from long range, they go closer to the basket for their shots.

Shooting Range by Age

Age dramatically impacts a basketball player's shooting range. Younger players in elementary school or even middle school have a hard time even getting the ball to the basket. You rarely see kids capable of draining long threes as you would in The NBA. As basketball players get older, their shooting range increases, due to the development of their muscles.

The History of the Increase in Shooting Range in Basketball

Throughout the history of organized basketball, shooting range has increased each year. That is largely due to players getting better at the sport.

In the earliest years of basketball there was not even a three point line. What that led to was very few shots from outside the paint. Teams and players tried to get as close to the basket for high percentage shots. That changed in 1979 when the NBA brought it into existence. Every year since, then the shooting percentage from outside the arc has increased, where today players are very comfortable from there.

Pete Maravich

"Pistol" Pete Maravich is considered to be an early pioneer in basketball in shooting from far away from the basket. Despite playing when there was no three point line, Maravich was the first to extend their shooting range. He was said to have taken shots from 30 feet away from the basket, well outside the typical shooting range for his time.

Stephen Curry

Stephen "Steph" Curry has been the most recent basketball player to expand the shooting range. He has normalized the trend of shooting three pointers from 30 to 40 feet away from the basket. By doing this quickly, he is able to get his shot off without fearing that it will be blocked.


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