Skip to Content

Are there Offsides in Basektball? | Answered!

Many professional sports have the offside rule, violating this rule results in a turnover in possession or penalty. Though many people often wonder if there are off-sides in the game of basketball.

Are there offsides in a basketball game? No, a basketball court isn’t large enough that it would need offside lines or a system in place during a game. Basketball is a fast-paced game, having offsides would only slow it down while making it longer due to the number of violations that would occur. 

But why not? Why aren’t there rules for cherry-picking (offsides), or trying to gain an advantage in basketball? Let’s find out.

If you are thinking about buying a basketball jersey or shoes, check out the offers below from these retailers.

RetailerPromo CodePromotionLink to Retailer
DROP 70% OFFGo to Fanatics
PARSCR2020% OFFGo to Eastbay
N/AN/AGo to Amazon

What is an offside in sports?

Offsides are in football, hockey, and soccer. An offside in football is when a player crosses the imaginary line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped into play.

In hockey, it is when a player has crossed the blue line before the puck into the offensive zone. 

In soccer, it is when a player is ahead of the last man on defense before their teammate advances the ball to them or they are closest to the goal before the ball and the defense.

Offsides are used to keep the game, constant and fair due to the big playing areas. There is a need for offsides to help keep the game fair and in order, otherwise many rules would be broken.

Why are there no offsides in basketball? 

There are no offsides in basketball because it is a faced paced game and the court is too small to need any type of lines to dictate the flow of players on the court.

Basketball is a difficult game to score in already and having offsides would make it much more so.

If the court was much bigger or if there were fewer players such as 4 on 4 or 3 on 3 with the current dimensions of a basketball court (which are 94 feet by 50) then I could see the use of an offside line implemented.

Should basketball have offsides?

No, the way basketball is played today it is unnecessary to have them, in fact, you would have a much slower game than what we see now.

It is to no team’s advantage to forfeit their defensive responsibilities in order to gain an easy basket.

Basketball games are won on the defensive side. Even if a player wanted to wait underneath the basket, one player from the opposing team could stay with the cherry-picker it wouldn’t matter.

This would make for more room for the offensive team to try and score a basket. This is an advantage to the team on offense not the team on defense or in this case the cherry picker.

What is Cherry-Picking in basketball?

Cherry-picking in basketball is when a team is on defense,  and a player from that team is on the other end of the court waiting for their team to gain possession of the basketball.

This way they can easily score a basket completely unguarded when the ball is passed to them from a teammate.

The reason cherry-picking doesn’t happen too often is that just as easy as a player can score cherry-picking they put their team at a disadvantage on defense playing 4 players against 5.

Because there are no offsides in basketball a team can technically cheery-pick as much as they want, but there is no real advantage, as you could be trading baskets with a team.

Again you are playing 4 on 5 on defense and the team can recognize that you are cherrypicking and can make an easy adjustment.

A better option is for a guard to leak out and start the fast break and move the ball up the court. If you have a strong rebounding team and quick guards this will make it difficult for a team to contain the fast break.

How to play basketball with offsides?

There are times when implementing offsides in a pick-up basketball game is a good choice. Often you go to a court and there is enough players to play a game. If there are only 8 guys most don’t want to play half court, they want to play full.

I usually suggest an offside rule which basically means no long passes and fast breaking. This keeps the game honest and allows you to play far more game then if you didn’t.

How it works:

No team is allowed to pass from the back court to the front court after a score or change of possession.

Players must dribble into the front court from the back court before passing.

In the back court passing is allowed only in the back court.

This keeps the games competitive, try it out for yourself and see if it works for you. You will find that you are able to play 4 on 4 just fine. 3 on 3 also workswithout getting too tried that you need to quit early.