You play basketball, and you watch basketball but you wonder how are tall basketball players, such poor shooters? Or is this really true?
Why are taller basketball players, bad shooters? Taller players have an advantage in basketball over their smaller opponents, which means that they can rely upon their height to their advantage to score more baskets. The position the tallest player will play on a team is generally the Center position, in which it does not see a whole lot of outside shooting when it comes to playing this role. It is only in the NBA now that we are seeing the big man position shooting more outside shots than ever.
Basketball is ever-evolving and it just seems that now more than ever you must be well-rounded and skilled, while players are playing a hybrid of multiple positions regardless of height especially when you have the shooting touch.
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Why can’t tall players shoot well?
Growing up being a fan of the game of basketball and a player I couldn’t understand for the life of me why some players in the NBA could not shoot the basketball and others could. Think about it for a moment, your first experience with basketball, probably happened at school or the backyard and you pick up the ball and dribble it a few times and take a shot.
You do this over and over and over again, seems like it’s all you do. So why can’t these players shoot well, why is it so difficult to make a basket for some players but for others it seems effortless? This drove me crazy until I matured and became older, old enough to coach the game and realize what happens when a player goes from high school to the NBA.
Most players on a basketball team will play their position and their role. When you play your position and role you usually play the type of game that position entails. For a point guard, this could be running the offense, shoot when your open. For a center, it could be banging in the post and using post moves to score.
The average NBA big man, when they dominated in high school, they didn’t need to shoot from 15 feet out. When your a top Division 1 recruit your not going to try to be a player that you’re not by shooting threes, but you stick to what your good at and ride on what you excel as a player on the basketball court. You do that over and over and over again. You do what works.
Does being tall make it harder to shoot?
The average height in the world for a male is 5 feet 7 inches tall and 5 feet 9 inches in North America. With that being said, it is safe to say that if you are over 6 ‘4 you are considered tall among us average in height people. Heck if your 6 feet tall you’re considered really tall among us average in height people.
While also growing up you were probably playing power forward or the center position. This meant you were not taking a whole lot of outside shots but relying on your height, footwork and skill around the rim to score using post-up moves.
So as a young basketball player this is what you would work on, this was your game and your role on the team. It is not that tall players can’t shoot cause many can, the ones that are not as good or can’t at all just have not to spend enough time practicing it and are at disadvantage.
It is like that player who can jump out of the gym, but when they play basketball they can barely score. Why? Because all they care about is dunking, and jumping really high, so they have focused on at what they are good at. Which rarely there able to do as this requires basketball I.Q to get open. Sometimes it’s to the point that they have no idea how to use their athletic ability in the game.
Why Can’t Centers shoot threes?
For many years this was true for two reasons. Number one is the center position was not a position for the player to be outside at the three-point line looking for the ball to shoot threes. Number 2, they have not worked that to be apart of their game and are not as efficient because of it.
Many centers coming from college and playing in the NBA have now developed a three-point shot in an NBA where shooting thirty plus threes a game is the norm. Coaches are starting to accept the fact that centers are shooting more threes and are making them with efficiency. Maybe in the future, they will have a three-point center award at the end of the year for a center who made the most threes. Maybe their coach will be fired also depending on how many threes that player took, who knows.
Two players who come to mind who could not and did not shoot in college but developed a three-pointer in the NBA is Brook Lopez and Joel Embid. He is effectively shooting the three-ball with more accuracy. From shooting 0.02 attempts a game in the 2015/16 season to 5 attempts a game every season ever since. He is shooting around 34 percent from the field, not bad.
Joel Embid is another player with similar stats in the 3 point shot as Lopez. And wouldn’t you know both players didn’t shoot 3 pointers in college. Why would you if you are trying to make the NBA. You do what you are good at. College basketball is a lot different also and the coaches I am sure wouldn’t allow for it.
Is there a correlation between height and shooting a basketball?
If you are wondering if your height affects your jump shot the simple answer is no. But I can see how many people can think that it does. You don’t see a whole of tall players shooting well, or do you? Maybe not in your rec league that’s why they are in the NBA.
Biomechanics may have you thinking due to the longer leavers on a taller human being it may be more difficult and while this is a fair statement to make. For example, small stocky short powerlifters have an advantage in how far the bar has to move in a lift when compared to a taller athlete when competing at a meet.
So why wouldn’t a taller player in basketball have a disadvantage against a smaller player when shooting a basketball. There hasn’t been a whole lot of research on if longer limbs make it more difficult to shoot a basketball. My other question would be does your height play apart as far as seeing the rim.
Would it be easier for a 5 foot 9 basketball player to shoot on a nine-foot hoop than a 6 foot 9 basketball player shooting on a 10-foot hoop, being that the hoop is the same height equal to both players? Or does it all boil down to how much you practice? I think it does.
Height And Free throw percentage?
Now you may be thinking, that height affects free-throw percentage, and while I do think and I say think as a possibility, the taller you are the bigger your hands are that it can affect the way you shoot a basketball, in some ways. But then I think of Kawhi Leonard who is 6’7 with massive hands and shot 88 percent from the free-throw line at 7 attempts a game in the 2019/20 season.
Shaquille O’Neil probably comes to mind when thinking about tall players and their ability to make free throws. Years ago power forwards and centers would go to the line more than any other position, but now the game is ever-evolving and there is less posting up in the NBA. So if back then they were going to the line soo much how is it that a guy like Shaq can shoot so poorly?
I think there a lot of factors that make Shaq a poor free-throw shooter, not practicing enough, shot mechanics, how big his hands are on the basketball. Has anyone ever realized how light and small that basketball must feel in his hand? It may be a matter of the mental game also.
Not every tall player is bad at shooting free throws, again the average height in the NBA is 6’7, is that not tall? Not everyone is a poor free-throw shooter in the NBA. In any case, you may be thinking in a way that is optimism bias. Basically, optimism bias is remembering the players who can’t shoot free throws and forgetting the ones that can. So you associate that one player with all players.