Before you dive head first into basketball talk with your friends or family, here are 10 basketball terms I find would be helpful in making sense of what is being discussed.
1. Field Goal Percentage (FG%) – this simply means how well the team is shooting. It’s the number of shots that the team made divided by how many shots they actually took. Keep in mind that both 2-point and 3-point shots are considered in this calculation. This is the stat that you hear all the time when talking about the success of a team or an individual player.
2. Rebounds – simply put, this is when a team gets the ball after a shot is taken. An offensive rebound would be when the same team that took the shot gets the ball again and has a second (or third, or fourth) chance at making the basket. A defensive rebound is when the team on defense gets the rebound and therefore preventing a second chance for the offensive team to score. The “bigs” on the team are responsible for getting these as they are the ones best positioned to collect rebounds.
3. Mid-Range – when you hear the term “mid-range” this refers to the type of shot that a player takes. To get technical, mid-rage would be 12-18 feet away from the basket. So it’s not an easy lay-up nor is it a long 3-pointer. If you watch DeMar DeRozan during a game, you will see exactly what the mid-range shot is as he has mastered this.
4. Beyond the Arc – this is another term that refers to a type of shot that a player takes. Simply put this is a 3-point shot. It’s called “beyond the arc” because it is literally beyond the physical arc that defines what a 2-point shot and a 3-point shot is. 3-pointers is a stat on it's own which are key stats especially for gaurds.
5. In the paint – this term is very self-explanatory because it refers to a player being, well in the paint, the big coloured block on the court. Centers (or the five) live in the paint as they are the ones protecting the rim. But one thing that players need to be aware of while in the paint is the “3 in the key” rule. In the paint you will see a small arc right under the basket, this is called the “restricted area” and the 3 in the key is in affect here. The team on offense is not allowed in the restricted area for more than 3 consecutive seconds or they will be called for “3 in the key”. This call would result in a turn over, giving possession of the ball to the other team.
6. Personal Foul – though this is a whole topic on its own (which I’ve described here), a personal foul simply means a player makes contact with another player of the opposing team in a manner that is against the rules. During a game, a player can be called for up to 4 personal fouls and if they commit one more than that, they are out of the game – they “foul out” of the game. There are many, many types of fouls that can be committed which I have explained some here.
7. Free-throw – when a personal foul is committed while the player is in the act of shooting, then the player that was fouled gets a chance at those points one basket at a time. The number of free-throws they take will depend where on the court they were fouled. If it’s on or beyond the 3-point line then the player will take 3 shots. If it’s within the paint or mid-range, then the player will take 2 shots.
8. And One – this is a term that you will hear very often and can be very crucial for a team especially during close games. An “and one” is when a player is fouled in the act of shooting and gets the ball in. Though they get the score, they are still able to take 1 extra shot, hence the “and one” term – it’s the points from the basket and 1 more. Regardless of what kind of shot it was (2 or 3 points) the player will only take 1 shot.
9. Turnover – this occurs when the team on offense makes some sort of violation that causes possession of the ball to go to the other team. This could happen by means of an offensive foul, or a steal by the other team.
10. And of course “Post Up” – this is a term used when a player establishes their position in the low post in anticipation of getting the ball and makes an offensive play.