Hypotheticals on Better Basketball



Please understand that this is being presented as a continuous work in progress. By no means is anything stated here to be taken as an absolute. In fact, it will benefit greatly from constructive critique, regardless of what the source of that critique might think of the base hypothesis. Disagreement is encouraged. It will be very interesting to see what people have to say and how they might be willing to contribute to the betterment of the thought process on what constitutes 'perfect basketball.'



  • To begin a conversation on what constitutes the 'perfect' offensive and 'defensive' systems in a basketball context;

  • To propose general parameters for these systems, including how best to implement them in real game situations;

  • To identify the skill requirements for the ideal player capable of contributing to the implementation of these 'perfect' systems;


Part 1: The Offense


Base Hypothesis:


A highly efficient offense that can be run without consuming a great deal of players' energy should allow for significant energy to be available to those same players when they are playing defense. The assumption is that defensive execution, and the general defensive effectiveness of a team has little to do with inherent physical ability to play defense, but is more a consequence of the mental focus applied to the implementation of the practiced defensive scheme. Given this, consider the following:


The Ideal Shooting Zone Offense:


  1. The goal of every offensive possession should be to get the ball in the hands of players who find themselves in their ideal shooting spots—positions on the court where their probability of scoring is the highest, as shown by historical evidence;

  2. To facilitate this, players must know their capabilities and be honest in accurately self-identifying from where on the floor they are most likely to make the shot if given the opportunity, even as they face significant defensive pressure;

  3. A player who cannot find their way to one of their ideal shooting spots before the defense is properly set should move into position for a screen or rebound, thus improving the chances of (i) a teammate’s shot being taken unimpeded or (ii) maintaining the possession for his/her team;

  4. On any given offensive possession, the team should try to allow for two or three players to be in their respective ideal shooting spots within ten seconds, with the other two or three players positioning themselves as instructed in (3), but this time parameter is arbitrary;

  5. Rotations are dictated by maximizing the number of ideal shooting spots a team could potentially realize on any one possession. Ideally, this could be achieved with one player occupying each of the traditional roles (point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center), but this is not always the case, nor is it necessary;

  6. Coaches should avoid putting players on the court together when their respective ideal shooting spots overlap as this would be an inefficient use of resources;

  7. Although the point guard will be the primary facilitator in this system, at this system’s optimal level, all teammates will be aware of other teammates ideal shooting spots and be able to get them the ball in these positions;

  8. When implemented properly, this approach should conserve energy on the offensive end because there are few wasted movements. It should also limit turnovers because the shared focus of all players is to get the ball into the hands of those successful at reaching their ideal shooting spots;

  9. This offense, when implemented properly presents numerous options at any given time, which should translate to it being difficult to defend. The opponent would be required to rely heavily on man-to-man defense. To vary the offense further, a coach may choose to implement decoys, whereby players receive the ball when not in their ideal shooting spot for the purpose of passing the ball onto a player once they reach their ideal shooting spot;

  10. A series of verbal cues, like a player saying ‘check’ once they reach their ideal shooting spot, could be used to simplify implementation but non-verbal cues would be most appropriate;


A Quick Note on the Player Prototype That Best Suits The Above Offensive Parameters


In populating the roster for the effective implementation of this system, the ideal player type would possess the following characteristics.

  • Good rebounding instincts and a good record of being able to rebound at a rate above average to his or her position;

  • Good court vision with the ability to pass the ball effectively;

  • Good shot mechanics;


This player does not necessarily have to have previously shown him or herself as being able to score at a high level, as this could be the result of:

  • Having shared the court with a high volume shooter,

  • Having been placed on the court with 'better' shooters who occupied the same ideal shooting spots, thus forcing shots from less than ideal positions, or

  • The player having traditionally misidentified the spots on the floor from where they were best suited to shoot.


Additional points will be added in the coming days/weeks.

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