The Rim is King

Updated: May 2

To have an efficient offense we must be able to find a way to get shots at the rim in a Half Court setting.

Listening to Jordan Sperber's Solving Basketball Podcast I came across a sound bite that got me thinking. The guest on the episode, Ben Falk from Cleaning the Glass, was talking about his experience as a High School coach. While discussing his own offensive philosophy Falk commented, "The Rim is King. The whole thing is still figuring out how to get shots at the rim." In the course of the conversation they touched a common dilemma for high school coaches; how do you get shots at the rim when your shooting is subpar and teams are willing to sag off?

At this point, it would seem to be common knowledge that the most efficient shots in basketball are shots at the rim, shots from the three-point line, and free throws. Amongst those three shots getting to the rim is not only the most efficient, but has the added benefit of commonly earning trips to the free-throw line as well. Like many programs, we have made a concerted effort over the last four seasons to create an offensive approach that provides our players with opportunities for these high-efficiency shots. For the sake of this blog post, we are going to focus specifically on getting those shots at the rim in the Half Court.

"The Rim is King. The Whole thing is still figuring out how to get shots at the rim." - Ben Falk

A Closer Look at the Numbers -

In preparation for this blog post, I put together some shot chart data from the past four seasons. 2016-17 was the first season that we began using Hudl, and thus the first season where we have detailed statistical shot chart analysis. I wanted to take a look at a few specific stats like shot location and the PPS (Points Per Shot) that was earned in those locations. Just to be clear about the statistics, I wanted to keep the focus of this post solely on creating shots at the rim in the half-court but due to limitations in charting these numbers do not make any distinction between transition and half-court offense.

Before diving into the results of the statistics I wanted to mention that we have made a concerted effort over the past four seasons to increase the percentage of our shots that come from the deep paint and three-point line areas of the floor. The use of four out spacing and specific actions emphasizing our players' strengths; such as post-ups, driving lanes, and scoring cuts, have been the vehicles by which we have done this. In general, I think our players have really bought into this concept and the statistical evidence has supported this belief.

Diagram 1: Visual representation of a Hudl Shot Chart, the basis on how the statistical table below was organized.

  • Deep Paint - the two boxes closest to the rim.

  • Upper Paint - the two boxes just inside the free-throw line.

  • Mid Range - the five boxes outside of the paint, but inside the three-point line.

  • Three-Point - the five boxes outside of the three-point line.