Friday, June 27, 2008

Observations on Playground Basketball

I see the same trends over and over when playing pickup games of basketball and wanted to point them out. (I'm guilty of some of these)

Note: These observations do not apply if you have a talent level that of Earl "The Goat" Manigault, people like that win no matter what they do.

  • Behind-the-back passes often go wrong. If one works, it's because you were extremely lucky, not because you're Jason Williams.
  • Zone defense in 5 on 5 games almost never works because no one out there knows how to play it effectively.
  • Hardly anyone looks for picks, so if you're going to set some, know the person you're setting them for.
  • Pick and rolls are extraordinarily effective, but most people do not roll to the basket, they set a pick and then roll outside.
  • The midrange jumper is the most underutilized effective shot out there.
  • Teams who can only shoot the three usually beat teams who only drive, teams who can regularly hit midrange jumpers beat both.
  • Many people don't know how to set up for an outside shot, instead they get the ball and dribble immediately. Then they try to take a three while on the run.
  • A team that turns the ball over once or twice can win. More than two turnovers is almost certainly a loss.
  • Cherry picking works.
  • At many playgrounds, the backboard is more of your friend than the rim.
  • Big men who can shoot the three can pull their man outside, not always post up.

And now for a clarification of the rules -- on the playground:

  • There is no backcourt violation in playground ball.
  • There is no 3 second violation.
  • Offensive fouls are never called.
  • Moving picks are never called.
  • Over the back is very rarely called, much less than it actually happens.
  • If you call a ball out, or call travelling, carrying or double dribble, be prepared for an argument.
  • The offensive player getting hacked repeatedly has the right to ignore those fouls, getting his own rebound each time and then decide the fourth hack one is the one that made him miss the shot. That's his right in this game.

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