Thursday, March 10, 2011

Basketball Research: take it to the bank

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I've subscribed to ScienceDaily's daily RSS feed (yes, I'm a big nerd; but everyone knew that already). Every day I skim through the articles to see if there are any interesting new scientific developments; today I noticed an article on bankshots in basketball.

I haven't taken an in-depth look at the methodology of the research, but from the summary and the accompanying image, it seems that this article supports conventional basketball wisdom and my own observations - which is that there are some spots on the floor where it is easier to make a basket if you go for a bankshot instead of a direct shot. Of course, if you have been paying any attention to the career of Timmy "D&D" Duncan, you'd probably know that too.

But to me this was the more interesting tidbit:

The researchers also found the optimal points where the simulated made baskets were aimed. The results show the optimal aim points make a "V" shape near the top center of the backboard's "square," which is actually a 24-inch by 18-inch rectangle which surrounds the rim....The researchers also discovered that if you imagine a vertical line 3.327 inches behind the backboard and found where it crossed the aim point on the "V" shape on the backboard, you'd find the optimal spot to bank the basketball to score a basket.
That's pretty cool - if you somehow managed to rig a visible line 3.327 inches (very precise!) behind the backboard and could draw the "V" shape as determined by this research, it would be a lot easier to aim bank shots. All you'd have to do is line it up and hit the target.

What if a team implemented that into their practice baskets? I think it would make it easier for players to learn the correct angles on bankshots. If I was an NBA GM, I would get a hold of these authors. And if I'm the NBA...why not consider adding this stuff to all the baskets in the league? The baskets already have a rectangle to help guide shots - no harm in adding a little 'V' and a line behind the basket, right?

 - Devin


  1. A "V" on the basket sounds like bumper lanes at the bowling alley to me. Fine for practice but no good for games. Real me don't use bumper lanes & real players don't use a V in real games.

  2. *Looks up bumper lanes*

    Pffft, you're such a purist. There's already a rectangle there; I see no problem with adding a 'V', or replacing the rectangle with a 'V'. It still requires the ability to aim the ball properly, and any kind of fading away will ruin the 'V' effect.

  3. I am a "purist" in some respects, but c'mon - you can't dismiss me for that! You're the resident relative Luddite of the WoW Network!