Did you know that for the 2021–22 NBA season, the Memphis Grizzlies are averaging 58 points in the paint per game? That is the best in the NBA, and it greatly contributes to the Grizzlies’ ability to advance far in the playoffs. Memphis just has a talent for finding open shots close to the basket.
If basketball is a new sport to you, you might not be familiar with the term “the paint.” In this article, we’ll define the paint and go into detail about all the various regulations that apply to it.
What is The Paint in Basketball?
The rectangle that extends from the end line to the free-throw line beneath the basket is known as the paint. Typically, it is a distinct color from the other parts of the basketball court.
How much of an area does the paint cover? The paint measures 16 feet long by 15 feet wide on an NBA basketball floor. The paint is only 12 feet broad and 16 feet long on an NCAA basketball court.
Different Parts of The Paint to Know
There are many defined parts in the paint as well. Let’s go through each component of the paint and some information about it.
Free Throw Line
The free-throw line is known to the majority of people. It is the action of shooting the ball after being fouled while doing so.
The paint also comes to an end at the free-throw line. The free-throw line is where many basketball games are decided.
Do you know the top block that’s up there by the foul line? It is known as the high post. Power forwards and diminutive forwards frequently hang out close to the high post.
Many teams enjoy erecting screens next to the high post. They frequently do this in an effort to open a path for the ball handler to drive to the basket.
The low post is the region that lies between the first and second blocks. The big fellas (centers and power forwards) congregate here.
If a dominant paint player collects the ball in the low post, defenders frequently attempt to double team him. Most defenses would prefer to concede an easy layup beneath the hoop than an open look at a three-point shot.
The space between the finish line and the first block is known as the block. A lot of points are scored here, and rebounds are gathered here as well.
“That player dominates the block” refers to a player who is an excellent low-post scorer or a great shot-blocker on defense. A center with exceptional talent can control a basketball game.
Top of the Key
Although the top of the key is so close to the paint that it isn’t technically a part of the paint, we’ll include it in this overview anyhow. It is the region just outside of the three-point line and just above the free-throw line.
This region resembles a keyhole when viewed as an outline of a basketball court. For instance, some basketball commentators on television may say something like, “Kevin Durant shoots the ball beautifully from the top of the key.”
The best point guard on the squad will typically dribble to the top of the key and tell his teammates on what play to run.
Rules for The Paint
There are several laws governing the paint because it is the area of the basketball court that sees the most activity. Let’s examine each rule and the significance of each one.
3 Second Violation
Teams used to tell their taller players to simply wait for the ball to be given to them underneath the hoop. Although this straightforward tactic was extremely effective, it unfairly favored teams with larger players.
Basketball implemented a three-second regulation to address this. No offensive player is allowed to stay in the paint for more than three seconds straight, according to the rule. If a player is found to be in violation of this rule, the offensive team must give the ball over to the defensive team (turnover).
The NBA also has a three-second defensive violation. This essentially implies that unless a defensive player is actively protecting an opposing player, he cannot simply camp out in the paint. This rule increased the number of goals and the level of fan excitement.
A three-second infraction, often known as an unlawful defense, is regarded as a technical foul for the defender. One free throw will be granted to the offense, and they can keep the ball.
Interestingly, in college basketball there is no defensive three-second rule. The majority of teams in the NCAA play zone defense because of this. However, they continue to enforce the three-second rule for offensive players.
Although this isn’t called very often, it is in the rule book, so we’ll talk about it here. Each team lines up players outside the paint, between each block, when a player is shooting a free throw.
The referee will call a lane violation and that free throw attempt will be lost if an offensive player enters the free throw lane prior to his teammate releasing the ball (even if the shot is made).
The attacking player receives an additional free throw if a defender enters the foul lane before the shooter releases the ball.
Strategies Players Use in The Paint
Since players may get shots with a high percentage in the paint, most coaches have specific play-calling strategies for this area. Here are some of the modern game’s most well-liked paint tactics.
This may be the simplest basketball tactic, but if you have a post man who is a talented scorer, it can still very successful. A player who posts up uses his back, shoulders, and butt to position himself effectively close to the paint.
The ball handler will pass the defensive player the ball once the offensive player has posted him up. He will have a chance to make a simple field goal because he is catching the ball close to the paint.
Pick and Roll
Here is another paint technique that has been used for many years. A post player advances and sets a pick (screen) on the defender defending one of the guards when he has the ball.
The post player then makes a rapid cut to the basket. The ball is subsequently passed to him by the guard, and he has a clear path to the basket.
Dribble Drive Motion Offense
When he was in charge of coaching high school basketball in California, Vance Walberg developed this tactic. While coaching Pepperdine, he developed this style of attack, which he eventually taught to John Calipari, who continues to employ it at the University of Kentucky. Here’s a quick rundown of how it functions:
Near the foul line, the point guard drives toward the elbow.
He passes the ball to the opposite guard on the wing if he is unable to fully drive into the paint.
The opposing guard engages in a similar elbow move before attempting an uncontested shot close to the paint.
The other guard hands the ball to the power forward if there isn’t an opportunity for a shot.
The center, who can be open on the other side of the paint, is then passed to by the power forward after driving hard into the paint for a layup.
The dribble drive motion offense’s ability to consistently force the ball into or close to the paint is what makes it so effective. This generates a lot of high-probability shots and typically a few easy baskets. Even for teams who play fundamentally sound defense, this kind of offense is extremely challenging to stop.
2-3 Zone Defense
In basketball, this is among the most widely used defensive strategies in junior high, high school, and college. Its widespread use is a result of how well it works to reduce points scored in the paint.
Two guards will be positioned up near the foul line if a team is playing a 2-3 zone defense. The center, both forwards, and both guards will stand close to the basket. This style of defense is not permitted in the NBA due of the defensive three-second rule, as we previously stated.