What is a Set Shot in Basketball?

Basketball is a complex game. While it may seem like there are only a few things going on at once, there is a range of different ways every single possession can pan out. Not only do offenses and defenses switch up constantly, but there are many different shot types as well.

This guide breaks down various shooting types and styles by looking at a set shot. That discussion will shed more light on basketball as a whole, and break down why the entire sport is much deeper than many think.

Numerous Shooting Styles

In basketball, it doesn’t matter how you shoot the ball as long as it goes in the hoop. That’s an old rule, but one that all players live by. However, there are many different ways to achieve that goal. Everybody does it in their own way.

In basketball, almost every shot is a jump shot. In that, a player gets the ball and, as the name suggests, jumps up into the air and puts the ball above their head. They then release the ball at the high point of their jump.

In contrast, if a player drives to the hoop and tries to underhand the ball up over a defender or off the backboard, it’s known as a layup. If a player drives, jumps off two feet, and then shoots while moving forward in the air it’s known as a floater.

If a player does that but jumps off one foot, it’s a runner. All of those shots have specific purposes and reasons they’re used during a game. A set shot is no different.

A Set Shot

Jumpers are typically used off the dribble, layups are for drives to the basket, where floaters and runners are used to get the ball up over a taller defender. In contrast, set shots are most often utilized in a specific offense.

Unlike the above examples, a set shot occurs when a player isn’t moving. Rather, they need to be in a stationary position with their feet shoulder width apart. Their hips also have to be square to the basket and they have to be slightly bent to allow for flexibility.

To take the shot, a player must hold the ball in a normal shooting form with both hands, and then bend, shoot, and release all in one motion. They can also catch the ball off a pass and immediately go into the motion. They just can’t be the one to create it.

A set shot is a style of jumper, but it’s one that doesn’t require as much height or reach. That’s why so many big men take set shots down by the basket. However, there are plenty of great three shooters (like Klay Thompson) who rely on them as well.

Old and Reliable

Set shots may not be as common or as flashy as traditional jumpers, but they’re extremely important in today’s NBA. That’s because most teams run efficient stretch offenses with players sitting out on the wing waiting for their chance to get an open look.

For every Steph Curry or Damien Lillard creating their own three, there are plenty of athletes who make a living by standing out on the wing and knocking down set shots when the ball comes to them. It’s not a flashy role, but it’s an important one nonetheless. 

Final Words

Set shots are one of the lesser used shots in basketball. Even so, they are still important to both know and understand. Though many professionals prefer jumpers, set shots are worth just as many points. It doesn’t matter how a basket goes up, as long as it goes in.

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