Basketball Glossary & Terms

Basketball Glossary & Terms

If you are a new player who enters the world of online betting, you should know that there are a lot of terms to learn.

Basketball Glossary & Terms: You should spend some time to read what these terminologies mean. It will be much easier for you to deal serious with your bets.This will generally give you the knowledge to understand any kind of special bets and more. Below is a complete sport and Tennis betting glossary, so you can refer to it whenever you have a question. Combined with our daily tips you should get a complete picture of the bets you make.

This dictionary covers the most important definitions for sports bets terms. Also the appropriate words or phrases for gambling acronyms.

If you came across a term that is not listed here, contact us and we will add it along with the necessary information.

2 in Basketball Glossary & Terms

2 Point Shot

A field goal attempt inside the arc of the offense, worth 2 points if successful.

24 Second Violation

A timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently, the score) by requiring the ball to either touch the rim or a offensive player in the froncourt before the timer expires, resulting in a loss of possession otherwise. The time limit is 24 seconds in the NBA, WNBA, and FIBA play. See also Shot Clock Violation.

2nd Chance Points

Any points other than technical foul shots resulting from the possession following an offensive rebound. Possession is considered to have ended when the opposing team gains control of the ball.

3 in Basketball Glossary & Terms

3 Point Field Goal Percentage

Abbrv 3FG%. The success percentage of 3 Point Shots of a team, calculated by FG3M/FG3A. A 3FG% of .400 and above is considered a good percentage.

3 Point Shot

A field goal worth three points, taken from beyond an arc that is 22 feet from the basket.

3 Second Violation

As a rule, players don’t allowed to stand in the paint for longer than three seconds. Otherwise, a team turnover occurs.

4 in Basketball Glossary & Terms

4 Point Play

A 3 point shot made followed by a free-throw made.

8 in Basketball Glossary & Terms

8 Second Violation

Once a team gets possession of the ball, it has 8 seconds to get the ball across the half-court line. If the ball do not touch a player from the frontcourt in 8 seconds, a team turnover occurs.

A in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Adjusted Free Throws

Free throw attempts resulting not from technicals and intentional fouls.

Air Ball

An unblocked shot that fails to hit the rim or backboard. It does not reset the shot clock.

Alley Oop

An offensive play in which a player throws the ball up near the basket to a teammate (or, more rarely, to himself) who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and immediately scores a basket, usually with a slam dunk.


The free throw awarded to a shooter who is fouled while scored a basket (the result of the free thow is not considered).


A pass to a teammate who scores a basket immediately or after one dribble.

Assist per Turnover

The ratio of the assist of a player divided by its turnovers. A stat showing how successful a player is by guarding the ball, controlling the game and leading the plays.

Assist Percentage

(1) Player based: An estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor. (2) Team based: The ratio of assists per field goal made.

Assist Rate

See Assist Percentage.

Assist Ratio

The percentage of a player’s possession that results in an assist. It a stat showing not only how unselfish a player is, but also how good he is at creating shots for others.

B in Basketball Glossary & Terms


A team’s defensive half of the court. As it refers to players, a team’s guards.

Backcourt Violation

A turnover occured when touching the ball in the backcourt after it has entered the frontcourt and was not last touched by the other team.


A term to describe an offensive motion. It says for players cutting on the weak-side toward the hoop, are using the “back-door”.

Backdoor Cut

An offensive play in which a player on the perimeter steps away from the basket, drawing the defender along, then suddenly cuts to the basket behind the defender for a pass.

Bad Pass

A pass resulting in to a team turnover (out of bounds, travelling, opponent steal etc.)

Ball Fake

A sudden movement by the player with the ball intended to cause the defender to move in one direction, allowing the passer to pass in another direction.

Ball Side

It refers to the side of the basketball floor where the ball is.


A shot that is aimed at a spot on the backboard so that it caroms, or “banks,” into the basket.

Baseball Pass

Passing the basketball using an overhand throw with one hand similar to a baseball pitch.
The line that marks the playing boundary at either end of the court.


To tip or deflect a shooter’s shot, altering its flight so the shot misses.

Block Against

The stat showing how many times a player get blocked.

Block Against Percentage

A team metric showing how many times a team get blocked per its field goal attempted (blocked against shots / FGA).

Block Against Rate

See Block Against Percentage.

Block Percentage

A defensive team metric showing how many times a team blocks its opponent shots. The formula is blocked shots / oppenent FGA.

Block Rate

See Block Percentage.


See Rebound.

Bounce Pass

A pass thrown by a player to a teammate that bounces on the floor.


A combination defense strategy of zone and man-to-man in which four defenders play zone in a box formation and the fifth defender guards one (usully scorer) player man-to-man.


A positional term where the players try to block out, or “box-out”, its oppenent while a shot is taken in order to keep him away from the basket and prevent him from getting “inside position” for the rebound.

Buzzer Beater

A basket in the final seconds of a game (right before the buzzer sounds) that in itself results in a win or overtime.

C in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Catch and Shoot

Any jump shot outside of 10 feet where a player possessed the ball for 2 seconds or less and took no dribbles.

Charges Drawn

The stat showing how many times a player gets illegal personal contact by being pushed or moved into by an opponent’s torso, resulting in an offensive foul for the opponent.


A violation in which an offensive player runs into a non-moving opponent.

Charity Stripe

See Free Throw Line.

Clear Path Foul

A foul made when a team goes on the fast-break, and a defender behind the offensive player with the ball fouls him before he can get to.


A term to describe the situation when a team is able to catch its opponent in scores just after it fell back with multiple points (generally 10+ points).

Contested Field Goal Percentage

A field goal attempt when there is a defender within 4 feet.

Contested Rebound

The rebound gathered by a player when an opponent is within 3.5 feet.


The area in basketball court where the sideline and baseline meet; generally it refers beyond the three point line. The “short corner” is between the corner and the basket, inside the three point line about 12 feet out.

D in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Defensive 3 Second Violation

A violation called when a defensive player spends three seconds or more inside the key without actively guarding a player. A defensive player is considered actively guarding someone when he’s either guarding someone with the ball or within arm’s length of an offensive player. The team committing a defensive three-second violation is charged with a technical foul, and the offense is awarded one free throw and possession. This is also known as “illegal defense”.

Defensive Goaltending Violation

A violation occurs when a defensive player makes contact with the ball while it is above the height of the rim, while on a downward trajectory towards the hoop.

Defensive Play

The play in which a team defends its rim. The defense.

Defensive Rating

Abbrv DRtg. A metric that estimates how many points a team allows per 100 opponent’s possessions. The formula is (Opponent’s Points Allowed/ Opponent’s Possessions) x 100

Defensive Rebound

A rebound of an opponent’s missed shot.

Defensive Rebound Rate

Defensive rebound percentage is an estimate of the percentage of available defensive rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor.


See Assist


See Assist


The metric showing how many distance a player covered while on the court.

Double Doubles

Double-digit figures in two positive statistical categories (usually points/rebounds for forwards/centers or points/assists for point guards).

Double Dribbles

To dribble the ball with two hands at the same time or to dribble, stop, and then begin to dribble again. It results to a turnover.


Far from the basket, often synonymous with beyond the three-point arc.


Any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the hoop and is dribbled within 10 feet of the hoop and excludes fast breaks. It is an offensive strategy where a player run towards the paint with ball, try to pass its defender (by quickness or cross-over), usually ends with easy basket such as layup.


A shot thrown downward through the basket, with one or two hands.

E in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Effective Field Goal Percentage

Abrrv eFG%. This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3 point field goal is worth one more point than a 2 point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%). The formula is eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 x 3PTM)) / FGA


A composite statistical benchmark for comparing the overall value of players. In theory, it accounts for both a player’s offensive contributions (points, assists, missed fg/ft, to) and his defensive contributions (rebound, steals, blocks). The formula is (PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK − Missed FG − Missed FT − TO).

Efficiency Point

See Efficiency.

Efficiency Score

See Efficiency.


The removal of a player/coach from a game due to a violation of the basketball’s rules such as the accumulation of two technical fouls, fighting, unsportsmanlike conduct, and violent fouls.

F in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Fast Break

Fast break is an up-tempo style offensive basketball strategy where a team try to create a scoring position as quickly as possible.

Field Goal

A basket, worth either two or three points, depending on whether it was taken from inside or outside the three-point line (set at 22 feet from the basket).

Field Goal Percentage

Abrrv FG%. The ratio of field goals made to field goals attempted (FGM/FGA). The scale .000 to 1.000 is used, a higher field goal percentage denotes higher efficiency. The NBA career record for field goal percentage is held by

Artis Gilmore at 0.599. The highest field goal percentage for a single season was set by Wilt Chamberlain with 0.727 in the 1972–73 season.

Flagrant Foul

An unsportsmanlike foul in which there is no serious attempt to play the ball.


A type of shot typically utilized by smaller guards. It is characterized by shooting the ball with an extremely high arc in order to prevent taller defenders from blocking the shot.


An intentional fall by a player after little or no physical contact from an opponent, with the goal of drawing a personal foul call against the opponent.

Foul Shot

See Free Throw.

Four Factors

The more important factors in basketball suggested by Dean Oliver to win a game. These factors are shooting, turnovers, rebounding and free throws.

Free Throw

An uncontested shot from 15 feet, worth one point. A player who is fouled while in the act of shooting receives two free throws.

Free Throw Assist

A metric showing the quantity of passes made by a player to a player who was fouled, missed the shot if shooting, and made at least 1 free throw. Recipient must be fouled within 2 seconds and 1 dribble for passer to earn a FTA assist.

Free Throw Line

This is the line a player must stand behind when shooting a free throw.

Free Throw Percentage

The ratio of free throws made to free throws attempted (FTM/FTA).

Free Throw Rate

The ratio of free throw attempted to field goal attempted (FTA/FGA). Offensively, it shows how a team easily scores points as free throws represent easy way to score; defensively, it shows the defensive capability of a team, lower ratio designates better defense.


A team’s offensive half of the court. As it refers to players, a team’s center and forwards.

G in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Give and Go

A very basic play where after passing to a team-mate, the passer quickly cuts toward the basket, and receives the return pass back from his team-mate for the lay-up.


A violation in which a player interferes with a shot while the ball is on its downward arc, pins it against the backboard or touches it while it is in an imaginary cylinder above the basket; may be committed by either an offensive or defensive player.

H in Basketball Glossary & Terms


(1) A dividing line that separates a basketball court into equal halves and the area comprising each half. (2) The time when first two quarters of basketball game expired. It’s the mid-game.

High Post

The area around the free throw circle.

Hook Shot

A shot taken with a sweeping, hooking motion. May be taken stationary or while running.

I in Basketball Glossary & Terms

In the Paint

The rectangle area under the basket on the basketball court. This area is considered the paint, and any points scored in that area would be considered ‘points in the paint.’

Inactive List

It is an official designation used by the NBA for players who become injured and temporarily unable to play. It is used because the rules allow for only a certain numbers of players on each team’s roster. Designating a player as “Injured/Reserve” frees up a new spot, enabling the team to add a new player during the injured player’s convalescence. In NBA, 12 players should be in the active list, and at least 1 player on its inactive list. Teams may have a maximum of 3 players on its inactive list, which includes any players sent to the NBA Development League.

J in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Jump Shot

A shot taken after a player jumps in the air.

K in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Kicked Ball Violation

A violation occured when a player intentionally kicks the basketball.

L in Basketball Glossary & Terms


A close-range shot using one hand to tip the ball over the rim.


A shot taken after driving to the basket by leaping up under the basket and using one hand to drop the ball directly into the basket (layin) or to bank the ball off the backboard into it (layup).

Loose Ball Foul

See Lost Ball Foul.

Lost Ball

A basketball situation when neither team has possession of the ball, usually the case when a player has lost control of the ball or the ball is in the air following a missed shot.

Lost Ball Foul

A foul that occurs when neither team has possession of the ball, usually the case when a player has lost control of the ball or the ball is in the air following a missed shot. In NBA, a loose ball foul is considered neither an offensive nor defensive foul, and does not count as a personal or team foul. However, if the fouling player’s team is in the penalty, the opposing team will receive free throws. If not, the opposing team inbounds the ball following the foul.

Low Post

The area at the base of the foul lane to either side of the basket.

M in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Man-to-Man Defense

A defense strategy where each defensive player is assigned to guard a specific opposing player. He may “switch” his player with another team-mate if he gets screened. Man-to-man defenders must learn the meaning of “on-ball” (defending the player with the ball), “deny” (preventing your man from getting the ball), and “help-side” (sagging off your man to help your team-mates prevent inside “penetration”.


It is the difference between two opposite metrics, usually refers the differece between points scored and points allowed, or offensive rating and defensive rating etc.


A shot taken from outside the paint but inside the three-point arc.

Motion Offense

Offense created through a series of cuts and screens to create the best possible shot, with most or all offensive players moving simultaneously.

N in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Net Rating

A stat to measure a team’s point differential per 100 possessions (offensive rating – defensive rating). On player level this statistic is the team’s point differential per 100 possessions while he is on court.

Non-Shooting Foul

It is an illegal basketball contact while the player is fouled not in a shooting motion (running, passing, off-ball, etc.)

Non-Shooting Foul Drawn

The stat showing how many times a player gets non-shooting foul by the defensive team players.

O in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Offensive 3 Second Violation

An offensive player may not stand in the paint for three seconds. If not this turnover occurs.

Offensive Foul

See Charging.

Offensive Play

The play in which a team try to score at the offense.

Offensive Rating

A metric that estimates how many points a team scored per 100 possessions. The formula is (Points Scored / Possessions) x 100.

Offensive Rebound

A rebound of a team’s own missed shot.

Offensive Rebound Rate

Offensive rebound rate is an estimate of the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the floor. It can be also calculated per team based via this formula Offensive Rebound / (Offensive Rebound + Defensive Rebound).

Out of Bounds

The area outside of and including the end lines and sidelines.

Over and Back Violation

For the offensive team when the ball reach to the froncourt, they must not pass or dribble the ball back across the half-court line, or step on this line (while having possession) or the “over and back” violation (a team turnover) occurs. The offense may retrieve the ball without penalty if deflected across by a defensive player.

P in Basketball Glossary & Terms


Pace factor is an estimate of the number of possessions per 48 minutes by a team.


Specifically referring to the habit of an offensive player to hold the ball at the apex of its bounce while dribbling, usually by gripping the ball firmly in the dribbling hand. In organized play this is always considered a dribbling penalty, often called a carry or double dribble.


The successful throw of the ball to a teammate.

Pass Fake

See Ball Fake


See Drive.

Per 36 minutes Statistics

A statistic divided by minutes played, multiplied by 36. It is used to normalize the playing time differences and permits to make fair comparaisons.


The overall area of the basketball court beyond the key, but inside the three-point line. Shots taken from the perimeter are usually referred to as “mid-range jump shots” or “perimeter shots.”

Personal Foul

A violation. Usually, illegal contact between two players.

Pick and Roll

A play where an offensive player sets a “screen” (“pick”) on a team-mate’s defender, thereby freeing up the team-mate, after which the screener moves, or “rolls” off the screen to the hoop, or an open area for the return pass.

Pivot Food

The foot that must remain touching the floor to avoid traveling.


A statistic in basketball similar to possession started when the team gets the ball and ends when it makes a field goal attemp, loses the ball, or commits a violation or foul. Unlike the possession, an offensive rebound result in another plays for a team. Plays can be considered how many differents offense is contucted by a team.


It is a statistic used to measure a player’s impact on the difference between their team’s total scoring versus their opponent’s.


(1) Points in basketball are used to keep track of the score in a game. Points can be accumulated by making field goals (two or three points) or free throws (one point). (2) It’s the area in a basketball court further of the top of the key area.

Point Forward

A forward with strong ballhandling and passing skills who can be called on to direct the team’s offense.

Points Adjusted by Pace

A metric used to compare offensive (score) capability of teams by normalizing points scored by pace. The formula is PTS × (POSSl/POSSt) where POSSl is the league average for possessions per game and POSSt is the possesion per game of the team.

Points in Paint

Field goals made in the painted area below the free-throw line.

Points Off Turnovers

Any points other than technical foul shots resulting from the possession following a turnover. Possession is considered to have ended when the opposing team gains control of the ball.

Points Per Shot

A ratio of points scored per shot attempted. The formula is PTS / (FGA + 0.44 × FTA).


A statistic in basketball defined as the time a team gains offensive possession of the ball until it scores, loses the ball, or commits a violation or foul.


The offensive move wherein a low post player positions himself, and seals his defender off so that he can receive the pass down low on the block, where he can use a “post move” for a score, or quickly pass the ball back outside to an open team-mate for a three-pointer (in that case this play is called “inside-out”).

Potential Assist

Pass by a player to a teammate in which the teammate attempts a missed shot, but if made, would be an assist.

Princeton Offense

An offensive basketball strategy which emphasizes constant motion, passing, back-door cuts, picks on and off the ball, and disciplined teamwork. It’s an offense designed for a unit of 5 players who can each pass, shoot and dribble at an above average level.

Pull up Shot

Any jump shot outside 10 feet where a player took 1 or more dribbles before shooting.

Q in Basketball Glossary & Terms


A rare statistical performance in which player gets double-digit figures in four positive statistical categories.


One of the each four equal regular time periods of a basketball game.

R in Basketball Glossary & Terms


Gather in and gain control of a missed shot; a missed shot that is retrieved.

Rebound Chance

A player statistics showing how many times a player has possibility (within the vicinity-3.5 feet- of a rebound) to grab a rebound.

Rebound per Rebound Chance

A metric to show player’s apteness for rebounds. It is the ration of rebounds taken per rebound chance of a pleyer.

Rebound Rate

The percentage of available rebounds a player or team grabbed while on the court. The formula is Rebound grabbed / Rebound occured.

Restricted Area

It is an area on a basketball court underneath the basket bounded by the endline, the foul line and other lines which are known as freebody lines, that are usually painted. It is a critical area on the court where much of the action takes place in a game.

Run and Gun

A combined offensive and defensive system devoted to increasing the pace of the game. On offense, the ball is moved upcourt as fast as possible, with the goal of taking the first shot available (often a three-pointer). The defense uses full-court pressure in an attempt to cause turnovers.

S in Basketball Glossary & Terms


To attempt to prevent a defender from guarding a teammate by standing in the defender’s way. The screening player must remain stationary; a moving screen is an offensive foul.

Second Chance Points

See 2nd Chance Points.

Secondary Assist

A metric showing the quantity of passes made by a player to the player who earned an assist on a made shot. Asister must make a pass within 2 seconds and 1 dribble for passer to earn a secondary assist.

Set Shot

A shot taken while a player has both feet on the floor in a set position. Common in basketball’s early years, it is now all but extinct, having given way to the harder-to-block jump shot.

Shooting Foul

It is an illegal basketball contact while the player with the ball is fouled while in a shooting motion (jump shot, dunk, layup, alley oop, etc.)

Shooting Foul Drawn

The stat showing how many times a player gets shooting foul by the defensive team players.

Shot Clock

It is a timer which gives the team with possession a certain amount of time to shoot the ball before a shot clock violation.

Shot Clock Violation

A shot clock (or 24 second) violation occurs when a player on the team with possession is still touching the ball when the shot clock expires. The shot clock will reset back to the full allotted time when possession changes or a shot hits the rim or goes in the hoop.

Shot Distance

The distance between the basket and the point a shot is taken. Genarally speaking, a shot beyond the three point line called 3 pointer or long shot, just inside the three point line shot is long two and inside the paint shot is layup, hook etc.


See Dunk.


See Dunk.


To take the ball away from the opposing team, either off the dribble or by picking off a pass.

Steal Percentage

A metric showing how many times a team makes steal in defence. The formula is Steals / Defensive possessions.

Steal Rate

See Steal Percentage.

Stretch 4

A power forward (“4”) capable of “stretching” a defense with his or her outside shooting ability.


A player capable of playing either shooting guard or small forward.

T in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Technical Foul

A foul assessed for unsportsmanlike non-contact behavior and for some procedural violations (for example, having too many players on the floor or calling timeout when none remain). Penalized by loss of possession after a free throw which may be taken by any member of the opposing team.

Three Point Field Goal

See 3 Point Shot


To tip a missed shot into the basket.

Top of the Key

The area in the basketball court referring above the free throw circle.


The term showing how many times a player touches the ball, it is generally used to indicate the activeness of a player or how he involves to the game.


It is the process of changing from defense to offense, or vice-versa.


It is the set when two defenders double-team the ball-handler, trying to force a turn-over or a jump-ball situation.


A violation in which a player takes too many steps without dribbling the ball.


See 3 Point Shot

Triple Doubles

A relatively rare achievement in which a player accumulates double figures in three of the following categories in the same game: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.

True Shooting Percentage

Abbrv TS%. True shooting percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account field goals, 3 point field goals, and free throws. The formula is TS% = (PTS/2)/(FGA + 0.44 × FTA).


Loss of ball, either through an errant pass or dribble or an offensive foul.

Turnover Percentage

The ratio showing how many times a team’s possession ends with a turnover. The formula is TO / Possessions.

U in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Uncontested FG%

A field goal attempt when there is no defender within 4 feet.

Uncontested Rebound

The rebound gathered by a player when there is no any opponent within 3.5 feet.


The term describing a player’s role in the offense, by explaining how many of his team’s possessions a player is personally responsible for ending while he is on the floor.

V in Basketball Glossary & Terms


An infraction of the rules other than a foul.

W in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Weak Side

The side of the court away from the ball.

While on Court

The term used for some players statistics showing the efficiency of a spesific player for the measured metric when he is actively playing (while he is on the court during the playing time).


The area in the basketball court referring the three point line area between the corners and the top of the key.

Z in Basketball Glossary & Terms

Zone Defense

A defense strategy where each defender, rather than guarding a specific opposing player, is assigned to guard or cover a certain area of the floor, or zone. There are also various defensive schemes that combine elements of zone defense and man-to-man defense coverage (e.g. “box-and-1”, “triangle and 2”, etc).

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