Leave it to a bunch of science geeks to use their special testing laboratories and supercomputers to deduce that what our dads always told us growing up (“Use the backboard, son”) is the best thing any player can do to be a better shooter.

From Wired:

After analyzing computer-generated 3-D simulations of more than 1 million basketball shots, a team led by NC State’s Larry Silverberg determined that, while it does vary, there are large, identifiable areas on the court where a bank shot can be up to 20 percent more successful than attempting a direct swish. [...]

What they uncovered was that areas on the wing — between the free-throw area and the outermost three-point line — contained pockets where a bank shot was much more likely to go in than with a direct shot.

Surprise, surprise — researchers love Tim Duncan. Fitting, considering they’re the ones who built him, programmed him and continue to update his bank shot software.

I’m kidding, of course. Science is great and Tim Duncan is not a robot. Plus, these dweebs are making it easy for you step your game up. All you have to do is make one simple change.

The NC State team also discovered that when they plotted the simulated shooter’ aim points, the resulting data created a V that could be used as a training device for teaching players where the most successful bank shots are aimed. [...]

But perhaps an even greater finding was that there existed, 3.326 inches behind the backboard, a vertical axis line that could be used to aid shooters in knowing where to aim their bank shots.

It’s actually quite simple: Envision the V on an actual backboard. Then visualize a vertical bar that sits 3.326 inches behind the backboard. Wherever you see the two cross, that’s where you aim for a high-percentage bank shot.

It’s that easy. All you have to do is picture an imaginary V on a backboard, then picture an imaginary line floating exactly 3.326 inches behind the backboard, then figure out where those two imaginary lines intersect, aim at that imaginary point and shoot a real basketball at it, making sure to keep the ball spinning at a speed of three revolutions per second. Just do that simple calculation in the time it takes for you to decide to shoot the ball, jump and take your shot.

If you do all that stuff in those few split-seconds you have when taking a jumper, you get a 20 percent increase in efficiency, just so long as you’re standing within 12 feet of the basket and not directly in front of the hoop. It’s almost too easy, and I’m starting to think that Tim Duncan really is a robot.

Comments (7)

  1. I knew it!!! I’ve argued with friends forever about the backboard increasing your percentages… I could just never explain exactly why :D I thought it had something to do with the board evening up misdirections in the shot and creating an almost identical path once it bounces of, even if the shot was a bit off…. Hah, it sounds crazy I know

  2. Yeah, a perfect example where science is totally obsolete and where money is totally wasted…

  3. Read this study a while ago, and what was interesting to me was that both things would be relatively simple to design training aids for (on a glass backboard). The imaginary line thing would be a highly visible pole that clamps on the top of the backboard and the v would be a cling-type sticker you put on the backboard.

  4. Oh, and the backboard is good because it slows down the ball and also because if you miss hard the backboard is still in play after it hits the rim.

  5. GREAT POST! One of the best brief post-lockout posts about putting up points in the post.

  6. You make it sound like you would have to do a calculation out to 3 decimal places to execute this every shot. Come on. Pick a spot on the floor and tape a V up and practice.

    Nobody ever mentions Kobe’s bank shot. He’s damn good at it too.

  7. or. just fucken shoot the ball. and bank it off the backboard…

    no but. i always thought that this was common sense.

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