The bigger they are, the more they run?!
April 28, 2011 12:55 AM   Subscribe

NBA Filter: Why does the PF or C always inbound the ball after a made shot?

I watch a lot of the NBA, and only the NBA, so I don't know if this is the case in college too. But isn't this counterproductive? It seems to me, the formally un-hoop-educated, that having a big man jog at an accelerated pace down the court to get in position will tire him out faster. I must be wrong.
posted by the NATURAL to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
I think the thinking is that the big men are the worst at bringing the ball up the court. If they caught the inbounds pass they stand a good chance of getting trapped in the backcourt or turning it over.

Also, they're taller and can see better if someone is guarding the inbounds. As far as running down the court, that's probably less effort than the bobbing and weaving involved in getting open to catch the inbounds.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:10 AM on April 28, 2011

That said, I do have vague memories of watching Shaq on the Lakers when his conditioning wasn't the greatest, and I think sometimes he would get a "head start" and just take off down the court before everyone else, because otherwise the shot clock would be half gone before he got into the offense.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:18 AM on April 28, 2011

Well, whoever inbounds it is going to give it to the one of the guards eventually, usually the point. My guess is that the bigger guys inbound because if the defense is caught unaware and a fast break develops, the inbounder probably wouldn't have had enough footspeed to be involved anyway... instead it would be one of the quicker guys flying upcourt.

If no such play occurs, they just go to a set offense and everyone has to wait to set things up anyway, so no rush for the inbounder to get upcourt. You never see them sprinting to the other end in that case, so that extra distance probably doesn't wear them out all that much.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:39 AM on April 28, 2011

the PF and C are usually closest to the basket on defense so they can get the ball and inbounds it the fastest.
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:47 AM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

1. Often he's closest to the baseline under the basket to look for a fast break.
2. Arm length in case of a little pressure.
3. Tall defender back in case of a turnover.
4. Inbounder's (tall) defender will be out of position too and less able to help for plays that can be run before he gets there.
posted by fleacircus at 2:51 AM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

As someone who plays basketball regularly (and also watches the NBA), I'd echo something that drjimmy11 mentioned : moving around to get open, either for an inbounds play or during the half-court offense, is more tiring than the trip up and down the floor. PFs and Cs can really conserve their energy in the half-court compared to guards and shooting guards who are often moving to get open or dribble-driving for the shot or to set up a teammate. So any fatigue factor in being the last one down the floor would be made up by the lesser movement at the position (PF or C) in the half-court.
posted by Slothrop at 5:10 AM on April 28, 2011

What drjimmy11 and Slothrop said; there isn't a lot of use for a big man on the court during an inbound (other than to set screens) and you need players who are going to get isolation from their defender and won't be worn out in the process. That, and the ability to pass over defenders, makes them a natural for this job.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:10 AM on April 28, 2011

i also think it's really that the big men are normally already under the basket and closest to do the pass... it probably isn't an automatic thing, it's just that they are closest.
posted by fozzie33 at 7:25 AM on April 28, 2011

Kurt Rambis, former Lakers power forward, excelled at this.

He'd scoop the still falling ball out of the net, tip toe over the end line, and toss the ball to one of the guards heading up court before his second toe hit the floor.
posted by notyou at 8:38 AM on April 28, 2011

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