What is a Field Goal in Basketball? Basketball 101

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Would you like to know what is a field goal in basketball? You are in luck. In this article, we will be reviewing the definition of a field goal. We understand that there are many ways for a player to score in a basketball game, and each of these ways has different names. Because there are various ways to score, it may be tricky to keep up with what is a field goal.

Do not worry. We will be reviewing all that you need to know. After we are finished, you will be able to distinguish field goals from other ways of scoring clearly. As you can guess by now, this article is going to be a complete one-stop guide for information on field goals in basketball.

What Defines a Field Goal in BasketballWhat Defines a Field Goal in Basketball?

Field goals in basketball are any shots made from the field during play except for free throws. Depending on the type of game being played, the value of a field goal can range from one point to four points. In some half-court competitions, field goals within the three-point line will be allotted one point. Shots that are made outside of the 3-point line are allotted two points. 

This type of scoring is common in FIBA half-court competitions, games played in training sessions and half-court pick-up games. The most common type of scoring for field goals would be two points for shots made inside the three-point line and three points for shots made outside of the three-point line. 

This type of scoring can be used for any kind of gameplay such as half court or full court, team games or player-vs-player. Recently in 2017, entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz and hip-hop musician and actor Ice Cube launched the Big 3 basketball competition in the United States. In this competition, there are opportunities for players to make a four-point shot that is even further than the three-point shot. 

For players in the Big 3 competition to get four points, they have to shoot the basketball from three specific areas that are 30 feet away from the basket. 

Wilt Chamberlin is one of the most talented players to ever play the game. Wilt has the record for most field goal categories in the NBA. He holds the record for the most field goals in one half at 22, in one game at 36, in a rookie season at 1065 and in one season at 1597. 

Why is it Called a Field Goal in BasketballWhy is it Called a Field Goal in Basketball?

It does seem strange that in a sport that utilizes a court, there are field goals and not court goals. Well, if you say it out loud, court goal does sound a bit weird.  After James Naismith invented basketball, he provided 13 rules that should be used to govern the game. In his 13 rules, he referred to the playing surface as “the field” and the hoop was referred to as “the goal”. 

Why is it Called a Field Goal in Basketball

We are not entirely sure when or where the term field goal was coined. Based on the fact that the founder referred to the surface as the field and the hoop as the goal, it is understandable that the goals made from the field would then be classified as field goals.

What Types of Field Goals are There in BasketballWhat Types of Field Goals are There in Basketball?

Basketball is a sport that is enjoyable to watch and the play because of the variety and the creativity allowed. Basketball players can score field goals in so many ways. Let’s answer some of the questions that will help us to define what shots from the field qualify as field goals.

Is a Layup or Dunk a Field Goal?

If your question is, “is a layup a field goal?” the answer is yes. For those of you who do not know what a layup is, a layup is a shot made from very close to the basket. To perform a layup, a player normally jumps off one or both legs while laying the ball off the glass or directly into the rim with one or both hands. The layup shot is considered the most basic field goal that can be attempted in basketball. 

So, if you would like to know is a dunk a field goal, the answer is also yes. A dunk in basketball, otherwise known as a slam dunk or a dunk shot, occurs when a player jumps with the ball in one or both hands, raises it over the rim and forcefully pushes the ball down through the rim. This field goal is worth two points. 

Is a Jumper a Field Goal?

Let’s now take a look at jumpers, or should I say Js. Yes, a J is a field goal. So, what is a jump shot? A basketball jump shot is any shot taken while jumping. To perform a jump shot, a player jumps into the air with the ball in hand. While jumping, the player bends the elbow and wrist of the shooting hand at an angle comfortable for them, while supporting the ball with the non-shooting hand (optional) and then flick the ball towards the hoop before hitting the ground. 

Is a Three-Pointer a Field Goal?

It is. In today’s game, the three-pointer is fast becoming one of the most critical shots in basketball. Three-pointers, as the name suggests, are worth 3 points. The fact that they are worth one more point than the traditional two-point field goals make them a very crucial part of any player’s arsenal. 

These field goals are jump shots made from beyond the three-point arc. If you watch the NBA, you will notice that a lot of teams are intentionally trying to improve on the number of 3-pointers that they take and make.

How are Field Goals Recorded in a Basketball Box ScoreHow are Field Goals Recorded in a Basketball Box Score?

On a basketball score sheet, field goals are recorded with the abbreviation FG. The number of field goals made by a team or player will be written first then followed by a slash or dash (/,-) and then the total amount of field goals attempted by a team or player will follow the slash. The three-point field-goal attempts will also be recorded separately in the same format. 

Eg. FG 12/15 or FG 12-15

How is Field Goal Percentage Calculated in BasketballHow is Field Goal Percentage Calculated in Basketball?

Field goal percentage is a very crucial stat in basketball. A player’s or team’s field goal percentage in a game is used to determine how efficient that player or team has been throughout the game. 

Some players will score a high amount of points, but if you were supposed to take a closer look at the number of shots that they took to get to the high amount of points, their field goal percentage would help you to realize that they are not efficient. On the other hand, some players are not high-volume scorers, however, they managed to score efficiently because they make most of the shots that they take. 

How is Field Goal Percentage Calculated in Basketball

From a holistic point of view, all the shots taken by players on the team can be converted to field goal percentage to show you how efficient or inefficient that team has been there for that game as it relates to scoring in the basketball. Field goal percentage can be calculated by dividing the number of shots made by the number of shots taken and then multiplying that figure by 100. I will give you an example, FG- 12 /15, FG%= 80% (12/15=.8, .8*100 = 80)

Has Anyone Ever Had a Perfect Field Goal Percentage in a Basketball GameHas Anyone Ever Had a Perfect Field Goal Percentage in a Basketball Game?

Achievement of perfect field goal percentage is possible but difficult. It is challenging to score all the shots you take, but especially so if you are volume shooter. We said it was difficult but remember, we didn’t say it was impossible. In the past, there have been a few NBA players that managed to leave games with perfect field goal percentages. Let’s take a look at a few of those great performances.

Russell Westbrook: In 2017, Russell Westbrook completed a perfect performance from the field going the 6 of 6. He also managed to do it while attaining a triple-double in the game.

Wilt Chamberlain: Wilt Chamberlin managed to do this many times, is best was a 42-point performance while shooting 18 of 18 from the field.

Dwight Howard: Dwight Howard managed to shoot perfectly from the field twice in his career so far. In both instances, he went 10 of 10 from the field.

You can find the full list of players who managed to go perfectly from the field here

Is a Field Goal (FG) the Same as a Free Throw (FT)Is a Field Goal (FG) the Same as a Free Throw (FT)?

The free throw is the only shot in basketball that is not considered to be a field goal. All other shots from anywhere on the field are considered as field goals except the free throw. Free throws are shots from the free-throw line, which is technically a part of the field but does not happen in the regular course of play. 

Consider yourself now informed in all matters relating to field goals. Until next time ballers, keep putting up those shots.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like our other basketball FAQ articles here.

> What Does Bonus Mean in Basketball?

> Why Basketball is the Best Sport?

> How Long Does a Basketball Game Last?

> How Long is a Basketball Game?

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