The sport of basketball is an organized system of strategies. Oftentimes, the team that does their homework and are able to execute their schemes more effectively are the teams that win the most games. Two important aspects of attaining this success is positioning and spacing on the court. What do these terms mean and what do they entail?
It is important to discern the two. Positioning is exactly what it sounds like. This is where the players are supposed to be on the court during offense or defense. Spacing is more of an umbrella term, as it has to do with how well spaced out players can be on the floor to allow for shooting and dribble penetration.
One great way to describe how this works is to take the two-time reigning champion Golden State Warriors for example. The Warriors have tremendous spacing because they often have multiple threats that can shoot the basketball, headlined by Steph Curry. It is important to note that a player’s shooting ability will not affect his positioning on the court, as that is typically preordained by the coaching staff. How well a player is able to shoot, however, can affect the opposing team’s defensive strategy and make their lives much easier.
Take another team for example; the Cleveland Cavaliers. Oftentimes, the coaching staff would have Kevin Love and Kyle Korver play together. Because they are two shooting threats, this allowed LeBron James (during his time here) to do what he did best, which is attack the defense and finish at the rim. This is because the lane was open for him to drive. Why was the lane open? The defenders for Love and Korver were attached to them because they did not want to concede a 3 pointer.
However, there were also times when the Cavs had Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson playing together; two non shooting threats. Because of this, defenders would not be as attached to them, and they were often forced to make jump shots or create their own offense. This meant that defenders could pack the paint and give LeBron a harder time of finishing.
It’s clear that teams that are able to space the floor and utilize the entire court have a more diverse offense, and those who cannot in today’s modern offense will struggle to put up points. Teach the fundamentals of both spacing and positioning to your team in order to not only improve player performance, but give said players the knowledge they need to have in order to find success in basketball.