Every young basketball player aims to do one thing every time they play the game: score.
And I don’t just mean score. I mean, practically anyone can score right? Jump shot. Jump hook. Shot off the glass. Bank shot. No no, not those types of shots. They’re boring. They’re too fundamental. Effective yes, but boring. Kids want EXCITEMENT. They want to score WITH STYLE.
I’ll admit, when I was a kid, I wanted to do the same. I wanted to score in such a way that the crowd would exclaim oohs and aahs every time I made a basket. That’s why the player who I idolized back then was Kobe Bryant because of the way he got buckets with such ease. Fade away jumpers with a hand on his face? No problem. Reverse jams? Easy. Point is, Kobe always got his points in a way that would wow the crowd. I loved it.
But eventually my dad made me realize that scoring with style doesn’t always result to wins.
Before, I would always try to make a fancy crossover dribble ala Allen Iverson before I would end up attempting a step back jumper that would hit rim. Sure it garnered a lot of fanfare, but it didn’t always result to a basket.
Now, all I do is stay along the corners or the wings waiting for the ball to come to me. I had to accept it, I’m not built to create my own basket. I just wait for the ball to come for me, catch, shoot, two points. If there’s a close out, I just drive to the hoop for the easy two points. It’s boring, no doubt. But hey, it leads to results.
I’ll be honest, at first, it was tough for me to accept that role of simply being a catch and shoot guy. It was a boring role. All I did when I practiced with my dad were free throws, catch and shoots off the curl, one dribble pull ups. I didn’t want any of that! I wanted to practice cross overs that would make opponents fall to the ground and make people love the way I played. But instead I was limited to a role barely anyone wanted to take on.
But eventually, I was able to settle into that role and I was able to provide efficient baskets for my team. I realized that catch and shooting is a role that is important in a basketball team.
If you ask me, it’s something other Filipino ball players have to realize as well.
How the Philippines fares against other countries
Well in one word: bad.
We’re not INCREDIBLY bad. We just aren’t as good as other countries/continents that have succeeded in international play.
Let’s take a look at the numbers;
PBA Averages (Courtesy of HumbleBola Stats)
NBA Averages (Courtesy of Basketball Reference)
Euroleague Averages (Courtesy of Real GM)
I wasn’t able to find a site that showed the league averages for the Euroleague, so instead, I’ll be featuring the stat line of the 2014 – 2015 Euroleague champions, Real Madrid.
UAAP Averages (Courtesy of HumbleBola stats)
US NCAA Div – 1 Averages (Courtesy of Sports Reference)
Sports Reference didn’t provide the league averages for the US NCAA, so instead, I’ll be featuring the stat line of the 2014 – 2015 US NCAA Champions, the Duke University Blue Devils.
We’ll be doing this by league. First, let’s take a look at the pro leagues.
The PBA is actually doing a pretty good job of making their three point baskets compared to other leagues. Their average is lower than that of the NBA and the Euroleague. Sounds pretty good right?
Well, not exactly.
The thing is, the league average isn’t that good of a basis of how well the PBA has been performing when it comes to making three point baskets. Why? Well..
As you can see, the performance of Talk ‘N Text, GlobalPort, and San Miguel lift the average to an even higher number. If you remove those three teams, the league average will surely plummet to an even lower number.
What am I trying to get at here? Only a number of teams can shoot the rock at a consistent basis. The rest? They’re not so good when it comes to doing so. Let’s take a look at the amateur leagues now.
Their stat line pales compared to that of the Duke University Blue Devils, who were the 29th best in the NCAA when it came to shooting from the outside. Do take note of this as well; Duke’s outside shooting was actually considered as a weakness (Quinn Cook was inconsistent at times, Tyus Jones was just alright). Despite that, they still had a success rate better than that of UAAP teams.
So yes, we can definitely say that the Philippines isn’t the most consistent when it comes to making three point baskets. But why is that the case? Shouldn’t Pinoys actually be better floor spacers compared to other countries so that their lack of height is no longer a big factor? Well…
Why Pinoys Don’t Shoot Outside Shots That Much
Because outside shots aren’t exciting
Whether “analysts” like it or not, Pinoys watch basketball because it’s entertaining. They idolize certain players because they’re entertaining. Ever wonder why Chris Ellis is such a fan favorite? Because he’s a high flyer. He can do dunks no other player in the Philippines is capable of doing. Wonder as well why Terrence Romeo is loved by so many ball players in the Philippines? Because of his ability to put someone on Youtube with his crafty handle. In short, Pinoys love plays that will WOW them. Catch and shoots off the screen? Set shots? BORING.
Pinoy ball players are used to CREATING their own basket
For one, one on one games are really popular in the Philippines. In one on one games, players are pretty much required to create their own basket against their opponent. This means using crossovers, hesitation dribbles, head fakes, side steps among others. Eventually, they bring these habits to team play. That’s why isolation plays are so popular in Philippine leagues, whether it be in the amateur leagues, the pros or heck even the Barangay leagues held during summer. So creating baskets for others? Giving the extra pass? Swinging the ball around for a more efficient basket? It’s a rarity here in our country.
Pinoys love highlight reels
You wanna know why guys like Seventh Woods, Kobe Paras and Zach LaVine are so popular in Philippine shores? It’s not because they’re crazy good ball players. It’s because they provide insane entertainment with their high flying act. Let’s admit it. Seventh Woods isn’t a premiere prospect in the level of a Jayson Tatum or a Harry Giles (we’re talking about the 2017 Draft Class here by the way). Kobe Paras’ skill level doesn’t match that of other premiere Philippine prospects such as Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks and even Jolo Mendoza. Zach LaVine is good, but in terms of skill, he isn’t in the level of fellow rookies Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Despite that, Pinoys love watching them. Why? Because their entertaining. As simple as that.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that, Pinoys don’t shoot that much outside shots (meaning set shots, catch and shoots) because they aren’t exciting shots to watch. We want dunks. We want ankle breakers. We want to see players who will create for themselves. But in reality, that way of thinking and playing won’t lead to podium finishes in international competitions. And, Pinoys should actually consider shooting more outside shots. Why? Well…
Why Pinoys SHOULD shoot more outside shots
Makes height, athletic ability and size a non – factor
Whether we like it or not, Pinoys aren’t blessed with height and insane athletic ability just like how Americans are. This is the case for any other country, as a matter of fact. So, instead of trying to fight fire with fire, what if the National Team used another type of weapon in order to counter the size advantage other countries. This is why European Countries like Spain have been so successful when it comes to international competitions – because of their outside shooting. Pinoys already have the speed and smarts to outwit other countries. Add outside shooting into the equation? We could be looking at a consistent World Cup/Olympics qualifier right here.
The defense played in the streets actually calls us to shoot outside jumpers
The two most popular defensive sets in the country are the 2 – 3 zone and the man to man defensive set (actually, is a man to man even a set defense?). Now, the 2 – 3 zone is implemented so that teams are forced to jack up outside jumpers. Do Pinoys actually take outside jumpers to break the zone? NOPE. Well what do they do? They force their way inside so that they can attempt an incredibly INEFFICIENT contested layup that usually ends up as a miss or as a turnover because of the defense. Now, what if Pinoys began to shoot more outside jumpers? This would stretch the floor, and in turn, this can create more opportunities for everyone in the team.
Outside shooting can create even more efficient baskets for the whole team
If you need an example of how this is the case, take a look at the Golden State Warriors and the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. Let’s look at the recently crowned NBA Champions first. Practically anyone in the team has the capability to hit it from outside, but the designated gunners of the team are Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Because of that, they’re able to such the defense outside, and this gives guys like Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut the ability to wreak havoc inside.
Now, let’s take a look at Talk ‘N Text. They aren’t the biggest team, but they use their outside shooting to create opportunities inside. With Ranidel De Ocampo and Jayson Castro’s ability to shoot, this gives guys like Kelly Williams the chance to operate inside, or for Castro to penetrate to the basket.
In short, the addition of outside shooting to the arsenal of a basketball team gives them more options when it comes to scoring the basketball. Think of it this way; if a team is capable of scoring inside and outside, opposing teams will have to pick their poison. Make the team shoot from outside, or give them space to operate inside? Good luck choosing.
Consider this a VERY bold statement, but if you ask me, once we’re able to improve our outside shooting as a country, we’ll be practically unstoppable in Asia. Think of it this way, Korea’s outside shooting alone has led them to finishes qualifying them to the FIBA World Cup. What more us? We have the inside out game of Andray Blatche, plus the slashing ability of the best Point Guard in Asia Jayson Castro. Plus, that June Mar Fajardo guy looks like he can finally take on the likes of Hamed Haddadi down low. Versatile gaming, penetration, and outside sniping. A recipe for success.
But, how can we actually master the art of shooting from the outside?
Two things. PRACTICE and PATIENCE.
Mastering the art of shooting won’t happen overnight. You have to keep on practicing that, and you have to realize that it won’t be easy. There will be days when your shooting is hot and you end up gaining confidence because of this. Then there are days your shooting is complete garbage. It’s all part of the process. We Pinoys just have to be patient, because in the end, that level of consistency will eventually be ours.
Eventually, we’ll be able to shoot for the stars, just like how we Pinoys are truly supposed to. Because in the end, lahat ng ito, #ParaSaBayan.