What Is A “Heat Check” In Basketball?

basketball heat check

The key takeaway from the article is that in basketball, a "heat check" refers to a player attempting a difficult shot after making several easy ones to see if they are on a hot streak. It is a term used for players with a "hot hand" and can be a risky but exciting move in the game.

Sometimes in your life, you hear words from other people that you aren’t familiar with. It is either because English is your second language, or you haven’t heard that word in your entire life. Basketball has many terms that only loyal fans can understand the meaning of it. Commentators often speak words that will leave a question in our head like “What the heck does it even mean?”

Basketball can be full of weird and peculiar words or terms that make you confused. One of these terms that only true basketball fans are familiar with is “heat check”.

You might be thinking that heat check has something to do with a player’s body temperature, how hot the arena is, or how hot the NBA cheerleaders are. If you don’t know the real meaning of heat check, then probably you need to stay reading. 

Today we are going to talk about the heat check. I will hand down to you the real meaning of it, and what it does with basketball players. If you are ready, then let’s keep moving! 

What Exactly Is The Meaning Of Heat Check?

A heat check is a commonly used term in basketball that may confuse those people who aren’t fans of the game. You may often ask, why do commentators check the heat of the players? What the heck does heat check mean?

Heat check is a term used in basketball for a player that is having a hot hand that has made a few easy shots in a row then tries to take a difficult shot to check if he/she is heated. Let me give you an example of a heat check in basketball below:

For example, if Curry hits a layup, then hits a three-point shot after a layup, and then another hard three-point shot after the first easy three-point shot. If Curry sinks in the hard three-points after the few easy shots, then it means Curry is heating. He tries hitting the hard three-point shot to check if he is heated. 

The difficult shot might be a half-court shot or a defender right in a player’s face. Players try to hit a difficult shot after hitting a few easy shots in a row to check if they are figuratively hot. 

J.R. Smith is the king of the NBA heat check because he requires zero makes before he erupts to try a heat check. But over the last decade, Lebron James had a most compelling heat-check performance. 

A heat check is mostly a shot that a basketball player doesn’t usually take, but because he/she is having a hot hand, then they try their luck to hit that shot. 

Why Do Players Take a Heat Check?

Heat check is a pretty tough shot that players try to hit to check if they are heating. But you ask yourself, why do players take a difficult shot that they don’t normally take?

If you see players getting hot, it seems like they aren’t going to miss a shot. Players having a hot streak choose difficult shots for heat check because difficult shots are quite challenging, and if they hit it then they proved to the crowd that they are heated. 

Coaches and fans wanted to see a player to keep on shooting especially if a player hits shot after shot. Players that are heated up bring happiness to the crowd, to their coach, and their teammates. They also make the fans go roar and intimidate their opposing teams. 

The players who are having hot hands in the court get more defensive attention from their opposing team. Hot players are throwing up a heat check shot because it is their only option when defenders guard them tight. Sometimes a player’s heat check shot could lead to a miss and losing the streak shots. But players who are lucky enough managed to successfully hit a heat check shot and continue his streak.

Do Players Need To Take A Heat Check?

You see players having a hot hand, but don’t take a heat check shot right? You know why? Because these players are carefully maintaining their stats or the percentage of their made field goals. An easier shot will lead to a higher percentage of made baskets. In other words, players who don’t take a heat check shot are playing safe to avoid a missed shot that would affect their stats. 

A heat check shot is not necessary for hot players to take. Taking a heat check shot depends on the player who is hot to decide whether he/she would take it. But most players who are heated usually risk their streak and try their luck on a heat check shot. 

A heat check shot that players can hit could be a buzzer-beater to end the quarter or half. This could also be a shot while the defender’s hands are in their face.

Players who get hot usually get the opportunity to take a heat check shot because if a player is too hot, the opposing team will guard them tightly. Even though heat check shots are really exciting and challenging, I am sure that players are afraid to lose their streak from trying to take a hard shot, and I think coaches wanted players to take easier shots for a high chance of scoring.

NBA Best Heat Checks Plays 

Below are the footage of the NBA best heat check plays. The video below shows how exactly heat check plays happen in a basketball game. 

Final Verdict

Now you understand well what heat check means. I hope you can spot a heat check shot in a game. I hope you notice the heat check shot the next time you watch your favorite NBA player hitting it. 

Even though a heat check shot is a little bit risky to take, it is indeed one of the exciting shots that a basketball player can make. Watching a basketball player gets heated will make every fan roar. 

If you play basketball the next time and hit shots in a row, try to take a heat check shot. If you risk trying a heat check shot, then it is a huge indicator that you are a confident basketball player.

Have you ever hit a heat check shot? If yes, then what is your coach’s reaction? Feel free to share with us your heat check shot experience in the comments section below!

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