What Are Open Looks In Basketball? Explained!

What Are Open Looks In Basketball

Key Takeaway: Open looks in basketball refer to situations where a player has an uncontested shot with ample space to shoot, commonly attributed to either poor defense or effective offensive play. Prioritizing strong defense and strategic offensive movement are crucial in capitalizing on open looks while preventing opponents from gaining easy scoring opportunities.

If you are addicted to basketball and you play it often, you have probably heard the word open looks. Maybe the word came from the mouth of your coach or your teammates. However, for beginners in basketball, they don’t have any idea what open looks are in basketball. For beginners, let me explain the meaning of open looks

What are open looks in basketball? An open look in basketball is where a player has an uncontested shot and has more space to take a shot. Open looks happen in basketball because of bad defense or because of good offensive play. 

However, there are lots of things you need to learn about open looks in basketball. We are going to answer different questions that are related to our subject. Also, we are going to give you tips about how you can get an open shot in basketball. If you are ready, let’s go! 

More Info About Open Looks In Basketball

Open look in basketball is where a player has the opportunity to shoot the ball without any challenge, or called uncontested shot. When a player has an open look, he/she has more space to take a shot, and he/she can take his/her time before releasing the ball. Open look shots have more chance of sinking in the rim because the basketball player can focus more before releasing the ball. 

When a player gets open looks, it means that they can have more time than they normally would release the ball since there isn’t any defender close to them. Open looks can happen in basketball if the offensive team stretches the defense or they have a good ball movement that creates an open space for the shooter.

Open looks can also happen because of the bad defense of the defensive team. Confusion on the defense is what makes an offensive player open. When this happens, the offensive team will have an easy possession. Your coach may yell at you and your teammates when you make an open look because of bad defense. 

Open looks can also happen if an offensive player is fast and he/she drives inside the basket, leaving the defender. When the offensive player has successfully left his/her defender, he/she can shoot the ball inside with no defense at all. If not, he/she can take a quick jump shot. 

Open looks can also happen in basketball if the defensive player lets the offensive player shoot the ball, especially if the defensive player knows that the offensive player cannot shoot that shot. However, sometimes it sinks in, and the defensive player gets embarrassed. This happens often in the NBA, especially if a big man that has no record of shooting threes started to shoot threes. 

Open looks are essential because it gives the team easy points. However, some basketball players that have low confidence or have poor shooting percentages can miss open shots. Even in the NBA, they sometimes miss an open shot. 

Basketball players can miss open look shots if they have no confidence at all. They can also miss open shots if they have a poor shooting percentage. Fatigue is also one of the reasons why some basketball players miss a shot even if they are wide open.

Every basketball player should take the chance of being open. Every open shot should be easy! If you have an open shot, make sure that you take your time before shooting the ball. Why? So that you can focus more before you release the ball. 

How Do Basketball Players Get An Open Looks?

Below are the different reasons why basketball players can get an open look or open shots. 

Bad Defense

When the defense is bad, there is a high opportunity for an offensive team to get an open look. Confusion on switches is a bad defensive scenario that gives the offensive team an open look. Also, when the defense is sleeping, there is a high chance that the offensive team will have an open look. 

If you don’t like to give your opponents an open look or an easy shot, make sure that you play defense very well. A good defense is the best offense. When you neglect defense, it may affect your offense. 


One of the reasons why open looks happen in basketball is because of the challenges given by the defensive team. You don’t know what I am saying, do you? Let me give you an example below so that you will understand what I am saying.

For example, Dwight Howard attempted to shoot threes. All players in the NBA know that Dwight Howard is not a good three-point shooter. When Dwight tries to shoot threes, his defender will leave him open. Why? Because they know that Dwight Howard will miss because they know that Dwight has a bad record of shooting threes. 

Because of challenging the offensive player, the open looks happen in basketball. This is also the reason why coaches get angry. Why? Because it is considered as a poor defense when you leave a player alone, even though they are not good at shooting.


Another reason why open looks happen in basketball is because of the quickness of the offensive player. When the defensive player is slow and the offensive player is fast, the offensive player can effortlessly drive inside the rim, leaving his defender. The offensive player can shoot inside or make a quick jump shot after leaving his defender. 

Good Ball Movement

When the ball movement of the offensive team is proficient, there is a high chance an open look or open shot will happen. If the offensive team passes the ball a lot, they create a space for their shooter. Try watching different NBA teams that have good ball movement. They create lots of spaces for their shooters. 

Fast Break 

Open looks can happen during a fast break. When the defensive transition is slow, there is a high chance the offensive team gets an easy shot. A poor defensive transition can lead to an easy dunk, easy layup, or easy threes. 

How To Prevent Your Opponents From Getting An Open Look?

To prevent your opponents from getting an open look, you should play the best defense. Like I have said above, the defense is the best offense. If you have no good defense, there is a high chance your opponents will score an open look shot or an easy shot. 

Improve your offense but never neglect your defense. Also, never challenge your opponent. Even though you know that your opponent is not good at shooting threes, you should still never leave him/her alone. 

Improve your defense by improving your footwork and speed. Proper footwork can help you execute defense effortlessly. You need proper footwork to switch your foot quickly if the offensive player you are guarding makes a crossover or change direction. Also, you have to be fast when playing defense so that you can prevent the fastest basketball player from your opposing team from going inside the basket. 

So to conclude, the one thing that you need to do to prevent your opponents from getting an open look or an easy shot is to have a strong defense. The defense is the one that decides who will win the ball game. If your defense is good, don’t expect that you will win the game. 

Final Thoughts

To make it clear to everybody, let me tell you again what the meaning of open looks like in basketball. Open looks in basketball are when a defender leaves an offensive player. A shooter that has an uncontested shot, and has more open space to take the shot is considered as an open look.

Having an open look in basketball is essential. Why? Because this is where you can get an easy shot and an easy point. If your team has a good offensive plan and team chemistry, you have a high chance to have an open shot every time. 

Do you think open looks or open shots are essential in basketball? If yes, comment your answers below! 

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