What Is The Paint In Basketball?

What Is The Paint In Basketball?

Key Takeaway: The paint in basketball refers to the area near and below the rim, where most offensive strategies unfold and where centers typically score. It is crucial both offensively for easy buckets and defensively for preventing easy inside shots, with different parts like the block, low post, high post, and top of the key playing distinct roles in gameplay.

Have you ever heard the word “the paint” in basketball and wondered what is it? You may have heard it on basketball analysts or commentators every time a player scores inside. But what is the paint in basketball?

When you know what center position is in basketball, then you probably know what paint is. Center players in basketball are the usual players who step on the paint for a monstrous dunk and for defending the rim. The paint in basketball is the easiest part to score because it is near the basketball ring, and it is the hardest part of the court to defend. 

For more information about the paint in basketball, I suggest you keep reading. I will break down different information about the paint in basketball, including the importance of it, the strategies behind it, and the restrictions. 

What Is Paint In Basketball?

The paint in the basketball court is placed near and below the basketball rim. It is the rectangularly shaped area below the rim that goes from baseline until the free-throw line. The paint has a different color than the rest of the basketball court. That is why it is called paint. Check the photo below for more information about paint in basketball:

Different Parts Of The Paint

This area of the court is called “the paint”, because it is the only area in the basketball court with colorful paint, and it usually has a different color than the rest of the basketball court. The paint is also called “the key”. Because of the keyhole shape that is used in the early times of basketball when the lane was much narrower than today. 

If you break down the paint, it has many parts. To have a better understanding of the paint in basketball, you need to know the different parts of it. Let’s go and take a check!

The Block

The first part of the paint that you need to know is the block. It is the area in the free-throw lines near the basketball rim. When you look carefully at the basketball court, you will see the block shape marks. It is used as a marker for basketball players who will take a free-throw line to keep their distance from the basket. The block can also be used for starting a post up because it is also part of the low post area. 

Low Post

The second part of the paint is the low post. It is in the area near the basketball rim and on the lane lines. The low post is the usual spot for big man players for starting a post up to receive a pass. They can also make an outside pass in the three-point line because it is easier to see if your teammates are free to shoot the three-points if you are inside the low post. 

High Post

The high post and low post is used the same way. However, the high post is higher up on the key and more near the free-throw line. 

Top Of The Key

The fourth part of the paint in basketball is the top of the key. It is placed above the paint at the free-throw line and around the jump ball circle. The top of the key in the area of the court where the point guard usually starts some offensive plays. 

For more information about the different parts of the paint in the basketball court, check the picture below. 

What Is The Importance Of The Paint?

Now that you know the different parts of the paint, let’s proceed to the importance of it.

The paint area in basketball is very important because this is where most offensive strategies take place. This is where basketball players potentially get easy buckets. 

This rectangular area inside the basketball court is the easiest part to score because it is near the basketball rim. Also, this is the area where the field goal percentage is the highest. This is the area where most centers or big man players usually get their points. The paint is indeed an advantage for every offensive basketball team that is looking to score more points. 

However, for a defensive team, the paint is the hardest part of the basketball court to protect. The defensive strategy that shall be implemented to prevent easy baskets from the paint should be truly effective. The defensive team needs to guard the paint with all their strength to prevent any easy inside shots. 

Different Strategies In The Paint

It is proven that the paint area in the basketball court is a fundamental part of the basketball court. That is why there is no doubt that there are many strategies developed within this area. Some of the common offensive strategies in the paint are posting up and pick and roll.

Let’s first tackle the defensive strategies in the paint. Many defensive strategies in the paint appeared due to the high field goal percentage in the area. Most basketball teams prioritize guarding the paint than guarding the three-point line because it is much easier to score in the paint than the three-point area because it is much closer to the basket. 

The defensive team keeps the offensive team out of the sacred square by denying some post up passes, zone defenses, and pressure defense. 

The battle inside the paint is very physical. This where you will see lots of shoving, elbowing, and pushing. Referees make sure that there will be no unsportsmanlike fouls that will be executed inside the paint by calling the right call and watching carefully. 

Most of the rebounding and blocking scenarios often happen inside the paint area. That is why the big man players are the players who usually dominated this area. The team that has many rebounds and many block shots are the teams that commonly control the paint and most likely has a higher chance to win the game.

The statisticians of basketball can also measure each team’s points in the paint. Using this measurement can tell us where the majority of a team’s scoring comes from. If the basketball team has more score inside the paint than three-point shots means that they are the team who mostly dominate the paint. 

What Are The Restrictions In The Paint?

There are also some restrictions on the paint. The two types of violation that a player might commit inside the paint are offensive foul and three seconds violation. 

Offensive Foul

The offensive foul is the usual foul that always happens in one basketball game because of some physical plays. A center who is posting up inside the paint can also get an offensive foul. 

The offensive foul inside the paint might happen if the low post defensive player is in the restricted area and the offensive player made illegal contact like elbowing, pushing, or punching. 

Three Seconds Rule

The three-second rule has been implemented to prevent centers or power forwards from sitting under the basket. This rule also prevents both offensive and defensive players from staying inside the paint for more than three seconds. 

If the basketball player was caught by the referees staying inside the paint for more than three seconds, the player will get a technical foul. 

Related Article: What Is Three Seconds Violation In Basketball?

Final Words

Outside shooting or three-point shots are truly exciting, and it gives more value to the basketball team’s scoreboard. However, inside shots or points inside the paint can also give value to your team if executed properly. Also, the team who dominates the paint is usually the winner of the ball game. 

Even though three-point shots became more popular in today’s basketball era, we should not forget the inside shots because it is the first type of shot used in the early days of basketball. Even if the outside shots give more points, having a good strategy inside the paint should be considered because it can give lots of advantages for your team. 

Who is the best center in NBA history? Did he dominate the paint? Comment your answers in the comments section below!

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