What Are The Types of Field Goals in Basketball? A-Z Explained

Morgan Wolf

Field Goals in Basketball

The whole concept of basketball, in fact, for any sport, stands on the ground to score more than the opposing team until a winner is declared. 

Like any other sport, in basketball, field goal attempts (FGA) can result in two or three points depending on the position of the player. 

However, it may differ based on different basketball leagues. For example, FIBA hosts 3X3 competitions where a field goal is only one point worth. 

Since field goal is the core part of basketball, we find it extremely crucial to cover the topic today. Reach the end of the article to know everything about field goals in basketball. 

Field Goals in Basketball

In basketball field goals refer to the shots made from anywhere on the court while a match is going on. You must remember that shots made during a free throw attempt do not fall under field goals. 

It is used as an abbreviation. Officials and commentators often refer to field goals as FG and Field Goal Attempts as FGA to keep it short! 

FG is an active statistic to track the player’s performance throughout a game, season or get an overview of his overall career.  

Talking about statistics, NBA player Kareem Abdul Jabber has the highest record of field goals in his career. During his time in NBA (1969-1989), he performed in 20 seasons with a record of 15,837 field goals.  

Even field goal attempts and field goal percentage (FG%) are considered potential factors in evaluating a player’s efficiency and distribution on the court. 

A field goal can either result in one point, two points, or three points based on the shooting position of the player; except in BIG3 League. Players can score four points while touching any part of the circle. 

It’s interesting; some players are specifically known for their particular fielding types. For example, players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Jimmy Butler are widely known for two-point field goals. 

Examples apart. Let’s get into an in-depth discussion of field goals in basketball; for which we are here today. 

What Are Field Goal Attempts?  

What Are Field Goal Attempts

Source: scottfujita.com

Guess it by name! Field Goal Attempts are attempted at goals in basketball. When a player attempts a shot; delivered with the intention to score is known as Field Goal Attempt (FGA).

FGAs include all types of shots including Jumps Shots, Layups, and Dunks. However, it can vary depending on the player’s position, their style including the offensive role they play on the court. 

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers owns the highest record of field goal attempts. He took 28,044 attempts in his career in NBA and continued. 

In a match, in 1962, Wilt Chamberlain took the most goal attempts in against the Knicks; with 63 shot attempts in a single game. 

What Is Field Goal Percentage? 

Another important statistic to measure players’ performance is the field goal percentage (FG%). It is directly related to the efficiency of the basketball player. In fact, in most cases, considered more helpful than the field goal percentage. 

In short, field goal percentage is the statistics to quantify players including teams’ shooting efficiency. 

How to Calculate Field Goal Percentage? 

Unlike an easy measure like FGA, field goal percentage requires an equation. You have to divide the total number of successful field goals of a player or a team by the total number of field goal attempts, and then multiply it by 100. 

The formula is, 

Field Goal Percentage = ( Total Number of Field Goals/ Total Number of Field Goal Attempts )*100 

In short, 

FG% = (FG/ FGA)*100  

For example, if a player or team succeeds with 5 goals out of 9 goal attempts for a single match, their field goal percentage is, 

(5/9)*100 = 55.55% 

Field goal percentage can be calculated for a single match, or over the active period of a player or a team. 

FG% varies from player to player. While an FG% above 50% is considered better but not all players fit in this match. For instance, the guards of the match have the lowest field goal percentage and that is okay. 

In NBA, DeAndre Jordan has the highest record in field goal percentage; with 67.5%. It is the highest FG% record till now. 

When it comes to a single match, Wilt Chamberlain still retained their reputation with a 100% field goal percentage. In a game versus Baltimore Bullets in 1967, the Wilt made their record with 40+ points. 

Types of Field Goals in Basketball

Types of Field Goals in Basketball

Source: coachingkidz.com

Basketball field goals can result in one, two, and even three points based on where the player scores from the court. We will start with two-point scores at first! 

Let’s keep ourselves one step ahead by learning the types of field goals in basketball. 

1) Jump Shots 

Jump Shots

Source: bleacherreport.com

A common shooting technique in basketball; highly effective for scoring from the perimeter. It is worth two points. 

During a jump shot, a player jumps straight to release the ball in mid-air; from the highest point of their vertical jump. It is a one-hand shot; where the player holds the ball with one hand and shoots it with the other. 

Jump shots are considered the most basic technique of basketball, and holds some advantage. Since the player jumps upright, it is difficult for the opponent to block the shot.

The player then takes it into his privilege and delivers the ball with a higher angle on top of the head. Additionally, jump shots are best known for being more momentum-driven with less effort. 

It happens when a player takes a jump shot while running. During this time, the momentum of his movement shifts quickly to his shot. 

Kenneth Lloyd Sailors, a former American professional basketball player is best known for his invention of the Jump Ball; as an alternative to two-handed and flat-footed set shot. 

However, debate remains to this day about the invention of the jump shot. Many still argue not Ken Sailor but it is John Miller Cooper who invented the jump shot. 

2) Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk

Source: dailybruin.com

Another form of field goal in basketball; simply known as the dunk. The player jumps high in midair near the rim. He then extends his hands to control the ball over the straight plane of the basket. 

With the right opportunity, he then pushes the ball right through the basket using one or both hands. Like Jump Shot, the slam dunk also ends with two points. 

If you are a to be player in basketball, you would be glad to know that slam dunks are hardly missed. But it doesn’t mean that it is easier to knuckle. 

You might already know most basketball hoops are 10 feet off the ground. The height of an average NBA player is 6’6”. Thus, even if you are 6 feet tall; and in total 8 feet with the arm length, you would still be 2 feet short from the rim. 

Thus, you have to inherit a combination of certain abilities such as running and jumping. Also, hone them with practice to force the ball into the 10 feet high hoop. 

Michael Jordan’s free throw line dunk in the NBA Slam Dunk Competition in 1988, is the most significant slam dunk in the history of basketball to this day. However, there have been records of slam dunks by women also. 

On December 21, 1981, Georgeann Wells, (height: 6’7”) played for West Virginia University in the women’s college league. She scored two points with the dunk move and is the first woman to perform the trick. 

3) Tip-Ins

Tip-Ins Basketball

It only takes your fingertips to push the ball into the basket. A tip-in in basketball is usually a score from an offensive rebound. During a tip-in, a player puts the ball into the basket using their fingertips; while being in mid-air after a missed shot. 

How do you execute a tip-in? 

It starts near the rim; with a stand-by player. He waits for the opportunity to catch an offensive rebound. Not with the hands or by touching the ball. 

Rather, he tips the ball with the fingertips of one hand. And then, pushes the ball back up using his fingertips into the basket. 

The catch and release are all a part of the tip-in strategy, and you have to ensure it takes place in mid-air. 

Remember that, you can’t contact the ground while attempting a field goal with a tip-in. Otherwise, it won’t be a tip-in. And, yes! Tip-ins award you with two points. 

Tip-ins can suddenly change the course of the play. With 0.1 left against the Bobcats, David Lee tips-in in the last moment and turned the show in their favor. 

Fortunately, tip-ins are the only way to legally score with a 0.1 timer left on the clock. The NBA used to allow players to score during this short amount of time left until the rule changed in 1990. 

Note: In basketball, an offensive rebound happens with a missed field goal attempt by an offensive player. 

When a player attempts a shot that does not go into the basket, the ball becomes live and is up for grabs. The player who successfully retrieves the ball is credited with a rebound.

4) Layup


Source: stack.com

The last form of field goal we are going to talk about is the layup. The layup, in basketball, refers to a one-handed shot near the circle by an offensive player. It is awarded with two points. 

Because it is a short-range attempt, the player has a higher opportunity to goal due to the short proximity to the hoop. Meaning, you have more scope to score two points than a jump shot or tip-in.

Besides a dunk, a layup is considered the most effective and potential way to goal for the offensive players. However, bad luck may follow if more than two players or physically strong and taller players get against the offensive player in the key. 

Layup is one of the basic field goals in basketball. It is a shot attempt made from the below; and performs better than other field goal attempts. 

The historical layup in NBA was recorded by Julius Erving. He adjusted his body to score a layup behind the backboard of the court. People still think that whether he might have bent the law of physics or not as he was in the air for too long. 

Now, the four types of field goal attempt we mentioned here are two-point scores. Field goal attempts can also result in three points. Here’s a quick note on three-pointers in basketball. 

Three-Point Score in Basketball

Simply put, when a shot results in three points, we call it the three-pointer in basketball. To score three points, an offensive player must shoot with his foot behind the three-point arc of the court.

Players on the court can make three points with a jump shot too. Jump shots are not the only two-pointers! Hook shots and floaters also occasionally bring three points for players. 

However, if a player commits a foul while taking a three-point field goal attempt, they will get three free throws. Meaning, your opponents will get the free opportunity to goal points outside the shot clock while in the match. 

Furthermore, the three-point field goal will be canceled.   

Summary of Field Goals in Basketball

Here we are! At the end of our article. But we will be back soon with more basketball tips. 

What is your thought on field goals in basketball? Since basketball goals are the one thing upon which the entire game is based, we might often overlook the details of field goals. 

But if you are a true fan of the thrilling sport, you should get started with field goals in basketball. Having a thorough discussion on field goals will help you get the ins and outs of the sport.

And if you are a wannabe basketball player, you must begin with the details of field goals. It’s today or never! Get started with our daily basketball tips.

Also, share this article with basketball enthusiasts around you. 

Photo of author

Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn