Sometimes there are so many sports terms, phrases, and metaphors it can be hard to keep up. Some of the most common phrases in basketball include the term “top of the key.” The phrase is commonly used when on the court and is one of many terms to describe specific areas on the floor.
What is the top of the key in basketball?
The top of the key is the space between the center point of the three-point line and the free-throw line.
Guards will be spending a lot of time around the top of the key, while forwards spend the majority of their time in the corners and centers typically stay in the paint. The top of the key is also a common spot for pick plays, where one player sets a screen to create an open lane or jump shot. Here is a compilation of successful screens by one of the best, Steven Adams:
The top of the key is a relatively easy location to shoot from, making that zone a priority to defend. In the popular triangle defense, a guard is in charge of covering the top of the key, and two other defenders are on each side of the basket. The top of the key represents the top of the triangle.
As you can clearly see, defender one is at the top of the key, while defenders three and five complete the triangle. Defenders two and four are “chasers” and complete the popular triangle-and-two defense.
What is the key in basketball?
The key is the rectangular box under each basket, on both ends of the court. The top of the key in this graphic refers to the half-circle connected to the key.
The key is often referred to as the paint. You will often hear the phrase “points in the paint.” That phrase is referring to shots made inside the key. Any shooter can come into the key and score, but centers and power forwards spend the majority of their time in the paint.
One of the most common fouls in basketball is called the “three-second violation” This foul is enforced when an offensive player stays on the key for more than three seconds in a possession. The violation forces a loss of possession, giving the ball to the other team.
If you liked this article, check out some more sports trivia and info here.