If you have heard of singular player standoffs and you just stand amazed by that action, then you must probably know more about Iso basketball. Knowing what is Iso in basketball will help you understand why do players decide to go one-on-one and keep shooting into the hoops with the entire team standing away and watching them do the action. A lot of controversies have been associated with the Iso-ball, yet it has managed to keep itself intact in the course of the game evolution.
With this article, we aim to shed light on this amazing power pact element in the game of basketball, properly known as Isolation basketball. It is believed that this rule is not any supreme method to play to which the players may swear by. However, it continues to be considered as a crucial part of the team’s repertoire.
We will talk about what is this entire idea of Iso basketball which is a sub-optimal way of making goals and yet is loved by many for the thriller it is. The combination is so full of awesome moves and going through this post will surely out your inquisitive brain to rest. So let’s get started.
- 1 What do we understand by Iso basketball?
- 2 Here are some of the pros and cons of Isolation plays:
- 3 What are the different types of Iso basketball?
- 4 When does Iso basketball come up as the best option?
- 5 How the Houston Rockets revived the Iso basketball?
- 6 What are the important elements of the Iso basketball style?
- 7 Some players who mastered the Iso basketball play
- 8 Conclusion
What do we understand by Iso basketball?
Have you come across such incidents in the game of basketball where a single player has the upper hand and plays very confidently with the ball? Sometimes these players take full charge over the ball, wave the teammates away and play it one-on-one. This move that you see happening sometimes is what is called the Isolation move in basketball.
When you read Iso, it stands for Isolation in the basketball glossary of terms.
Basically, Isolation plays are a type of offensive play situations that are made to happen to make a one-on-one move. The main motive of this move is to score a goal by taking advantage of the offensive skills of the player. In the Isolation situation, generally, the best player of the team gets to take the ball and the other teammates disperse across the court away from him to let him have all the space.
The player chooses an opponent from the other team, usually the one who seems to be a weak defender. Both of them are now facing each other in a truly isolated way and no one helps either of these players. What the offense does is that he gathers all the odds in his favor this way and then tries to make a goal or tries to at least carve out a double-team that gives way to an opportunity for an open shot to any of his teammate.
Sometimes the players even put verbal trash at each other to gain an advantage but the real rise of effectiveness only happens when the offense has good stellar skills for ball-handling. The Iso basketball rose in popularity with the boom-burst of the “streetball” during the 2000s. Hot Sauce and The Professor, Rucker Park playground clips are some popular names known to be associated with the injection of freshness in Iso ball.
Watch this video to relive those moments.
Here are some of the pros and cons of Isolation plays:
The best man of the team takes the ball and tries to goal, so it’s a trustworthy and sure move.
The players choose a mismatch which is a nice tactic so that you are sure to get a goal.
You have sole control over the defensive pace as it is a one-on-one play now.
Too much reliance on one player could land him into trouble where he may get some injury, get drained out, foul or get highly guarded.
These plays are predictable and the opponent team may weigh down your player and thus create a turnover situation.
These moves do not always prove worthy counter to the zone defense.
The team should focus more on building the roster’s depth for better growth in the long run.
What are the different types of Iso basketball?
The basic concept remains intact even among all the numerous ways that exist for causing an Isolation set up. To make the success chances higher, the players usually try these kinds of Iso types:
Plays where the best team player tries to drive to the basket for the easy layup
Usage of various screens for confusing the defender like a cross, back, or double screens
Keep the plays in areas like the corner, perimeter, or wings of the basketball court
Make cuts like l, backdoor, or v for getting the dribbler opened
Another very important thing to consider is choosing the best mismatch defense when you call for an Iso move for the obvious mismatch. Keep the height, size, speed, quickness, and fouls of the player in mind of the defender that you pick.
When does Iso basketball come up as the best option?
It's not like Isolation plays are good for all the times, there is a certain exclusive situation that calls for it. They don’t happen planned always and some factors are important to consider. Let's take a look at them.
The last moments of the game
As it is believed that things are done at the right time yield the best results, the last quarter of the match is the usual time when we mostly see the one-on-ones happening. They are the best savior in the last moments of the game but these are the most difficult shots. The second last shots are a crucial move.
In the last 10 seconds, before the game ends, the player waits at the key top before making the move. He then takes control of the ball and tries to make the shot. This has to be done quickly because the time is less and is very decisive for the team’s victory.
The player either shoots the goal himself or spots the teammate at the corner to get the advantage of the step-back open jump shot. The risk remains high in such last moment Iso basketball plays but they are very thrilling.
The advantage of speed is the prime cause players look for a mismatch. Some such situations are likely to happen between post versus guard or the center on the 3-point line. The conflict and change of positions between the center and the guard is the decisive situation as to who will get the upper hand. Size and speed can be key factors here.
The player making fiery goals
Many times it happens that a player gets on fire with shooting continuous goals. The team may decide to feed off his energy and give them a ball in the last moments to get the win. The heat check is what the players call this move.
This move can be called during any point of the game because it is purely based on the charges situation. Since the player is form, it won't be difficult for him to make that extra goal.
How the Houston Rockets revived the Iso basketball?
Even after a lot of statistical data pointing out at the dubious nature of this particular play, a lot of teams have continued to uphold the formula of making the best player hold the ball where the chant of “go get’em” fills the entire stadium. Ever since its inception, Iso move has refused to die every time its credibility was questioned for its nature being that of hit-or-miss.
Their offense has been hailed by the experts as unconventionally brilliant. They have set many trends by playing the most number of Isolation moves. The way they make floor space and make chain reactions through the screens makes the right leverage all the time.
Their lead stars have been James Harden and Chris Paul. These players were allowed to make the best of their Isolation skills by the team by pulling out an advantage on mismatches and switches in the opponent team. Despite the innate limitations, the Houston’s made the Iso style the most efficient offensive one for them and their defense is the 7th best in the NBA.
The Rockets have been known for forcing the opponent teams into playing the game in their own style before they gear up for the playoffs. They follow the philosophy of moving when it counts. They yield very low turnovers and mileage.
There are many perspectives that tell the Iso basketball style is going to live longer because it somehow completes the package of NBA offense moves. It can be fully trusted because the players who perform it just know fully how it should be done. The players remain very confident about them because of the ample chances they are given to make such an offense.
They are a good option for scoring in times of team break down. It will anytime be better than the violation of the shot clock. Many players have been making such shots for selfish reasons as it is sure to bring them fame.
What are the important elements of the Iso basketball style?
This style is not about one single thing. We have seen how critical the move is, thus it becomes pretty obvious that the right techniques need to be followed. Although every player who carries out the Iso move has its own unique style, there are some basics that are there and also will be a piece of important information for all you passionate learners out there who want to learn this art.
The set up for the play
The key part of the process is spacing the offense. Understanding the formation of the defense is equally important to be utilized better. The defenders need to be driven away from the goal and the dribbler.
The rest of the offensive players should allow all space to the main ball handler. A good combination of cuts and screens would go a long way in making the Iso move work. Picking the right player and finding its right mismatch is another part.
Executing the move
This has to be done mostly keeping in mind the style of the individual ball handler. The different tactics put forward by the offense and defending team are all focused on the ball keeper where the former tries to tie the defenders for giving more time for the ball handler to play. In case of a double-team, the offense gives the ball to now teammate for scoring a basket.
The time for Iso basketball move
An ideal time to go for Iso move is when the game is ending as the shot clock runs down. To make the move on a defender making a foul is also a good option. The ball handler can make a sure goal at this time and also grab the chance to get defender removed from the game.
Ball handling attributes
The primary attribute of any basketball handler is to be able to dribble the basketball through narrow space-saving it from being lost to the defender. The player has to be patient enough and keep cognizance of the shot clock. He should allow the other players of the offense team to properly settle.
The shooter should have the right skills to efficiently dodge the opponent and mind the remaining defenders to stay alert against any double-team. The players should take caution against ball hogs. Passing to the other teammate should be the way taken as against a low-percentage shot.
Some players who mastered the Iso basketball play
This style is sometimes known as the “hero ball” which basically points to the idea of one player controlling the entire game. The style isn’t much appreciated because it involves the sidelining of the rest of the team which is against the nature of a basketball game. However, the players who just did it right were some of these:
Iverson played for the Philadelphia 76ers and led his team into winning the season MVPs back to back. He played in the Isolation style mostly and is regarded as the greatest player of it. Most of the nights, he would be shooting more than 30 goals in a game.
The other members of the team just adapted to his play style. His signature move has been the killer cross-over which was despised by opponent team coaches for being a carry ball. Iverson himself admitted the cross-over being an exaggerated one.
This player stood at the top position in the NBA’s usage percentage of the league with a 37.5 in the 2019-20 season. He plays so amazingly with the ball in his hands that Iso plays become an obvious move for him in every game. He has the most diverse moves and handles the balls so effectively while dribbling over the court that leads him to make the most various style of goals.
Be it cross-over, step-back, leg-between, fake shot, he has got it all. His average is 12 Iso goals in every game and running in second place in the league. His style is very efficient with just 6% Iso balls leading to turnovers.
He is known for his impressive style and not the number of goals he has made. He makes the Iso moves very confidently and can go against almost anyone. He has got the speed of light, the best skills for handling the ball, nifty lateral moves.
He is just 4 points behind Harden at 39.5% of field goals. His height also gives him the advantage of scoring even more spectacularly. He is truly known as the “ball handling Wizard”.
Some of the other amazing players of the Isolation moves are Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Damian Lillard. They are known for their dangerous end-of-game style and shot taking and making methods. Bryant and Jordan got the killer unmatched moves for winning the game. Damian Lillard is known for hitting series-winning shots two times in the playoffs.
Iso basketball has continued to stay in glory ever since it started off, only to come down to being a go-to for some offenses in this age. The pace of the game is increasing with the players selecting quicker shots over the others. The skill sets of the players are also improving given the changing game scenarios.
The players on the offensive side always had an upper hand and that's how one can cite the importance of Iso moves for these teams. If performed right, it can be a very effective method of increasing the scores. Data and the basic spirit of the game speak against it, yet it can be the best savior in crucial situations.
We hope that this article solved all your queries to understand as to what is Iso in basketball. For all you learners out there, now that you know the basics about it, you can improve your practice sessions by taking tips from this video to make awesome one-on-one goals. Keep the eye fixed on the basic attributes and make the practice regular.