What Is a Field Goal in Basketball? – Important Details

If you are a fan of basketball, or you are just getting to know more about the game, you should know that it is an extremely enjoyable sport. However, there are a few terms you need to acquaint yourself with if you want to fully understand and enjoy this game.

One of these terms is the field goal. Now, in basketball, a field goal is the term used to describe any throw attempted by a player aside from the free throws.

What Is a Field Goal in Basketball

How it is done

A field goal can be achieved through a dunk; a jump shot…, which by the way is worth two or three points depending on where the shot is taken from or the distance between the player and the goal, or a layup.You heard that right, a layup is considered a goal.

Did you know that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, aprevious Los Angeles Lakers center, is the holder of the NBA record having delivered the most field goals. His record currently stands at 15,387 goals. What’s more? He also holds the record for the most goal attempts with his currently stats indicating close to 28,307 attempts.

Why is it called a field goal?

By now, you have probably realized that there is nothing extraordinary about the term field goal. It just refers to the score discussed above with a fancy name to it. The word “field” in this context refers to the basketball court or field…thus the term field goal.

While the terms field goal and court goal refer to the same thing, you should always use the former term simply because it is what most people relate to and it sounds better.

As far as we know, that is possibly how they came up with the term field goal!

How many points make a field goal?

As mentioned before, a field goal can be granted 2 or 3 points depending on the players distance from the basket when they shoot the ball.

If the goal is made within the three-point line, two points are awarded.When the goal goes through with the player beyond the three-point line, three points are awarded.

That said, it is still possible to have the field goals bestowed other points, apart from the aforementioned two or three. For instance, in the FIBA 3×3 basketball leagues, a field goal can only be awarded 1 point. Another instance is the BIG3 basketball game where a field goal can be bestowed as many as four points!

However, in the certified NBA and NCAA games, field goals are granted either 2 or 3 points.

another post of us: 20 Tallest Basketball Players of All Time

What is a 3-point field goal in basketball?

You may have overheard about the term 3-pointer, 3-point field goal, or a trey (this is an informal term though). Now you must be wondering how it is connected to our key topic of the field goal.

Whenever you hear of a 3-pointer goal, it simply refers to any field goal made from beyond 3-point line. What is a 3-point line? It is the selected semicircle surrounding the basket. As mentioned before, three points will be awarded for such a goal.

What the official NBA rules for 3-pointer say:

If you want to attempt a 3-point, your feet must be completely behind the three-point line while jumping or shooting. It is possible to jump from outside this line and land inside when attempting a 3-pointer, as long as you discharge the ball in mid-air.

Should you place your feet on or in the line during the attempt, it becomes a 2-point attempt.

What happens if you miss a shot because you are fouled while attempting a 3-pointer?

Well, in such a case, you will be granted a maximum of three free-throw attempts. On the other hand, if you are fouled and still make the 3-pointer, you will still be awarded only that in such a case, it will be one free throw attempt, which can get you a 4-point play.

If you are fouled while trying a 3-pointer, and the fouls are ruled as Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 fouls, then you will be granted two free throws for a probable 5-point play.

What is field goal percentage?

Now that you know,a thing or two about what a field goal in basketball means, the other thing you need to know is what a field goal percentage is.

A field goal percentage is the value you get by calculating the overall number of field goals made by a particular team and dividing it by the sum of attempts and multiplying the result by 100. The following is the formula.

  • Field goal % = (Aggregate number of field goals ÷ number of tried field goals) x 100

In a standard basketball game, the players with a higher percentage of field goals have an advantage over their opponents because they average double digits in terms of points for each game.

This figure is important for all basketball teams because it helps them assess their best players. This refers to the ones they would trade or draft for.

What’s a good field goal percentage? You might be wondering.

In both the NCAA and NBA basketball games, 50% is the recommended percentage for what’s considered as a field goal.

You will know if your favorite basketball player has been fruitful at shooting both beyond and inside the 3-point line if their field goal percentage is fifty percent or more.


Whether you are a basketball fan or new player, you will come across numerous confusing terminologies. One of those terms is field goal.

Just to recap, the field goal is a term that is used in basketball to refer to any shot, apart from the free throws, that a basketball player attempts. A field goal can be achieved through a jump shot, layup, or dunk.

The points awarded for a shot depend on the distance from which the player shoots it. It could be two or three points. Now that you have an idea of what one more term means in basketball, you can go ahead and enjoy the game.

Leave a Comment