What Is A Jumper In Basketball? Explained

You probably know by now that having a high vertical jump is a crucial skill in basketball. The higher you jump, the greater your edge against other players. It doesn’t matter if you can’t perfect a slam dunk yet; at least you can do a smooth jumper.

But you might wonder, what exactly is a jumper in basketball?

The term jumper in basketball can mean two things. First, it refers to the shortened version of a jump shot. A player attempts this field goal as he vertically leaps up in the air. Second, it may refer to a basketball player performing this shot.

What is a Jumper in Basketball?

Player doing a fadeaway shot

Your guess is right. As the term implies, it is a type of shot that a player performs as he jumps straight into the air. It is the shortened version of a jump shot in basketball.

Is it the same as a layup or slam dunk, though? Or do these shots fall under the category of a jump shot? Granted, all these field goals are attempted simultaneously as the player leaps up in the air.

But a jumper is different from a layup and slam dunk; in the same way, the latter two are also different. The major difference that sets a jumper apart from a layup or slam dunk is that it’s a shot attempted from a distance. At the same time, layups and dunks are shots performed closer to the basket.

When attempting a jumper, a player grips the ball overhead and throws it in a high arc towards the hoop. A jump shot allows a player to secure a field goal easily. But when done smoothly, it’s a very effective move to evade a tall defender.

The term jumper may also refer to a basketball player who performs a jump shot.

Why Are Jumpshots Important?

There are several reasons why jump shots are an important part of a basketball player’s game plan.

Helps evade defense

Jumpshots make it easy for players from the offense to execute field goals farther away from the hoop. Also, shorter players with a good vertical leap can jump and shoot over taller defenders. This means that the shot will be harder to block than attempting it while standing next to them.

Promotes better body mechanics when shooting

Shooting up in the air provides a better balance than shooting when you’re stationed on the floor. If you don’t have as much strength as other players, performing a jump shot also gives your body some advantage. When perfectly done, a good jump shot can increase the power needed to sustain the ball, throw it high enough into the air, and allow it to travel the needed distance to the basket.

In addition, jump shots are friendlier to your knees. This type of shot causes less knee strain than shooting while standing still.

The downside is that you need to be extra careful about dirty defenders who wouldn’t hesitate hip check you as you land on the floor. When this happens, you could easily lose your balance and even suffer from a serious injury.

What is the Difference Between a Set Shot and Jump Shot?

A set shot is the opposite of a jump shot. A jump shot consists of two key steps: First, you jump up in the air. Second, while airborne, you quickly attempt an overhead shot.

Meanwhile, a set shot is a type of shot the player performs while stationary. What happens is that the shooter grips the ball and maintains its position at shoulder level, then throws it into the basket.

A set shot is powerful when you attempt it underneath or close to the basket. This is why it’s popular among center players and power forwards constantly positioned near the hoop. In this situation, set shots are ideal because they don’t require much time and power to execute.

On the other hand, jump shots are powerful even when you attempt them farther away from the basket. The jump powers and sustains the ball’s flight, allowing it to go high up in the air and travel the required distance to go through the hoop successfully. Jump shots are ideal for smaller players who can perform seamless shots mid or long-range.

Different Types of Jumper in Basketball

Player shooting over a defender

There are different ways that you can perform a jumper. And over time, as you take your skills to the next level, feel free to get creative with your jumpers and make them extra challenging. Let’s check out the different types of jumpers first to begin.

1. Fadeaway

This type of jumper is also known as the fall-away jump shot. Fadeaways are considered the most difficult of all jumpers. To perform this shot, a player throws the ball forward while jumping backward, fading away, so to speak, from his opponent.

While being the most difficult jump shot, a fadeaway is powerful. It’s a block-proof kind of shot when flawlessly executed.

2. Step Back Jumper

When the game nears the end, it’s normal for the defense to guard more aggressively. This is why jump shooters usually employ step-back jumpers at this point.

The concept of this type of jump shot is to create a distance between the shooter and the defender. To perform this, the player drives toward the frontcourt, and when he’s close enough to a defender, he steps aside to create space before he attempts a field goal.

A step-back jumper is difficult to master, but it’s also hard to block when properly performed. This requires excellent timing and agility as you need to be careful not to commit to traveling while attempting this kind of jump shot unwittingly.

3. Turnaround Jumper

The turnaround jumper is a kind of shot that’s usually performed near the basket. At first, the player has his back facing the basket.

Then, he takes a decisive action to quickly turn around and leap up in the air to attempt a field goal. This is where this type of jumper got its name.

4. Pull up Jumper

Ideal for shooters who are not as quick as their defenders, the pull-up jumper aims to catch the defense off guard. You can do this by driving the speediest you can towards the basket and then making a momentary halt. When that happens, the defender may likely lose track of your movement, leaving you to attempt an easy shot.

Don’t pause too long, though. After a quick halt, jump straight into the air and unleash the ball. Note that this jumper type is ideal near the basket but may not be too strategic when attempted farther from the frontcourt.

What is an Elbow Jumper in Basketball?

The hard court has an area called the ‘elbow’. It covers the area between the free throw line and the corners of the paint. The area forms a 90-degree angle, creating an imaginary illusion of a bent elbow.

And that’s where it gets its name. It’s a crucial area on the hard court because it’s where the offense usually attempts their shots. Commonly, players perform pull-up jumpers here.

That being said, an elbow jumper can refer to jump shots taken within this court area.

NBA Players with the Best Jumpers

Aside from constant practice, you can also study the moves of professional basketball players famously known for their well-executed, perfect jump shots to find your very own signature jumper.

Stephen Curry

Who would ever question the skill level of this MVP? Curry’s impossible shots are a thrill to watch in every game. And if he can nail impossible shots, as expected, his jumpers are perfectly seamless.

He constantly attempts these within the three-point area. Curry wows spectators all the time with his rimless shots.

Ray Allen

Another expert three-pointer, Allen, is known to be a player with an aesthetic shooting form. The perfectly high arc is a delight to watch whenever he attempts those jumpers.

Also, the swish that follows the rimless shot is music to everyone’s ears.

Kobe Bryant

He isn’t called ‘The Black Mamba’ for no reason. His jumpers are nearly impossible to block. That’s why they’re dubbed as ‘deadly jump shots’.

Bryant is one of the league’s greatest scorers of all time, an excellent and flawless shooter.

Kyle Korver

This sharpshooter is one of the most decisive players you’ll come across on the hard court. He’s known for his ability to shoot baskets within a split-second decision, yet he manages to make those jumpers appear graceful and perfect.

Master Your Jumpers

Whether basketball is just a hobby for you or you’re aiming for bigger things in this sport, those perfect jumpers are a valuable asset in your arsenal.

Go ahead and consistently practice these hard-to-block shots, and look for inspiration among your favorite professional players.

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