field goal in basketball

What Is a Field Goal In Basketball and A Few Top Videos Of Them

A field goal in basketball is the term used to describe any shot, excluding the free throws, attempted by a basketball player.

The field goal can be made by doing a dunk, layup (yes, a layup can be a field goal), or jump shot…and it’s worth 2 or 3 points—depending on the point where the player takes the shot from (i.e., the distance from the basket).

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the former Los Angeles Lakers center, holds the NBA record for the “most career field goals made,” with a total of 15,387 goals. And the “most field goal attempts ever” with up to 28,307 attempts.

Check this NBA’s field goal records page for more info.

Why is it called a field goal?

There’s nothing really special in the term field goal. It’s a just fancy name for referring to the type of score we’ve just discussed above. The term “field” here refers to the basketball field or court…hence the term field goal.

If asked to choose between the term court goal or field goal, you’d simply go for the latter, because it sounds way better.

That’s probably how they came up with the term field goal!

How many points in a field goal?

As we’ve mentioned earlier on, the field goal can be awarded 2 or 3 points depending on your distance from the basket when you shoot the ball.

Two points are awarded when the field goal is made within the 3-point line, and Three points are awarded when you make a field goal when beyond the three-point line.

However, it’s possible to have the field goals awarded other points, other than 2 or 3. A good example is in the FIBA 3x3 basketball competitions, where a field goal can be awarded only 1 point. Another example is the BIG3 basketball league, where the field goal can be awarded as many as 4 points!

In the official NBA and NCAA games, however, field goals are awarded either 2 or 3 points.

What is a 3-point field goal in basketball?

You might have heard about the term 3-point field goal or a 3-pointer, or a trey (informal term). And now you might be wondering how it’s related to our main topic of the field goal.

The 3-pointer field goal simply refers to any field goal made from beyond 3-point line (the designated arc that surrounds the basket). As we’ve said above, such a goal will be awarded 3 points.

This is what the official NBA rules for 3-pointer say:

For you to make a 3-point attempt, your feet must be entirely behind and 3-point line at the time of shot/jump. You can jump from outside this line and land inside when making a 3-pointer attempt, provided you release the ball in mid-air. If you place your feet IN or ON the line during the attempt, this that becomes a 2-point attempt.

What if you get fouled while attempting a 3-pointer and you miss the shot?

Well, in that case, you’ll be awarded up to 3 free-throw attempts. And if you make the 3-pointer while being fouled, you’ll get awarded only one free throw attempt which can earn you a 4-point play.

If you get fouled while attempting a 3-pointer, and the fouls get ruled as Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 foul, then you’ll be awarded 2 free throws (for possible 5-point play).

What is field goal percentage?

Now that you know what a field goal in basketball is all about, the next thing you need to know is what a field goal percentage.

The field goal percentage refers to the value obtained by taking the total number of field goals made by a given team and dividing it by the number of attempts and then multiplying by 100.

Field goal % = (Total number of field goals ÷ number of attempted field goals) x 100

In an organized basketball game, the players with higher field goal % have the edge over their opponents in that they average double digits (in terms of points) per game.

This statistic is crucial for all basketball teams as it helps them evaluate their best players (the ones they’d draft or trade for).

So, what is a good percentage for field goal?

Anything above 50% is considered a good field goal percentage in both NBA and NCAA basketball games.

If you want to knower whether your favorite basketball player has been successful at shooting both inside and beyond the 3-point line, just check if their field goal % is 50% or more.


The field goal is one of the many confusing terminologies you’ll come across as a new basketball player or fun.

Just a quick recap, the field goal is a term used to refer to any shot, excluding the free throws, attempted by a basketball player. It can be achieved by a dunk, layup or jump shot.

The shot can be awarded 2 or 3 points, depending on the distance from which it’s shot.

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