what is iso in basketball

What is Iso in basketball? All You Need to Know

If you’re an avid basketball fan, you must have wondered about what is iso in basketball In basketball, ISO stands for isolation. It is a play in which one player is isolated on the perimeter and is given the ball to go one-on-one against their defender. 

ISO can be a high-percentage scoring play, but it can also be predictable and easy to defend. In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of ISO, how to run an effective ISO and some famous ISO players in the NBA.

How Iso Works?

basketball iso

An ISO play is a basketball play in which one player is isolated on the perimeter and is given the ball to go one-on-one against their defender. The other four players on the offensive team spread out around the court to create space and provide passing options for the isolated player.

The ISO play is a versatile play that can be used in various situations. It can be used to exploit a mismatch, such as when a team’s best scorer is matched up against a smaller or weaker defender. It can also be used to create space for other players or to help build confidence in a player.

How to Set Up Isolation Plays?

holding basketball

There are a number of ways to set up isolation plays in basketball. Here are a few of the most common methods:

  • Screens: One way to set up an isolation play is to use screens. The player who is going to be isolated can set a screen for another player, which will free them up to get the ball and go one-on-one.
  • Cuts: Another way to set up an isolation play is to use cuts. The player who is going to be isolated can make a cut to the basket, which will draw the defender’s attention and create space for them to get the ball.
  • Motion: Isolation plays can also be set up using motion. The offensive players can run a series of plays to get the defender out of position, which will create an opportunity for the isolated player to get the ball and go one-on-one.
  • Mismatch: Isolation plays can also be set up by exploiting a mismatch. For example, if a team’s best scorer is matched up against a smaller or weaker defender, the coach may call an isolation play to take advantage of the mismatch.

When setting up an isolation play, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • The player: The player who is going to be isolated should be a good ball-handler and a good shooter. They should also be confident in their ability to beat their defender.
  • The defender: The defender who is guarding the isolated player should be considered. If the defender is a good defender, the coach may want to set up the play in a way that creates an advantage for the isolated player.
  • The other players: The other players on the offensive team should be aware of the play and be prepared to make cuts or set screens to help create space for the isolated player.

It is also important to practice isolation plays so that the players know what to do and can execute the play smoothly. Moreover, you should try to use a variety of screens. This will make it more difficult for the defender to predict where the ball is going.

Another major tip that I can give is to not be afraid to use motion. This can help to create space for the isolated player and make it easier for them to get the ball. Finally, it’s important for you to not force the isolation play. Instead, you should wait for a good opportunity to get the ball to the isolated player.

Isolation plays can be a valuable part of a team’s offense. However, it is important to use them sparingly and to have other plays in the playbook. If the isolation play is used too often, it can become predictable and easy to defend.

Advantages of the Iso in Basketball

Here are some major pros of the iso in basketball:

  • Can exploit a mismatch: If a team’s best scorer is matched up against a smaller or weaker defender, an ISO play can be used to take advantage of the mismatch.
  • Can be a high-percentage scoring play: If the isolated player is a good ball-handler and shooter, they can often score against their defender.
  • Can be used to create space for other players: If the isolated player is able to draw the defender’s attention, it can create space for other players to cut to the basket or get open for a shot.
  • Can help to build confidence in a player: If a player is struggling to score, an ISO play can help them to get into a rhythm and build their confidence.

Disadvantages of the Iso in Basketball

Here are some major cons of the iso in basketball:

  • Can be predictable and easy to defend: If the ISO play is used too often, the defense can learn how to defend it and make it less effective.
  • Can lead to turnovers: If the isolated player is not able to beat their defender, they may force a bad shot or turnover the ball.
  • Can slow down the pace of the game: ISO plays can take a long time to develop, which can slow down the pace of the game.
  • Can be ineffective against good defenders: If the isolated player is matched up against a good defender, they may have a difficult time scoring.

Best Iso Players in NBA History

kobe bryant

Here are some of the best ISO players in NBA history:

  • Michael Jordan: Jordan is widely considered to be the greatest ISO player of all time. He had an incredible combination of athleticism, skill, and competitive fire. He was able to score from anywhere on the court and against any defender.
  • LeBron James: James is another all-time great ISO player. He is a physical specimen with the ability to score from all three levels. He is also a very good passer and rebounder, which makes him a threat to score or create for others in ISO situations.
  • Kobe Bryant: Bryant was a master of the ISO game. He had a deadly mid-range jump shot and was also a very good at creating his own shot off the dribble. He was also a very clutch performer, often coming up big in big moments.
  • Shaquille O’Neal: O’Neal was a dominant force in the post. He was very difficult to guard one-on-one due to his size and strength. He was also a very good passer, which made him a threat to score or create for others in ISO situations.
  • Dwyane Wade: Wade was a very explosive and athletic player. He was able to get to the basket at will and finish with either hand. He was also a very good shooter, which made him a threat to score from anywhere on the court.

These are just a few of the best ISO players in NBA history. There are many other great players who could be mentioned, such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.

Ultimately, the best ISO player is the one who can consistently score against their defender, regardless of the situation. They are typically players with a combination of size, strength, speed, and skill.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, the ISO in basketball is when one player gets the ball to go one-on-one against a defender on the outside. It can be a good way to score if done right, but it can also be easy for the other team to predict and stop. It’s best used carefully, like when a team’s best scorer is up against a smaller or weaker defender.



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