Does the NBA use the possession arrow?


The NCAA and FIBA use a possession arrow to indicate which team will have their next possession, but the NBA does not utilize this tool in its games.

The idea for a possession arrow came from hockey in 1970 and was adopted by college basketball after that. It was meant to cut down on arguing between players over who had control of the ball last. Despite this benefit, it never gained traction in professional sports leagues such as the NBA.

What Does The Possession Arrow Mean In Basketball?

 Possession Arrow Mean In Basketball
Possession Arrow In Basketball

In basketball, when the possession arrow initially points at one team, they have control over the ball. The direction of the arrow then alternates after every dead ball situation or change in possession. This helps referees keep track of who had or gained control of the ball during a game to make accurate calls.

What determines the possession arrow?

The National Basketball Association’s rulebook outlines several scenarios that require teams to use the possession arrow. These scenarios include jump balls, out-of-bounds plays, double fouls during free throws or field goal attempts, when a player commits their fifth personal foul during a half, and after any timeouts called by either team.

Does the possession arrow change each quarter?

The answer is yes — after each quarter, teams must switch sides, and whoever won the previous jump ball gets to keep the possession arrow for that quarter only. This means that if Team A had possession at the beginning of a game, then Team B would take over once that first quarter ended. It also means that if neither team has won a jump ball yet, they will both begin with an equal chance to win control at the start of every new quarter.

How often does the possession arrow change in basketball?

The possession arrow frequently changes during a professional basketball game, generally alternating between teams after each basket is scored or a violation occurs. If one team scores, they will gain control of the ball and follow along in whatever direction the possession arrow indicates. If this same team fouls on their next play, they will lose control of the ball, and their opponents get to take over based on where the possession arrow points.

Why Is There No Possession Arrow In The NBA?

Why There No Possession Arrow In NBA
Possession Arrow In NBA

The possession arrow was initially implemented in 1978 to help resolve jump ball situations. It showed which team had possession of the ball after a jump shot. However, in 2001, the NBA decided to do away with the possession arrow and replace it with an alternate system.

This new system used timeouts instead of a possession arrow to resolve jump-ball situations. The reasoning behind this change was that it allowed for more flexibility when resolving disputes on the basketball court. This also allowed teams to strategize more effectively as they no longer had to wait for referees to decide who would get possession after a jump ball situation.

Does NBA Still Do Jump Balls?

Does NBA Do Jump Balls
Jump Balls In NBA

The answer is yes. While jump balls are not used as often as they once were during professional basketball’s early days, they have not been abolished from play altogether. When a referee needs to decide who should gain possession of the ball after a dispute between two players, he can opt for a jump ball. The referee will call out “jump” and toss up a new ball between both players, who will then fight for it with their hands or feet until one player gains control and passes it to his teammate.

When Did College Basketball Stop Doing Jump Balls?

When College Basketball Stop Jump Balls?
College Basketball

The NCAA phased out jump balls after the 1981-82 season. Before that, they were used as an officiating tool to decide who got possession at center court if there was uncertainty about who had control over the ball. With new rules that determined which team had possession based on many different scenarios, it became easier for referees to make decisions without resorting to a jump ball situation.


NBA possession arrow
Does the NBA use the possession arrow-Infographic


The NBA does not use the possession arrow. Instead, the NBA uses a system of alternating possessions in which teams switch who has the ball back and forth. This ensures that each team gets an equal number of opportunities to score, regardless of what happened in the previous play. It also allows for a quick transition between plays, creating more dynamic gameplay and faster-paced games.