We all know about height and wingspan as basic anthropometric basketball measurements. We all know the value of a positive (longer than height) wingspan on the basketball court.
A longer wingspan;
- Allows a greater defensive radius
- Higher vertical reach, which is important as basketball is predominantly a vertical sport (Blocking, contesting shots, finishing over defenders, shot release height, etc)
- A dribble that is closer to the floor (safer, less chance of being stolen)
A taller height is self-explanatory; You have a higher standing reach
But it's more complex than that. There are a few simple concepts that will help you understand player measurements;
1. Neck length/Shoulder height
- The shorter the neck, the higher the shoulders are set
- Higher set shoulders = Higher standing reach
Neck length/Shoulder height can make a difference in how a player plays. It's to no surprise that guys like Draymond Green and Charles Barkley where able to play positions much bigger than their heights. They combined long wingspans with high set shoulders and a degree of explosiveness to play vertically tall.
Kevin "no neck" McHale
2. Shoulder breadth (biacromial) vs. Arm length
- Wingspan is comprised of 3 main segments...
- shoulder width (determined by clavicle length)
- arm length (humerus + forearm)
- hand length
As a basic principle, arm and hand length are much more useable than shoulder width.
There is some scapular/shoulder girdle mobility to a degree, but it is not as effective reach-wise as arm or hand length.
Notice the difference in segment lengths between Wade and James... LeBron has wider shoulders (clavicles) and upper arm (humerus), compared to Wade who is disproportionate in the forearm and hands.