Basketball-isms Made by Commentators or Avid Fans That Need Definitions

I was listening to the Hornets broadcast of a Celtics-Hornets game recently when the commentator called Michael Kidd-Gilchrist a “jack-of-all-trades.”

I chuckled to myself and wondered, “How confusing must it be for a person who knows nothing about basketball to hear a player called a “jack-of-all-trades.” Most would assume that the title would be given to a guy who does a little bit of everything on the court.

The problem is that Michael-Kidd-Gilchrist’s game really doesn’t fit that title.

As a public service, I present to you what commentators and avid basketball fans really mean when they call players the following titles.



  1. defition

Examples of players

“use in a sentence”



  1. He can’t really do much of anything on the basketball court, but doesn’t suck completely.

Examples: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Garrett Temple

“Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just got his second rebound to go with his two points. He is a real jack-of-all-trades.”

3-D Player


  1. He tries on defense and we really hope he makes his 3s.

Examples: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Richardson

“I know he missed that, but that’s what we want KCP to do as a 3-and-D player. He’s gotta keep shooting to make the defense respect him.”



  1. Can’t shoot, but will drive it every time he catches the ball

Examples: Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Smith Jr.

“Shooting 3s really isn’t his thing — he’s more of a driver. We want him driving it into the paint.”



  1. Can’t drive, but will shoot it every time he catches the ball

Examples: Tony Snell, E’twan Moore

“Driving really isn’t his thing — he’s more of a shooter. We want him to stretch the floor”

Iso Scorer


  1. When he touches the ball it will involve at least three jab steps and a pullup 15-footer.

Examples: Carmelo Anthony, Demar DeRozan

“Anthony calls for an iso on his side of the court … *pause* … Melo with the miss.”



  1. Muscly elbow-thrower who could have a second career as an amateur MMA fighter.

Examples: Aron Baynes, Tarik Black

“Baynes fighting in there for a rebound … and it looks like feathers are getting a bit ruffled here … and we have a double technical called on Baynes and …”


ver-sa-tee-ley (it must be italian … gold stars to the “A Christmas Story” fans out there)

  1. See definition for “Jack-of-all-Trades”

Examples: Marquese Chriss, Jonas Jerebko

“Jerebko is a versatile player that you can put in at the 4 … and the 5, although you don’t really want him as a 5, but he brings a lot to the table to help his team, like … *pause* … energy”



  1. He is terrified to shoot.

Examples: Rajon Rondo, Tim Frazier

“Rondo at the top of the key setting up the offense. His defender is giving him about a 15 foot cushion. Rondo passes it to Davis, but the pass is tipped away out of bounds. Seven seconds on the shot clock. But that’s why the Pelicans signed Rondo — to distribute the ball to Davis and Cousins.



  1. Glorified hit man. Known for cheap shots. Dirty.

Examples: Pat Beverly, Marcus Smart

“Let’s take a look at what happened on the replay. It looks like … Smart hit him right in the mid-section. You can’t do that. That’s dirty. Smart will be called for the technical, but Marcus is in disbelief. He’s pleading his case with the ref.”

High IQ Player


  1. He probably should be playing in China because of his ability level, but since he knows what the coach wants, he gets contracts.

Examples: Nick Collison, Ron Baker

“Here comes Nick Collison, who we haven’t seen in … three … months … or years. He sets the pick for Westbrook who goes to the hole for the layup. Collison is such a high-iq basketball player.”

So there you go. There are 10 commonly used terms by commentators and avid basketball fans to describe their players, with their correct definitions.

Any more that you can think of? Contact me.