Most players, even lazy ones, give the impression they are ready to play good defense during the first five seconds of any defensive play. Most of them have been drilled enough that they are even willing to turn and block out the man they are guarding, if he happens to be near them when the shot goes up. As a result, any shot taken after only one pass is likely to be well defended, and followed by five men blocking out for the rebound, and prepared to fast break immediately. What could be easier? Two to five seconds on defense, no cuts to guard, no man to chase, no screens to get over or through, no fakes to worry about. One pass from the point guard to the side, and the shot goes up.
It should be obvious, when you think about this, that the first-pass shot should be refused—even if it is a good shot, so that the same shot can be taken later when each defender is not in a position to block out and immediately fast break.
In a midget league, everyone is so happy to have a scoring opportunity that the ball flies upward at the first sign of daylight. But good players can always find some daylight, and the daylight after several passes and cuts will yield a much better scoring opportunity and defensive capability than if the shot is put up after the first pass. (This of course applies to offense against a set defense, not fast breaks where the advantage situation may not come up again and where the rebounding opportunity is even better than it would be in a five-on-five.)
There are, in addition, the added benefits of better teamwork being fostered by more than one pass each time down on offense. But that is a byproduct. Even if the team “agrees” with the shot and the shooter, and even if morale would not suffer as a result of some first-pass shots being taken, good players will refuse them anyway. The percentages favor that refusal. Very, very seldom is a first-pass shot rebounded by the offensive team.
Special note to point guards:
It should go without saying that dribbling downcourt and shooting anything but a layup—with no passes at all—should be avoided completely.
From Dick’s book “Stuff”