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Will NBA’s proposed offensive rebound rule change impact many plays? No.

Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul wait for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 113-102. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


We can all picture the end-of-game situation: A team is up one point with a minute to go, looking to extend the lead, the drag the shot clock down as far as possible then take a contested shot that they miss but their center grabs the offensive rebound. The rebounder kicks it out top, and the team kills another 24 seconds, pounding the ball and running down the clock. It can happen a few times in a row.

The NBA wants to do away with that. In one of the proposed rule changes expected to be adopted for next season, the shot clock will only be reset to 14 after an offensive rebound.

If you think it’s a significant change, did you notice it during Summer League? The WNBA season? Last season in the G-League? The NBA tested this rule out and, with a little adjustment, it worked out well. Why? Because it barely impacts any plays.

Daniel Massop at Nylon Calculus did the math, and this new rule will impact less than one possession per NBA game.

Indeed, the numbers hold with the prevailing logic that possessions after offensive rebounds tend to be incredibly quick. Over 30 percent of offensive rebounds result in putbacks (the 0 Duration value on the graph) and 75 percent of offensive rebounds result in a possession that is five seconds or less. Only 6 percent of all offensive rebounds resulted in possessions that are 14 seconds or greater last year. Given that the league average for offensive rebounds was the lowest ever this past season at 9.7 per game, this rule would apply to roughly half a rebound per team per game last year.

It just follows the logic. Think about an offensive rebound and most of the time the guy getting it goes straight back up for a shot, or the rebounder quickly kicks out for a three or other shot. It’s not common to see the offense reset.

This rule does serve a purpose — the end-of-game situation described up top. Watching a guy pound the ball for 20 seconds is not entertaining, not good basketball. This forces teams to make a play sooner, to add a possession, to keep it interesting. In that sense, this is a good rule change.

Just don’t expect it to matter much.