How basketball rebounds work

Oct 17, 2014

Kirk Goldsberry, with help from Andy Woodruff, looked at how rebounds work in the NBA from a statistical perspective.

When a player shoots the ball and misses, there’s a tendency for the ball to go in certain directions and distances. Long shots for example often mean long rebounds away from the basket. After years of experience, players gain an intuition for these sort of bouncebacks and can try to position themselves for a rebound. These days more detailed data (via camera technology) is available, which is what these court maps show.

The interactive version in the middle of the article is especially interesting. Mouse over the court, and you can see where players typically rebound after a missed shot from the selected spot.

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