To Crash or Not To Crash: A quantitative look at the relationship between offensive rebounding and transition defense in the NBA

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Immediately following a missed shot an offensive player can choose to crash the boards for an offensive rebound, get back on defense, or hold their current position. In this paper, we use optical tracking data to develop novel metrics to summarize a team’s strategy immediately following a shot. We evaluate each metric using data from the 2011-2012 NBA season. Our results confirm that getting back on defense and neutralizing threats early in the possession contribute to a defensive success. However, tendencies to get back early on defense after a missed shot can reduce a team’s probability of getting an offensive rebound by more than half.

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