Advanced Stats for Basketball

March 29, 2008

Rebounding by Shot Location

Posted by Eli in Raw Stats

Here’s a chart of offensive rebounding percentage by shot location, as suggested by Eric in the comments to my last post. The chart doesn’t show where players grab rebounds on the court (I don’t have that data), instead it shows which shot locations result in more offensive rebounds.

This took a little more work to construct because rebounds are listed in separate lines of the play-by-play than shot attempts (and not always on the very next line), and because the league credits a rebound for all missed shots, even half-court heaves at the end of a quarter where the clock expires while the ball is in the air. I tried to eliminate as many of these bookkeeping rebounds from the data as I could (though the red squares on the longest threes suggest that some still remain, as the offensive team is typically credited with the bookkeeping rebound).

I smoothed out the data as I did on the FG% chart, so each 1×1 ft square actually represents the offensive rebounding percentage on shots taken from the surrounding three-foot by three-foot square on the court. The color scale runs from blue (low ORB%) to yellow (average ORB%) to red (high ORB%). The data is from the 03-04 to 06-07 seasons.

Which Shots are Offensive Rebounded - ORB% by Shot Location:

The conventional wisdom on this topic that one usually hears from broadcasters is that it’s easier to get offensive rebounds on three-pointers because of the long caroms. However, Dean Oliver, John Hollinger and others have done research suggesting that there is actually a higher offensive rebounding percentage on twos than threes (see this thread and this study).

This chart suggests that both sides are onto something - longer three-point jumpers are rebounded by the offense more often than shorter two-point jumpers, but shots in the paint are rebounded by the offense even more frequently than three-pointers. Interestingly, it also looks like jumpers from the right baseline are offensive rebounded more frequently than jumpers from the left baseline, but I’d have to take a closer look at the data to confirm that.


  1. Putting this chart together with your last one certainly seems to reinforce the notion that “the long 2-pointer is the worst shot is basketball.” That is, not only is the effective FG% of the original shot higher for both close-in shots and 3-pointers, but those same shots also lead to higher offensive rebound rates. Presumably if we could chart actual points resulting from an initial shot attempt (taking into account the points scored on that first shot, the likelihood of an offensive rebound if it is missed, and the points resulting from a follow-up shot), those long 2-pointers would look even worse than they do from these individual charts.

    Comment by Steve — March 30, 2008

  2. Eli,

    Nice work as usual. I’ve enjoyed these series of charts. One thing that struck me was how a number of the spots of higher efficiency are common open spots in offenses (e.g. the elbow jump shot). As such, I was thinking that the reason certain spots have a higher shooting percentage is because teams practice those shots more since they’re part of their offensive sets.

    So, the natural next question I had was have you thought about breaking down these charts by team? I’d be interested to see how the location of attempts and the location of makes varies by team.


    Comment by Aaron BarzilaiMarch 31, 2008

  3. I am just going to say that the spurs know the best shot. I guarantee that most of the threes they take are from the wing, which have a high efg% and high rebound rate.

    Comment by Eric — April 1, 2008

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