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How many points is a rebound worth?

by:Fodo Sports     2023-07-02

Points of Confusion: How Many Points is a Rebound Worth?

Rebounds are an integral part of basketball, but their impact on the score often goes unnoticed. The question of how many points a rebound is worth might seem straightforward, but it's far from it. In this article, we'll dive into the nuances of rebounds, explore why their point value varies, and examine the metrics that basketball analysts use to evaluate rebounds.

Defining a Rebound

Before we get into the points, let's first define what a rebound is. A rebound occurs when a player retrieves a missed field goal or free throw attempt. The ball must not have touched the rim or backboard and must be in a live-ball situation for the rebound to count. Simply put, a rebound happens when a player 'catches' the basketball after a missed shot.

Not All Rebounds Are Created Equal

One of the reasons the point value of a rebound is hard to pin down is that not all rebounds are created equal. A rebound can be offensive or defensive, which alone affects its point value. It's also worth noting that rebounding isn't just about retrieving the ball; it's also about securing it and preventing the opposing team from getting a possession. With these variations in mind, let's explore how the point value of a rebound changes depending on its context.

Offensive Rebounds

An offensive rebound occurs when the team shooting the ball retrieves their missed shot. Offensive rebounds often lead to second-chance points for the offensive team, which is why they're highly valued. In a sense, an offensive rebound allows a team to 'reset' its offense and increases the chances of scoring. For this reason, offensive rebounds often come at a higher premium than defensive rebounds.

So, how many points is an offensive rebound worth? It's hard to put a number on it, but we can look at some stats for guidance. According to the NBA player tracking data, a team scores an average of 1.07 points per possession on an offensive rebound. Compare that to the overall average points per possession, which is around 1 point, and it's clear that offensive rebounds are valuable. Of course, this number varies depending on the team, the players, and the game situation. Still, it gives us a rough idea that offensive rebounds are worth more than just one point.

Defensive Rebounds

A defensive rebound occurs when the opposing team retrieves the missed shot. Defensive rebounds are crucial because they prevent the other team from scoring and give the defensive team a chance to transition into their offense. Defensive rebounds are essential for teams that rely on their defense to win, so they're often highly praised by basketball coaches and analysts.

So, how many points is a defensive rebound worth? Unlike offensive rebounds, there's no clear answer for this one. Defensive rebounds don't directly lead to points, so evaluating their point value is a bit more nuanced. However, we can look at some stats for guidance. According to the NBA player tracking data, a team scores an average of 1.05 points per possession when the opposing team gets an offensive rebound. As you can see, the point value of a defensive rebound is linked to its ability to prevent the other team from getting second-chance points.

Rebounding Metrics

So far, we've explored the differences between offensive and defensive rebounds and noted that evaluating their point value is challenging. However, that hasn't stopped basketball analysts from developing complex metrics to evaluate rebounds' worth. Here are some of the critical rebounding metrics and what they measure:

Rebound Rate: Rebound rate is a metric that measures the percentage of missed shots that a player or team retrieves. A high rebound rate indicates that the player or team is effective at rebounding, while a low rate suggests the opposite. Rebound rate can be calculated for both offensive and defensive rebounds.

Total Rebounding Percentage: Total rebounding percentage is a metric that combines offensive and defensive rebounding rates into one number. This metric measures how efficient a team or player is at rebounding the ball on both ends of the court.

Contested Rebounds: Contested rebounds measure how many times a player or team retrieves a missed shot when there's competition for the ball. If a player gets a contested rebound, it means that they had to fight off an opposing player to secure the ball. This metric is useful for evaluating a player's ability to grab rebounds in traffic.


Rebounds are much more than just statistics to pad a player's stat sheet. The impact of rebounds on a game's outcome can't be overstated, and evaluating their value requires a nuanced approach. Offensive rebounds increase a team's chances of scoring, while defensive rebounds prevent the opposing team from scoring. Metrics like rebound rate, total rebounding percentage, and contested rebounds help basketball analysts evaluate a player or team's rebounding performance. Although the question of how many points a rebound is worth doesn't have a straightforward answer, it's clear that rebounds play a crucial role in basketball's final score.

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