Missed shots are kind of like informal jump balls that happen dozens of times per game. Instead of a referee gently tossing the ball up in the air, some random ricochet off of the basket breaks the bad news to the offense, propels the ball skyward, and for a few moments the ball is disowned and its possession is literally up for grabs. But just like shot outcomes, rebounding outcomes also depend on who is shooting, where they are shooting from, the stratagems of each team, the rebounding abilities of each player, and the precise spatial configuration of the 10 players on the court; as a result, there is a less apparent tenet of basketball: All missed shots are not created equal, and their DNA is inherently dependent upon their ancestral events — some missed shots are good for the defensive team, and some benefit the offense, as many misses actually extend offensive possessions with the proverbial "fresh 24."
This is where the Kobe Pass — a necessary predecessor to the Kobe Assist — comes into play. I define the Kobe Pass as the missed shot that begets an offensive rebound and thus extends an offensive possession. Of course, offensive rebounds are an important statistic on their own, but sole credit for an offensive rebound is traditionally awarded to the player who acquires the rebound. Little else is considered. We conceptualize them as destinations but ignore their origins. Where do offensive rebounds come from?
Offensive rebounds are constructive offensive events that frequently result in a big basketball player possessing the ball very close to the goal. They are like surreptitious but extremely effective entry passes. In fact, league-wide, 34 percent of the time Kobe passes results in points right away because the recipient of the Kobe Pass, a.k.a. the offensive rebounder, frequently scores immediately after acquiring the basketball. In such cases, I define the Kobe Assist as an achievement credited to a player or a team missing a basket that in a way leads directly to the kind of field goal generally referred to as a put-back, tip-in, or follow.
Many times these field goals shape the outcomes of basketball games, but we neglect to consider what exactly they follow. We fail to explore the interactions between shot events and put-backs. We fail to understand which shooting environments are most or least conducive to offensive rebounds. We only kind of know which players' and teams' missed shots are most likely to result in put-backs. Most important, we have no idea who leads the NBA in Kobe Assists.
Spoiler alert: Kobe Bryant is the king of the Kobe Assist and hence its namesake. Over the last two seasons, Kobe had over 200 Kobe Assists, which is by far the most in the league and also precedes the arrival of Dwight Howard, the most dominant interior presence in the NBA. The combination of one of the league's most voluminous and creative jump shooters with the league's most dominant interior force will only proliferate the Kobe Assist phenomenon in L.A.
Edited by Tensai, December 06, 2012 - 09:56 AM.