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The NBA’s new offensive rebound rule will affect the end of games, but not much else

The shot clock will reset to 14 seconds, down from 24, after an offensive board. But how much does that really change?

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers - Game One Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The NBA implemented three rule changes this summer, and the one that will have the biggest impact involves the shortening of the shot clock after an offensive rebound. The rule was made in the spirit of speeding the game up, though it may only do so in a very specific set of circumstances.

Here’s the new rule

In previous years, once the ball touched the rim, the shot clock reset fully to 24 seconds. Starting this season, when a team snags an offensive rebound from a missed shot that hits the rim, the shot clock will reset to 14 seconds instead.

The shortened clock also applies if a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team after a missed shot, or if the offensive team wins possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds following a missed shot.

This rule has already been implemented in international FIBA competition since 2014, in the WNBA since 2016, and in the G-League since the 2016-17 season.

This rule change was made to speed the game up

And it should do that, at least a little bit. In end of game scenarios in particular, teams can’t grab an offensive rebound, then kick it out to the perimeter and run 20 seconds off the clock. Now, they’ll be thrust right back into attack mode once they get an offensive board.

But that may have already been the case

According to Nylon Calculus, only six percent of all possessions after offensive rebounds lasted longer than 14 seconds last season. Thirty percent of offensive rebounds resulted in put-back shots, and 75 percent of those possessions last five seconds or fewer. This rule change, though talked about consistently, may not actually make much of an impact.

Nylon Calculus, though, did not have that data for end of the game situations. Those are the possessions most likely to be affected by the NBA’s rule change.

The NBA is attempting to speed up a product that’s already faster than its ever been. And with this latest rule change, players need to be ready. The time is ticking faster than they think; and they had better know how much time is left on the clock.