It's not brain surgery, it's just basketball.
A new study concludes that a typical NBA team could add as many as 10 wins per season if they shoot the ball sooner in the 24 seconds allowed by the shot clock.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota broke down data from close to 5,000 NBA games over four different seasons, and they determined that teams that shot the ball earlier during the 24-second shot clock had much more success. The percentage of made baskets went down by nearly 10 percent as the shot clock wound down, according to the Toronto Star.
Brian Skinner, a theoretical physicist and lead author of the U of Minnesota study, says the numbers should encourage more aggressive offense.
"I am of the opinion after finishing this study that NBA players really are overly hesitant to shoot the ball in the early periods of the (24-second) shot clock," Skinner said. "The later players took the shot, the worse the shot was. And I interpret it as overconfidence in the sense that, if they see a pretty good early shot, they tend to assume ‘well, I bet I can get a better one.'…They end up waiting until the last second and end up basically taking what they can get,” says Skinner. "They feel that if I just keep at it I’m going to get that perfect shot that I know I’m going to make."
The research shows that NBA teams would likely up their average points per game by a difference of 4.5 points. Skinner feels that the average team getting an extra 4.5 points per game would be worth more than 10 wins a season, according to Chicago's Northwestern University.
While it sounds easy enough, Skinner is quick to share that he's not the Einstein of hoops and he hasn't "solved basketball."
Getting quality shots is still ultimately important, however, deciding how quickly to take those shots eat possession will help.
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