Is an Off The Backboard Pass an Assist?
In the NBA, there are multiple stat lines for which a player can be credited for during a game. From the more well-known ones such as points scored, to rebounds secured, to assists made, to lesser known stat lines, which can include both steals and blocks.
And for an NBA player looking to add or secure stats to their overall stat line, understanding just what does and doesn’t count as a point, rebound, assist, steal, or block can be the difference between a double-double, triple-double, or additional stat.
That’s why, below, we are going to review just whether or not an off the backboard pass counts as an assist in the NBA. We will also discuss what an off the backboard pass is and how to perform one successfully.
What is an Off the Backboard Pass?
In the NBA, and generally in the game of basketball, an offensive player can opt to either attempt a field goal or pass the basketball to an open teammate. However, in certain and rare situations, an offensive player may find it more suitable to pass the basketball off the backboard, angling the pass so that it bounces off the backboard and to an open teammate.
Generally, the off the backboard pass is legal and is not prohibited in either the NBA or any other leagues.
An off the backboard pass is, as the name suggests, a pass in which an offensive player with possession of the basketball passes the basketball to a teammate, utilizing the basketball backboard as a surface to conduct the pass.
Admittedly, the off the backboard pass is one of the more difficult passes to attempt and conduct. Furthermore, the pass must be made and angled in a way which allows for the offensive team to secure the basketball and maintain possession of the basketball.
Why do NBA Players Pass the Basketball Off the Backboard?
While, traditionally, a basketball is typically passed from one player to another either via a chest pass, bounce pass, or overhead pass, the off the backboard pass is another option at a basketball players disposal.
Typically, an off the backboard pass is conducted as a means to pass the basketball to an open teammate and is often done as a means to distract opposing players and teams into thinking that the pass was a shot on the backboard.
With an opposing team believing the pass was a shot, they are more likely to fall into a lull and await the result of the “shot” attempt. As such, an off the backboard pass is a great way to pass the basketball to an open teammate and secure an easier shot attempt or dunk on the ball.
In addition, and perhaps more commonly, an off the backboard pass is usually done and conducted in a fast break situation. With one player dribbling the ball down the court, and no nearby defenders, the dribbling player will pass the basketball off the backboard to a teammate for a more explosive dunk.
Lastly, and similarly to the above, a basketball player may also conduct an off the backboard pass to themselves. Again, this is typically done to provide more emphasis to the forthcoming dunk and is seen as a bit more revelry than a simple dunk alone.
How to Conduct an Off the Backboard Pass?
As stated above, the off the backboard pass is one of the most difficult passes in basketball. With the basketball needing to be angled properly, and in a manner which allows for a quick interception when bounced off, it is not typically done and is rare to see.
However, if you are looking to perform an off the backboard pass, you should aim to pass the basketball off either side of the backboard, ideally a few inches above the basketball rim.
Once initiated, you should throw the basketball with enough force to allow for the basketball to bounce off the backboard and back in the direction of a teammate.
Typically, when attempting to perform an off the backboard pass, the offensive player with possession of the basketball will ensure that their teammates are in close distance to the basketball rim, allowing for them to regain possession of the basketball once the pass is made.
Does an Off the Backboard Pass Count as an Assist?
For an NBA player concerned about whether or not an off the backboard pass counts as an assist, unfortunately, it does not. Per the official NBA scorers manual, an off the backboard pass is not credited as an assit.
Rather, and perhaps even more disheartening for an NBA player, an off the backboard pass is seen as a field goal attempt and will be counted as a missed field goal.
While definitely not a major issue, it is one that should be taken into consideration for any NBA or basketball player looking to pad their stats during a game.