It’s the middle of the second quarter of a routine game in the NBA. The game has been relatively competitive thus far and nothing of significance has jumped out at you. You’re at the game relaxing, drinking a beer and feeling good about rewarding yourself on a Friday night following a long and tedious work week. You feel great about the cash you just shelled out to watch your team play hard and hopefully win. While most realistic fans understand that their team won’t win every single game (just the one you actually attend PLEASE), a good, solid effort is reasonable enough to ask, right? Then all of a sudden something increasingly frustrating happens.
The opposing team is pushing your boys around. They’re swooping in from the weak-side and slamming in put-back dunks with ease. They’re getting second, third and FOURTH opportunities at the basket. You’ve realized that your team fell asleep when their coach showed them the Better Basketball video about boxing out. You’re growing annoyed and suddenly you don’t want another beer to feel good, instead you NEED it to quell the pain. But I ask you this: is offensive rebounding significant?
There are plenty of coaching strategies out there in regards to offensive rebounding. Some teams crash the boards like five Dennis Rodmans while others ignore it like five Mark Blounts. The Celtics don’t exactly ignore it completely, but they don’t seem to make it a priority. Instead, Doc Rivers decrees his team to get back on defense as soon as a shot is being launched. Contemporary championship history proves that this is probably the most effective approach to take.
The table below shows the stats of
offensive rebounding numbers for champions during the regular season
(past 10 years) compared with the league leading offensive rebounding
team. The second table does the same thing, but for playoff rankings.
It’s interesting to see how Phil Jackson’s Laker teams seem to focus more on crashing the glass. Doc seems to emulate Gregg Popovich’s methodology, which is to get back and get your defense set up. The champions don’t seem to dominate the offensive glass too much in either the regular season or the playoffs. So while it can be frustrating during a single game, quarter, or possession for that matter, it’s not as imperative when taking the long view.
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed with the Celtics’ bench however, is how Glen Davis is carving a role for himself as an aggressive offensive rebounder. It seems as if this is his main goal with the second unit (as well as setting screens and taking charges), while the other four players rush back on defense. Below are a couple of examples.
Here we see Davis clearly the lone board crasher while everyone else immediately rushes back (except for Sheed) on the Nate Robinson jumper. Also note how fantastic the bench runs their set, with a revived Tony Allen streaking in for the layup. Their defense is just as active with a lot of talking and arm waving that leads to a turnover.
The above clip also illustrates how Davis is focuses on grabbing the offensive board. It also shows how ineffective the “Noise Meter” is at the Garden. First we see a beautiful set that frees up Michael Finley for a three. This leads the JumboTron to display the “Noise Meter” (you can’t see it, but you can tell by the forced cheering from the crowd). I haven’t kept track, but I’d be shocked if the opposing team didn’t score at least 90% of the time when this is displayed on the JumboTron. Watch as Anthony Carter of all people just waltzes in for a lay-up.
Finally, this clip shows Kendrick Perkins being rewarded by Rajon Rondo for running the floor. Why show this? Because of this recent column by Steve Bulpett in the Boston Herald. Sports Illustrated polled players at random asking them who the slowest players are, baseline to baseline. Perk came in fifth place, but as you can see here, he is still quite effective and runs hard.