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Finding A Rebounder

 

In his defense of the idea of bringing Shaquille O’Neal to Boston, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com brings up a good point: The Celtics need a rebounder. In 2010, the Celtics dropped from an elite defensive rebounding club (No. 3 in the league in ’09) to a league-average defensive rebounding team. Their offensive rebounding disappeared completely. After ranking as a (slightly) above average team on the offensive glass over ’08 and ’09, the C’s finished as one of the very worst offensive rebounding teams in the league.

We can argue about which of those was the more damaging development. The C’s remained an elite defensive team despite their so-so defensive rebounding, but they were never able to contain the best offensive rebounding teams—something that cost them the NBA title. On the other end, Boston’s offense drifted into mediocrity as the team’s offensive rebounding rate fell from mediocre to disastrous.

Either way, with their best rebounder out until the All-Star break, the C’s need a glass-cleaner. What does the big man free agent landscape look like when viewed through this lens?

Let’s start by looking at total rebound percentage, which simply measures the percentage of available rebounds a player grabs on both ends while he’s on the floor. Using 2010 numbers on Basketball-Reference, we get this ordering of some of the notable FAs that remain available:

1. Josh Boone 17.4 %

2. Shaq 17.0 %

3. Lou Amundson 16.7 %

4. Kwame Brown 16.2 %

5. Kurt Thomas 15.8 %

6. Joe Smith 15.5 %

7. Craig Smith 13.5 %

8. Rasho Nesterovic 12.7 %

9. Theo Ratliff 11.6 %

* Worth nothing: Kevin Garnett checked at 15.0 %.

The difference between #1 and #6 is small enough that if  #6 (Joe Smith) were an amazing jump-shooter or something, you’d overlook the rebounding gap. But there’s a clear fall-off between those top six and the bottom three. For this reason, Nesterovic, Craig Smith and Ratliff may be off the table.

But looking at overall rebounding numbers by themselves can miss the point. If the C’s have Game 7 of the Lakers series fresh in their minds, they may be more concerned about shoring up their defensive rebounding. So let’s look at defensive rebounding rate, which measures the percentage of available opponent misses a player grabs while on the floor:

1. Kwame Brown 24.3 %

2. Shaq 24.0 %

3. Kurt Thomas 23.5 %

4. Josh Boone 22.0 %

5. Lou Amundson 19.9 %

6. Joe Smith 18.1 %

7. Craig Smith 18.0 %

8. Rasho Nesterovic 14.5 %

9. Theo Ratliff 14.3 %

We see the same three guys at the bottom of the list, reinforcing what we’ve already learned. But we also see that if you consider defensive rebounding alone, Josh Boone and Lou Amundson fall a bit, while Kwame and Kurt Thomas rise. Boone, though, remains closer to the top than does Amundson.

Shaq remains near the top.

Finally: Offensive rebounding rate on its own:

T-1. Josh Boone 13.1 %

T-1. Lou Amundson 13.1 %

3. Joe Smith 12.9 %

4. Rasho Nesterovic 10.9 %

5. Shaq 9.4 %

6. Kwame Brown 9.1 %

7. Craig Smith 9.1 %

8. Theo Ratliff 8.9 %

9. Kurt Thomas 8.7 %

When you look at these numbers together, I think the C’s have to consider reaching out to Josh Boone. I live in New York City and I’m from Connecticut, so, believe me, I know all the limitations—his range extends to about four feet and he’s a career 44 percent foul shooter (33 percent last season!).

For what it’s worth, New Jersey’s offense has performed better with Boone on the floor in two of the last three seasons, according to Basketball Value. (Caveat: The one negative season was ’10, and Boone only squeezed out a positive offensive plus/minus by the skin of his teeth in one of the other two seasons).

Boone is still just 25, and his relative youth means he should be a much better screen/roll defender in Boston’s system than either Shaq (last defended the screen/roll sometime in the late 1990s) or Kurt Thomas (old). He’s also likely to be available for the veteran’s minimum (around $1 million for Boone), whereas Shaq, Lou Amundson and Craig Smith are all hoping to get something more.

Please note: I’m not telling you the C’s absolutely should or must sign Josh Boone. I’m also not saying that Boston must prioritize rebounding above all else in its search for the 5th big man in Boston’s full rotation. If the team considers post scoring more important, Ainge should be on the phone with Craig Smith’s agent throw up his hands at this point.

But if rebounding tops the wish list, Boone should at least be in the conversation.

  • http://www.truecloud.com Dave

    The Celtics have to find someone who will play for the minimum, and who also accepts the fact that they are destined to become the 5th BIG in the Celtics rotation when Perkins returns.

    This guy is going to see zero time behind Jermaine, KG, Big Baby and Perk.

    If you think Shaq is going to be relegated to that situation along with accepting the veteran’s minimum just so he can wear green even at 38.

    You’re crazy! You don’t know the guy’s ego. He’d sooner retire then accept a role like that.

  • Demetri

    Any info on troubled former 1st rounder and BC alum Sean Williams?

  • Sophomore

    Part of the trick is finding a guy who’s right to take the fifth spot in our rotation of 4s and 5s. Maybe the lure for a younger guy like a Boone is that for the first half of the year you’ll get real PT. If you show up big we might trade somebody ahead of you and keep you in a significant role; worst case you can showcase yourself for your next NBA gig. But there’s a real downside possibility of getting buried on the bench. Could be hard to compete with Miami, e.g., if all we can offer is the vet min.

  • Jeff

    Shaq and Moon for Sheed Gaffney and a 2nd rounder.

    DO IT DANNY! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or you’ll see me get angry!!! You won’t like me when I’m angry!!!!!!!

  • mike

    @demetri….
    i looked up his stats earlier this off season….i had the same thoughts…first rounder, has some talent….not really any bit of a rebounder to speak of over his career….

  • mike

    harangody was a good rebounder at ND…9-10 per game….that’s a skill that usually translates well…

  • Perry

    Next Saturday will mark the third anniversary of Kevin Garnett’s signing and the historic press conference which ensued. It may not be relevant today, but in the broader context that period of time explains how Danny went about his business after the market flushed itself out. It’s precisely what he’s doing now.

    In 2007 he only had Garnett, a major prize, on his radar. In 2010 you would expect him to have a few plans in place, which doesn’t involve veteran minimum contracts. Of course in 07′ the Celtics weren’t close to be considered title contenders, but here they are defending the eastern conference with the same starting five (minus Perk for a while). Yes, we didn’t foresee losing Tony Allen, but it’s much easier to find two role players of his caliber than it would be filing the shoes of a Pierce or Ray Allen or Rondo.

    Unless Barnes or Shaq falls his way for small change I would assume Danny will work behind the scenes and feel out teams that may be looking to dump salaries. Until those perspective rosters are set, and the Sheed dilemma is resolved, what we’re doing here is akin to speculating the stock market. Not saying that’s a waste of time; frankly it’s a productive debate, and about all we have left to talk about in the dog days. I’m proceeding with caution, but my instincts tell me whatever direction he decides to go in, or player he goes after, it may come as a surprise to many of us.

  • Coolin

    We should go after Jordan, Pippen and Rodman to round out our free agency. It’s not going to happen, but they are better in their 40′s than any of these clowns are in there 20′s.

  • Argyle

    I am weary of anyone who posts average numbers for a terrible team. Boone only played 16 minutes a game for the worst team in the league. He might be worth the league minimum, but for the same price I would rather see a more dynamic player such as Smith, Thomas or Juwan Howard who can hit a jumpshot and make a free throw. I wonder how much Ike Diogu will go for?

    Wing is by far the more pressing need than an eventual fifth big man and Sheed’s contract should be used to fill that hole.

  • CJ

    I just want Danny to sign Josh Boone for the minimum and re-sign Marquis Daniels so I can feel a little more comfortable about waiting around to make moves.

  • Rich

    Jeff, that deal isn’t even worth doing for CLE. Moon is on a cheap contract and ultimately is more valuable than Gaffney and a 2nd rounder to a team that just lost it’s starting SF.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    great analysis of the meat market – these blog posts on ‘whats available’ have been excellent.

    i think none of these guys will be on the court if/when it matters in playoff time so its hard to say that we got killed by the lakers on the glass so we need a rebounder. KG, JO, Perk, Baby will be in front of any of these guys. so its either get one of them just as an early season gap filler and subsequent 9th man, make a bigger deal (likely involving sheed’s contract and baby), or then convince sheed to get in shape and make one more run for old times sake (the more i see this thing play out i’m thinking the guys will get on sheed to come back and the rough on the outside/warm & fuzzy on the inside sheed will do one more year – barring a major deal, i think he is the best possible fit currently)

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @jeff not a big fan of moon. he’s in TA territory regarding mental lapses…..anthony parker would be way more reliable….and would bring candace back occasionally

  • Keith Popsicle

    I still like Amundson the best of these options. Similar rebounding numbers and a little more potential from an offensive standpoint than Boone, I think.

    Couldn’t they just offer Shaq a job with the Boston P.D. upon retirement, if he signs for the vet. minimum this year? Seems like the only way to get his attention these days…

  • Steve

    Just read something on true hoop that Kapono is on the trading block and his 6 mil salary why not trade Rasheed there if they will take it. I know we need a guy on the boards but if its there you cant pass up a shooter like that can we?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Steve: I’ve mentioned Kapono before as a possible trade target for Sheed’s deal. Definitely worth thinking about, but his D is…not good.

  • yoki

    why not. all the C’s need is someone to back up JO until Perk comes back anyway.

    Just leave the guy a 1 year vet, minimum contract. If he can find a place to go then at least the C’s tried.

    Why not Earl Barron?. Only 28 years old. 7’0 250lbs. Compare to Josh Boone who’s only 6’10 240. He didnt had a good start with Memphis but showed some solidity in his 7 games in New York averagin 10-10 in 33 minutes. And a 76% free throw shooter. I think he’s much better.

  • I love Green

    Josh Boone, or Earl Barron. Then trade Sheed’s contract and Lafayette for Ariza. Then a 1st rounder for Rudy.
    Automatic championship!!!!!!!

    Lulz jk guiz. Not very possible.

  • efstje

    Boy do i hate the cocky miami fans and the orlando magic.They have won nothing and they think they are the teams to beat.Florida being the hoop center of the world and all this bullc**p.
    I just wish we have a ready and complete team come may and teach those clowns a lesson.
    @kg’s knee:come on dude 1 more year and then you can rest for good.Just the 18th.The one,the fakers stole from us.
    P.S apologise for being too emotional…

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    i’m a huge brandon bass fan. magic have been stupid not to play him at all. unlikely orlando would deal him to a rival but worth trying….
    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/07/20/brandon-bass-expecting-either-bigger-role-or-new-team-next-seaso/

    kapono sux. i’d rather keep finley.

  • Seeone

    Why any team would be interested at all in Josh Boone is beyond me. 12 year old girls are better shooters and have better basketball IQ than that waste of space. 33% from the FT line, how can anyone call him a professional?

  • jeremy

    i like ike diogu he can rebound and scorer

  • Rich

    I’m still trying to figure out why the Cs didn’g go after Brockman. He was clearly available and easy to obtain.

  • I love Green

    Yes good question Rich. Why the hell didn’t Danny go after Brockman?!?!

    He’s just letting other teams get better, when we could be the ones getting those players.

  • shane

    yes im also waiting for another post from zach lowe !

  • Shooter

    Man, i wasn’t aware of Brockman but yeah definitely a guy we could have picked up.One of the top rebounders in college,one sure thing that translates to the pros.Man what a miss….come on DANNY!!!!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!!!
    Don’t want Kapono or Boone,why pick up a guy who shoots 30% from the line.Elite teams are too good for that and he will be exposed to the point where his rebounding would become a weak point.Plus someone said,he was a piss poor team and his IQ is average.
    In saying that, looks like Shaq isn’t an option.
    I don’t know anymore i’m out of ideas.
    What about this trade: Sheed’s contract for Birdman,Balkman or Afflalo.

  • I love Green

    Okay Forsberg has sold me on bringing Daniels back for another year.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nba/columns/story?columnist=forsberg_chris&id=5395389

  • yoki

    @ rich. I know, Jon Brockman couldve been a solid pick. I guess because of length. He’s only 6’7”. Danny is probably looking for taller guys since that is pretty much the reason why the Lakers won what was supposed to be the 18th from the C’s. But he wouldve been solid. Hussle, physical, pretty much all the C’s need in the paint.

  • yoki

    why not try trading for Hasheem Thabeet? Sheed’s contract + Semi Edren.

    the guy’s limited offensively but being 7’3”, i think he can rebound. his averages are pretty low (3 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 blk in 13 minutes a game) but hey, it’s just his second season upcoming, he can develop to be a solid defender like he was in UCONN (just a little beef up of about 20 pounds he’s gonna be a wall.)

    Or maybe not. Man, I’m so excited to see the full lineup

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @rich @yoki no need for brockman when we have harangody. same player.

    @rich re: hasheem the dream. i went to the grizz game last year down low and that man is a GIANT. i mean a freaking GIANT. but he is totally lost out there. he needs years of work but if he can pull together his footwork and basic movements…..he will indeed be a wall. definitely an interesting development project, think the grizz will give him a couple more years first.

  • Jay P

    @Zach (Re: Kapono)

    How many times have we heard that. “His defense sucks, he’ll never fit the Celtics system.” Ray Allen, Robinson, hell even Pierce in his younger days was never an elite defender (not a bad one, but nowhere near what he’s thought of today.)

    Yet somehow, in the system that Doc rivers and Tom T implemented these guys learned, and improved.

    I’ll take that chance again, given how badly the team needs reliable offensive production.

  • http://aol.com Sandi12

    Yea take Boone I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet hes still young

  • L

    Kyrylo Fesenko #44 from utah jazz
    Restricted free agent 7’0 feet tall 300 lbs
    plays well when he recieves the opportunity
    and great for a 5th man in the rotation…note: maybe our seven ft rookie from Turkey can make rotation and avery bradley can fill tony allen’s spot he was very well known for his defense and is a better shooter than TA

  • johangel pena guareno

    i realy think the boston celtics should consider this oportunity to contract shaq…..they need a big man with to much experience….i really think the celtics and shq should make this deal…

  • celtics freak

    if we sign shaq i hope he will do good bcuz if he does what he did with the cavs(nothing really)he will juz add another aged player

  • karol luckygirl

    Seeone, what a pathetic description of an excellent young player like Boone, are you like in junior high or something the way you talk about girls, Boone will go much further with his excellent talent than you with your jealous little mind

  • http://www.str8gt.com GrowTaller

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