Post-game Reactions

It has become an article of faith that Boston’s offense cannot go hard after offensive rebounds lest the quest for them completely undercut the defense (the C’s finished the 2010-11 season with a 21.1 Offensive Rebound Rate, the worst in the league by a wide margin).

But it also remains a fact the Celtics’ offense, despite the relentless hoopla about Boston’s hall-of-fame-bound roster, was mediocre this season (the C’s finished tied with Philadelphia for 17th in the league in offensive efficiency).

Is that the deal? You have to live with an underperforming offense so you can benefit from an elite defense?

In my first piece for CelticsHub, I wrote about Boston’s offensive rebounding problems, theorizing that:

Boston's #1 Offensive Rebounder in 2010-11

The solution – if there is one – might involve sending an extra man at the boards in certain situations when there’s less of a chance of a run-out if they don’t get hold of the rebound. But failing an injection of an athletic pogo-stick-style player at the 3 or 4, an unexpectedly large contribution from Shaq or JO, or a strategic shift, offensive rebounding looks to be a year-long area of concern.

Around mid-season, we checked in on that same story, when Boston was still scoring the ball with surprising efficiency:

Contrary to the prevailing narrative, whereby the Celtics ignore offensive rebounds in favor of setting up their defense in transition, as recently as two years ago they were an excellent offensive rebounding team, ranking in the top-10 in ORR (not unrelated: that 08-09 team was fifth in the league in offensive efficiency). Doc Rivers’ system has not always required sacrificing second chance points for defensive proficiency.

The offense, which is ranked 10th in efficiency this season, would likely be in the top-5 with even a mediocre performance on the offensive glass. As it is, the C’s offensive is heavily dependent on the elite shooting that has been its hallmark all year. This team could clearly use someone like a Leon Powe, who was a top-10 offensive rebounder (by rate) during the first two years of the new big three era.

The 08-09 Celtics proved you could get second chance scores and stops and so did Tom Thibodeau, whose Bulls team finished 4th in the league in ORR this year while still managing to end up with the league’s top-ranked defense. Note, too, the damage Chicago’s relentless offensive rebounding did to Miami’s defense in game one of the conference finals:

Now, compare that to the Lakers’ box score from game seven of the 2010 finals:

It’s entirely intuitive in hindsight. Boston doesn’t have a system problem. Boston has a player problem. The big three are spectacular shooters. But they struggle to create their own shots. And Rajon Rondo, who creates great shots, struggles to make them against a hard contest. So, the big four needs young, energetic athletes around them to crash the glass and get second chance points when they miss. And they also need those athletes to have enough left after hitting the glass to race back in transition, force misses in the halfcourt, and run-out on fast breaks. And then crash the boards again.

Glen Davis was too heavy/perimeter-oriented for that kind of assignment. Jeff Green proved too confused/mercurial. Semih Erden was a rookie with only one working shoulder. Of the relative youngsters, only Nenad Krstic did any real damage on the offensive glass, and he was a liability defending the rim.

In the end, you could perhaps criticize Rivers for placing too much of an emphasis on transition D rather than second chance O, or prioritizing offensive floor spacing over offensive rebounding, but that’s a separate discussion and it’s hard to get around the notion that this was just the wrong mix of guys around the big four.

It’s something to keep an eye on this offseason because unless the C’s find a way to score the ball more efficiently, they have no shot at a 2012 title. Gains in offensive rebounding are the juiciest of the low-hanging fruit. That starts with personnel.

Your move, Danny Ainge.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • Rex

    All true, but Noah and Gasol ain't walkin' through that door. Unless we can name some gettable names, it's easier said than done.

  • Batman

    Well this gives us another reason to resign Kristic

  • Morpheus

    Chuck Hayes or Reggie Evans.

    • Batman

      Chuck Hayes is a great role player but 28 and 6'6
      Let's look for young tall people

      • dal

        Where? Looking at the list of free agents, the tall and athletic mold seems to be few and far between for Boston.

        Chris Johnson might get another call-up.

        • Yea I like Chris Johnson too, but if he were to play full time for the c, he needs to gain about 30lbs

  • I_Love_Green

    Reggie Evans is a beastly rebounder, but is awful on offense. We need a good rebounder who can atleast hit a shot on a consistant basis.

  • I_Love_Green

    Why do the heat celebrate so much after a win….

    • Batman

      Well looks like we r looking at a Miami dynasty for the next 10 years……

    • janos

      I agree and plus one. I make post just now about Miami too. lets go dallas and lets hope Cuban start talking to media again, I miss him. I was so mad see all those jerk in Miami crowd.

  • Celtics Freak

    i have this dream that we go after a some-what young 6-10, shooter in Steve Novak, just a thought

  • lakershater13

    Trade up or buy a pick early in the second round of the draft to get Jeremy Tyler. Highly athletic 6'11 260 lb 19 year old. Look at Perk and Big Al. Two young projects that panned out.

  • I think basketball is really exciting but difficult game for me!

  • janos

    anyone else notice that only when lebron get through boston that he start make peace with cleveland and say he regret how decision was handle. he is a suck! I do not like him and he is only seem contrite once he get his way in playoff. Is tall order now for Bulls win 3 in the row, so lets hope Dallas role player really step up plate and make win…I dont like chance though.

    sorry for anger post, but am so mad at Miami.

    • Morpheus

      Yes Janos, i feel your anger. Bron only seems content on showing class, good sportsmanship, respect, shaking hands and dignity when he's winning. When he loses, he's an outright, back stabbing jerk-off.

      • Morpheus

        Here's hoping Dirk and company put an end to their shot at winning the championship.

  • pana

    I think that we doing the same thing as the yankees are doing, trading our rookies to early to get back washouts veterans like Arroyo, Murphy, Robinson look at we did with them, they didnt play a solid minute at the playoffs, but he let a very good rookie Erden go to Cleveland, he was at the same level of Asik and everbody saw what he did for the Bulls. We should go after Tyson Chandler at center and get an atletic guy that can play the two spot.

  • LACelticsFan

    I like the idea of raiding the Pacers cupboard of McRoberts and Foster. Both are unrestricted free agents, and can be had with our midlevels, plus JaJuan Johnson. Younger, length, and rim attackers.

  • ManOfSkillz

    Give Us Westbrook if OKC don't want him……. He would prevent some double teams on the BIG THREE because of his scoring. Something Rondo has a problem with….

    • ManOfSkillz

      Offensive rebounding won't be an issue if the team in making very high percentage shots. Easy shots come from less double teaming, floor spreading and players who can MAKE shots, not CREATE them….

  • LACelticsFan

    What about a TMac, well he aint TMac anymore just plain old Tracy McGrady now, but he did play areally good 23 minutes a game for Detroit. He knows Docs system and can be a great player off the bench for us. Back up Ray and even Paul, Jeff can back up Paul and KG. McGrady is still long and can make FTs, which is a good thing. And he probably can be had for cheap. Just a thought to replace Wafer and lessen the need to take a flyer on some young unproven talent to be a backup. He has never won, so he might want to have a legit shot at a ring.

    • Celtics Freak

      Not a bad idea, we've been taking chances with getting all these washed up talents(Murphy, Arroyo, etc.) and whats not to lose TMac isn't bad, but not the greatest either, but if it weren't for those injuries, he might be going to the WCF/ECF each year

  • Celtics Fan

    I think we must get a new player like Brook Lopez,Roy Hibbert or Enes Kanter.Our team is old so we need some talented young players especially a center.

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  • I've never seen a player have so many rebounds that are just out of his reach. His rebounding positioning is terrible. He gets too far underneath the basket to be in effective and great work..:)

  • Needed Offseason Fix: Offensive Rebounding. please share the updated information.thanks for share the great info..:)

  • I have no words to describe about the collection.Any more update about the Offensive Rebounding, if you have please share. I like to update it time to time.