(To be fair, lately they also eschew defensive rebounds, eschew wins and they are eschewing the hell out of resembling a title contender).
Doc rarely misses an opportunity to understate the value of hitting the offensive glass. He’s done it repeatedly over the last few years, to the point where we can all make the once insightful observation that, “the Celtics don’t pursue offensive rebounds because they’re more interested in getting back and setting their defense.” Doc’s approach has born fruit: the Celtics are 28th in the league in ORR this season, after being 30th last season and 28th in 2009-10.
Here’s Doc dismissing offensive rebounding after the Mavs game. The money quote comes at 0:42.
This is why it was mystifying to hear Danny Ainge on WEEI yesterday expressing bafflement at the Celtics inability to get anything done on the offensive glass. Alex Speier caught his remarks:
“I think there’s two things that sort of stand out. I’m not taking a nine-game sample. I’m looking at what has been our pattern, and what has been our weakness, over the last three years with this group of guys,” said Ainge. “For three years now, we have been the worst offensive rebounding team in basketball. The second thing is, the execution of our offense, our offensive efficiency in the last five minutes of the game, I think those two things have got to be improved. I don’t necessarily know why that hasn’t happened. It’s not just personnel, because we’ve had a lot of good offensive rebounders on this team.
“I just don’t understand why we’re last. We don’t have to be first,” he added. “It’s not based on shooting percentage. When we talk about offensive rebounding, we’re talking about offensive rebound percentage. If we shoot 40-for-80, there’s 40 rebounding opportunities when we miss and we get eight of those, that’s 20 percent. That’s what we’re playing at. It’s not enough. We’ve got to get up to 25 percent, to the middle of the pack.”
Two questions pop out to me:
1) Are Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers not talking to each other? When you repeatedly breed an animal for certain characteristics, it will eventually display those characteristics. Or, to shift metaphors, it’s entirely reasonable to regard the offensive rebounding problems as a self-inflicted wound.
2) Are we going to see some changes in the Celtics’ game plan? It’s possible. Remember, the Celtics were actually an excellent offensive rebounding team for one season back in 2008-09, ranking in the top-10 in ORR. (related: that 08-09 team was fifth in the league in offensive efficiency).