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About Those Rebounding Problems


It’s an article of faith that the Celtics are a terrible rebounding team. Everyone knows the Celtics eschew offensive rebounds and everyone regularly seizes upon the chance to excoriate the Celtics for their inability to clean the glass after missed shots.

The problem with that line of thinking is that the Celtics are an excellent defensive rebounding team.

Again, for emphasis: in the single area of rebounding that draws their attention (defensive) the Celtics are one of the most proficient teams in the league. As of this morning, the Celtics are tied for 7th in the league with a 74.0 DRR. That puts them ahead of Miami, the Lakers, OKC, Chicago and the Clippers.

These numbers are built on the backs of Kevin Garnett (24.5 DRR) Jared Sullinger (21.9) and Paul Pierce (17.9, his best number in the Big Three era).

So, that’s the good news.

The bad news is that Sullinger is a foul prone rookie averaging only 17.7 minutes a night and when Doc Rivers extends Garnett’s minutes beyond his standard 30, his efficiency craters. That leaves only Pierce, he of the small forward position and 35 years of age, as the Celtics lone “full-time” player. That’s why Brandon Bass, whose shooting and rotations have been mediocre-to-awful on any given night, continues to log heavy court time. He’s fourth in line with a 16.1 DRR.

The takeaway: the Celtics take care of their own glass when some combination of KG, Sully and Pierce are on the floor together. That’s where we default back to the common wisdom. Given the limitations with each of those three players and the weak rebounders behind them (particularly Jason Collins and Jeff Green), the Celtics probably do remain shy a legitimate rebounder if they still harbor hopes of making a deep playoff run in the spring.

  • Josh_5

    Good article Ryan. I think a lineup of KG-Pierce-Sully-Rondo-Bradley would be EXCELLENT on the defensive glass, but that specific group (like mentioned above) cannot log heavy minutes. Thus leaving Green, Bass and Terry to cough up O boards.

  • Phil

    The narratives Ryan, think of the narratives!

    On a serious note, I do think the Celtics would benefit from offensive rebounding at least a little. The Bulls are the example of a team that does both; if they're not first in transition D and offensive rebound rate, they're at least close on both. You can do one without forfeiting the other. The Celtics will never be even average at that since they don't have great offensive rebounders, but for a while (last year?) the team in 29th was closer to 1st than the Celtics at 30! Their other offensive numbers aren't that bad, they just have so many fewer possessions than other teams. If you could add a few Oboards a game without sacrificing transition defense, that's the difference between the 20th offense and the 10th offense.

    I also expect the team to add another rebounder, but I don't think it's overly important in the end. It will help in the regular season, but whoever the team gets for Courtney Lee probably won't even see the court in the postseason, there's precedence with Stiemsma after all.

  • jose a ruiz

    I think that the Celtics needs a player like JJ Barea. He will make everybody better and will make Rondo better.

  • g12

    Since we clearly live in an ideal world, here then is the ideal transactions that should occur in order to address C's issues: out with the old – Melo, Lee, Barbosa, Bass, Wilcox, Joseph .. In with our new – JJ Hickson, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, JJ Reddick .. Does it work financially? Heck if i know, but it works well on 2k!

  • Bill

    Wonderfully done Ryan as you clearly underlined Sullinger's rookie foul problems. We hope the refs lighten up against him in the second 41 games. I lean towards obtaining a big center more in line and what is tantamount in giving up a couple of picks: Anderson Varejeo.

  • What is the exactly problems ?
    please share more details.I want to know, what is reason behind this ?

  • I hope, I will help out in the redounding problems.thanks for share this issue and aware the people.