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By now, most Grizzlies fans realize this team isn’t a great rebounding team.  A decent rebounding team for sure, but not a great one.

Despite having one of the best offensive rebounding players in the league in Zach Randolph and a powerful center in Marc Gasol, not to mention 3 more big men coming off the bench in Darrell Arthur, Marreese Speights and occasionally Hamed Haddadi, the Grizzlies are only 14th in the league in total rebounds. That is out of 30 teams.

This is a surprising statistic for a team giving up the fewest points in the league at 90.7 PPG. Most people would expect a team with the best scoring defense in the league to be better than average at rebounding the ball. Rebounding is an important aspect of keeping opponents from scoring, after all.

Part of this can be explained by the reality that the Grizzlies are very good at creating turnovers. The Grizzlies are currently 3rd in the league in opponent turnovers at 16.6 forced turnovers a game. Memphis is average turning the ball over, but the difference between turnovers and turnovers forced means the the Grizzlies gain about 1.5 possessions a game over their opponents, 6th best in the league.

ERMAHGERD....BERSKERTBERLWhen you look into the rebounding statistics you get an even more muddled picture. The Grizzlies are 6th in the league in offensive rebounds. They are tied for 22nd in the league (with the Hawks and Clippers) in defensive rebounds. So while the Grizzlies are hitting the glass with the best on the offensive end, they are not working as effective on the defensive end. Perhaps not surprisingly, the two teams ahead of the Grizzlies in creating turnovers are the same two teams tied with the Grizzlies for defensive rebounds.

Is creating turnovers costing the Grizzlies defensive rebounds? If so, is that an expected tradeoff for disrupting a team’s offense?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

The Grizzlies are among the league leaders in turnovers and offensive rebounds. Both of these stats create additional scoring opportunities and, while not excellent at putting the ball in the basket, the Grizzlies are at least average in the league in that regard. They are currently ranked 13th in the league in scoring at 97.2 PPG and that is after the 80 point embarrassment in Phoenix.

Is there a problem? Is it bad that the Grizzlies are 22nd in defensive rebounding in the league when they force turnovers, score decently and hit the offensive glass so well? Obviously with a 14-5 record the answer appears to be no.

But it does raise the question of how much better the team could be if they were able to collect defensive rebounds as well as they do offensive ones.

Post sponsored by Bateman Gibson

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5 Responses to Rebounding Is Not a Strength for the Grizzlies

  1. JonNo Gravatar says:

    Good job on the stats. I think part of our defensive rebounding woes could be attributed to forcing teams into long 2’s and three pointers which leave us in a bad position to rebound. If so, it’s a good problem to have. Definitely something to work on if I’m wrong about that…

  2. stevedNo Gravatar says:

    Absolute rebounds don’t account for the pace of the game. I haven’t checked, but I think that the Grizzlies pace would lead to less possessions per game than the average team. Rebounding rate or percentage would be a better tool for comparison.

    Having said that, we need more Haddadi minutes! Dude is a freakishly talented rebounder. Tell the guy to rebound the ball, block shots, learn to screen a bit better, and you have a cheap Omer Asik.

    • stevedNo Gravatar says:

      So I had a look at Memphis’s rebound figures and I would say that Memphis is if not an elite rebounding team, definitely in the top 10.

      Offensive rebounds – Memphis = 13.0 per game, opponents = 11.4 per game
      Defensive rebounds – Memphis = 29.3 per game, opponents = 27.3 per game

      Rebounding differential at +3.1 is number 7 in the league – or in other words, 51.9% of available rebounds end in Memphis possession.

      Offensive rebound rate at 31.9% is 2nd in the league.
      Defensive rebound rate at 71.9% is 20th in the league, but because we are stealing so many defensive rebounds from our opponents, we still get more defensive rebounds per game than them.

    • Allen BlackNo Gravatar says:

      I would play Haddadi at Center with MG at PF for about the first 5 minutes of every quarter and pound the ball inside. Not only could we control the boards but we also would force Opponents big men into foul trouble getting us in the bonus early into each quarter. With the opposing Teams big Men in foul trouble you can then bring in Zack at PF and move Mark back to Center until Speights comes in to rest him. Another thing we must learn to do a much better job of is boxing out on the Defensive end to improve our rebound numbers there. The Spurs and the Rockets both were very successful in years past using the Twin Tower sets. Both MG & HH are good free throw shooters, good at passing the ball out to an open man and unlike most big Men willing to share the ball.

  3. neo-realistNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, poorly written article.

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