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.
When 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