The Los Angeles Clippers can score. That much is certain.
Who could stand to improve on their rebounding for the Clippers?
Blake Griffin is obviously a player that you expect to pull down some boards, but Griffin is averaging 8.2 rebounds per game compared to 10.9 last season. Blake is also not scoring like he has in the past.
At least Griffin's free-throw percentage is up.
DeAndre Jordan is the other guy that should be cleaning the glass, but Jordan is only averaging 7.2 boards per contest, almost one point lower than the 8.3 he averaged last year. With his size and athleticism, I think he could be pulling down 10 boards per game.
At face value, these are not major shortcomings, but they do add up over the course of the season. It is early, but these two guys need to set the tone when the shots go up.
Then there are players like Jamal Crawford who have provided plenty of scoring punch for the Clippers, but he's only contributing 1.9 rebounds per game.
Jamal has never been a great rebounder during his career, but I wonder why a guy like Chris Paul pulls down almost twice as many boards despite being five inches shorter. Effort?
It makes you appreciate a guy like Matt Barnes who is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game while coming off the bench.
That tells me that hustling for boards is about determination and intensity. Given Matt’s reputation as a defender, you would expect him to pursue the fundamentals of getting rebounds.
More rebounds means tighter defense and fewer second chances for opponents. They're the result of a defensive mentality, which is not necessarily the mindset of this Clippers team. Unfortunately, Vinny Del Negro has never really instilled a defensive attitude in the teams that he has coached.
Granted, team rebounds do not equate automatically to wins. The best rebounding team in the league is the Denver Nuggets, but they are 4-3. Balance is still a formula for winning. In addition, a team that shoots the ball well may not need as many rebounds.
If the Clippers are truly going to become a contender in the Western Conference and challenge teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, they will need to tighten up their defense.
It is early, but now is the time to establish some good habits.
Habits like rebounding.