It took Jared Sullinger to sell former coach Doc Rivers on the value of offensive rebounding. In just under 20 minutes per game, the rookie from Ohio State led Boston with two O-boards per game before season-ending back surgery.
A fully healthy Sullinger won’t have to convince Stevens.
Rebounding was a strength for the Bulldogs going back to the 2009-10 season. That year Butler ranked 30th in defensive rebounding. They only got better on both ends of the floor in the following years.
The next season Butler was ranked in the top 50 in offensive, defensive and total rebounding. In 2011-12
| Butler Rebounding Under Stevens
the Bulldogs finished 21st in offensive and total rebounding. The numbers slipped in later seasons, but Butler remained imposing on the boards.
So you can imagine Stevens’ delight to have Sullinger and Kris Humphries to clean the glass.
Joining them will be rookie Kelly Olynyk, who showed a better than expected appetite for rebounding (particularly offensive rebounds) during the Orlando Summer League.
Boston ranked last in offensive rebounding for the past four seasons.
Rivers believes preventing transition points is more important than offensive rebounding. His belief is supportable: the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs were two of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league yet faced off in the NBA Finals.
But Boston was a mediocre 3-point shooting team last season, and on paper it looks like they will be worse this season.
Overall shooting percentage is expected to drop for the Celtics without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. And if Rondo isn’t around to start the season (as he recovers from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL), that will adversely affect the offense as well.
If the Celtics struggle offensively as expected bu that gives even more motivation to attack the offensive glass for second or third chances.
Statistics taken from Basketball-Reference.com Questions? Comments? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.