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The Heat are one of the weakest rebounding teams in the NBA. If Miami hopes to host a championship parade in 2015 and beyond, it needs to address this issue.
The Heat are the worst offensive rebounding team in the NBA. This isn’t hyperbole: Statistically, they are last in the percentage of available offensive rebounds that they grab. Granted, to an extent, this weakness can be understood not as a personnel deficiency but as a matter of deliberate strategy.
The Heat, like the San Antonio Spurs, retreat on defense rather than hit the offensive glass—trading possessions for stops.
“It’s not really an emphasis. Of all of the things we emphasize, our emphasis is on transition defense, halfcourt defense and good ball movement on offense,” Shane Battier explained to Heat.com’s Couper Moorhead. “Offensive rebounding isn’t something that we’ve stressed.”
The suggestion is that analysts should look at the rebounding situation in Miami, shrug their shoulders and move on.
But then there’s the matter of the other end of the floor. The Heat are also toward the bottom of the league in defensive rebounding rate, pulling down just 72.3 percent of available boards, which is good for 28th in basketball.
Now this is a problem.
Miami is good at getting in a position to take shots and then hitting those shots. It is excellent at denying the same to opponents, but it yields so many extra possessions that it puts itself at a decided disadvantage. The Heat lead the NBA in true shooting percentage, with a ridiculous figure of 59.5 this season.
The problem, though, is this: With its rebounding issues—and recently developed tendency to turn the basketball over—Miami needs to have a near-historically good true shooting percentage to remain elite. That may not be sustainable.
The Heat might believe the solution to the problem is in-house—Greg Oden is progressing nicely, has been productive in limited minutes and is still, incredibly, just 26—but more likely than not, Miami will look to make an offseason addition or two to solidify this area.
Unrestricted free agent Kris Humphries isn’t a perfect option, but he’s a top-flight rebounder and, after an unfortunate stretch of professional and personal bad luck, could be available at a steep discount. Andrew Bynum could fill a similar role. As could the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill.
Or rather than specifically targeting big men who can help on the glass, Miami could make it an organization priority to target free agents in its price range who are above-average rebounders at their position, such as Shawn Marion.