From time to time, we will turn our writing desk over to our readers who in turn will provide us their insight and different spin on all things Raptors. In this edition:
Tom is an Equity Research Analyst by day and a long-time Raptors
supporter at night. He is a recent season ticketholder (i.e. sucker for punishment) and an excellent referee from 125 feet away. Liston despises “tanking”, thinks Calderon
is underrated, is on a mission to end the booing of VC, and will miss “Hump’s Dad”. He’s from the hotbed of Canadian basketball (New Brunswick obviously) where he was a very undersized but effective rebounder – just don’t ask him to dribble through traffic. He believes taking a charge and bruising for an offensive board are the two best plays in the game and he thinks the Raptors
TwitFam is the best in the NBA
Email: tomliston at hotmail.com <> twitter.com/Liston
I’ve recently read a number of articles and blog posts on the importance of rebounding (specifically rebounding differential – the difference between a team’s total rebounds vs. their opponent’s total) in determining the outcome of basketball games. Being an undersized and gritty rebounder in high school, I tended to agree. Recent blogs have debated how Raptors’ players like Andrea Bargnani
and now Hedo Turkoglu have to “step it up” as they are underperforming in this category.
The vast majority of opinions have focused on an individual’s effort, size and positioning as the determining aspects of whether the player is an effective rebounder – outlining various stats on other centres (in Barg’s case) in the league, comparing players over 6’10”, etc to prove their point one way or another.
While I agree with many of these assessments, I was drawn to what I think is the larger problem – and likely one that has a much larger impact on the Raptors
rebounding woes. So, I asked myself (in a non-schizo way) “what is the source of rebounds?” Brilliantly, after many sleepless nights, I came up with “missed shots”! And, for obvious reasons, missed shots on the defensive end are more likely to end up in the defensive teams hands (the NBA data suggests 73% of rebounds are on the defensive end).
Therefore, I concluded:
Rebounding is a function of an individual’s effort AND his team’s defensive FG%
So is this true? I used the data from the last two NBA seasons and found a “large negative correlation” of 55.8% between an opponent’s field goal percentage and defensive rebounds. In laymans terms, this suggests that a very important part of why teams get more defensive rebounds is its ability to hold their opponents to a low FG% - or to put it another way “force your opponents to take difficult shots and your team will likely get more defensive rebounds”. An important mantra in statistics is “correlation does not imply causation” – but I believe we will all agree that the logic here is sound as well.
Now then, what’s a more important factor in determining the outcome of games?
Several articles/blogs attribute rebound differential as a critical factor. However, here is a quick look at the data we compiled: