Who are the best offensive rebounders in the NBA?

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love.jpgIf you’re Josh Smith or Dominique Wilkins, offensive rebounding can look very, very cool. But for most guys in the NBA, offensive rebounding is doing the dirty work. While everyone else is out on the perimeter handling the ball, slicing through defenders and firing up jumpers to get their points, offensive rebounders have to get their buckets by parking themselves under the basket and fighting gigantic men with better position to try and get a second opportunity for their offense. Without further ado, here are five of the best offensive rebounders in the league, in no particular order:

1. Jon Brockman, Sacramento Kings

Brockman isn’t anywhere near the player that fellow Kings rookie Tyreke Evans is. In fact, Brockman probably isn’t one of the two best rookies on his own team. But Brockman is an unapologetically physical player, and an absolute monster on the offensive boards. Brockman easily leads the league in offensive rebound rate with a mark of 18.8 — for contrast, Glen Davis is in second place with a mark of 15.7. When Brockman is on the floor, the Kings’ offensive rebounding percentage goes up a ludicrous 12.5%. 

One key to Brockman’s offensive rebounding prowess is that he almost never shoots. Of the 330 qualified players, Brockman ranks 323rd in usage rate, and a full 16% of Brockman’s shot attempts are tip-ins. Brockman doesn’t play much, but when he does he is an absolute force on the offensive glass.

2. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

What’s really impressive about Love’s offensive rebounding is that he manages to get so many offensive boards while also spending a lot of time on the perimeter. Love has an excellent outside shooting touch for a big man, and slightly over half of his shot attempts are jumpers. But he knows how to get under the basket and find the ball when someone else shoots, and his 14.4 offensive rebounding rate is good for 5th in the league. 
3. Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons

He’s still got it. Wallace is one of the pioneers of the back-tap, when he won’t even grab the rebound, but slap it out to the perimeter to give his team another possession. Since Wallace isn’t as tall as most of the guys he fights for rebounds with and often can’t finish in traffic himself, it’s a play born out of necessity that more and more big men in the NBA have since adapted. Even though he’s 35 and his knees are almost completely shot (in fact, he may miss the rest of this season), Wallace is still a quality offensive rebounder when he’s healthy.
4. DaJuan Blair:

A theme that appears to be getting clearer and clearer among top offensive rebounders: height and hops are much less important than strength, a wide base, instincts, and a willingness to scrap. In fact, about the only athletic superfreak with an off-the-charts offensive rebound rate this year was…

5. Greg Oden:

Oh. Now I’m just kind of sad.
Honorable Mentions:

Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol (especially the way he keeps the ball high on put-backs), Josh Smith, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Glen Davis, and many more. 

Byron Scott expected to start D’Angelo Russell after All-Star break, but hasn’t talked to him about it

Byron Scott D'Angelo Russell
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Communication.

When we talk about Lakers’ coach Byron Scott’s questioned player development skills with young players Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and particularly D'Angelo Russell, it is his old-school lack of communication that comes into question. It’s what is different from what Gregg Popovich or Quin Snyder or other guys developing strong young players have done. From the outside (we’re not in practices/film sessions), we see Scott was not letting Russell play through mistakes — feeling that was rewarding bad behavior — but then not doing a good job communicating what the player is doing wrong.

This comment from Scott, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, sums it up perfectly.

Scott plans to start Russell after NBA All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14). But Scott said the two have not talked about that issue.

“He’s not old enough for me to have a meeting and discuss, ‘What do you think?’” Scott said.

I would say you should have that meeting — it’s called a teachable moment. “What do you think? Well here is what I see that is different.”

Part of what is going on with Scott and Russell is the concern from some in the Lakers’ camp that Russell is a little too full of himself, that his ego is too big, and it could become a problem. So they are trying to take him down a peg. I would say that for a smart player — and Russell is that — the game is humbling and will take care of the ego issue. But you’ve got to give him run to develop him.

Play him, and then communicate with him. It’s a system that does worth with modern players.

Nikola Vucevic hits fade-away game winner for Magic against Hawks

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The Hawks almost came back and won this — Atlanta went on an 8-0 run in the final minutes to tie the game at 94-94 with Orlando. The Magic had one last chance with 2.2 seconds left.

Nikola Vucevic nailed it.

Can’t blame Al Horford‘s defense on this one, he pushed Vucevic out and contested the shot. But in a make-or-miss league Vucevic nailed the game winner, Orlando wins 96-94.

If that looks familiar, Vucevic knocked down pretty much the same shot against the Lakers earlier this season.

LeBron James on Super Bowl: “Got to go with the Carolina Panthers”

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, right, embraces Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James after the Cavaliers defeated the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. The Cavaliers won 95-90. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
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We know Stephen Curry — who spent many of his formative years in Charlotte and still thinks of the city as his hometown — is all in on the Carolina Panthers today against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 30.

On this, he and LeBron James agree.

LeBron sounded like the politically cautious, image-conscious version of himself at the start of this quote from Uninterrupted on Facebook, but as he gets going, you can quickly see who he wants in this game (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“I don’t know if I quite got a prediction but I definitely want to see a great Super Bowl,” James said in the video. “But if it was a life and death situation and I had to choose one team and one player, I got to go with Killah Cam. Got to go with the Carolina Panthers, they’ve been playing the most consistent football all year round. Both offensively, defensively and special teams. Got to go with Cam and one of my boys plays for them too as well, Ted Ginn Jr., that’s been showing out all year as well.

“No disrespect to the Broncos. I love their team. They got the legend at quarterback, they got that defense that’s out of control. They got some receivers that be balling out as well. They’re really well coached as well and that’s the reason they are in the Super Bowl. But I’m rolling with the Carolina Panthers today.”

A lot of NBA players like the way Cam Newton plays — with exuberance, wearing his heart on his sleeve, dancing and celebrating. That’s how Curry and LeBron and other NBA players want to play their game, and they feel reined in by the league. They relate to Cam Newton and the ridiculous role model/celebration debate.

We’ll see how much celebrating the Denver defense lets Newton do.

Kevin Durant on Warriors, Spurs: “We’re not scared of neither one of those teams”

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder while facing the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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We’d seen this movie before. Against the San Antonio Spurs. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors offensive machine got cranked up, dropped 73 on Oklahoma City in the first half, led by 14 at the break, and it was about to turn into another rout, and another statement win for the Warriors.

Except the Thunder came back. OKC held Golden State to just 18 third quarter points and got the lead down to two points — the Thunder pushed the Warriors away from the things they like to do (Stephen Curry/Draymond Green pick-and-roll) and made life difficult for them. It was a fantastic performance for OKC, even if Golden State still prevailed with a 116-108 win.

After the game Durant would have none of any moral victory talk — even though it was — and he said the Thunder were not intimidated by the Warriors or anyone else, via Royce Young of Oklahoma City.

“That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Durant said of the comeback. “When we get down, we’re supposed to tie the game up. No moral victories in here…

“Man, we’re not scared of neither one of those teams,” Durant said, including the Spurs. “We’re going to play our game. Nobody in this locker room is scared. We gotta play ’em. If we want to get to where we want to get to, we gotta play ’em. We’re not ducking nobody.”

The NBA isn’t professional boxing; nobody gets to duck anybody.

But a Thunder team searching for respect gained a measure Saturday night. The Thunder picture themselves contenders and for much of the season listened to talking heads (myself included) say the Warriors and Spurs are in a different class. Saturday night was a step in showing that they belonged. There are still questions about how Golden State or San Antonio could exploit players such as Dion Waiters or Enes Kanter is a seven-game series, but the Thunder have two of the league’s top five players — they can beat and hang with anyone.

They have a shot at a title.

If Durant believes that, it would impact his decision this summer, but that is another discussion.