Serge Ibaka, Andray Blatche

Brooklyn Nets set NBA record-low with 17 rebounds in game


The Brooklyn Nets grabbed 17 rebounds in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.


That set a new NBA record for fewest rebounds in a game, breaking the 18 the Detroit Pistons had against the Charlotte Hornets on November 28, 2001.

Again, 17!

This season, a single player has grabbed at least 17 rebounds in a game 45 times. DeAndre Jordan, himself, has done it 16 times. Since the Pistons set the previous record, even relatively small players like Dorell Wright, Bonzi Wells and Rajon Rondo have had 17-rebound games.


But as much fun as it is to ridicule Brooklyn for this record, is it really fair?

Well, yes – but the problem wasn’t rebounding, or at least not just rebounding.

The Nets are a poor rebounding team, and they rebounded especially poorly Friday night. That was a big part of finishing with just 17.

But there were other issues – one neutral and one bad for Brooklyn – that contributed.

The Nets and Thunder played at an estimated pace of 93.14 Friday, which would rank among the NBA’s slowest over the full season. Fewer possessions mean fewer opportunities to accumulate all counting stats, including rebounds.

More significantly, Brooklyn allowed Oklahoma City to shoot 63.6 percent – the highest single-game field-goal percentage of any team this season. It’s hard to grab rebounds when the opponent doesn’t miss.

The Nets’ had 14 defensive rebounds to the Thunder’s 10 offensive rebounds – 58.3 percent of the available defensive rebounds for Brooklyn. That’s a low defensive-rebounding percentage, but teams have done worse 25 times this season.

On the other end, the Nets made a respectable 47.3 percent of their shots, again lowering their opportunities to get rebounds. They had three offensive rebounds to the Thunder’s 31 defensive rebounds – 8.8 percent of the available offensive rebounds for Brooklyn. Again, that’s a poor mark, but teams have gotten a lower percentage of offensive rebounds nine times this season. (Some teams forgo offensive rebounding to set their transition defense, and the Nets did hold Oklahoma City to just 11 fastbreak points.)

Add it all up, and the Nets’ total rebounding percentage in the game was 29.3 – the NBA’s worst single-game rebounding percentage all season. But the Bobcats did worse just last year (27.9 percent against the Utah Jazz on March 1, 2013).

Brooklyn will go into the record book, but its rebounding really wasn’t historically bad.

If you want to mock the Nets for their 17 rebounds – 17! – go for it. It’s plenty of fun to mock the Nets.

But if you want to be really accurate, acknowledge the Nets’ slow pace and then mock them for their defense and rebounding, in that order.

51Q: Does Ty Lawson vault the Rockets into the top tier of championship contenders?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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I see five clear upper-echelon championship contenders –  Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Cavaliers.

Do the Rockets belong in that group, or do they fill the next tier by themselves?

Ty Lawson – acquired for pennies on the dollar – could put Houston over the top.

But, really, this premise might not be fair to the Rockets. They earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season and reached the conference finals last season. James Harden finished second in MVP voting. Dwight Howard looked like a star during the playoffs. The supporting cast – Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer and even Jason Terry – played better than anyone expected. Young players like Clint Capela, K.J. McDaniels, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell could make a leap at any moment.

There’s a case to be made we should have taken Houston more seriously even before trading for Lawson.

I didn’t, though, and I don’t think many others did either.

I suspect one of the biggest reasons is the Rockets’ balance. Houston – 12th in points scored per possession, sixth in points allowed per possession – was one of only two teams to win more than 51 games last season without ranking top five in either category. Of the seven teams with so many victories, the Hawks – sixth, seventh – were the only other. Atlanta was a darling team, winning 60 games after going 38-44 the season prior. The Rockets’ modest win increase, from 54 to 56, drew less attention.

But balance shouldn’t be punished. Houston’s surprisingly strong defense should be celebrated. Lawson might push its middling offense over the top.

There are reasons to question that, though.

The biggest is Lawson’s sobriety. If he’s not focused and engaged, this all goes out the window. His comments about going to rehab only because it was court-ordered raise doubts, though they hardly foretell anything.

Let’s say Lawson’s off-court problems are behind him. How big of an upgrade is he? The Rockets already had a pretty good point guard who fit well with Harden in Beverley. Lawson is a clear offensive upgrade, but in the biggest moments, the ball will still run through Harden. At that point, would you rather have Beverley or Lawson on the floor? Beverley is a far superior defender, and his off-ball offensive game isn’t far from Lawson’s. Beverley is is a fine spot-up shooter, and Lawson’s strengths involve having the ball and creating. Lawson’s biggest boost could come when Harden sits, but that was fewer than 12 minutes per game last season.

Sure, a secondary ball-handler could ease pressure on Harden throughout a long regular season. Lawson and Harden can take turns running the attack.

But we’re talking about title contention, and in those high-leverage situations, it’s Harden’s show. How much does Lawson matter then?

The Rockets have a chance to win a championship. As good a chance as the NBA’s five best teams? I’m not so sure.

UNLV following Kentucky’s lead with combine for NBA scouts

Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw
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Kentucky held a two-day combine last season for NBA scouts.

Now, LSU and UNLV are following suit.

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports:

The Runnin’ Rebels will hold their event on October 23rd and 24th at the Mendenhall Center, UNLV’s practice facility, sources told The expectation is that all 30 NBA teams will be in attendance.

LSU has potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and another first-round prospect in Tim Quarterman.

UNLV features lottery prospect Stephen Zimmerman.

This won’t replace scouts attending games and watching practices, but the fact that all 30 teams plan to attend shows how seriously the pro league takes these. No college team wanted John Calipari to have that competitive advantage in recruiting, so the smart ones are leveling the field with their own combines. Soon, more college teams will follow.

As the calendar gets packed, NBA teams might have to pick and choose which they attend. At that point, we might get little clues about which prospects they’re scouting hardest.