Kurt Helin

Boston Celtics v Detroit Pistons

Andre Drummond’s offensive rebounding trick: grabbing his own miss

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Andre Drummond is a rebounding machine — he is the only player in the last 17 years to grab more than 100 offensive and 100 defensive rebounds in a month. Last season, Drummond grabbed 437 offensive rebounds, the most in the NBA by a wide margin (Rudy Gobert was second but 40 back). He grabbed a ridiculous 18.3 percent of the Pistons’ missed shots last season, also best in the NBA by a healthy range (DeAndre Jordan was second at 16.2). Drummond’s offensive rebound rate was 11th best in NBA history. He had 337 putback shots off misses last season. He’s a physical force of nature on the boards.

He’s also got a little trick, a little gift that helps him out — he gets a lot of his own misses.

This isn’t new news, look what Drummond told MLive last season when asked if he rushes shots knowing he might miss and grab his own board:

“Yeah, I’d say sometimes I do,” Drummond said, when asked if he indeed plots some misses directionally. “I’m not going to lie. I do sometimes. I know I can go get it and put it right back in.”

As noted in a great piece by Scott Rafferty at The Sporting News, this is an old Moses Malone trick and it’s not about racking up stats, it’s about practicality.

It’s not that Drummond deliberately misses shots for the sake of padding his rebounding numbers; He rushes them knowing his second jump is far quicker than most opponents. Malone did the same over the course of his career. As soon as the ball left his fingertips, he’d use his size and speed advantage to fight for positioning while his defender was still in the air.

Check out this video to get an example — Drummond hurries his shot but knows he can just move Gobert out-of-the-way and get his own board.

(Drummond gets fouled here, and as a guy who shot 38.9 percent from the stripe last year he can expect to see more of that. It’s a valid strategy against him.)

It will be interesting to see if Drummond can keep up these numbers as Stan Van Gundy brings in shooters — it’s not just that there may be fewer rebounds to grab, but the rebound of a missed three-point shot often caroms a long way out from where Drummond is around the rim.

But consider this something to watch next season. As the NBA trends smaller, Drummond is an old-school big man who can do this to a lot of teams.

Anthony Bennett has looked good playing for Canada. Will that carry over to NBA?

Men's basketball, Semi final round action,
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Canada opens its FIBA Americas play today (Tuesday) taking on Argentina, in what should be one of the more attractive Group B matches in the tournament. It’s a game of contrasts. Argentina is the old guard, they have had international success — gold at the 2004 Olympics — but their golden generation has aged out (Manu Ginobili isn’t playing for them, for example). Canada is the young team on the rise, a squad loaded with young NBA talent — Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Nicholson, Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, and…

Anthony Bennett.

The former No. 1 pick, a guy panned as a bust, has looked good for Canada in warmups for the tournament. He was a starter and key part of Canada winning the FIBA Americas’ tuneup event, the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup. Against Brazil, he scored 11 straight points and finished with 16 points in 15 minutes in that tournament.

He was asked about what is different after that win, as reported by Josh Lewenberg at TSN.

“[I’m] just playing with confidence, pretty much,” the 22-year-old forward responded. “Just going out there, playing defense, running the court. Just doing the little things first and trying to make offense come to me.”

“Anthony has been exemplary this summer,” said (Canada GM Steve) Nash, the two-time NBA MVP and future hall of fame point guard. “He’s had a tough first two years in the league but his attitude’s been amazing. His talent has never been in question but his attitude, willingness to learn and attention to detail… not that his attitude was ever an issue, but for him to come, to play in the Pan Am Games, to partake in a whole summer with us, it shows he has a real willingness to learn and get better and a want to be a great player.”

Bennett is also healthy, which has not happened a lot through his first two years in the NBA, and those injuries impacted his conditioning.

The question is, can Bennett bring this same level of play to Minnesota next season?

Bennett has had moments where he’s looked improved before — 2014 Summer League, for example — but it hasn’t translated once the NBA tipped off. Bennett was better last season in Minnesota than he was as a rookie, but he still needs to make strides to become a regular rotation player an improving Timberwolves team can count on.

That’s the ceiling for Bennett, it seem — solid rotation player. That’s nowhere near what is expected out of a No. 1 pick, but that anchor around him is more about Cleveland’s misread than it is Bennett’s game (notice the Cavs changed GMs). Bennett is what he is.

Canadian coach Jay Triano told Bennett to simplify the game — find a thing or two you’re good at and focus on doing those things exceptionally well. Crash the boards, run the floor. Everything else will fall into place.

If it falls into place for the Timberwolves, it will be one more piece in their puzzle.

Dwyane Wade playing dodgeball? We’ve got that (VIDEO).

wade
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“If you’re going to become true dodgeballers, then you’ve got to learn the five d’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!”

Dwyane Wade may not take the sport as seriously as Patches O’Houlihan — there were no wrenches being thrown — but he was out at Stance Socks HQ (they are the makers of the official NBA socks now) and while there he played a little dodgeball with the staff.

And he just nails one person. He is not taking it easy out there. Patches would be proud.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Report: Celtics engaged in contract extension talks with Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger

Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
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Will they take a little less to gain some long-term security?

That has been the contract extension debate for players around the league this summer. For players such as Jonas Valanciunas and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the answer was yes. For Tristan Thompson, the answer is no.

Boston is having those same discussions with two guys, and both may lean toward taking the security, if the number is right — Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. The sides are talking now and that will ramp up, reports the Boston Globe.

“Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,” Ainge said. “So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.”

Zeller, 25, appears the most likely of the three to be in line for an extension. The 7-footer averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds last season and shot a team-high 54.9 percent from the field. Zeller’s win share of 6.5 — a metric that measures the amount of victories contributed by a player — was the highest on the team.

Sullinger, who averaged 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 58 games last year, is still just 23. But he already has had back and foot surgeries, and his conditioning has been a frequent issue. Sullinger has been training in Houston with former NBA player and coach John Lucas for much of the summer and has shared pictures of his apparently trimmed-down physique through social media. But his return to Boston for preseason training will be most telling.

By the three, they are also discussing Perry Jones, but he has to make the roster first (the Celtics have to cut one guaranteed contract and he could be that guy). Even if he does make it there is no extension in his future.

Zeller can take the security of a deal with the Celtics, or bet on himself and become a restricted free agent next summer when two-thirds of the league has max cap space and will be looking to hand out deals. Zeller averaged 10.2 points a game with a very efficient true shooting percentage of 59.2 percent. He had the second highest PER on the Celtics last season (behind Isaiah Thomas), and Zeller led the Celtics in win shares (6.5). He’s a guy Ainge wants to be part of the Celtics’ future. Of course, the question becomes what’s the number that makes Zeller sign? Big men get paid, would something near Kidd-Gilchrist’s $52 million be enough?

As for Sullinger, he averaged 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds a game last season but that doesn’t mean everyone is sold on him. He has battled injuries through his career, which may make him inclined to take the security of a long-term deal. But again, it’s all about the number that works for both sides.

If I were a betting man, I’d expect there’s a better than 50/50 chance a Zeller deal gets done. Not so sure about Sullinger.

Dwight Howard says James Harden is the best left handed shooter ever

James Harden
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Dwight Howard was on Twitter Monday asking questions, for example, “who is the GOAT?” He said you had to choose between Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or Bill Russell. It’s all good fun.

Then he asked and answered a question on lefties:

As in James Harden. Howard’s Rocket teammate.

Which was interesting because the above-mentioned Russell is a leftie, and someone called Howard out on it. So Howard changed his tune.

I’d personally go with Chris Mullin as a shooter if we’re naming lefties.

Harden might not even be a starter on my all-time left-handed team.

Center: Bill Russell (reserves David Robinson, Artis Gilmore)
Power Forward: Dave Cowens
Small forward: Chris Mullin
Shooting guard: Gail Goodrich (Harden is in discussion with Manu Ginobili)
Point guard: Nate “Tiny” Archibald

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball for the discussion)