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. 

Tom Thibodeau on Timberwolves not getting first-rounder in Jimmy Butler trade: ‘Getting good players was a priority’

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The Heat offered Josh Richardson and a first-round pick. The Rockets offered four first-round picks or Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks. The Pelicans reportedly offered Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round pick.

But the Timberwolves traded Jimmy Butler to the 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric in a deal that included no first-round picks and Minnesota getting only one second-rounder.

Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau:

We wanted quality players. I think that that was important for us.

When you look at, to get two starters off a team that won 52 games, and they’re both young, and they’re going to get better, and they’re both very good defensively. They both shoot the 3, so we think they fit well with the guys that we do have.

And so once we once got to that point where felt we were getting multiple rotational players, then we felt it would be time to execute the deal.

It was what was best for the organization. Obviously, getting good players was a priority. But the pick part is important, and we felt we got a good pick from Philly.

It was what does it mean for the team? If you get two rotational players, that’s good. And then if you can get a pick, that allows you to do more things. And so I think that’s all part of it. You always try to think about what the possibilities could be.

Thibodeau might have taken the best offer for the the Timberwolves by the time he actually accepted a deal. Miami pulled the Richardson offer after his strong start to the season. Getting four first-rounders from Houston required taking Brandon Knight‘s negative-value contract, and it’s unclear exactly how the picks were protected. New Orleans has the best record of those three teams, so an unprotected pick carries less value.

But it’s also impossible to overlook Thibodeau’s present-minded attitude. That’s how he already approached everything. Now, he appears to be coaching for his job this season. Nobody ever expected him to prioritize long-term assets.

Covington and Saric are good players, but Minnesota was also 4-9 at the time of the trade. Are Covington and Saric good enough to lift the Timberwolves out of this hole and into the playoffs? It’s a tough ask. In 2020-21, Saric will be up for a big raise, and the Timberwolves already have a lot of money committed. They might have to downgrade the rest of the roster to keep Saric and avoid the luxury tax. This is a narrow window for Minnesota to get value from this trade.

That said, blame Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor for creating this situation. By allowing Thibodeau to remain in charge without much job security, Taylor is practically demanding Thibodeau emphasize the present. If Taylor wanted draft picks, he should have fired Thibodeau earlier.

Caris LeVert suffers injury so horrific, it brings teammates to tears and opponents to prayer (video)

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Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple gamewinners this season.

But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.

The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.

Markelle Fultz takes ugly pump-fake free throw

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A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?

Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.

Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.

But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.

LeBron James: ‘I almost cracked’ with Lakers’ slow start

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LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.

How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?

LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

‪“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”‬

LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.

If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.

So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.

Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.