In the video above, Nets players Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, and Mason Plumlee talk about Brooklyn’s inability to rebound, and some ways they’ve got to fix it.
But what else can they do? Let’s look deeper at some of the Nets rebounding issues.
Once Brook Lopez left the Brooklyn Nets lineup for the season with a broken bone in his right foot, newbie head coach Jason Kidd was left with few options. Instead of sticking with a traditional lineup, Kidd decided to make a fundamental change and move Paul Pierce (a lifetime wing) into the 4 slot, committing to smallball but weakening their frontline.
As a result of that change, the Nets defense became quicker and more versatile, and the change paid huge dividends to the Nets, turning them from a 10-21 laughingstock to a 44-38 playoff team.
But by sacrificing quickness for size, the Nets became vulnerable to offensive rebounds — which is playing out brutally so far in this series. Through two games, the Raptors have an offensive rebounding rate of 35.5%, which means that more than one out of every three shots that the Raps take, they’re getting back to continue possessions. More possessions means more points, and more points is… well, bad.
Mouse in the House
It’s no secret that the paint in the NBA is grown man territory. While you don’t always have to be the strongest person to be an effective rebounder (see: Rodman, Dennis) having strength to move bodies certainly doesn’t hurt.
Look at the first clip in the above video. For all of Andrei Kirilenko’s length and litheness, Patterson’s brute strength makes a little shoulder contact feel like a Mack truck. Even Mirza Teletovic, who packs a bit more beef than Kirilenko, has trouble keeping Patterson off the glass.
Lack of Box-Out
The most basic tenet of rebounding is the box-out. There is lots of technique that goes into boxing out, but at a certain point, it’s about putting your body in harms way to hold off on rushing rebounders. But, even the best players in the world carry bad habits and miss this simple assignment.
Containing Dribble Penetration
Seconds after any offensive rebound you will invariably hear “BOX OUT!” being screamed out by either coaches, players, media members or sometimes all of the above. But not all offensive boards are created equal and thus not all are a result of a lack of boxing out. Breakdowns at other points of a team’s defense, such as on the ball, can cause such issues as well.
As a dribble seeps through a team’s defense, rotations are forced and matchups become fuzzy. Check the below picture and look what happens to Mirza Teletovic’s rebound responsibility when Mason Plumlee is pulled from the hoop to contain penetration.
The Nets are willingly trading beef for speed when they go to their small lineups and the Raptors have a clear rebounding advantage in this series. But, by simply boxing out or containing penetration just a little better, the Nets shrink the gap and gain a foothold in this series.
First chance to rebound? Game 3.