Nets need to look at rebounding in starting lineup

The Brooklyn Nets will rest Kevin Garnett Friday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, and Kidd had yet to announce an official replacement, calling it a game-time decision.

Something to consider: the Nets are a poor rebounding team. Only seven teams in the NBA rank worse in rebound percentage, which tracks how many rebounds a team corrals in the opportunities they have. But without Garnett, the Nets lose their biggest rebounding threat.

According to SportVU, 72 players have played at least 15 games and averaged ten “rebound chances” per game this season, with a rebound chance defined as the number of times a player was within the vicinity (3.5 feet, to be exact) of a corralled rebound. Of those 72 players, Kevin Garnett ranks second in percentage of rebounds per chance, grabbing 71.9% of all rebounds in his zone. (Surprisingly, only Kevin Durant is better.)

So that’s good news: despite Garnett’s many struggles, he’s been one of the league’s best rebounders. But here’s the bad: Brook Lopez is the only other Nets player to fit that criteria, and out of those 72 players, he ranks 71st. Only Tyler Hansbrough grabs a fewer percentage of rebounds in his area than Lopez, who barely grabs more than 50 percent despite his 7’2″ frame and 7’7″ wingspan.

If they’re looking for rebounding, their best bet may be to start Reggie Evans, who set NBA rebounding records as a starter next to Lopez last year. But Evans has barely cracked Kidd’s rotation this season, and if Johnson also sits, the Nets may not want to trade off that much offense just to grab defensive boards.

Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic are also options — Teletovic in particular has been surprisingly good on the boards, with the team’s fifth-highest total rebound percentage, and grabs 64% of his rebound chances on 12.8 chances per 36 minutes.

But with Garnett out tonight, the Nets will need a better effort from Lopez to have a chance at controlling the glass no matter who flanks him.