With only two preseason games under our belts, it is far too early to look for trends and take them seriously, but at least one statistic may show promise. Let's look at the rebounding numbers. The leader is Al Horford with an average 7.5 rebounds/game in 17.6 minutes.

The next two in line are Guerschon Yabusele with 7.0 RPG in 15.6 minutes and Daniel Theis at 6.5 RPG in 13.4 minutes. Then we have a tie with Aron Baynes and Jayson Tatum with 5.0 RPG. Aron averaged 16.9 minutes and Jayson 27.4. Marcus Smart comes in at 4.0 RPG and 16.6 MPG.

In the regular season last year, Horford had fewer rebounds (6.8) in close to double the minutes (32.4) as compared to this preseason. Smart had almost the same number (3.9) in close to double the minutes (30.4).

Yabu's preseason number is impressive, particularly since he accomplished it in 15.6 minutes. I still don't view him as an offensive force, but he can defend and he certainly can rebound. Both he and Baynes take up a lot of space. It is tough for opponents to move them.

Theis is an extraordinary rebounder. He wants every miss. His hand always seems to be on, or around, the ball. He just has a knack for it. I love what he does.

Tatum is going to do everything. Handle the ball, pass, shoot, defend, rebound. His average of 27.4 minutes indicate that he is being prepped to have an immediate impact. This young man's physique is incredible. Small waist, very lean, wide shoulders, good muscle definition. Great physiques are common in the NBA, but Jayson is absolutely cut.

Looking at the stats, I also noticed Jaylen Brown's minutes at 20.4/game. Looks like Brad Stevens is giving him a bit of a run during preseason.

The 2016 preseason numbers showed that the Celts averaged 44.4 rebounds/game, slightly above their regular season average. This preseason, so far, they have averaged 51.0 RPG. Again, we can't get carried away with that because it is only two games. But I feel Stevens wants to focus a bit more on rebounding. He has the players to do it.

Former Celtic Dave Cowens, at 6'8.5", averaged as many as 16.2 RPG. Bill Russell, at 6'9.5", pulled down as many as 24.7 RPG. The NBA has changed, but Boston was near the bottom in rebounds last year. I see that changing, at least a bit. I think Horford will average at least one or two more per game. Yabu should get a good share, even in the spare minutes he sees on the court.

Theis is a natural rebounder. You can see it. It all depends on his minutes. Baynes should see solid minutes this season and he should pull down quite a few boards. Marcus Morris has yet to get on the court for the Celtics, but he is an okay board guy. Gordon Hayward gets his rebounds in the flow of the game, and Terry Rozier, given more minutes, can give the Celts four a game. This team should come up with 46-48 RPG. See me at the end of the season.

Last season, Oklahoma City led the NBA in rebounds per game at 46.6. The Celtics came in 27th at 42.0. Only 4.6 RPG separate the two teams. We could easily lead the league in that category with a little more focus on the task. We have that potential. Early signs (maybe too early) are good.

Photo credits:
Horford via Mark S. Terrill/Associated Press
Yabusele via Rick Bowmer/AP Photo
Baynes/Theis via Steven Senne/AP Photo
Smart via Steven Senne/AP/BDN
Tatum via Elsa/Getty Images North America

Tom Lane 10/09/2017 02:19:00 PM Edit
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