Myths about Celtics and rebounding just won't stop
Another day passes and another article is written on Celtics being bad at rebounding. This is not a shocker, as the author of the article agrees, and he also acknowledges that (well, he acknowledges that Doc acknowledges that) you don't need to lead the rebounding stats to win games, Miami and Knicks being other cases in point. However, there is still an issue according to Blakely, that Celtics' rebounding margin also ranks last, compared to last year when we ranked 28th. He firmly asserts that to succeed, Celtics need to improve their rebounding margin if they want to win.
I'm quite frankly tired of these arguments, and I'll try to explain why they don't make sense as much as they appear to.
First of all, let's look at what a rebound is, because people seem to forget how that occurs. Rebound happens when a team misses a shot, and statistically teams get more defensive rebounds than offensive ones. So, if you don't make your shots, the other team is going to get more rebounds, unless you really try and get more offensive rebounds.
That brings me to my second point: Celtics are a bad offensive rebounding team, and that's by design. We are dead last in that category, and this is not going to change unless Doc changes his philosophy. So by that logic, Celtics will always be a bad rebounding team.
Now the question is whether getting more rebounds is that important. One way to look at it would be to look for a correlation between rebounding margin and scoring margin, since in the end, that's how you win a game. The table on the left shows the rebounding margins and scoring margins for each Celtics game this season.
Results are interesting:
- Celtics have out-rebounded their opponents only twice this season, they have won one and lost the other one by almost the same margin.
- We got out-rebounded by double digits in 3 games, of which we won 2.
- The worst loss of the season came against Pistons where we grabbed the same amount of offensive rebounds. The difference? Well, we missed 6 more shots than they did, which naturally turned into more rebounds for them.
- Two games where we simply let the opponent grab offensive rebounds were the 2nd game vs. Bucks (9) and the game against Jazz (14). We won both.
- Only 3 of the 11 games we've played so far suggest a strong correlation between rebounding and winning. Against the Bucks, 76ers and the Nets our losing margin is close to the rebounding margin.
- When you look at the correlation between each column and the scoring margin, the result is negative. That is, if you knew nothing about math and statistics, you could say that you should get less rebounds to score more points. Of course that is not the case, but if we're playing a game of let's-look-at-random-stuff-and-reach-conclusions game, it might as well be.
To clarify, I'm not suggesting that rebounds are not an important part of the game. They are. We could have won the Nets game if we gave away 2 less offensive rebounds. Yet rebounding stats get more meaning when you look at them under a certain light, and that light includes statistics like "second chance points", "missed FGs", "defensive rebounding rate" etc. For example, Boston ranks 13th on Defensive Rebounding Rate, according to Hollinger stats, which is not bad. We also rank 13th when you look at the number of rebounds the opponents grabbed. Those are also facts that somehow escape the Celtics rebounding myths.
To conclude, Boston is going to have a bad rebounding margin. That's just it. The Celtic way of winning basketball does not include getting a lot rebounds. Please stop looking at one random bit of information and finding a reason to be upset about it or getting ready to push the panic button.