There’s a lot of negativity floating around the Boston Celtics corners of the internet, and understandably so. But, as Jordan outlined for you a couple days ago, there’s at least one bright spot on the horizon: Jared Sullinger is coming back pretty soon.
As you probably already know, the Boston Celtics were an awful rebounding team last year, 29th in the NBA in total rebounds. Interestingly, the C’s were middle of the pack (13th) in defensive rebounding, meaning the offensive rebounding numbers were so low, they dragged the total rebounds deep down into the muck (something Doc Rivers’ defensive gameplan is famous for being OK with).
For some faster-paced teams, this might not have been as much of an issue, but the Celtics were 16th in pace. Fewer offensive rebounds means fewer shot attempts in fewer possessions, which meant that the field goal percentages needed to be excellent. The percentages were fine (.506 eFG%, sixth overall), but few would argue that the Celtics didn’t get killed on the glass, particularly the offensive glass, and the rebounding certainly hurt Boston at times.
Anybody can get an offensive rebound every once in a while. Just ask Jeff Green who inexplicably ended up with 55 of them this season, despite being a notoriously mediocre rebounder. But to get offensive rebounds consistently, like Sullinger did last season, players need a combination of determination, intelligence, anticipation and athleticism.
Yes, athleticism. Sullinger, though not particularly quick or springy, is very strong, and strength is an athletic trait. Perhaps more importantly, strength is an athletic trait that won’t necessarily be affected by his back surgery, at least not long term. But we’ll get to that in a little bit. Read more »