Well, I told you so.
Not that it should come as any surprise, but the Brooklyn Nets have struggled rebounding the basketball this season. Per game, their offensive rebounding percentage is 22.7% and their defensive rebounding percentage is 73.7%, good for 24th and 20th in the league respectively. They also give up 11.4 offensive rebounds per game, eighth worst in the NBA.
Head coach Lionel Hollins emphasized the need for the Nets to be tougher on the boards during training camp. Thus far, they are disappointing their coach.
Where do we begin?
Brook Lopez has taken a lot of heat from the media, the fans and even his coach so we'll start with him. Lopez's rebounding prowess this season has been, to put it lightly, lackluster. He's averaging a microscopic 5.2 RPG. That's good for 88th in the NBA. He trails point guards Stephen Curry and Reggie Jackson in that category. If memory serves correct, Lopez is a 7'0" center. Yikes.
But Lopez is not the only one to blame. Mason Plumlee has also been a huge disappointment. Plumlee's inconsistent play on the boards, among other facets of the game, has resulted in a significant decrease in minutes. Even when he gets into a good position to grab a rebound, he's seeming to have trouble actually corralling the ball.
Kevin Garnett has been the lone bright spot for the Nets; he's averaging 8.2 RPG. However, that stat is misleading. While Garnett has been successful on the defensive glass, he's not nearly as impressive offensively rebounding the ball, somewhere the Nets have particularly struggled. He's only averaging 0.9 offensive rebounds per game.
General manager Billy King told the media during training camp that the Nets may need to utilize a rebounding-by-committee strategy because they lack a traditional rebounder. With that rationale, players like Joe Johnson, Mirza Teletovic and Bojan Bogdanovic should be contributing more. Perhaps that's asking too much of them.
Jerome Jordan periodically replaced Plumlee in the rotation. His rebounding has certainly been better than Plumlee's and he's certainly not hurting the Nets off the glass. But is it wise to rely so heavily on a player with only 33 games and 207 total minutes in his career and a partially guaranteed contract? Probably not.
There's not easy fix here for the Nets. The players are simply going to have to play better. Lopez and Plumlee need to be more aggressive rebounding the ball. The Nets shouldn't rely upon the old, Garnett, and the inexperienced, Jordan, for consistent rebounding.
What's even more frustrating for Nets fans is that former Brooklynites Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche have been impressive, and in Evans' case, downright dominant. Two years ago, when the Nets won 49 games, they were second in rebounding percentage. Evans is fresh off a 20 rebound night against Memphis and Blatche is churning out double-doubles like he owns a rebounding factory. Granted Blatche is playing in China, but his play is impressive nonetheless. Boy, how the Nets could use those two or something similar.