OPP community member 3.3seconds wrote this interesting piece about the Magic's rebounding so far. - ED
Through the first three games, the Magic are on pace for a historic rebounding season. They're grabbing 79% of defensive rebounds, which is the best percentage in the league, and surpasses even their 2009-10 mark. But they're also getting 29.5% of the offensive boards, which is good enough to tie for 7th in the league.
<em>This</em> is a new development, probably spurred by the bigger lineups the team has been playing. With Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis starting, the Magic often had to choose between getting back on defense and crashing the offensive boards. But with two rebounders in the lineup, it's a lot easier to do both.
Overall, the Magic are grabbing 56.2% of the rebounds on the court. That's easily the best percentage in the league, and beats last year's leader Cleveland (52.4%).
There hasn't been a team that averaged more than 53.5% in any recent season. And were looking at a three-game sample size here, albeit a sample which includes a game which will likely be the Magic's worst loss of the season. So yeah, 56% is probably not sustainable.
Or is it?
Consider this: with Dwight and Lewis starting at the post positions, the Magic grabbed 77.4% of available defensive rebounds last year. If Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass take over many of the PF minutes, they're both an upgrade over Lewis. Lewis, in turn, is a poor rebounder for a PF but potentially a big rebounding threat at the 3. Quentin Richardson is just about the equal of Barnes as an excellent rebounder for his position. And Marcin Gortat seems primed to return to form after a somewhat disappointing season last year... is a 1.5% increase that unreasonable? I don't see how the Magic don't make some improvements as a rebounding team.
And as I said, 29.5% offensive rebounding isn't even the best average in the league right now. Nor is it unreasonable as a season-long goal. Every year, multiple teams pass the 30% mark: Memphis and Detroit last season, Portland and Philadelphia in 2008-09, three teams in 2007-08.
There's been talk of the San Antonio Spurs as a model for the Magic's lack of attention to second-chance points, but after the retirement of David Robinson, did the Spurs ever have a frontcourt with the offensive rebounding ability of Gortat/Anderson/Bass? No. They had guys like Rasho Nesterovic, Fabricio Oberto, Francisco Elson, Matt Bonner and Robert Horry. They could never put together four credible threats on the offensive glass... they rarely had more than two.And let's face it, as great a rebounder as Tim Duncan is, Dwight is likely even better.
In short, it's a lot easier for the modern-day Magic to have it both ways, sending a man back on defense while still contending for the offensive board. And if they do, it wouldn't be out of the question for them to become the first team in a long time to snag more than 54% of the season's rebounds. If that happens, it's one more obstacle the team's opponents have to overcome.