Kenneth Faried takes Matt Bonner's Mom out to Dinner then never calls
This is a followup to a post I wrote over at 48MinutesofHell in the comments section regarding our rebounding vs the Nuggets. My first thought was that Kenneth Faried's abuse of our front line in the third/fourth was an aberration. He didn't really steal a lot of boards but he had a stretch there (along with Al Harrington) where he basically made Matt Bonner look like a red headed traffic cone and threw various people around like it was WWF night.
Wanting to know if this was vintage Faried or just what should expect from Matt Bonner I went and checked through the numbers over at John Hollingers' house of ill repute. I started my journey with Faried, then in my usual manner, got sucked in for a good 30 minutes comparing our band of motley Humans against the other 29 bands of Motley humans in the NBA - and all for no commercial gain.
(These numbers are all courtesy of Hollingers Player Stats page Which can be found here. No I will not be talking about PER or it's lack of true defensive Metrics because basically I don't have a horse in that race.)
Firstly on Faried.
He is currently bringing in 20.2% of missed shots when on the floor, which is good for Sixth in the NBA. His offensive rebounding % is 17.4% - good for 2nd in the entire association!! What who what! Apparently he plays with elbows and wild abandon fairly often. Good for Denver, I guess.
I decided to check on where our guys sat in the great Pantheon of Rebounding Gods.
Our best rebounder is still Timmy who grabs 17.8% total good for 22nd in the league. DeJaun's our next best at 15.1% and then Splitsville at 14.3%.
The really interesting thing I came across here is how terrible Tiago is at offensive rebounding comparative to his defensive numbers. While the reverse would appear to be true of Dejaun (with some mitigation in his favor which I will talk about later). Offensively Dejaun pulls down 13.5% of the misses good for 16th in the entire league. Which is seven different shades of awesome (there are only that many colours to be awesome with, unless your a true believer in Terry Pratchett), while Splits only snares 7.9%.
On defense Splits pulls down 20.7% and Dejaun only grabs 16.9%....Which did surprise me. To put this in perspective. Kawhi has a defensive rebound rate of 16.3% which is top 15 amongst all Small Forwards. I thought that DeJaun would be higher up the food chain, however his lower numbers may well be related in part to just how all time best ever Timmy "Old Man" Duncan is as they play a lot of minutes together.
Timmy is going nowhere these days as an offensive rebounder. He grabs a paltry 6.7% of misses on offense. On D? He is 3rd in the entire league at hoovering up the misses of lesser humans. He grabs 29% of the available boards...That's more than anyone not named Dwight Howard or Marcus Camby. Forget Bynum, Klove, Gasol, Noah etc etc etc. 1 in 3 shots missed on our defensive end goes to Timmy while he is on the floor....At 36 years of age that kid is some kind of machine.
Bon Bon was a surprise for me. I wasn't shocked at his 9% of total misses figure. He has the most horrendous 1.8% rate on the offensive end, which i guess is kind of obvious considering he is constantly loitering out near the 3 point line. It was more that he pulls down 16.2% on the Defensive end. That's nearly the same as Dejaun. He also plays a lot of minutes with Timmy. It's not mind blowing, but it did give me pause.
These numbers would seem to indicate to me that defensively at least, rebounding is far more about positional play and fundamental basketball than raw athletic ability. Splitter is a good indicator of this; Timmy even more so. Merlin couldn't jump over a matchbox anymore yet he is as good an example of defensive rebounding as you will find in the league. Offensive rebounding is about abusing people with your body and Defensive rebounding seems to be about staying between your man and the ball at all times and boxing out every F4R you can put your hands on.
In addition, Timmy's 29% is as high as it has basically ever been(albiet in lower minutes). In 2002 when he won the MVP award he only pulled down 27.3 % of available boards defensively, which I thought might be due to playing with David Robinson and Malik Rose, but i checked through a bunch of other years and he seems to be having a career year in defensive rebounding. He has finished at 28% twice previously.
Now where does all this lead us?
There was a part of the 3rd quarter where Pop basically had to put someone else into the PF slot. Bon Bon was getting abused by Harrington. Pop usually doesn't pull Bonner out (well it always seems that way to me when i'm face palming my man tears), but he did this time and subbed Kawhi Leonard in who did an outstanding job. KL had six boards in 22 minutes along with a steal and a block. He has a rebound rate of 16.3 defensively playing in a perimeter position.
It's been mentioned in various posts and by lines that KL could be a small ball four for the Spurs. I'm starting to think he could play a lot more four than just small ball four. His defensive rebounding from a perimeter slot is already at the same level as Bon Bon, and he is every bit as good defensively vs a lot of PF's as Bonner or Dejaun. The guys who work us over from the elbow extended and loiter around the perimeter need foot speed and long arms. Plus it gives us an opportunity to play Kawhi in a position we don't have a lot of depth in as opposed to wing where he is one of a many.