Pels setting records – for lowest offensive rebound rate

Last week I noted that the Pelicans were on pace to set a record low in offensive rebound rate.  Since then, they’ve managed to dip even a little lower, posting a current rate of 17.0% on on the offensive glass. (I.E. they grab only 17% of available offensive rebounds.  League average is about 23.5% right now)  The coaching staff has also made it clear that this is intentional, and that they have instructed the team to get back after every shot and not to have many people crash the offensive glass.


Now, some people immediately focus on transition points to determine if this strategy is working or not.  I think that is only a small part of the picture really.  The majority of transition points come off a turnover – or a guard rebound and push.  The decision whether to send an offensive rebounder to the glass or get back only impacts the second of those.  The first has almost no bearing on it whatsoever and is more about how the Pels guards and wings intercept fastbreaks.

Happily, does keep track of a stat that can help us nail this down a little better:  Per possession stats after an opponent’s defensive rebound.

In other words – the opponent grabs a board, the Pels follow the plan and get back, how well does the opponent score?

The answer is not well.  League average scoring after a rebound is ~1.08 points per possession.  Pelicans opponents score 1.03 points per possession, which is the 7th best mark in the NBA. (Utah and Dallas are the best. I mention this to maybe make you feel a little better about that awful slugfest we watched)

The flipside to this, however, is the sacrificed offensive rebounding.

Let say the Pelicans changed focus – and we’re making some assumptions here – and were able to grab a league average number of offensive rebounds.  This would add about 3.3 more offensive rebounds to their game totals.  Based on a couple studies about offensive rebounding, teams generate an eFG% about 5% higher off offensive rebounds than they do off their normal possessions.

  • So – improve the eFG% a little for about three possessions  OR
  • Drive down the per possession scoring of the opponent for about 80 possessions.

I’d love to have someone poke holes in this, but it seems like the second one is obviously better, right?

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