The Blazers, Offensive Rebounding, and other stuff

I’ve casually written about offensive rebounds, how great they are, and how much they help this Blazer team stay competitive. While nobody will argue that an offensive rebound is a bad thing, offensive rebounds also indicate something else: misses. The Blazers lead the league in offensive rebounds per possession, yet also find themselves fourth-to-last in field goal percentage. The correlation in the NBA this season between FG% and offensive rebounds is a fairly strong -0.56, indicating that, in general, the more a team misses, the more offensive rebounds it gets. Okay, that makes sense, but what if we control for each team’s number of misses. In other words, let’s look at the proportion of misses that a team recollects of the glass–its offensive rebounding percentage. Over the last three full seasons (2007-2010), the correlation between offensive rebounding percentage and field goal percentage is 0.023, or virtually zero. Thus it’s likely that there is no overall connection between rebounding % and FG%. The Blazers just so happen to be first in rebounding % as well, and this is the figure I will use to rate offensive rebounding prowess in the future.

But that doesn’t answer another question I have: why can’t the Blazers put the ball in the frickin’ hoop? If there’s no correlation to offensive rebounding percentage, then that scraps my original theory that good offensive rebounders make bad shooters (or vice-versa). This season the blazers are shooting a mere 43.3% from the floor, versus 46.1% last season. Last year they also led the league in offensive rebounding percentage, so that hasn’t changed. Here’s what has…

Field goal percentage

2010 2009
Andre Miller 44.5 44.5
Brandon Roy 41.0 47.3
LaMarcus Aldridge 44.2 49.5
Marcus Camby 44.4 49.7
Nicolas Batum 43.2 51.9
Rudy Fernandez 34.6 37.8


Points per shot

2010 2009
Andre Miller 0.90 0.90
Brandon Roy 0.89 1.02
LaMarcus Aldridge 0.89 0.99
Marcus Camby 0.88 0.98
Nicolas Batum 0.99 1.26
Rudy Fernandez 0.97 1.00


We see that every major contributor, besides Andre Miller, has taken an offensive-efficiency nosedive this season. Surfing through 82, I found that two years ago, when the Blazers efficiency was through the roof, only 65% of all shots came via the jump shot (twos and threes). This season, the Blazers are shooting jump shots 71% of the time. That’s too many shots away from the basket, and a likely culprit of lower shooting percentages. It’s hard to pinpoint any one reason for this change, though I would guess it’s a combination of Roy’s injury problems (not being able to get to the hoop) and an overworked LA. Aldridge is logging the 11th-most minutes in the league, but second most to Gasol among big men. I keep hoping that, as Przybilla fills in those extra minutes, Aldridge will become more efficient, being able to rest a little more and play less defense on good-scoring power forwards. Roy’s situation may never get any better than it is now, but Wesley Matthews has been a pleasant surprise, leading the team with 1.07 points per shot.

Our hope is that Rudy and Batum find their strokes, Roy is able to find ways to score efficiently–though maybe not quite to the extent that he used to–and that Aldridge starts focusing on offense and making shots with the Gorilla back in the lineup.

Portland at Memphis, 5pm TODAY! Go Blazers 🙂


3 Responses to The Blazers, Offensive Rebounding, and other stuff

  1. Droo says:

    How about Matthews’ numbers? Obviously he played in a different offense last year, but he seems to be the only thing we have to be optimistic about right now. Have his numbers taken the same sort of hit as the rest of the offense?

  2. uoduckfan33 says:

    Matthews’ minutes have gone up from 24.7 last year, to 28.4 this year. And then up to 34.9 in the 7 games this month, so he’s getting more time here in his second year than he ever got as a rookie in Utah.

    His points per field goal attempt lead the team at 1.07, and that gets even better when he starts – 1.135. In Utah, in 48 starts he was at 1.14, and in 34 games off the bench he scored 1.04 points per shot.

    What’s impressive about this season, even though the raw efficiency numbers are only slightly more impressive, his volume of shots is greater. He’s performing at a high level (anything over 1.00 PPS is fine) while taking on a significantly higher proportion of his team’s scoring (9.4 ppg last season up to 14.8 ppg this season). Generally when a player’s work load increases, his percentages go down slightly, but no so for Matthews.

    This may mean that the Blazer offense isn’t so anemic because of a lack of chemistry, but rather a lack of players shooting as well as they did last year – a more individual thing. That would actually be good news, because in Rudy and Batum’s case, it could mean a return to former efficiencies soon.

    Or it could mean that Matthews fits in really well, and something has changed so that Moody and Batum don’t fit as well. (Not what we hope for)

  3. uoduckfan33 says:

    Sorry, the efficiency numbers are not “slightly more impressive” – they are about the same.

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