Who is the best rebounder in the NBA?

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) holds back Dallas Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal (C) in front of Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley (R) during the first half of their NBA basketball game in the Target Center in Minneapolis, March 7, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve tackled the MVP race, triple-dozens, point guard characteristics and three-point shooters, and now it’s time to take a look at rebounding.

To be eligible, a player has to meet the following criteria:

1. He must appear in at least 50 games.
2. He must play in at least 24.0 minutes a game.

I took the top 30 players in terms of Total Rebounding Rate (the number of rebounds a player gets as a percentage of total available rebounds available while he’s on the floor) and plotted Offensive Rebounding Rate (ORR%) against Defensive Rebounding Rate (DRR%).

Here is the list of eligible players (in alphabetical order): Andrew Bogut, Carlos Boozer, Kwame Brown (yes, Kwame Brown), Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat, Blake Griffin, Chuck Hayes, Roy Hibbert, J.J. Hickson, Nene Hilario, Al Horford, Dwight Howard, Kris Humphries, Serge Ibaka, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Amir Johnson, DeAndre Jordan, David Lee, Kevin Love, JaVale McGee, Greg Monroe, Lamar Odom, Emeka Okafor and Zach Randolph.

Below is the chart. As always, click on it to see a bigger version.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blazers trade for Marcus Camby

With centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla sidelined, the Trail Blazers have acquired Marcus Camby.

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired the Clippers’ Marcus Camby, the center they’ve desperately needed since they lost both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla to season-ending injuries.

In return, Los Angeles receives point guard Steve Blake and small forward Travis Outlaw.

Portland will also send $1.5 million to Los Angeles in the trade and is responsible for $2 million in incentives Camby will earn before season’s end, sources said Tuesday.

This is a fairly low-risk move for the Blazers, since Camby is in the last year of his contract. Blake and Outlaw are also in the final years of their respective deals, and there’s a good chance that neither player would be back next season, so why not make a move for one of the best defensive centers in the league?

At 35 years-old, Camby is averaging 8-12 with almost two blocks per game, so he should be able to shore up Portland’s interior defense and rebounding. His PER (18.54) is #13 amongst centers, though Camby has been playing mostly power forward this season.

For the Clippers, the prize of this trade is Outlaw, a 25-year-old swingman who averaged 13-4 the last two seasons. He will push Al Thornton for minutes at small forward. Thornton has had a disappointing year and has lost playing time to Rasual Butler, of all people. Outlaw was expendable in Portland due his expiring contract and the Blazers’ logjam at the wing.

With Blake out of the picture, Portland will rely on Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless at point guard. Both players have played pretty well this season, which prompted GM Kevin Pritchard to make this move. The Blazers are sitting in the #8 spot in the West, and Camby’s arrival should help the team’s chances of making some noise in the postseason.

Take my overpaid star…please!

Memphis GM Gerald Wallace took a lot of heat for trading Pau Gasol to the Lakers. But if we’ve learned anything in the past few days, it’s that Wallace was simply a man ahead of his time.

On Tuesday, we learned that the Bucks agreed to trade Richard Jefferson to the Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Amir Johnson. (Fabricio Oberto was part of the original deal, but San Antonio sent him to Detroit for Johnson, who was then sent to Milwaukee.)

Regular readers know I’m a Bucks fan, and I spent the last couple of days grumbling on the Sports Bubbler message boards about how we didn’t get anything in return for Jefferson, who is still a pretty good player. When Wallace traded away Gasol, at least he got Javaris Crittenton (who was considered a prospect with upside at the time) and Pau’s brother, Marc, who turned out to be a productive center for the Grizzlies.

Then I wake up today to see that the Cavs and Suns have agreed to go through with that long-rumored trade that will send Shaq to Cleveland for salary cap relief. Who do the Suns get in return? A retiree (Ben Wallace), a bench player with a partially guaranteed contract (Sasha Pavlovic), some cash and a second round pick.

This is the going rate for a Third Team All-NBA center these days.

We knew that this summer had the potential to be a rough one for free agents, but it’s a little surprising to see that good players like O’Neal and Jefferson could be had for virtually nothing. Bucks owner Herb Kohl and Suns owner Robert Sarver realize that their clubs aren’t legitimate contenders, so they don’t see the point in paying the luxury tax just for the privilege of being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. What kind of an effect these moves have on season ticket purchases remains to be seen.

The bottom line is that if a team is willing to spend, there has never been a better time to acquire talent. You’re not going to get someone like Caron Butler, who plays for a (pretend) contender and has a reasonable contract, but you can get Jefferson, who is overpaid and is on a mediocre team that is up against the luxury tax. And the older the player, the more likely he’s available. Teams aren’t going to give up good players that are in their early- or mid-twenties because the plan is to rebuild before they’re over the hill.

So who might be on the move for a bag of peanuts and some salary cap flexibility? How about Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, Vince Carter, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, Jermaine O’Neal, Michael Redd, Ray Allen or Rip Hamilton?

Truth be told, a team like the Suns isn’t going to give the youngish Stoudemire away for cap flexibility alone. But as the price of a star goes down, the price of superstar goes down as well.

It promises to be an interesting summer.

NBA News and Notes: Mikki to the C’s? Camby almost a Spur?

– The Celtics (and others) have offered Mikki Moore a contract. He had a solid 2006-07 season, but the 33-year-old’s career has gone downhill since then.

– Stephon Marbury and Knicks GM Donnie Walsh are going to meet tomorrow to try to hash out a buyout agreement.

– The Warriors are going to shut Monta Ellis down for a week due to stiffness in his ankle, the same ankle he injured mopeding around Mississippi.

– The Spurs were reportedly close to trading for Marcus Camby before last week’s trade deadline. Apparently, the Spurs would have sent Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and George Hill to the Clippers. That’s basically a Hill-for-Camby swap, and I’m surprised that the Clippers didn’t jump on it. Hill is on track to be a starter-quality point guard in the NBA.

– Mike Dunleavy might miss the rest of the season with an injured knee.

Chauncey Billups is changing the Nuggets…for the better

Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News says that Chauncey Billups is changing the Nuggets, especially on the defensive end. It’s hard to argue, as the Nuggets are 5-1 since he joined the team.

Remarkably, the Nuggets have scored more than 100 points in just one of those five wins – the first one. Billups is rapidly changing their very identity.

“We won a game playing defense,” Billups said after the 90-84 decision over Minnesota. “We’ve done that a couple times since I’ve been here. And I think for me personally, I get a lot more confidence winning games playing defense than winning the run-and-gun game. Now, when we can start making shots and we can get where we need to be offensively and continue to play defense, then we can be dangerous.”

Although Billups hit only seven of his 23 shots, the Nuggets outscored the Timberwolves by 17 points when he was on the floor, the best plus-minus rating of any player on either team.

“The scoring thing is just an extra bonus,” said Billups, who finished with a game-high 26 points. “So if I’m struggling from the field, I’m not going to let everything else in my game just lay down. I won’t allow that to happen. And I’ll try to teach a lot of the other guys on this team the same thing: ‘So what if you don’t make shots? Give me something else.’ And I try to lead and do that by example.”

Carmelo Anthony, among others, seems to be getting the message. Despite hitting only four of his 17 shots, Anthony grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, his second double-figure night on the boards in as many games.

For the last few years, the closest thing the Nuggets had to a defensive identity was Marcus Camby, and they gave him away to the Clippers last summer. Billups brings hard work and determination, and that can be infectious, especially for a young team. George Karl’s teams have a notoriously short attention span when it comes to defense, so it will be interesting to see how long this renewed focus lasts.

And I wonder just how much better they would be with Camby manning the middle.

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