And we thought rebounding was bad before...
Seth had a GREAT writeup over at SB Nation AZ last night, which he referenced in the last poll below this. Basically, the Suns' offense is going to be more potent than ever and the perimeter defense might be the best it has ever been, as well (collectively).
But the big remaining question: if the Suns start Hedo Turkoglu at PF, will the Suns ever win the rebounding battle again?
The answer, actually, is pretty obvious (Suns will suck at rebounding), but.. and this is the good part: not quite as badly as you might have thought.
Sure, Hedo Turkoglu is the worst rebounding player for his size in the history of basketball. Really, I'm not exaggerating.
Sure, we don't have a Dwight Howard on our team to pick up his slack.
But let's look at the actual numbers:
According to hoopsstats.com, the Suns were 7th in overall rebounds per game last season, at 43.0, last season. Unfortunately, they gave up 42.3 to the other team (10th worst in the league), so their total rebound rate per game was just 50.7% of total possible rebounds.
The problem wasn't in getting rebounds, it was stopping the other team from getting so many. Especially considering the Suns had, by a wide margin, the most efficient offense in the league last year (and 3rd in history, if I recall correctly), this SHOULD translate to fewer rebounds for the opposition.
But I digress.
How much rebounding did the Suns actually lose? In terms of grabbing rebounds, my guess is 2 fewer per game, swinging the overall rebound differential in the other direction.
Why only a couple rebounds diff, when Turk gets 5 while Amare would get 9? Because I'm assuming Turk gets fewer minutes than Amare's 34 mins per game, while Childress and Warrick (not bad rebounders) get more minutes than LB and Lou did.
Rebs Mins Reb/Min Est Mins 2010-2011 Tot Rebs per game Turkoglu 753 5,087 0.15 28 4.14 Warrick 720 3,586 0.20 15 3.01 Childress 713 4,300 0.17 24 3.98 Richardson 404 2,485 0.16 27 4.39 Dudley 286 1,384 0.21 24 4.96 Hill 445 2,430 0.18 23 4.21 Frye 427 2,190 0.19 26 5.07 Lopez 248 986 0.25 25 6.29 Dragic 171 1,442 0.12 19 2.25 Nash 268 2,660 0.10 29 2.92 240 41.23
But if the Suns want to break even, they will need major development from Robin Lopez and Channing Frye in the rebounding department. If each increases his rebound rate by 1 per game on the same minutes, then the Suns stand a chance. And if the Suns improve their defense, causing more misses by the opposing team, the margin improves further.
If not, it's 2005-2006 all over again. The Suns were outrebounded by 5 per game that season. They were the little team that could, with Boris Diaw playing PF, Tim Thomas at C and Shawn Marion at SF. Yet even that wouldn't be so bad: they still made the Western Conference Finals.
So that's your rebounding battle - the weakest link of this current Suns team, yet not as weak and you might have thought.
And if you factor in an even MORE potent offense and better perimeter defense, this team just might rival any of the decade.
That's a huge sigh of relief over the gloom and doom of recent weeks.