Commentary

Shattered glass

Miami Heat need a crash course in crashing the offensive boards

Originally Published: January 23, 2014
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine

miami heatJason Schneider for ESPNPlayers who grab ORs are often more likely to shoot efficiently.

THESE DAYS, the NBA seems to be giving up on the idea of offensive rebounding. It's not just that teams are averaging 11 offensive boards per game this season, down from 14.4 in 1991-92, when Dennis Rodman was the last player to grab more than 500 ORs in a season. It's that Miami ranks dead last in the NBA in total offensive rebounds (through Jan. 12), with Indiana, shockingly, 29th and San Antonio 28th. Apparently, the best minds in the league believe that crashing the glass doesn't win games.

Usually, I let Gregg Popovich and LeBron James go about their business. But the numbers say that the teams that shun offensive rebounding do so at their peril. They are failing to maximize their scoring, and they're creating a giant opportunity for smart clubs to surpass them in the future.


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Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.