It’s nearly the regular season folks, which means it’s time to start contrived “countdown to tipoff” pieces. Our series will be called the Calculated Countdown, where we take a particular statistic from last season that corresponds to the number of days left till tipoff and analyze it in the context of this upcoming year. Today, we’re looking at how average the Bucks were in allowing second chance points and why regression should not sound off alarm bells.
13 days till tipoff: the Bucks finished 13th in second chance points allowed
Nothing annoys basketball watchers quite like a team that fails to snag defensive rebounds and then concede points on the ensuing second possession that the offense was given. Allowing second chance points to your opponent feels like an easy way to justify why a team lost a game or even multiple games.
For instance, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets finished in the bottom two, respectively, in allowing the most second chance points (14.7 & 14.3). In this case you can point to opponents second chance points if you need to hurl more facts at your Knick and/or Net loving friend(s) as to why those teams will be perpetual lottery pickers. In fairness to your New York basketball loving friend(s), those franchises have far more issues than bad defensive rebounding.
Who were the teams that were not as bad as the New Yorkers in allowing second chance points? Let’s see, we have reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, clocking at third worst allowing 14 second chance points per game, but they seem to always be an outlier so we’ll dismiss them. The next four teams at the bottom are the Boston Celtics (13.9), Houston Rockets & Washington Wizards (13.8), and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers (13.7). So five playoff teams, all of which advanced past the first round and three of which made their conference finals, finished in the bottom seven of second chance points allowed.
So who finished at the top of the charts, if really successful teams clustered toward the bottom? The Detroit Pistons lead the league in allowing just 10.1 second chance points per game and were followed by the Utah Jazz (10.7), Charlotte Hornets (11.4), Memphis Grizzlies (11.5), and Dallas Mavericks (11.6). Two playoff teams and three lottery teams were excellent in not allowing opponent second chance points. Being elite at not allowing second chance points does not seem to correlate into winning basketball.
It is not the end of the world if the Bucks all of a sudden allow more second chance points than they did last season. It will be extremely frustrating to watch, sure, but that cannot be the focal point as to why the defense is surrendering more points than usual.
In certain situations not grabbing a defensive rebound can become the most critical turning point in a game and that is when everyone gripes about a lack of defensive rebounding. Eliminating opponent’s scoring is priority number one on defense, and defensive rebounding seems like such an easy thing to fix if you want a defense, and team, to be successful. Having a solid defensive scheme is a key-er ingredient to winning games than dominating the glass.