Michael Levin over at Liberty Ballers put together an excellent post yesterday morning on Evan Turner’s prowess on the boards. According to Levin, ET’s 23.7 DREB% this season — the percentage of available rebounds on the defensive end that he grabs — is the highest ever recorded by a guard or a swingman in the history of the Association, and he bests No. 2 Jason Kidd’s 20.8 percent mark from 2006-’07 by a pretty ridiculous margin.
Now, as excited as I am by Turner’s emergence, and especially by unequaled his work on the glass, my enthusiasm is curbed by the fact that such a huge percentage of his rebounds come on the defensive end. Defensive rebounds, generally speaking, are easier to come by: if you don’t grab them, there’s a pretty high chance that somebody else on your team will. When Iguodala jokingly calls Turner a “rebound thief” — well, maybe jokingly — he’s sort of on to something.
Research shows that NBA players generally steal about 2/3 of their defensive rebounds from teammates. Offensive rebounds on the other hand you steal, almost exclusively, from opponents. And Turner doesn’t get those. While he leads all SGs in total rebounds (obviously), he is only 34th among all SGs in offensive rebounds per game.
Levin doesn’t really touch on this, but he does shed light on something, to my knowledge, heretofore unmentioned about Turner: the greatest aspect of his defensive rebounding might not be the sheer volume of boards he grabs, but what he does with them.
He pushes the ball. Hard.
Well aware the Sixers’ struggles in half court sets, Turner turns an unusually high percentage of his D-rebounds into breaks. Of the 34 defensive rebounds he’s grabbed in the past, he’s pushed it up-court 14 times and only turned it over once. Courtesy of the Sixers PR Department we also learn that over the past three games, the 7-6 is averaging 22.7 fast break points (68 total) after averaging 13.3 FB ppg the 24 games prior and and 15.7 overall this season (eighth in NBA).
Goes a long way towards explaining the Sixers’ impressive Turn(er)-around over the last three games. *Sigh*