Given his combination of brute strength and quickness, there’s really no reason that Eric Gordon should record his first rebound at the [3rd, 1:44] mark, particularly with Camby on the shelf. But that’s what happened Friday night against Oklahoma City. In Monday night’s game vs. Portland, Gordon put up a goose egg in the rebounding column in 41 minutes.
In 13 games this January, Gordon has collected greater than three rebounds only twice, despite averaging 41.2 mpg. Among shooting guards who average greater than 30 mpg, Gordon ranks ahead of only Jamal Crawford in rebounding rate.
Does it matter? Some might argue that Eric Gordon’s rebounding rate is relatively unimportant, particularly on a night when he’s dropping 41 points. Crashing the boards is the job of the big men.
The Clippers’ big men — well, specifically one big man— are doing the job, as are the Clipper point guards. The reason the Clippers rank a lowly 25th in rebounding rate is the failure of the wings to work the glass. Why it matters:
- [OKC, 4th, 9:17] The Thunder run a high S/R for Krstic, who launches a 17-footer that’s wide left. Gordon was set up on the left side. The ball caroms his way off the glass. Gordon almost seems surprised. He makes a late, somewhat clumsy attempt to stab at the ball, but he tips it out of bounds. Oklahoma City retains possession, and gets a new 24. About seven seconds later, Kevin Durant drains a runner in the lane.
Maybe this is cherry-picking, but the set demonstrates the value of securing the rebounds that are, rightfully, “yours,” because OKC picks up an extra position and ultimately two points. The sequence also speaks to fact that rebounding is more a mindset than a raw skill. At 6′ 5″, Jamal Crawford is actually quite tall for a guard. More nights than not, he has a height advantage over his defender, particulaly when he’s playing the point. So why does Crawford have the dubious honor of being one of the worst rebounding guards of his generation, despite having quicks and length? You tell me.
We know Eric Gordon has the strength and quickness to battle for rebounds. As a 20-year-old rookie, it’s also very likely he’ll improve — and he’ll have to if the Clippers are going to better their fortunes in one of the most crucial areas of the game.