Last year, the Blazers struggled with defensive rebounding grabbing only 72% with the league median being 74.1%. Through five games we are grabbing an astounding 79.7% of defensive rebounds. Our coach likes to point out that it's easier to go with small lineups when the team can rebound well on the defensive end so hopefully we can keep up this trend so that Camby can keep his minutes under 25 a night. Unfortunately, I would bet that the 79.7% drops starting with our upcoming game against the Lakers on Thursday.
I think Kurt Thomas is an improvement over Howard because Mr. Thomas moves his feet better and draws charges, has a slightly more reliable mid-range jumper, is better at boxing out and grabbing rebounds, and doesn't struggle with 5's as much as Juwan did. Thomas is shooting 71% so far while averaging about 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 blocks per 30 minutes. (Obviously 71% is not sustainable. Anybody remember when Joel Pryzbilla was shooting an unreal 75% from the field after the first 2 months of 2008?)
Opponents are only shooting 26.3% from 3-point land so far with only 61.5% of those buckets assisted which means our opponents are either unluckily missing a lot of catch and shoot 3s or they are being forced to shoot a lot of 3s off the dribble. Our own 3-point shooting is at 34.5%. I actually think that we're doing a good job of forcing the opposing offense into taking shots that we prefer for them to take.
The Blazers are taking 83 shots and 26.4 free throws per game this year versus 80.4 shots and 22.4 free throws per game last year. Faster pace equals more shots, but I would like to point out that we are getting to the free throw line significantly more. Last year we were 4th to last in Free Throw Rate at 27.8% but so far this year we are 10th in the league at 31.8% which would be a huge improvement.
Portland is 6th in the league in "percentage of shot taken at the rim" with 33.7% of our shots coming from close while we were 11th last year at 30.4%. Opponents are taking 34.9% of their shots at the rim which is 2nd-worst in the league. This is worrisome because we were 4th-worst last year allowing opponents to take 32.3% of their shots at the rim.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading up on a few stats that popped out at me after the first five games.
*Data was referenced from hoopdata.com.