For the past several years, rebounding has been one of the Dallas Mavericks’ areas of concern. No matter what they tried, they got beat on the boards nightly. Dallas went so far as to bring in DeAndre Jordan last season to quell their troubles. And he did — when it came to rebounds. He also created several other issues before being traded.
Now, though, the Mavericks are hitting a groove on the glass, and one player is settling into his new role as a rebounder.
This week, The Ringer’s Rob Mahoney wrote about Luka Doncic’s rebounding prowess. In his post, he writes about Doncic as part of the logical evolution of wings in today’s NBA as team’s get smaller and faster, foregoing the traditional roles that big men once played. You should read it. In the same article, he also shades Kristaps Porzingis’ rebounding ability.
“In the same way that running the offense through Doncic allows Dallas to use limited creators like Seth Curry and Delon Wright as nominal point guards, the scale of Doncic’s rebounding makes room for a rebounding-challenged center like Kristaps Porzingis,” Mahoney wrote.
Ouch. Mahoney has a point, though. For his career, Porzingis is only averaging 7.2 rebounds. That’s not great for a guy who’s as tall as he is. This season, however, he’s making a concerted effort to snatch those free balls after they clang off the rim.
“[Rebounding] is something I definitely thought about when I was out,” Porzingis said the other night. “I definitely wanted to come back and just grab the loose rebounds. Like, they’re there, you know.”
They are there and now he’s getting them. He’s had four straight double doubles, a career-high, after putting up 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Mavericks’ 142-94 rout of the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night. In these four games, he’s averaged 11.5 rebounds. In fact, he’s averaged 10 rebounds over his last seven games.
Thanks in part to Porzingis’ efforts, the Mavericks are the fourth-best rebounding team in the league right now. They’re pulling down 47.7 per game. As the former All-Star works his way back from his prolonged absence, his average of nine rebounds will continue to grow.
With Porzingis and Doncic, Dallas may have finally cured its rebounding woes. All it took was a little motivation.
“A lot of times I really didn’t pay attention to [rebounding],” Porzingis said. “I was more of an offensive minded rebounder. You know, go for the put back dunks and so on. But now, I’m down there, I’m 7’3”, it’s not that hard to grab it and give it to Luka and then run. It’s something I thought about and something I focused on a little bit.”