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A.P. Hoops: On the Rebound

All season long, will be looking at its top prospects and teams through the lens of advanced stats. Today, we focus on determining which teams are the best at attacking the boards -- regardless of how many shots go up.

Jamar Brown's ability to clean the glass on the offensive end has Springfield extending possession after possession this year.
Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images

Now that we’ve covered the first two of Dean Oliver’s “Factors of Basketball Success,” shooting (eFG%) and ball control (TORatio), it’s time to take on lucky number 3: rebounding.

You know the basics. Rebounds happen when somebody grabs the ball after a missed shot or free throw. They come in two flavors: offensive and defensive. They're typically measured using per-game averages or raw totals.

And that's the problem. Teams that play at an elevated pace typically have more shots and free throw attempts -- and, thus, more rebounding opportunities. In addition, a team with a high field goal percentage misses fewer shots, and therefore creates fewer rebounding opportunities. The opposite is true in both cases. So, it's safe to say that raw rebounding totals or per-game averages don't truly do justice to a player's rebounding ability.

So now that we’ve rejected conventional rebounding statistics, where does that leave us? And how do we burrow down to the truth? As you’ve probably already figured out, APBRmetrics has a solution: rebound percentage. Much like the rebound stat itself, rebound percentage can relate to, offensive rebound percentage (OREB%), defensive rebound percentage (DREB%) or both. Instead of making calculations based on pace-influenced totals, OREB% and DREB% measure the percentage of available rebounds a team secures. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many rebounding opportunities a team is given per game, but rather, how efficiently it converts those opportunities.

Without further adieu, here are the formulas:
Offensive and Defensive Rebounding Percentage (REB%)
Definition: The percentage of available rebounds that a team secures, on the offensive and defensive ends.

You can see that the formulas create a fraction where the numerator (top number) indicates the number of offensive or defensive rebounds a team secures, while the denominator (bottom) measures the total number of available rebounds on that end of the floor. OppDREB and OppOREB give us the number of defensive or offensive rebounds, respectively, secured by the opposition.

Below I have included the list of NBA D-League teams ranked by OREB% and DREB%. The charts feature all elements of each formula as well as the per-game rebounding stats to account for differences in games played. When examining the data, take notice of the fact that the ranking of teams according to OREB/gm and DREB/gm does not directly correlate with OREB% and DREB% rankings. For instance, the Texas Legends have a higher OREB% than the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Bakersfield Jam despite securing fewer OREB/gm than both of those teams.

Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OREB%) Ranking
Springfield Armor 9 150 17 240 38.5%
Tulsa 66ers 10 168 17 278 37.7%
Rio Grande Valley Vipers 11 171 16 319 34.9%
Texas Legends 10 153 15 290 34.5%
Fort Wayne Mad Ants 8 124 16 241 34.0%
Bakersfield Jam 9 142 16 283 33.4%
Austin Toros 9 123 14 256 32.5%
Los Angeles D-Fenders 12 151 13 327 31.6%
Dakota Wizards 8 97 12 221 30.5%
Erie BayHawks 11 142 13 351 28.8%
Iowa Energy 10 105 11 262 28.6%
Maine Red Claws 8 88 11 239 26.9%
Idaho Stampede 9 108 12 306 26.1%
Canton Charge 9 96 11 288 25.0%
Sioux Falls Skyforce 9 87 10 264 24.8%
Reno Bighorns 8 78 10 259 23.1%

Defensive Rebounding Percentage (DREB%) Ranking
Iowa Energy102623463574.4%
Bakersfield Jam92832793173.4%
Reno Bighorns82592322972.3%
Los Angeles D-Fenders123273442972.3%
Springfield Armor92402652970.5%
Canton Charge92882713069.7%
Erie BayHawks113513152969.5%
Tulsa 66ers102783073169.1%
Rio Grande Valley Vipers113193172968.8%
Fort Wayne Mad Ants82412182767.9%
Maine Red Claws82392493167.8%
Idaho Stampede93062733067.4%
Dakota Wizards82212483167.4%
Texas Legends102902752866.9%
Sioux Falls Skyforce92642442765.8%
Austin Toros92562412760.4%

Note: All data was provided by NBA StatsCube.