StatsCube: Jazz Struggling on the Glass

News of Jerry Sloan‘s resignation from the position he held for the last 22 years comes as a surprise. It’s hard to remember an NBA without Sloan on the bench in Utah.

The Jazz are on pace for 47 wins, but are reeling. They’re 4-10 (third worst in the Western Conference) since Jan. 17, and are now just three games from falling out of the playoffs.

This year’s Jazz have regressed on both ends of the floor. They currently rank 12th in the league offensively (105.5 points scored per 100 possessions), after ranking eighth last season. And they currently rank 18th in the league defensively (105.9 points allowed per 100 possessions) after ranking 11th on that end last season.

The Jazz are eight games over .500, but they’ve outscored their opponents by just two points this season (5,380 – 5,378). And as you may note from the numbers above, possession estimates have them getting outscored on a per-possession basis.

For the most part, the Jazz have been better offensively than defensively under Sloan. But they were a bottom-10 offensive team in a three-year span after John Stockton retired and before Deron Williams became a full-time starter in his second season.

But the one area where the Jazz have been most consistent under Sloan is on the glass. (See table below.) Before this season, the Jazz had been a top-five rebounding team in 15 of the last 16 seasons. And the last time they’ve had fewer cumulative rebounds than their opponents was 20 years ago.

This season, however, has been different. The Jazz currently rank 24th in total rebounding percentage and 26th in defensive rebounding percentage. And they’re getting outrebounded by 1.6 boards per game.

When looking at the major factors that affect defensive efficiency, it’s clear that the boards are most responsible for Utah’s regression on that end.

In trying to diagnose the defensive rebounding issue, you first have to look at the bigs. And when you do, it becomes clear that the Jazz miss Carlos Boozer, because Al Jefferson is not as good a rebounder as Boozer is.

According to NBA.com StatsCube, Boozer grabbed 30.0 percent of available defensive rebounds when he was on the floor last season. This season, Jefferson is grabbing just 21.6 percent.

Utah obviously misses Mehmet Okur as well. Okur grabbed 20.8 percent of available defensive boards in his 2,152 minutes last season. His percentage is right there this year (20.6 percent), but battling injuries, he’s played just 167 minutes.

Jazz rebounding, last 21 seasons
Season OReb % RK DReb % RK Reb % RK Reb. Diff.
2010-11 0.265 13 0.717 26 0.490 24 -1.6
2009-10 0.268 13 0.756 5 0.519 5 3.0
2008-09 0.282 5 0.727 20 0.505 14 0.8
2007-08 0.295 5 0.741 9 0.520 3 3.1
2006-07 0.317 1 0.751 4 0.534 1 5.5
2005-06 0.324 1 0.732 12 0.526 1 4.2
2004-05 0.319 3 0.723 8 0.516 3 2.5
2003-04 0.341 1 0.724 10 0.529 1 4.6
2002-03 0.325 2 0.702 24 0.521 2 3.3
2001-02 0.335 2 0.717 12 0.525 2 4.0
2000-01 0.302 5 0.732 6 0.521 3 3.3
1999-00 0.295 13 0.732 2 0.518 3 2.9
1998-99 0.300 18 0.704 9 0.517 5 2.7
1997-98 0.323 9 0.710 5 0.529 2 4.5
1996-97 0.297 18 0.716 4 0.519 4 2.9
1995-96 0.316 10 0.717 4 0.522 4 3.4
1994-95 0.291 22 0.725 2 0.519 5 3.0
1993-94 0.313 17 0.684 11 0.501 14 0.2
1992-93 0.310 19 0.687 11 0.505 12 0.9
1991-92 0.327 12 0.689 5 0.517 7 2.9
1990-91 0.276 27 0.692 5 0.497 15 -0.5

OReb% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained
DReb% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds obtained
Reb% = Percentage of available total rebounds obtained
Reb. Diff. = Rebounding difference per game

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

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