Chicago Bulls: How Robin Lopez Is Upgrading The Rebounding Machine
The Chicago Bulls have been a top-10 rebounding franchise for awhile. However, bringing in Robin Lopez via the Derrick Rose trade has helped the team get to levels on the offensive glass that haven’t seen in over half a decade.
The 8-4 Chicago Bulls are fifth in the Eastern Conference and two games into a six-game road trip. They have won their last four games and five of their last six.
A number of factors can be attributed to Chicago’s current success after entering the year with so many questions. The Bulls are the sixth best scoring defense. They’re tied for 11th in three-point shooting when floor spacing was a question mark coming into the season. They’ve also been efficient at the line – second in free throw shooting – while also not committing fouls themselves – second-fewest in the league.
But rebounding is another key reason for the Chicago Bulls and their success so far. They are second in total boards per game and fifth in defensive rebounds per game. These rankings paint a decent picture of a hungry team on the glass. However, the most telling ranking is that the Bulls are tops in the league in offensive boards per game.
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The Bulls are at the top of the offensive rebounding mountain for the first time since the end of the 2011-12 season. In between time, they hovered anywhere from sixth to 11th in the Association.
The difference comes from the acquisition of Robin Lopez. The mop-haired center was picked up via the trade that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks. He brought with him his offensive rebounding ability.
Since the 2013-14 campaign, Robin has found himself top 10 in offensive boards per game each season. He was second in 2013-14, 10th in 2014-15 when he was sidelined by a fractured right hand midseason, and sixth in 2015-16.
Lopez is fourth in the league this season at 3.9 per game heading into this weekend.
Twelve games into the year, Robin Lopez’s performance on the offensive glass tends to portend good things. The Bulls are 4-0 when he has six or more offensive rebounds, but a muddier 4-4 when he has fewer than six.
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Lopez is great at offensive rebounding due to several aspects. For one, being seven feet tall always helps. He also has a great eye for where the misses are going to bounce. When the ball is in his sight, he’s good at boxing out defenders for the board. Lastly, Lopez always brings effort when going for the rebound. Effort is the glue that bonds the talent and intelligence together.
Sometimes his offensive rebounds are a result of tip-in attempts. Other times he’s able to pull down a board and help reset the offense. Either way, his ability to locate the ball and gain positioning is paying dividends for the Chicago Bulls offense. The team is currently second in the league in second chance points. That’s up from seventh last year and 10th the season before.
The Bulls have four more games on the “Circus Road Trip,” including a back-to-back this weekend against both Los Angeles teams. First up are the Clippers, featuring fifth-best offensive rebounder DeAndre Jordan.
They also have a meeting on Nov. 22 against third-best Kenneth Faried and the Denver Nuggets. While they’ll be fighting for offensive rebounds on opposite ends of the floor, it will be interesting to see who racks up more.
A number of reasons can be credited for the Chicago Bulls’s early success. One of those happens to be Robin Lopez’s offensive rebounding. They’re going to need him on the glass consistently to get second chance opportunities on the court, and a chance at the playoffs at the end of the year.
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