Is Kevin Love Juking the Stats? (Big Bad D part one)
But individual rebounding stats might overcredit Love. Even the worst team in the NBA grabs more than 7 out of 10 opponent's misses, so how much value is Love really adding by hoovering these boards? Of course, they are not all simply empty rebounds with Love gobbling the stat like a hungry hungry hippo. Currently 31st out of 94 players averaging 5 or more rebounds per game in terms of percentage of his rebounds which are "contested" (rebounds where an opponent was within 3.5 feet of the reboud). He is slightly higher in terms of the the share of rebounds available to him (where he is within 3.5 feet of the rebound), ranking 24th out of 91. Thus he is well above average in terms of the metrics which detail the ability to rebound in traffic. Further there are only 5 players who score ahead of him on both metrics.
This clearly indicates he is an extremely effective rebounder. But where he takes the next step to become the most formidable rebounder in the league is his nose rebounding chances. Love averages over 21 rebound chances per game. The next closest player in the league (Dwight Howard) averages almost 3 full chances less. The player with the 8th most chances per game is close to Howard than Howard is to Love. Basically, Love is better about being around the boards than anyone else in the game. This is of course a double-sided coin. One of the primary qualitative crticisms of Love's defensive game is his unwillingness to move and rotate away from the basket (and thus rebounding chances.) As many of the plays shown below will demonstrate there is a great deal of truth to this complaint.
Love has the ability to provide adequate defense on the pick-and-roll: