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While it’s true that stats can tell a story, it’s also a bit of a misnomer. Stats can tell any number of differing and contradictory stories based on which stats you read and how you read them, and it can be hard to untangle all the numbers to get to something resembling absolute truth. But, one statistic that’s often overlooked by coaches maybe shouldn’t be. While most coaches understand that rebounding statistics can be an important barometer in regards to figuring out your effectiveness in the court, many overlook the rebounding percentage.

The number of rebounds and rebounding margin are a metric often analyzed by coaches, but they can only tell you a portion of the story, and that can read to gross inaccuracies in terms of your team’s actual performance. That’s because the amount of opportunities for a rebound isn’t the same as the accuracy of your team in executing rebounds. Any number of factors could contribute to the opportunities your team has. Raw numbers make less sense both in their own right and when folded into the larger performance metrics, but a percentage can give you a big picture understanding of your team’s execution.

As such, some suggest that two specific statistics should take center stage when evaluating rebounds: the Defensive Rebounding Percentage and the Offensive Rebounding Percentage. Calculating these may require a little more work, but it’s generally a simple process. Your defensive rebound percentage can be calculated by dividing the total defensive rebounds in a game by the sum of defensive rebounds by both your team and the opponent’s. You can do the same with offensive rebounds to calculate your ORP. This will allow you to directly compare the two teams in terms of how well they converted opportunities into points rather than merely evaluating the number of opportunities that presented themselves.

Judging performance in practice for these metrics is generally pretty simple. Your goal should be to always have a higher percentage point than your opponent in both DRP and ORP, and tracking this score every game can help you chart your team’s progress and identify any weaknesses in your team. By setting short term goals and tracking these statistics directly, you can achieve a more insightful perspective on how your team is doing in both the short and long-term, and set a path for improvement in the future.