Priority one on the rebounding front is making sure your opponent doesn’t grab the board. Priority two — well, if you’re a big man at least — is making sure your teammates don’t grab it either.
The 6-foot-10-and-up crowd earns the majority of their rebounds in the NBA, but they certainly benefit from some occasional deference. Discussing Marcus Camby at practice Thursday, Blazers coach Nate McMillan was asked if, during his playing days, post players ever told him to clear the way to ensure they snared the board.
“No question. They do that,” McMillan said with a grin. “And then what do you do when the big man’s not on the floor?”
McMillan harked back to a game from his Seattle days when teammate Michael Cage was eyeing a rebounding title, detailing how smaller players would run toward the ball then slide out of the way when it was clear Cage would secure it.
Later, the 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum was asked where he fit in on the height chart, and whether he was clear to
corral rebounds at will.
“When Camby is around, I can’t get a rebound,” Batum said. “He told me, ‘Nic, on offense, you can get any rebound you want, but not on defense.’”
Batum was also asked Thursday who the Blazers’ MVP was as the season’s midway point nears.
“Wesley (Matthews),” he replied without hesitation.“He didn’t get drafted last year, as a rookie, and now the last 10 games he’s scored like 20 points per game. He’s a huge key for us now. Wesley every time.”