Breaking down Enes Kanter's rebounding rate -- by minutes played

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Enes Kanter of Turkey (R) scores and Ersan Ilyasova of Turkeywatches him during the EuroBasket 2011 second round group E match between Germany and Turkey at Siemens Arena on September 9, 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Everyone has an opinion on younger guys like Enes Kanter. I've had one about him from the start, and I'm glad I was wrong about it. (I didn't think he would be someone I cared for, as a player, to put it politely) I'm happy to be wrong, and even happier to find stats that show how wrong I was. And you know what folks? I admit being wrong about him, and announce it. I own up to it. Some guys don't.

Enes is a monster on the glass. I only watched one Euro-cup game and in that game he seemed to be getting his boards just by being bigger than other guys, and not necessarily showing a nose for the ball, or working on establishing good position. He has done both at the NBA level -- as a 19 year old. When I was 19 years old I used to do my orgo labs at the last minute and slack off. He's a lot more professional than I was.

He's also one of those rare guys who seems to get stronger as the game goes on. (Dave Corzine used to say that was Karl Malone's greatest trait) Anyway, back to Enes -- in his last 10 games he's registered four games of 2 or fewer rebounds during his time out there on the floor. Knee jerk reactionists (or just regular old jerks) think this is indicative of him hitting some theoretical rookie wall. Some go farther back into the season and point at a few ZERO rebound games as evidence.

I don't think a 'rookie wall' is that quantifiable. I live in reality. And my reality has numbers, not pop-psychology buzzwords. There is a stronger correlation between how many minutes Kanter plays with how good he's rebounding, than how he rebounds and the proximity towards some rookie wall. And I have proof:

Minutes Played in a Game:

0 to 5 Mins 5 to 10 Mins 10 to 15 Mins 15+ Mins
Qualifying Games: 2 11 29 17
Total Minutes: 8.4 95.9 351.5 315.9
Total Rebounds: 2 31 110 116
MPG Avg: 4.2 8.7 12.1 18.6
RPG Avg: 1.0 2.8 3.8 6.8
Rebounds:
/ Min 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4

/ 36 Min

8.6

11.6

11.3

13.2

Boom. His rebounding rate actually INCREASES with the more minutes he plays. But whatever, people who go to dental colleges will retreat to 'meaningful minutes' and spin this as voodoo. "It doesn't count because cookies crumble, and I throw out data that doesn't support my milk dipping hypothesis."

Whatever, dude.

Kanter was drafted so high because of his size and potential.(Oh yeah, potential has to be converted into production by coaches giving playing time that results in experience) He had one NBA ready trait -- rebounding. That trait translates through all levels of play. (As we saw with Paul Millsap) And when Kanter gets burn, he only gets better at rebounding. And his rebounds are not the "Carlos Boozer / steal from my man during a low pressure 1st quarter defensive board" situation either. Dude eats glass, especially the offensive glass. If you are a coach you always want guys like Kanter on the floor when they are playing at a high level. And if you are a GM, you bust you ass trying to get players like him on your team.

If he's already on your team? I guess then the problem is finding time for him on the floor. But that's a good problem to have.

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