Takeaway #1 Can the Rockets keep up their edge on the offensive glass?
The Rockets may have lost the turnover battle, but they more than made up for it on the offensive glass. In many respects, an offensive rebound is as good as a turnover, and the Rockets bruised their way to a 15 to four edge on the offensive glass. If you’re a Hawks fan, this is a slight concern, but for a Rockets fan, this should be music to your ears.
The Rockets were 22nd in offensive rebound rate last season at 21.7% but blew by that against the Hawks. Doing some quick math, the Rockets missed 56 shots and grabbed 15 offensive boards for an offensive rebounding rate of 26.7%. That would have been the fourth-best rate last season.
Unfortunately, their offensive rebounding numbers are a bit skewed by a single play. Tari Eason secured three offensive rebounds on the same possession late in the third quarter, where he tipped the ball up and off the rim twice before converting the shot. It was a great play, but getting credit for three offensive rebounds is a bit rich for my liking.
If we cut two offensive boards from the Rockets’ tally, their offensive rebounding rate drops to 23.2%. An improvement from last season’s mark, but only middle of the pack league-wide. For a young team that turns the ball over and doesn’t convert a high level of shots, crashing the offensive glass is a great way to boost offensive production. With two of Jabari Smith Jr., Bruno Fernando, Alperen Sengun, and Tari Eason likely on the court for 48 minutes a game, the Rockets should aim to crash the glass to glory.