Phoenix Suns Rebounding Woes: Both Predictable And Fixable

It's Game 1 of the NBA season and the Phoenix Suns are who we thought they were -- an undersized team that got its collective arse kicked on the glass by the the Portland Trail Blazers

The numbers are bad: 48-30 total rebounds and 18-7 offensive rebounds. We'll have to wait to see how bad the rebounding percentages are, but let us assume they are bad ... for the Suns.

We all knew -- including the team -- that rebounding was going to be an issue going into this season. Hedo Turkoglu is never going to do well on the glass when he's matched up with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and there aren't many other power forwards in the league who are going to be any easier. 

On top of that, Robin Lopez had horrible game. Five rebounds and five points in 25 minutes is not going to get it done. Not against a 36-year-old Marcus Camby who has no business playing 30 minutes at this point in his career and certainly shouldn't be beating Robin to the ball time and again. 

Mostly, though, the Suns defensive rebounding problems were created by the defense itself. 

With the Suns having to hide Steve Nash on Nicolas Batum, you already create a free lane for the long small forward to attack the offensive glass. He had 11 rebounds (five offensive), which killed the Suns. If Nash can't guard his position, this is going to be a problem on most nights.

To make matters worse, the Suns were forced to double team every time Aldridge touched the ball with Turkoglu defending him. That put the Suns in rotation and out of position to box out. 

You can live with one of those problems, but not both. 

Some of this will improve as the team gets more comfortable with each other and understands how to rotate better and get into rebounding position.

Some of it will improve just by playing teams that aren't as long as the Camby-Aldridge-Batum front line (30 combined rebounds).

Some of it might take a roster adjustment that allows the bigger Channing Frye to play his natural power forward position alongside Lopez, although right now that leaves the second unit absolutely no rebounding at all. Frye (and Richardson) led the Suns with six rebounds.

Even despite all that, the Suns defense was effective at times and the team took a three-point lead into the final six minutes of the game. Turnovers and a stalled offense (the late game go-to scoring options are a topic for another day) and some red hot shooting from the Blazers quickly put the game away with an 18-1 run, but overall it wasn't as bad as the 14-point final deficit indicates.

Portland is going to be a top rebounding team in the league again this season, so it's a tough test out of the gate. The Suns will improve some, but rebounding is going to haunt this roster in a very predictable fashion for the time being. It just won't (hopefully) be this bad every night.

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