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Tristan Thompson talks about the science behind his offensive rebounding

Tristan Thompson

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson is known to be one of the best at rebounding in the NBA, and for good reason. Through the Cavs’ first eight games of the 2016-17 NBA Playoffs, the 6-foot-10 center is averaging a postseason-leading 4.9 offensive rebounds per game.

As most NBA fans know, Thompson has a relentless motor on the court. He’s constantly grabbing loose balls and aggravating opposing sides with his defense in the paint. After yesterday’s practice session at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Thompson shed light on some of the science behind his offensive rebounding skills, via Jeff Schudel of The News Herald and Morning Journal:

“If a guy is shooting a shot in the corner, 70 percent of the missed shots usually come off that other side and 30 percent hit off the front rim, so just playing the percentages and kind of studying your teammates’ shots throughout the course of the game,” Thompson said after yesterday’s practice session. “For instance, a guy like Channing Frye, if he misses a shot, he has a lot of arc on his shot. So if he misses, it’s probably going to be close. J.R. Smith, his shot doesn’t have as much arc as Channing. So if he misses, it might be a little longer rebound.”

The Cavs are currently waiting to learn who they will face in the Eastern Conference Finals — either the Washington Wizards or Boston Celtics. As of last night, the Celtics are leading that series three games to two. Thompson, who is averaging 10.6 rebounds per game in the postseason, tells The News Herald that offensive rebounding is all about understanding your teammates.

“It’s just understanding your teammates,” Thompson continued. “I’m hoping they make every shot. If not, I tell them, ‘Don’t worry, there’s a good chance I‘ll be able to get that offensive rebound.’”

Whether they face the Celtics or Wizards in the next round, it seems Thompson and Cavaliers will be ready for the occasion. In his closing statements, Thompson made it clear that he enjoys taking the energy out of hostile arenas on the road.

“What I really lick my chops for is when you get the offensive rebounds at the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter. That really just sucks the life out of the opponent. You can see it in their face, especially when you’re on the road. It just takes the whole energy out of the arena. That’s what I live for.”

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