How Anthony Davis can become an even better rebounder
8 games into his freshman campaign, Anthony Davis has all the traits of a superstar in the making. His offensive rating is 121.3 while using 20.8% of Kentucky’s possessions while on the floor. His true shooting percentage is 65.8% (92nd overall and 17th among freshmen). He grabs 12.3% and 21.2% of available offensive and defensive rebounds, respectively while his overall rebound rate of 18% puts him 9th among freshmen. He is making a major impact on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. (If you haven’t made the investment in a kenpom subscription yet, go there now).
All that said, Davis is not yet a finished product, which is perfectly normal for a freshman. Let’s take a quick look at how he can improve on his defensive rebounding and allow fewer offensive rebounds. As shown above, Davis is already a great defensive rebounder, thanks to his incredible length and athleticism. His defensive rebound rate of 21.2% ranks 182nd overall and 8th in the SEC (second among SEC freshmen, behind Johnny O’Bryant of LSU).
The way Davis can become a better rebounder is to become more physical on the defensive glass and use his body to push his defender out of the play. On most plays through the first 8 games, Davis simply gets himself to the front of the rim and relies on his length and jumping ability to grab the loose ball instead of boxing out his opponent. It is a very simple concept but one that Davis needs to work on this season.
Let’s take a look at some of the plays where Davis corrals the defensive rebound. Watch how Davis simply stands in front of his opponent (if one is in the area) instead of pushing his defender away from the rim and grabbing the rebound by being more athletic than his opponent.
While getting to the front of the rim and trying to out leap opponents is a good strategy on the offensive glass, it is not a skillful play on the defensive glass. His inability to push defenders back will allow players to out rebound him as they push him under the basket, fight for better position undeterred or simply time their leap better to grab the loose ball.
You can see several examples of this in the following video. With Davis not using his lower body to push his opponent back, he has a tendency to give up offensive rebounds as he allows the offensive player to stay in the play and fight for the rebound. He can get more space to grab the rebound while taking his opponent out of the play if he focuses more on boxing his opponent out and driving them away from the rim.
Davis is already a great rebounder and as a freshman, it is no surprise he has yet to master the boxout, as he has been able to get away with relying on his natural abilities to rebound in his playing career up to this point. If he works more on his box out on the defensive glass, he will quickly turn from a great rebounder into an elite rebounder.