USA TODAY Sports
The easiest way for NC State to turn its defensive performance around--or make it less bad--is through defensive rebounding. It would be nice to be able to force more turnovers, but that's a tougher shift to make as opposed to just "hey guys, find your man and block him the hell out." That's not to say that defensive rebounding is all determination--it requires plenty of skill too--but it's something that can be altered more quickly with fundamentals.
"I do think at times our team relies on Richard to go get them all," Gottfried said. "A lot of times we have perimeter guys leaking out, ready to go run the fast break before we have the ball.
"We have to be a team where everybody gets involved in the rebounding part of the game."
Defensive rebounding could make a huge difference to this team's postseason prospects, and this is where we need T.J. Warren. Warren's efforts against FSU moved him ahead of Tyler Lewis by a hair in the defensive rebounding percentage category, but he still trails Scott Wood and Lorenzo Brown. You see the problem. Jordan Vandenberg moves in molasses, so his DR% isn't much better than Warren's. This puts a ton of pressure on C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell to snag rebounds, because they're the only ones doing it at a respectable rate.
Seriously, Warren is grabbing fewer defensive boards--on a percentage basis--than Scott Wood. If Warren can show some commitment at the defensive end, State can cut into a major weakness. We need that to make a run come tournament time.