Rebounding is an underrated skill in the NBA.
Rebounding is probably the most overlooked aspect of the game as the job of a rebounder is not sexy. The reason being is that rebounding is seen mainly as a result of effort. While an effort is a big part rebounding, there is a lot of technique that is involved that goes unnoticed.
Just like the top scorers and top shooters in the NBA, the top rebounders in the league are highly skilled. And there a few players who had a superb career because of their rebounding prowess such as Dennis Rodman, Dikembe Mutombo and Nate Thurmond.
Here is my list of the top-10 rebounders in 2017-18, including five honorable mention candidates.
Alan Williams, Suns: The third-year undersized center is a terrific defensive rebounder. Williams, who went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2015-16, has played sparingly for the Suns the last two years. But he has put up impressive rebounding numbers.
Williams totaled double-digit rebounds in 16 of his 47 games in 2016-17. The most impressive thing about his numbers is that he has produced 22.4 and 16.5 rebounds per 40 minutes the last two years. His rebounding rate has also been elite at 30.3% in 2015-16 and 22.4% in 2016-17.
It will be interesting to see if the 24-year-old will see a much bigger role this season.
Joakim Noah, Knicks: Noah is a strong rebounder who has compiled his best two rebounding percentages the last two seasons, grabbing over 20% of the available boards. Noah, who is a good offensive rebounder, ranks second among active players in offensive boards percentage and 10th all-time. He is also 20th all-time in total rebound percentage.
Kenneth Faried, Nuggets: Faried averages over three offensive rebounds a game and grabs a board every 2.9 minutes he is on the floor for his career. He is an elite offensive rebounder who is a borderline great rebounder as he has grabbed 19% or more of all available rebounds three times in his six-year career.
Jonathan Isaac, Magic: Isaac is a 6-11 athletic rookie combo forward who is expect to a very good rebounder. The 19-year-old rookie should get plenty of time for the rebuilding Magic. Isaac averaged 8.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes, including 3.67 offensive boards a game, during three summer league games.
John Collins, Hawks: The 6-10 power forward, who was selected with the No. 19 pick, is projected to be an elite rebounder. Collins is a borderline rotational player right now though his minutes are expected to increase as the season progresses. Collins had a fabulous summer league campaign with 15.4 points to go along with 9.2 caroms with 3.2 of those coming on the offensive end.
Top 10 Rebounders
10. Karl Anthony-Towns, Timberwolves
Towns is very good but not an elite rebounder yet. With Minnesota bringing in several scorers this offseason, the 21-year-old will likely be less of the focal point on the offensive meaning that he have more of an opportunity to make an impact on the boards.
Town, who thrives on the offensive glass, has averaged double-digit rebounds in each of first two campaigns. He ranked sixth in 2016-17 with 12.3 rebounds and seventh with 3.6 offensive boards.
The 7-foot center grabbed 10 or more rebounds 62 times last year. He had three, 20 rebound games with two coming in the last three games. Towns ranked second in second chance points with 4.7.
9. Willy Hernangomez, Knicks
The 2016 second round selection was one of the biggest surprises last season. The 23-year-old Spaniard compiled 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds in 18.4 minutes a game. He was even better as a starter, racking up 11.6 points as well as 9.3 caroms in 25.8 minutes over 22 games.
Hernangomez totaled 22 double-digit rebounds last season with eight of those coming over the last month and a half of the season. He averaged 15.2 rebounds per 40 minutes and his 20.4% rebounding rate ranked 12th in the league last year.
Hernangomez is expected start at center this season with Joakim Noah suspended for the first 12 games. If the 6-11, 240-pound center performs like he has during EuroBaskets 2017 he could spend the whole season as the starter. Hernangomez, who is a very good offensive rebounder, is posting 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds over 18.2 minutes in the competition. He currently ranks fifth in rebounds per game though he is first in the competition in rebounds per 40 minutes at 18.1.
8. Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors
Valanciunas is starting to come into his own overall as well as a rebounder. The 25-year-old Lithuanian tallied a career-high 9.5 rebounds in 25.8 minutes of action, marking the second straight year that he averaged a board every three or less minutes.
Valanciunas has improved his rebound rate in each of his five NBA seasons, securing 20.8% of all available rebounds -- which ranked ninth in the league. He is an excellent defensive rebounder who produced 14.7 rebounds per 40 minutes in 2016-17. The 7-0 center reached double-figures in rebounds 39 times last year, including one 20-rebound effort.
Valanciunas had a terrific 2017 EuroBasket tourney, averaging 15.0 points and 12.0 rebounds for his native country.
7. Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks
Dedmon is now with his fifth team in five seasons after joining Atlanta this offseason. So, what makes the 28-year-old journeyman so intriguing?
Dedmon is an athletic 7-0 center who is a superb shot-blocker and rebounder. In terms of rebounding, he has averaged one board per 2.8 minutes for his career. He excels on the defensive boards grabbing 30.2% of the caroms on that end in 2016-17, which ranked ninth in the league.
Dedmon, who averaged a rebound per 2.45 minutes during the playoffs, produced 6.5 caroms in 17.5 for San Antonio last year. He totaled double-digit rebounds in just 17 of his 76 appearances though his 21.2% rebound rate ranked eighth in the league.
Dedmon should see the most playing time of his career this upcoming season as he is expected to split time with Mike Muscala.
6. Tyson Chandler, Suns
Chandler is on the backside of his career whose activity and athleticism is slowly decreasing. Still, the 34-year-old is a force to be reckoned with on the glass.
Last season, Chandler hauled in 11.5 rebounds per game-- marking his third highest total in his 16-year career -- in just 27.6 minutes a game. His rate of one rebound per every 2.4 minutes was a career-best. Overall, he set a career-mark in rebound at 22.6% -- which was the fifth best total in the league last season.
Chandler, who appeared in just 47 games, had 29 games of double-figure games in 2016-17. He had three, 20-rebound games.
Chandler is a better offensive rebounder than he is a defensive rebounder. The 7-1 center has ranked in the top-10 in offensive rebound percentage six times. He has grabbed the 46th most rebounds in NBA history.
It will be interesting to see what Chandler’s role is this upcoming season. Phoenix is rebuilding and has reportedly been looking to deal Chandler since this summer.
5. Rudy Gobert, Jazz
Gobert has developed into a top-three or four center as his offensive game has caught up to his defensive prowess. But one thing that has always been there is his rebounding genius. Gobert elevated himself from an excellent rebounder to an elite rebounder last season.
Gobert, who has grabbed a rebound every 2.8 minutes or so in his career, hauled in a career-best 12.8 boards in 33.9 minutes a game in 2016-17. The 25-year-old Frenchman hauled in double-digit rebounds in 68 of his 81 games last year. He had two, 20-rebound games.
Last season was the first time the 7-1 center produced over 15 rebounds per 40 minutes and his 21.8% rebound percentage ranked sixth in the league. He is a better offensive rebounder than he is a defensive rebounder. Gobert has ranked in the top-7 of the league in rebounds per game the last two years. He is an elite rebounder in traffic though those numbers dipped a tad bit last season.
Gobert’s 3.7-second chance points ranked sixth in the league in 2016-17.
4. Dwight Howard, Hornets
Howard has been much maligned the past several seasons. However, one thing that has always been a given is that Howard will rebound. And he is coming off his best rebounding efforts of his career.
Howard has averaged double-figures in rebounds in each of his 15 seasons in the NBA. He hauled in 12.7 rebounds a game last year, with 4.0 of those coming on the offensive end and 8.7 coming on the defensive -- marking the 11th time he has hauled in at least eight defensive rebounds and the 14th time he has grabbed at least three offensive rebounds a game. Howard pulled down double-digit rebounds 59 times last season, which includes three 20 rebound contests.
While Howard’s total per game numbers weren’t near his career best, his 23.5% rebound rate, is the best of his career by 1.5% points. Howard ranked fourth in rebound percentage overall, sixth in defensive rebound percentage and third in offensive rebound percentage in 2016-17. He is a pretty good rebounder in traffic.
Howard is a better defensive rebounder than an offensive rebounder. He has grabbed the 23rd most rebounds in NBA history.
3. DeAndre Jordan, Clippers
Jordan has been one of the best rebounders since the 2013-14 campaign. Jordan is an athletic brute whether in the paint or on the boards as he can just bully his way to the rim.
The 6-11, 265-pound center finished tied for second in the league with 13.8 caroms as he totaled a rebound at a 24.2% clip last year, which was also second best in the league. It also marked his second best rebounding percentage of his career. Jordan, who has made a living off of putbacks and alley-oops, finished the year third in rebound percentage and 11th in offensive rebound percentage.
Jordan grabbed double-digit rebounds in 66 of 81 games last season. He had 10 games of 20-plus boards. He has struggled hauling in rebounds in traffic the past two seasons, dropping below the 40% mark in each of the last two seasons.
Jordan ranks fifth in NBA history in career rebound percentage.
2. Hassan Whiteside, Heat
Whiteside is an elite rebounder due to the ferociousness he attacks the glass on both ends. He has produced a rebound every three years throughout his career.
The athletic 7-foot center pulled in double-digit boards in 66 of 77 games last year, including six 20-rebound efforts. Whiteside led the NBA with 14.3 caroms a game. But he was third in rebound percentage (23.9%) as he ranked second in defensive rebound percentage (34.9%) and 15th in offensive rebound percentage (12.9).
Whiteside also led the league in second chance points last with 5.0. He is also a very good rebounder in traffic though his numbers in that department have slowly declined.
1. Andre Drummond, Pistons
Drummond is the best rebounder in the game. And the 2016-17 campaign was his best season to date.
The reason Drummond is such a great rebounder is because he vigorously goes after every rebound opportunity. It helps that he is very strong, long and possesses excellent hops. He is an elite offensive and defensive rebounder.
Drummond hauled in double-digit rebounds in 67 of 81 games, which included seven games of 20-plus rebounds in 2016-17.The 6-11 finished second in the league with 13.8 boards a game as he grabbed 9.5 caroms on the defensive end and a league-high 4.3 boards off the offensive glass in just 30 minutes of action. He also led the league in rebound percentage at a career-best 25.2%. Drummond has finished in the top-five in the league in rebound percentage in each of his five seasons, topping the list three times including in each of the last two campaigns.
As a result of his offensive rebounding prowess, Drummond is usually among the leaders in second chance points. The 24-year-old also is good at pulling in boards in traffic, collecting over 42% of his boards in traffic.