Throwback Thursday: The Art of the Rebound

This week we feature some of the best rebounders in NBA history.

Rebounding: The roughest, toughest, and sometimes dirtiest part of the game of basketball.  Yet it is one of the most essential parts of a successful basketball team.  Most players don’t want to do it, because it’s not “glamorous” like shooting 25 foot 3-point shots. Or dropping someone on a crossover move (only to miss the shot), or an off the backboard dunk for the highlight reel.  Rebounding in itself is essential even for a team like the Golden State Warriors of today. No team is going to make every shot, and the rebounds don’t always fall in your lap.

This is where the specialist comes in.  The players that are not juggernaut scorers, and don’t specialize in much but defence and rebounding.  Top rebounders in today’s game: Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Hassan Whiteside for the Miami Heat, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and a handful of others all average over 10 rebounds per game.  The lazy fan will say that the reason they get all these rebounds is because they’re tall.

News flash… they’re all tall!

The elite rebounders use a number of different tactics to get an advantage on their opponents for rebounding purposes.  Some are throwbacks to the great rebounders of NBA’s past. Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Dennis Rodman just to name a few.  Here are some of the more forgotten big time rebounders of the past 20 years:

Kevin Garnett: KG has been in the league for many years, and has endured many battles throughout his time in the league. Coming in as a young, scrawny rookie only to develop into the “Big Ticket”, rebounding was something Garnett relished.  His skinny frame helped him slide around and outwork bigger players for double digit rebounds for almost two decades.  His scoring overshadowed this fact for years, but you can still see flashes of his brilliance in rebounding on a nightly basis.

Photo Credit:

OKLAHOMA CITY - FEBRUARY 02: Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves grabs a rebound in front of Tyson Chandler #6 and David West #30 of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on February 2, 2007 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Garnett;Tyson Chandler;David West

Jayson Williams: Formerly of the New Jersey Nets, before his personal life got in the way, Jayson was a late bloomer in the rebounding realm.  Starting his career in Philadelphia, he was moved to the New Jersey Nets in his third year.  He played sparingly the next 3-years until the 1996-97 season.  From there Williams averaged about 13 rebounds a game and was among the leaders in rebounds the next four years.

Photo Credit: NY Daily News



Ben Wallace: I specifically remember watching Ben in his first few years in the league.  I also remember asking myself “Why is this guy in the league”?  For the life of me, I couldn’t see the benefit of having Wallace on that team.  The Washington Wizards must have thought the same thing, because they moved him to Orlando.  Orlando moved him to Detroit, but Wallace had made a decision to be the best rebounder he could be.  His first year in Detroit is when he started averaging 14 rebounds a game. His defence was as good as his rebounding, as he would play centre for the Detroit Pistons. Even against big Shaquille O’Neal in the 2004 finals, Wallace held his own against one of the best centres in NBA history.

Photo Credit: Slam


Charles Barkley: Known as “The Round Mound of Rebound”, Barkley was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984 and averaged over 10 rebounds a game for all but one year in his 14-year career. That would be a good stat for a power forward or centre; however, Charles was only 6 foot 5 inches. I say this from experience, because I ran into Charles at the MGM grand a while back.  He may have only been 6 foot 4 inches if he’s lucky! That’s a feat in itself. Charles Barkley also led his team in rebounding 11 out of his 14 years in the NBA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

BOSTON - 1989: Charles Barkley #34 of the Philadelphia 76ers rebounds against the Boston Celtics during a game played in 1989 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1989 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

The rebounding game is not sexy nor will it get you a whole lot of endorsements.  It is essential to team success and winning championships.  The rough and tumble nature of rebounding makes it a throwback.