September 14, 2009
And it's not just about raw rebound totals, either, or the per-game type. We're interested in rebound rate, which measures the percentage of available rebounds a particular player pulls in while he's on the floor. Seems simple enough, right? 20 percent, and you'll likely lead the league. 12 percent, and you're Eddy Curry(notes). 23 percent, and you're Dennis Rodman. My man retired with the highest rebound rate in NBA history.
What follows is a list of the 10 best rebounders of the last decade.
He may be a bit doughy, he may not like to pass much or even pretend to defend, but Randolph sure can board. Over eight a game on his career, in just 30 minutes a contest, with a definite emphasis on the defensive glass. That way, he can call his own number before handing the point guard the ball.
Mock the man's contract if you must, but Dampier has been amongst the league leaders in rebound rate for years. He led the league in that category in 2003-04, and Damp is a surprisingly spry offensive rebounder for his rather robust frame.
His interest seems to wane — Shaq's rebounding, like his body mass index, seems to fluctuate based on what former team he's ticked off at that particular year — but O'Neal has been a consistent force on the glass all decade. That said, you don't see many of these guys on this list with career highs in rebounds per game (13.9) and rebound rate (20.8) in their rookie year. Take it for what it's worth.
You'd think that, with his quick hops and sinewy frame, KG would be at his best tipping his way toward offensive rebounds. His and Dampier's status have to keep our perceptions in check, however, because Garnett has actually led the NBA in defensive rebound rate four times this decade, while leading the league in overall rebounding rate in 2004-05 — his supposed, "step back" year.
Has to take a seat behind Tim Duncan(notes) based on the sheer amount of games that he's missed this decade. 235 contests, in fact. With that in place, Camby has a career rebound rate over 18, and he shows no signs of letting up any time soon, posting a sterling (and nearly a career-high) 20.7 last year with the Clippers. All that time off must have done him some good.
5. Tim Duncan
It feels a bit odd to rank Duncan this low, because he's constantly amongst the league leaders in rebounds per game (11.7 per contest for his career), and this post's particular set of images could be titled, "Tim Duncan Nearly Gets the Rebound." But he will have to fall short of the rebounding specialists, whilst having to stay happy with his defensive acumen, his scoring potency, and all those rings.
His rebounding fell off a bit in 2008-09, but Foster has been a consistent force on the glass since the start of the decade, working blue on both ends of the floor as both an undersized center and (if we're honest) undersized power forward. He's never averaged double figure rebounds per game, but he pulls in a greater percentage of caroms than the players listed below him.
Another pure rebounding specialist, Evans can be nearly as bad a defensive liability as he is an offensive liability, but the journeyman big forward can clean glass like few others. A 20.8 career rebound rate for the goofy Iowa product.
It's safe to say that we have a clear clubhouse leader should we strike this list back up again in 10 years — because if Howard retired today, he'd take to Florida's senior communities as the owner of the third highest rebound rate in league history. Pretty solid work for a player who has yet to turn 24 years old. For comparison's sake, Dennis Rodman was 25 and a half years-old when he grabbed his first NBA carom.
His career rebound rate may have fallen a bit over the last few years, but in terms of absolute, consistent glass-side dominance, Ben Wallace is your best rebounder of the decade.
Ben's at 10.3 rebounds per game on his career, despite averaging just under 31 minutes per game, while looking to strike up some of the Piston-powered magic again in Detroit for 2009-10. It was the site of his finest turn, when he pulled in over 23 percent of available rebounds in 2003, while averaging 15.4 rebounds per game.