The last 40 champions to rebound after a loss in the NBA playoffs have seen an increase of more than 8% on average. Will we ever see another Dennis Rodman though?
The “dennis rodman running of the bulls” is a famous photo that makes people think about how great Dennis Rodman was. The question is, will we ever see another Dennis Rodman?
According to history, the Detroit Pistons have a one-in-four probability of having a player top the league in rebounds. Since 1982, a Pistons player has topped the NBA in rebounding nine times. There has only been one real rebounding king in the previous four decades, apart from Moses Malone, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard.
While Wilt Chamberlain will be the reigning king of rebounding, Rodman was in a class of his own when he led the league in rebounding for eight straight seasons from 1991 to 1998. We expected to see a different Rodman when Garnett and Howard went on their streaks. Instead, history shows that there will only ever be one Dennis Rodman in the NBA.
Moses Malone – 14.7 RPG, 1982 (Houston Rockets)
Malone won his second MVP title in 1981, when he averaged 31.1 points and 14.7 rebounds in the NBA Finals. By by 1.2 points, he lost the scoring championship to George Gervin. He had the most offensive rebounds (558) and minutes played in the league (42.0). Malone was chosen to the All-NBA First-Team at the conclusion of the season, but despite averaging 24.0 points and 17.0 rebounds, the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Moses Malone – 15.3 RPG – 1983 (Philadelphia 76ers)
Malone signed a six-year, $13.2 million offer sheet with the 76ers over the summer. The squad was coming off a 4-2 defeat to the Lakers in the NBA Finals, in which Kareem Abdul-Jabbar overpowered Darryl Dawkins and Caldwell Jones, the team’s big men. For the third year in a row, Malone surpassed expectations by leading the NBA in rebounds. The 76ers won the NBA title after losing only one game in the playoffs, thanks to Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, and Bobby Jones. When he outrebounded Abdul-Jabbar 72-30 in the Finals, Malone was voted Finals MVP.
Moses Malone – 13.4 RPG – 1984 (Philadelphia 76ers)
Due to ankle issues, Malone was restricted to 71 games, the fewest he has played since 1977-1978. Malone scored 22.7 points but once again topped the NBA in rebounds. His performances earned him a spot on the NBA’s Second All-Star Team. Philadelphia was swept by the New Jersey Nets in five games in the playoffs, with Malone averaging 21.4 points and 13.8 rebounds.
Moses Malone – 13.1 RPG – 1985 (Philadelphia 76ers)
The 76ers picked Charles Barkley in the 1984 Draft, and he reported to training camp weighing 300 pounds. Malone helped Barkley become in better condition, and he was named to the All-Rookie Team as a result. Malone, on the other hand, created a new record by being the fifth player to reach the top of the rebounding list ( later broken by Dennis Rodman). Malone finished third in MVP voting, averaging 24.6 points per game, which was the league’s ninth-best mark. This season, Malone surpassed the 10,000-rebound mark in the NBA. The 76ers reached the Eastern Conference Finals as a team, but were defeated in five games by the Celtics.
Bill Laimbeer – 13.1 RPG, 1986 (Detroit Pistons)
During his time, Laimbeer was one of the top outdoor shooting ranges. With Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, he ran a fantastic pick and roll offense. Coach Chuck Daly admired his tenacity and aggressiveness, which helped him rebound well. From 1983 through 1987, Laimbeer, a four-time All-Star, was a candidate for the rebounding championship. He won the rebounding championship in 1986. He was a member of the team’s championship squads in 1989 and 1990.
Charles Barkley – 14.6 RPG – 1987 (Philadelphia 76ers)
After the 1985-1986 season, the 76ers were all in on Barkley thanks to Malone’s guidance. Malone was dealt to the Washington Bullets over the summer. This season, Barkley put up several strong performances, including a 116-106 victory against Denver in which he scored 26 points and 25 rebounds. Barkley had 16 offensive rebounds throughout the contest. With 5.7 offensive rebounds per game, Barkley not only led the league in rebounding, but also in offensive rebounds. Barkley also scored 23.0 points per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 24.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in a five-game first-round series against the Bucks.
Michael Cage – 13.0 RPG – 1988 (Los Angeles Clippers)
Cage had a great NBA career, playing for the Clippers, SuperSonics, Cavaliers, 76ers, and Nets between 1984 and 2000. His career peak came when he was a member of the Clippers, when he led the league in rebounding. Charles Oakley, who was a member of the Bulls at the time, was Cage’s opponent. To beat Oakley in the championship game, Cage needed to capture 28 rebounds. He won the championship with 30 rebounds.
Hakeem Olajuwon – 13.9 RPG – 1989 (Houston Rockets)
He lived up to expectations in his first full season as the Rockets’ head coach. Under new coach Don Chaney, the Rockets ended with a 45-37 record. Olajuwon had the most rebounds in the league, finishing one rebound ahead of runner-up Charles Barkley. Olajuwon finished with 24.8 points and 3.4 blocks. Olajuwon averaged 37.5 points and 16.8 rebounds in a four-game playoff series that featured a postseason record of 150 points. In the first round, the Rockets were defeated 3-1 by Seattle.
Hakeem Olajuwon – 14.0 RPG – 1990 (Houston Rockets)
Houston’s season was a failure. The squad finished 41-41 and was eliminated by the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Individually, Olajuwon stood out by topping the rebounding race by two full rebounds over David Robinson. Olajuwon was the only player to ever lead the league in rebounding and blocks that season, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. That season, he also became just the third player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double.
David Robinson – 13.0 RPG, 1991 (San Antonio Spurs)
Robinson was a consistent competitor in this area, despite competing against some exceptional talent. He ultimately broke the mold and made it to the top in 1991. Robinson was named January Player of the Month after averaging 27.0 points and 14.5 rebounds throughout the season. The Spurs won 55 games but were eliminated by the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
Dennis Rodman – 18.7 RPG – 1992 (Detroit Pistons)
This was Rodman’s first breakthrough season, and he improved his rebounding abilities dramatically. Rodman averaged 9.8 points per game and 1,530 total rebounds. Rodman became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1972 to have at least 1,530 rebounds. In subsequent years, no one has come close to matching this achievement. Kevin Willis, who collected 1,258 rebounds in the same season, was the closest competitor. Rodman had a career-high 34 rebounds in the contest in March 1992. The Pistons, on the other hand, were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Knicks.
Dennis Rodman – 18.3 RPG – 1993 (Detroit Pistons)
Rodman had a terrible season after that. Rodman saw head coach Chuck Daly as a father figure. Rodman was going through a divorce with his wife, Annie Bakes. Rodman had to deal with adversity, including falling asleep in a vehicle where he was discovered following a welfare check. Despite his troubles, Rodman managed to lead the league in rebounding. Despite having a three-year contract, the Pistons moved him to the Spurs at the close of the season, when the club only won 41 games.
Dennis Rodman – 17.3 RPG – 1994 (San Antonio Spurs)
Rodman joined a team led by All-Star center David Robinson and included Dale Ellis, Willie Anderson, and Vinny Del Negro as supporting cast members. Rodman, a power forward, led the league in rebounding and was named to the All-Defense team. It was also at this time that Rodman started to shave his head and colour his hair in vibrant hues like red, purple, and blue. The Spurs were ousted in the first round of the playoffs despite a 55-win season.
Dennis Rodman – 16.8 RPG – 1995 (San Antonio Spurs)
This season, Rodman had a quarrel with the Spurs’ front staff. Rodman was banned for the first three games of the season, then went on leave on November 11, 1994, before being suspended again in December. Rodman returned after missing 19 games and had one of the finest rebounding seasons in NBA history. Rodman would not have qualified for season records if he had not missed time, but he did so by snagging 823 rebounds, which was more than the league’s requirement of 800. The Spurs had the best record in the league, winning 62 games. Rodman, on the other hand, displayed insubordination by sitting on the floor with his shoes off during a timeout. In the Conference Finals, the Spurs were defeated by the Rockets, who were outplayed by Hakeem Olajuwon.
Dennis Rodman – 14.9 RPG – 1996 (Chicago Bulls)
Rodman questioned head coach Bob Hill’s playcalling when the Spurs couldn’t stop Olajuwon, who scored 35.3 points per game in the playoffs. As a result, Rodman was sent to the Bulls in exchange for Will Perdue, who filled a significant vacuum at power forward after Horace Grant’s departure. Rodman’s risk paid off as the Bulls went on to win 72 games in the league. Despite calf issues, Rodman collected 20 or more rebounds on 11 occasions this season. He was a fierce defender, but his conduct remained consistent, including a headbutting incident with referee Ted Bernhardt. When the Bulls won the title, though, everything was OK.
Dennis Rodman – 16.1 RPG – 1997 (Chicago Bulls)
Rodman had a low scoring average of 5.7 points per game, but he won his sixth straight rebounding championship. Rodman made headlines when he stumbled over and kicked cameraman Eugene Amos in the crotch. Rodman had to pay $200,000 in settlement money and the league punished him for 11 games despite not earning a technical foul. Rodman’s pay was cut by $1 million as a result of this. He also missed three additional games due to technical foul sanctions. In the NBA Finals, Rodman battled to slow down Karl Malone, but he did enough to win a second title in Chicago.
Dennis Rodman – 15.0 RPG – 1998 (Chicago Bulls)
Rodman established a new record by winning his sixth rebounding championship, averaging 15.0 per game while scoring 4.7 points. On 11 occasions, he collected 20 or more rebounds. He had his greatest game against the Hawks, with 29 rebounds. Rodman also got 15 offensive rebounds in a game against the Clippers. Despite a contentious choice to fight Hulk Hogan in the NBA Finals, Rodman shut down Karl Malone and the Bulls won their third straight championship.
Chris Webber – 13.0 RPG – 1999 (Sacramento Kings)
Webber had no desire to join the Kings, but the club acquired him in exchange for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe in a trade. In Sacramento, Webber enjoyed his greatest years. Webber ended Dennis Rodman’s reign in his first year, which was cut short due to the lockout. The Kings reached the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round by the Jazz.
Dikembe Mutombo, Dikembe Mutombo, Dikembe Mutombo, Dikembe Mutombo, Dikembe Mutombo (Atlanta Hawks)
Mutombo had been advised the year before that he could no longer wave his Mutombo finger. Mutombo eventually agreed to the new regulation after a period of opposition. Mutombo averaged 11.5 points, 3.3 blocks, and led the league in rebounding in his first full season in Atlanta. Mutombo had his greatest game against the Timberwolves on December 14, 1999, when he scored 27 points on 11-for-11 shooting, collected a season-high 29 rebounds, and blocked six shots in a victory.
Dikembe Mutombo (Atlanta Hawks/Philadelphia 76ers) – 13.5 RPG in 2001
The Hawks sent Mutombo to the Eastern Conference-leading 76ers for Pepe Sanchez, Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed, and Theo Ratliff at the trade deadline. Mutombo had brought down 22 rebounds in the All-Star game the week before. Mutombo and MVP Allen Iverson led the squad to the NBA Finals in the 2001 playoffs. Mutombo scored 23 points, grabbed 19 rebounds, and blocked seven shots in Game 7 of the Conference Finals against the Bucks to go to the Finals. Despite losing in the Finals against the Lakers, Mutombo agreed to a four-year, $68 million contract extension.
Ben Wallace 13.0 RPG, 2002 (Detroit Pistons)
Wallace’s 7.6 points per game were the most in the league, and he also led the league in rebounding and blocks. He was selected Defensive Player of the Year and All-NBA Third Team for his efforts. The Pistons finished the season with a 50-game winning streak and defeated the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Wallace had 19 points and 20 rebounds in Game 1 of the second round against the Celtics. In two of his ten games, he grabbed 20 or more rebounds. The Celtics would win the series in the end.
Ben Wallace – 15.4 RPG – 2003 (Detroit Pistons)
Wallace would be named Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. The Pistons would win 50 games once again if he boosted his rebounding by 2.3. The Pistons defeated Orlando in a seven-game series in the first round. The Pistons were swept by the Nets in four games after defeating the 76ers in six games. Wallace averaged 16.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and he had four games with 20 or more rebounds.
Kevin Garnett (13.9 RPG) – 2004 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
With 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.2 blocks, Garnett was named league MVP. The Timberwolves faced the Lakers in the Conference Finals with a franchise-record 58 victories. If Sam Cassell had not been sidelined by a back ailment, the squad may have beaten Kobe Bryant and Shaq. Garnett’s tenure as rebounding champion would be only the start of his career.
Kevin Garnett (13.5 RPG) – 2005 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Garnett had a fantastic season overall, including a career-high 47 points and 17 rebounds in a 122-115 defeat. Despite being chosen to the All-NBA Second Squad, Garnett was unable to lead the team back to the playoffs. With a 44-38 record, the Timberwolves missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. While he led the league in rebounding, Garnett’s frustrations began to surface in Minnesota.
Kevin Garnett – 12.7 RPG in 2006 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Garnett had a lot of dissatisfaction in the next season. Latrell Sprewell declined a three-year contract deal and was traded for an ineffectual Marko Jaric in exchange for Sam Cassell. Only 33 games were won by the team. Despite Garnett’s efforts, the Timberwolves had the league’s second-worst record. While the club missed the playoffs, Garnett was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
Kevin Garnett – 12.8 RPG in 2007 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
For the fourth year in a row, Garnett led the league in rebounding, yet Minnesota was one of the league’s weakest teams. Glen Taylor ultimately admitted that he was listening to trade offers as a result of this. Garnett was almost moved to the Lakers in exchange for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynam and Kobe Bryant, but he was instead sent to the Celtics, where he won the 2008 title. Garnett’s 2006 and 2007 rebounding totals were the second and third lowest of any rebounder in the prior 40 years, highlighting a very poor rebounding class.
Dwight Howard – 14.2 RPG – Dwight Howard – 14.2 RPG – Dwight Howard – 14.2 R (Orlando Magic)
Around the rim, Howard was a unique player. He won the Slam Dunk Contest after one of his dunks had him wearing a Superman costume. He led the Magic to their first divisional championship in 12 years and a playoff seeding of No. 3 in the Eastern Conference. In the first round of the playoffs, Howard had three 20-point/20-rebound games, leading the Magic to a five-game victory against the Raptors. His 91 rebounds were higher than the Raptors frontcourt’s combined total of rebounds. The Magic were defeated by the Pistons in five games in the second round.
Dwight Howard – 13.8 RPG – 2009 (Orlando Magic)
Howard topped the league in both blocks and rebounds (4.2). After a 59-win season, Howard’s domination continued into the playoffs. The Magic advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were beaten 4-2 by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. In Game 6, Howard set a postseason career best with 40 points and 14 rebounds. The Lakers were the superior team in the NBA Finals, when the Magic made their first appearance in 14 years, and triumphed in five games. Howard’s greatest performance came in Game 4, when he had 21 rebounds and nine blocks, a Finals record.
Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dwight Howard, Dwight (Orlando Magic)
The Magic got out to a fast start, winning 17 of their first 21 games, which was a club high. Howard led the Magic to their third straight division championship with 59 victories. The Magic came close to returning to the NBA Finals, but were upset in the Conference Finals by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen and the Celtics. Howard made history by becoming the first player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounds and blocks in consecutive seasons.
Kevin Love – 15.2 RPG – 2011 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Despite the Timberwolves’ status as one of the bottom feeders in the standings, Love enjoyed a 53-game stretch of double-doubles. It was the longest winning run since the 1976 merger of the ABA and the NBA. Moses Malone’s 51-game streak from 1979 to 1990 was beaten by Love. He fell two games shy of Elvin Hayes’ record of 55 games set in 1973-1974. Love’s jersey was the most popular throughout that season, surpassing Kevin Garnett’s. He was also voted Most Improved Player in the league.
Dwight Howard – 14.5 RPG – Dwight Howard – 14.5 RPG – Dwight Howard – 14.5 R (Orlando Magic)
Howard’s last season in Orlando was hampered by speculation about his future plans. Howard did not believe the club was capable of winning a title. On January 12, 2012, Howard broke Wilt Chamberlain’s single-game record of 34 free throw attempts. When the Warriors hacked Howard for the whole game, he made 21 of 39 tries. In the triumph, he scored 45 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. The Magic failed to meet expectations, leading to the firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy and the trade of Howard to the Lakers.
Dwight Howard – 12.4 RPG in 2013 (Los Angeles Lakers)
Howard desired a career in Hollywood, so the club traded him to Los Angeles. Howard’s season was a complete failure. His rebounding stats are the lowest of any of the past 40 winners, and he averaged the lowest point of his career. After five straight First-Team honors, Howard was chosen to the NBA’s Third Team. His season was marred by distractions, including as his on-again, off-again friendship with Kobe Bryant. Howard departed after one season, in the midst of his last season as the league’s top rebounder.
DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre (Los Angeles Clippers)
This season, Jordan joined a select group of athletes. Jordan became the first player since Tim Duncan in 2008 to have at least 25 points, 18 rebounds, and four blocks in a playoff game on April 29, 2014. Jordan was a key player in “Lob City,” with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Jordan was the best rim protector and rebounder in the NBA. In the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers were defeated by the Thunder.
DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre Jordan, DeAndre (Los Angeles Clippers)
On February 9, 2015, Jordan set a career best with 27 rebounds and 22 points in a 115-98 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan made his first career three-pointer in the first quarter of the game, making it a memorable season from a shooting standpoint. Jordan was named to the NBA’s Third Team this season. He became the league’s sixth player to average at least 10 points, 15 rebounds, one steal, and two blocks per game. Moses Malone was the last person to achieve this feat in 1982-1983.
Andre Drummond – 14.8 RPG in 2016 (Detroit Pistons)
Drummond became the first player since Ben Wallace to open a season with three straight double-doubles. After a 25-point, 29-rebound effort in a defeat to the Pacers, Drummond was voted Player of the Week. He became the first Pistons player since 1985 to have back-to-back 20/20 games. In the sixth game of the season, he had 29 points and 27 rebounds, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three 20/20 performances in the first six games. Drummond is the first player since Dennis Rodman to score 30 points and grab 20 rebounds in the same game. He had his 50th double-double in late February, which put him in first place in the league. Drummond led the Pistons to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, their first postseason trip since 2009.
Hassan Whiteside, Hassan Whiteside, Hassan Whiteside, Hassan Whiteside, Hassan Whiteside, Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat)
Whiteside agreed to a four-year, $98 million contract with Miami before to the start of the season. He was the first player in the league to go from the league’s minimum pay to a max-level deal. In the season opener against Orlando, he wowed with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocked shots. In a defeat against the Spurs, he subsequently equaled his career best in points with 27 and grabbed 15 rebounds. Whiteside is the only Heat player with three or more 20-20 games this season, joining Rony Seikaly. His season high for rebounds was 25, putting him on pace to shatter a single-season club record for rebounds in a season (936), two more than Seikaly set in 1991-1992. He was also the first Heat player to ever have a season with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Andre Drummond – 16.0 RPG – 2018 (Detroit Pistons)
Drummond’s 5,000th career rebound came at the start of the season. He joined Dwight Howard as the second-youngest player to achieve the record at the age of 24 years, 76 days. The Pistons are off to their finest start since 2005-2006, with a 9-3 record. Drummond became the first player since Dennis Rodman in the 1990s to collect at least 200 rebounds in the first 13 games. Drummond became the youngest player in NBA history to achieve 2,000 offensive rebounds this season. Drummond became the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon to compile a 20-point, 20-rebound, four-steal, and four-block game after the All-Star break. Drummond led the league in rebounds with 12, becoming the first player since Rodman to do so and just the second player in the previous 40 years to do so.
Andre Drummond – 15.6 RPG – 2019 (Detroit Pistons)
Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in an overtime defeat to Miami in November. Drummond’s 11th career “Moses Malone triple-double” came in January, when he had 11 offensive rebounds, 11 defensive rebounds, and 14 points. Malone recorded 24 triple-doubles in his career, compared to 17 for Rodman. Drummond went on to become the franchise’s all-time leader in offensive rebounds, surpassing Bill Laimbeer’s previous mark. For the fourth time in his career, Drummond surpassed 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 100 steals in February, the most by a player since 1973-1974.
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons/Cleveland Cavaliers) – 15.2 RPG in 2020
Drummond started the season with a victory against Indiana, scoring 32 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. He became the first player to begin a season in this manner since Charles Barkley (1992) and George McGinnis (1977). Drummond averaged 17.8 points and 15.8 rebounds in 49 games with the Pistons. In exchange for Brandon Knight, John Henson, and a second-round selection, he was moved to the Cavaliers. Drummond averaged 17.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in eight games that season. Drummond was able to win his fourth rebounding championship with this effort.
Clint Capela – 14.3 RPG in 2021 (Atlanta Hawks)
In a four-team, 12-player deal on February 5, 2020, the Rockets sent Capela and Nene to the Hawks in exchange for Robert Covington and Jordan Bell. The Hawks reached the Conference Finals in his first full season with the franchise, and he led the league in rebounding. With 13 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 blocks in a 116-98 victory against the Timberwolves, Capela scored his first career triple-double. Capela has the most offensive and defensive rebounds in the league.
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The “best rebounder of all time” is Dennis Rodman. He was the last 40 rebounding champions that we have seen in the NBA. With his retirement, will we ever see another player like him?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dennis Rodman the best rebounder in the NBA?
A: As of this time, Dennis Rodman is currently not the best rebounder in the NBA.
How many 30 rebound games did Dennis Rodman have?
A: I do not have a number for this question.
How good was Rodman at rebounding?
A: Rodmans rebounding percentage is unknown.
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