A Brief look at Rebounding Numbers

After all of the criticism of Andre Drummond's defensive rebounding numbers, i decided to have a look at how a few other rookies went throughout the preseason.

First Last Minutes OReb DReb TReb OReb/36 DReb/36 TReb/36
Anthony Davis 154 13 38 51 3.0 8.9 11.9
Andre Drummond 105 21 14 35 7.2 4.8 12.0
Thomas Robinson 123 14 19 33 4.1 5.6 9.7
Meyers Leonard 105 12 17 29 4.1 5.8 9.9
Jared Sullinger 210 20 36 56 3.4 6.2 9.6

There are some interesting numbers here. Drummond has shown himself to be the worst defensive rebounder of the few bigs i looked at, but has even more so shown himself to be the best offensive rebounder.

The implications of this have been discussed ad nauseum previously: Is offensive or defensive rebounding more important etc. Ultimately the consensus has been that Drummond should work to improve his defensive rebounding.

I then decided to take a quick look at a few "vets" or younger bigs in the league to see if their rebounding numbers improved from their rookie season.

Real Season Numbers (Not Preseason)

Rookie Last Year
OReb/36 DReb/36 TReb/36 OReb/36 DReb/36 TReb/36
Roy Hibbert 4.1 4.6 8.7 4 6.7 10.6
Greg Monroe 4 5.7 9.7 4.1 6.9 11
Omer Asik 4.1 7.1 11.1 4.7 8.3 13
DeAndre Jordan 3.4 7.7 11.1 4 6.9 10.9

Looking at the trend of those four players, offensive rebounding numbers remained fairly consistent whilst defensive rebounding improved significantly in 3/4 cases. The 4th, DeAndre Jordan, it should be noted now has Blake Griffin next to him gobbling down 7.5 DReb/36 as opposed to Zac Randolph in his rookie year, who was only taking 6.6.

To me that suggests Defensive rebounding is a skill learnt in the pros and it is reasonable to expect improvement from Drummond in the future. I accept that averaging 7 OReb per 36 is unlikely to continue in the regular season, but with improvement on the defensive boards akin to Roy Hibbert (who was a 22yo rookie with 4 years of College under his belt with similarly poor DReb/36), Drummond can become a force on the boards.

Ultimately if Drummond's numbers in the preseason can continue into the regular season, he will show himself to be a poor defensive rebounder in 2012/13; just don't assume this means he won't improve to be a strong contributor when this team is closer to contending in the next few years.


I have collated the data below showing more players and their Total rebounding numbers across first/last college years as well as some of their NBA data.

Total Rebounds per 36 mins
Player College 1sy Yr College Last Yr NBA 1st Year NBA 2nd Yr NBA Career NBA Best (yr)
Andre Drummond 9.6 9.6*
LaMarcus Aldridge 9.6 9.8 8.1 7.9 7.8 8.1 (1st year)
Roy Hibbert 8 8.8 8.7 8.2 9.4 10.6 (4th)
Andrew Bogut 11.7 12.5 8.8 9.3 10.3 11.8 (4th)
Charlie V 10 11.6 7.9 8.3 8 9.2 (3rd)
Emeka Okafor 10.8 12.8 11 10.8 11.1 11.7 (3rd)
Derrick Favors 11 11* 9.7 9.8 10.4 11.1 (4th)
DeMarcus Cousins 15 15* 10.9 13 11.9 13 (2nd)
Greg Monroe ** 10.1 9.7 11 10.4 11 (2nd)
Anthony Randolph 9.3 9.3* 11.6 10.3 10.4 11.6 (1st)
Brook Lopez 8.6 9.6 9.6 8.4 7.9 9.6 (1st)
Al Horford 10.3 12.3 11.1 10 10.1 11.1 (1st)
Joakim Noah 10.3^ 11.7 9.8 11.3 11.5 13.2 (3rd)
Average 10.35 11.08 9.74 9.86 9.93 11.00
Notes: * Only played one college season
** No minutes played data for first season
^ Second college season used due to limited play in first

I was surprised when looking particularly at Charlie V's numbers. I never knew he was so competitive on the boards in college and his NBA numbers were solidly improving while in Milwaukee.

Unfortunately i couldn't do a breakdown of offensive/defensive boards as basketball-reference does not have this college breakdown data for prior seasons to 09/10. Having a look though, the data shows only marginal rebounding improvement over your NBA seasons to be the norm.

Rebounding numbers appear to translate fairly well, with the better college rebounders generally continuing to be do so in the pros. The data is here though so anyone more adept than I at breaking down rebounding style/technique like those who rely on athleticism versus those with better box-out fundamentals please do so in the comments

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