The definition of a rebound according to Wikipedia is "the act of successfully gaining possession of the basketball after a missed field goal or free throw." To be a good rebounder a player must have a combination of height, athleticism, or the wherewithal to position himself best to receive the carom of a miss. Andre Drummond is both very tall and very athletic, and because of this, is on pace to set some rebounding records. Friday night, he moved one step closer to claiming one already.
Toward the end of the game Friday, a graphic was displayed on the Fox Sports Detroit feed showing that Andre Drummond has 12 career 20-rebound games.
They miscalculated, because with that 20-rebound game Drummond now has 13 20-rebound games in his career. This puts him in a tie with Dwight Howard for the most 20-rebound games before the age of 22. On Friday, Andre was 21 years, six months and 11 days old. When Dwight Howard had his 13th 20-rebound game, he was five days away from his 22nd birthday. Howard only had one more game before his 22nd birthday, and had 15 rebounds in that game.
Drummond has 27 more games available this season to make this record his own. And I suspect he will. See, Howard had his first 20-rebound game when he was 18 years old. He had a total of three 20-rebound games in his rookie year. The following years had totals of three, four, and 11. Yes, in his fourth year in the league, Howard had more 20-rebound games than his first three combined. Drummond's run has been a lot more impressive.
Drummond was young when he came into the league at 19, but that was still older than Howard. Howard had until the middle of his fourth year before he was 22 years old, Drummond will only have a total of three years. But Drummond also did not have a 20-rebound game in his rookie season. His first 20-rebound game was not until the end of January 2014. So, in a total of 13 calendar months, which is only about six months of actual basketball, Drummond has collected as many 20-rebound games as Dwight Howard did in three seasons and three months. Drummond has another three months left this season.
Now, there are some factors that weigh into this. For instance, there was a sequence Friday night when Drummond had five or six rebounds on one possession as he also had four or five missed shots. Yes, he should have grabbed the ball with two hands and slammed it home instead of trying to be neat with it, but you still have to be supremely athletic to pull off such a possession.
But this really only scratches the surface of Drummond's potential as a rebounder. This is only my eye test, which has been partially confirmed by others on this sight*, but Drummond is still not getting into prime position for more rebounds. There are many times when he is just standing there waiting to see if he can jump higher than the other guys to get the rebound (which he is able to do quite often). However, if he were to box out better, his rebounding game would improve even more. You can argue "does he need to?" because of how well he rebounds already. The answer to that question is "why wouldn't he?"
Drummond will never likely touch Wilt Chamberlain's record of over 27 rebounds per game for his career, and part of that is because of the change in players in the NBA from Wilt's day to now. However, Drummond does have the potential to be the best rebounder of this generation if he were to refine some parts of his rebounding game. Also, and I am most certainly not wishing for this, but if Greg Monroe does end up leaving this season, he will have more opportunities to raise those numbers. But I hope that does not happen.