NBA Roundtable

Starting Center’s Rebounding Numbers

In General NBA on May 27, 2009 at 11:42 am

Here’s a list of the starting centers around the league and their individual rebounding rates:

  • Atlanta Hawks — Al Horford — 16.3%
  • Boston Celtics — Kendrick Perkins — 16.7%
  • Charlotte Bobcats — Emeka Okafor — 19.0%
  • Chicago Bulls — Joakim Noah — 17.9%
  • Cleveland Cavaliers — Zydrunas Ilgauskas — 16.5%
  • Dallas Mavericks — Eric Dampier — 17.7%
  • Denver Nuggets — Nene — 13.8%
  • Detroit Pistons — Rasheed Wallace — 13.7%
  • Golden State Warriors — Andris Biedrins — 20.2%
  • Houston Rockets — Yao Ming — 17.1%
  • Indiana Pacers — Roy Hibbert — 13.3%
  • Los Angeles Clippers — Chris Kaman — 16.6% (career rate, due to injuries last season, played only 31 games)
  • Los Angeles Clippers — Marcus Camby — 20.7%
  • Los Angeles Lakers — Andrew Bynum — 15.6%
  • Memphis Grizzlies — Marc Gasol — 14.7%
  • Miami Heat — Jermaine O’Neal –12.6% (total season stat, beats the previous career worst mark that he set the season prior)
  • Milwaukee Bucks — Andrew Bogut — 19.4%
  • Minnesota Timberwolves — Al Jefferson — 17.5%
  • New Jersey Nets — Brook Lopez — 15.8%
  • New Orleans Hornets — Tyson Chandler — 16.4%
  • New York Knicks — David Lee — 18.4%
  • Oklahoma City Thunder — Nenad Kristic — 12.8%
  • Orlando Magic — Dwight Howard — 21.8%
  • Philadelphia 76ers — Samuel Dalembert — 20.6%
  • Phoenix Suns — Shaquille O’Neal — 16.4%
  • Portland Trailblazers — Joel Przybilla –22.8%
  • Portland Trailblazers — Greg Oden — 20.0%
  • Sacramento Kings — Spencer Hawes — 14.2%
  • San Antonio Spurs — Tim Duncan –18.9%
  • Toronto Raptors — Andrea Bargnani — 10% (career best mark — absolutely terrifying!)
  • Utah Jazz — Memo Okur — 13.8%
  • Washington Wizards — Brendan Haywood — 14.4% (07-08 figures due to injury)

Okay, so let’s have a look at where these players rank amongst themselves:

Top 10

(1) Joel Przybilla — 22.8%

(2) Dwight Howard — 21.8%

(3) Marcus Camby — 20.7%

(4) Samuel Dalembert — 20.6%

(5) Andris Biedrins — 20.2%

(6) Greg Oden — 20%

(7) Andrew Bogut — 19.4%

(8) Emeka Okafor — 19%

(9) Tim Duncan — 18.9%

(10) David Lee — 18.4%

Middle 12

(11) Joakim Noah — 17.9%

(12) Eric Dampier — 17.7%

(13) Al Jefferson — 17.5%

(14) Yao Ming — 17.1%

(15) Kendrick Perkins — 16.7%

(16) Chris Kaman — 16.6%

(17) Zydrunas Ilgauskas — 16.5%

(18) Tyson Chandler — 16.4%

(19) Shaquille O’Neal — 16.4%

(20) Al Horford — 16.3%

(21) Brook Lopez — 15.8%

(22) Andrew Bynum — 15.6%

Bottom 10

(23) Marc Gasol — 14.7%

(24) Brendan Haywood — 14.4%

(25) Spencer Hawes — 14.2%

(26) Memo Okur — 13.8%

(27) Nene — 13.8%

(28) Rasheed Wallace — 13.7%

(29) Roy Hibbert — 13.3%

(30) Nenad Kristic — 12.8%

(31) Jermaine O’Neal — 12.6%

(32) Andrea Bargnani — 10%

The Negatives

Andrea Bargnani — Bargnani’s rebounding is catastrophic

  • Average rebounder at the starting center position is at 16.5%. That’s 65% better than Bargnani. Bargnani was averaging 35 plus minutes as a starter this season, imagine having those extra rebounds? This had a huge negative impact on the Raptors
  • The third worst rebounder on this list — a very poor rebounder — Roy Hibbert was 33% superior to Andrea Bargnani on the backboards. Said differently, Bargnani is a third worse than one of the worst rebounders at his postion. He’s on his own scale in terms of rebounding rotteness … it’s truly incredible how bad he is.

Roy Hibbert — Massive red flag waving around and around! If Roy wants to remain a starter in this league for the foreseeable future, he needs to improve the rebounding because he’s highly unlikely to keep that spot otherwise.

Rasheed Wallace — Never been good at grabbing rebounds. He is excellent at boxing out on the defensive end, which does create some added value, but still a poor rebounder overall.

Jermaine O’Neal — Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Jermaine’s rebounding? It’s getting absurdly bad. It was atrocious in Miami (10.7%) and was one of the main reasons why their form dipped late in the season.

I’ve got more to say on Jermaine but that’ll keep for another day.

Nenad Krstic — Likely won’t be starting next season. Thunder are actively looking to upgrade him. They started Nick Collison (15.4%) for the first half of the season, and I thought he did a much better job in terms of both rebounding and overall play.

Memo Okur — Disappointing to see his rebounding drop from 14.7% to 13.8%. His best rebounding years came in Detroit, but it looked like he was turning it around in the second half of the 07-08 season when he was averaging double digit rebounds after the all-star break. Unfortunate to see him take a step back.

The Pleasant Hits

Greg Oden — Oden is a monster on the backboards. It’s amazing to see effective he was as a rebounder as a rookie. He was also dominant at boxing opponents out, and eating space in the paint, which had negative effects on the opposition, helping to expand the impact of his individual rebounding numbers even further.

Andrew Bogut — A four year climb from 14.2%, 15.2%, 16.5% and topping out at 19% this season. His improvement as a defender and as a rebounder has been remarkable. He’s become the Bucks’ best overall player and the backbone to their team. I love his development.

Samuel Dalembert — Seriously, I can’t fathom a team having a rebounder of his quality, a defender of his quality, and someone with his offensive game, and not finding more than 22.8 minutes a night for him. It boggles my mind. He was the third best player on the team last season behind the two Andres.

Phily’s next coach needs to display more trust in Dalembert and give him more minutes.

Joakim Noah — Noah is beginning to carve out a very nice career for himself.

General Statements

General Guidelines

  • Everyone above 20% is an excellent rebounder
  • Everyone above 17% is a very good rebounder
  • Everyone above 15.5% is a good rebounder
  • Everyone above 14.5% is a mediocre rebounder
  • Everyone below 14.5% is a poor rebounder
  • Everyone below 13.5% is a very poor rebounder
  • At a pathetic 10% — Bargnani is a class all to himself — a truly disgraceful and catastrophic rebounder
  1. Dave,

    ” … his own scale of rebounding rotteness …”

    made me LOL.

    Absolutely Priceless.

  2. What you wrote about Oden is 100% accurate.

    Once he fully matures, Greg is going to be a beast in this league.

    The combination of …

    Roy + Webster + Fernandez + Outlaw + Aldridge + Frye + Oden + Przybilla + Nate McMillan

    is going to be a very tough out in the WC for the next decade.

    PS. It’s completely laughable that some [so many?] Raptors fans think that Bargnani is ahead of Oden right now.

    Simply hilarious.

  3. LOL

    “…He’s on his own scale in terms of rebounding rotteness … it’s truly incredible how bad he is….”

    well done sir!

  4. khan: anyone who says bargnani is ahead of oden deserves to be openly ridiculed.

  5. okay, I just looked at these stats and realized that most of the guys on this list that had a lower percentage were the ones that had, and used, an outside game( i.e. Bargnani/Sheed/Ilgauskas/ Okur).
    I am, in no way, trying to say Bargs is a terrific rebounder. But you gotta give the guy some slack if he is playing outside of the paint for most of the game.

  6. Kendrick Perkins, at 16.7%, is on the border of being a very good rebounder. I think that is a very good assessment of his rebounding skill. If it weren’t for Rondo swiping so many boards, maybe Perk would be higher up that list! 😉

  7. Khandor + Raps Fan, thanks for the kind words.


    Haha, true, true, the number of rebounds Rondo picks out of Perk’s hands is simply hilarious.

    Perkins rebounding is better than his stat indicates for a couple of reasons (1) He’s superb at boxing out (2) He’s a space eater in the paint, harder for opposition to find space inside so his team concedes less rebounds while he’s on the court [opposite of this is Shawn Marion at PF in Phoenix, his slight frame made it easy for opposing players to slide in and steal offensive rebounds away from him despite his great individual rebounding numbers, significant reason why their team rebounding was so poor] (3) He plays on the second best rebounding team in the NBA. Several other great rebounders (like KG, Rondo, Powe) and several other good rebounders eat into his numbers.

    In contrast, someone like Emeka Okafor who doesn’t have as many quality rebounders around him has slightly higher stats than he would on a team like Boston. Emeka would still rank up near the top but likely not quite as high.

    Here’s another Perkins rebounding stat for you — in the playoffs he was pulling down 18.8% of available rebounds — Boston were still out-rebounding their opponents by a good margin in the playoffs, but no KG and poor rebounding power forwards in Davis and Scalabrine allowed Perk to grab more boards. I think the most accurate number for Perk is somewhere in between the two numbers (16.7-18.8% = 17.7%).

    I love Perk’s game! Brute force combined with great big man fundamentals!


    Yes, you’re absolutely right about perimeter bigs ranking lower on this list. The time they spend on the perimeter loses them opportunities to grab offensive rebounds.

    But I disagree about giving them leeway because of that. It’s a trade off, between the number of rebounds they miss out on and the number of extra points they add through their perimeter offense. The difference between the two will decide whether it’s worthwhile or not for them to be out there.

    As an aside, I had a quick scan through the majority (about two thirds — I think some of the perimeter bigs weren’t on that list though) of the players on this list, and Bargnani still ranked last when I looked at defensive rebounding percentage by it’s lonesome. While he was still last, the gap between him and the bottom feeders did close. The lack of offensive rebounding hurts him.

  8. And if you classify Bargnani as a PF where does he rank?

  9. To elaborate a bit, Bargs isn’t great as a rebounding PF but he ranks higher than Rashard Lewis as a PF in RR. On the right team, Rashard Lewis is a valuable player. Build a team like Orlando with Bargs at the 4 and he has the potential to be a solid (perhaps better) contributor. Bosh either has to improve considerably from decent to great rebounder or traded if that’s the route you choose. So you could ship Bosh to Golden State for Biedrins, Randolph and balast (if GS was willing obviously) and get a better fit for Bargs at both the 3 and 5.

  10. Hey Sam,

    I haven’t ran the numbers but there isn’t a large difference on rebounding numbers between centers and power forwards. Both grab a rebound roughly every four minutes, a center a little under four, a PF a little over four. They’re very comparable to one another. Not sure what the difference is in rebounding rate though, interesting to find out.

    I’ll try to post some numbers of power forwards later on for you.

  11. Hi Dave,

    My basic point was that having one big who is a poor rebounder is not necessarily a recipe for disaster for a team – exhibit A Rashard Lewis who has surprised me with his ability to affect games in these playoffs despite seeming to disappear for stretches. Run the numbers if you wish but I doubt they show anything surprising.

    What do you (or anyone else) think is a realistic return on a Bargnani trade?

  12. Hey Sam,

    I’ll have the post up in an hour or two. I wrote most it this morning, I just need to rank them when I get the time. I was going to write it at some point anyway, I’ll be doing the perimeter positions after the season ends.

    It looks like Bargnani is the third worst rebounder out of the 33 players I checked out, but the results are interesting because he’s a lot closer to the bottom rankings. Anyway, it’ll be up soon enough.

    A Trade Return For Bargnani

    A realistic return for Bargnani in a trade — a borderline All-Star, or a very good prospect (not yet established, or partially established).

    The Raptors could get a bit more individual talent if they took on an older player (say 30+ years old), but that doesn’t look worthwhile considering where the rest of the team is at.

    A Poor Rebounding Big Man = Not A Disaster?

    Yes, I agree with your point about having a poor big man rebounder not being a disaster for a team. But I do think that that big’s poor rebounding lowers his impact hugely (I cannot emphasize that word strongly enough — lowers their impact in a massive way) … and that, in order for the big man to be a positive influence on his team despite the low rebounding numbers, he needs to be very good both offensively and defensively. Especially when that big man is playing 35+ minutes a night.

    A side thought to ponder ….

    In a comparison — a Bargnani type player vs a very good role player (say a Varejao or Haslem) — A 20ppg, 6rpg guy, with mediocre defense versus a 11-12ppg, 9rpg, and very good defense — Which of those players offers more to team? Which one helps your team win more games? Which one would you like to have on your team? Independent of fit.

    A follow up question:
    (1) if you chose Bargnani, how large a margin is it between Bargnani and that very good role player? Is that margin worth the cost difference between a $10+mil player and an MLE player?
    (2) if you choose Varejao, how much improvement would Bargnani have to show defensively or offensively in order to have more impact than Varejao?

  13. Dave,

    re: Varejao vs Bargnani

    You and I both know how much more valuable an asset Anderson Varejao is vs a “Big” who performs like Andrea Bargnani. Unfortunately, for them, individuals like Sam do not.

    re: Rashard Lewis vs Bargnani

    Rashard’s individual game is not like Bargnani’s in the least, and Andrea would not succeed to a similar degree as Lewis has, thus far, as the main PF for the Magic playing alongside of Dwight Howard & Hedo Turkoglu, in the front-court.

    From a Basketball Acumen standpoint … Bargnani would be a poor fit with Orlando.

  14. Man, I would trade Bargnani in a second for Varajeo. Having him at 4 and Bosh at 5 would give people fits. Active front court.

  15. Raps Fan,

    I’m with you on that. I think Bosh and Varejao would be a great combination together.

    Varejao can opt out of his contract this summer, and is expected to do so. If the Raptors renounced their own free agents, they could make a very good offer for Varejao ($7mil per annum, multi-year contract). They’d have a legit shot at stealing him away from the Cavs because Cleveland is being very careful about retaining their 2010 max contract free agent opportunity.

    I was thinking about that possibility a week or two ago. That’s something I’d be enthusiastic about.

  16. Dave & Raps Fan,

    re: Varejao [PF] and Bosh [C]

    I agree with both of you, 100%.

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