Who is the best offensive NBA rebounder?
Offensive rebounding is one of the underrated skills nowadays. But with the passing of Moses Malone, who is arguably one of the best offensive NBA rebounders of all time, the subject of offensive rebounding is trending again. The last great offensive rebounder was Denis Rodman, who even though was not as tall as other big men, had a knack for the ball and knew exactly where to position himself to get the offensive rebound. Nowadays, among the best offensive rebounders in the league, the names of Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson, and DeAndre Jordan come to mind. Who is the best among them? Let’s take a look.
The Case for Andre Drummond
In the past two seasons, Drummond grabs more than 400 offensive rebounds per year. The last man to get more than 400 NBA offensive rebounds in a season was Jayson Williamson, who did it 17 years ago. For comparison, two years ago, Drummond grabbed 440 offensive rebounds to lead the league, while Jordan was second on the list with 331. Last year, they were closer, with Drummond grabbing 437 and Jordan getting 397 rebounds. Drummond average 5.3 offensive rebounds per game, which was one of the reasons how he managed to get 13.8 points per game, despite no play was designed for him.
The Case for DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre might get more rebounds, but when DeAndre Jordan is getting an offensive rebound, in half of the cases it ends on the NBA Top 10 plays and on a highlight reel. DeAndre Jordan has the flair and style in offensive rebounding, as almost all of his rebounds end up with putbacks slams. One reason why Jordan is not getting as many offensive rebounds as Drummond is the Clippers strategy and philosophy of coach Doc Rivers. Doc doesn’t want his players to sacrifice offensive rebounds for transition defense. Instead, he instructs them to start going back when the play is almost at the end. Last season, as a team, the LA Clippers ranked 28th in offensive rebounding, but lead the league in points allowed in the first six seconds of the shot clock. If Jordan gets more freedom to crash the boards, he might as well eclipse Drummond and get more rebounds.
The case for Tristan Thompson
Since the start of his NBA career, Thompson has averaged at least 3 offensive boards per game, getting career-high 3.7 offensive rebounds per game during the 2012-2013 season. But it wasn’t until the 2015 playoffs when Thompson was inserted into the starting lineup and was able to show his skills on the glass. Tristan averaged 4.4 offensive rebounds per game, always positioning himself close to the ball. He was one of the main reasons why the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to get to the Finals, despite poor shooting and playing without Kevin Love.
This might be a subjective answer, but we must say that Jordan has the potential to be the best offensive NBA rebounder among the three. The reason is simple, he is the tallest, has the highest arms, and is the most athletic of the three. Drummond might develop into a better offensive and complete player, but Jordan is stronger than him and knows how to position himself better in order to get an offensive rebound. The moment Doc Rivers unleashes him and allows Jordan to sacrifice transition defense for more offensive boards, the league will see the true potential of DeAndre Jordan.