The possession isn’t over unless someone grabs the rebound or until someone scores the basketball. Today we are going to attempt to determine exactly who are the best rebounders in the NBA. To do this, we’ll be taking a look at numbers over the last 3 seasons: 2018-19, 2019-20 and in 2020-21.
Using this three-year time period, we get to see who the truly dominant rebounders are in the NBA currently. All stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference.
Related: Best Rebounders in the WNBA
Top 10 Rebounders in the NBA
1. Andre Drummond
Three Year Average: 14.25 RPG
Say what you will about Drummond on the Sixers now but the stats don’t lie. He wins this award for top rebounder in the NBA. Despite his poor defense in certain areas, one thing he is undeniably good at is grabbing rebounds. At 6’10 and 280 lbs he has the size and bulk to bang against any opposing centers. That combination of size and build makes it hard for opponents to box him out. Even in a backup role this season, in thirty-five games this year on the Sixers, Drummond is averaging 9.1 rebounds a game. This is, by the way, backing up Joel Embiid.
2. Clint Capela
Three Year Average: 13.53 RPG
Capela’s three year averages are similar to what he currently has posted this season, which is 13.1 rebounds per game. Capela is a solid center and a good complement to Trae Young for the Hawks. Averaging rebounding numbers this good makes me question even more why Daryl Morey traded him when he did a few seasons ago. As long as you surround him with good shooters, he will be solid for you on both ends of the court.
3. Rudy Gobert
Three Year Average: 13.25 RPG
The 7’1, 258 lb Stifle Tower is averaging 15.1 rebounds for the Jazz this season, although his three year averages are 13.25. His rim protecting ability is second to none, and despite what Anthony Edwards says, his defensive ability is a huge reason for the Utah Jazz’ success this year. A big part of the Jazz’s 28-14 record is due to their rim protection and solid rebounding that they get from Gobert.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Three Year Average: 12.37 RPG
What can’t Giannis do? He can score, rebound, pass, block shots and so much more. He’s also an MVP candidate, has already won two MVPs and is a NBA Champion. Speaking of rebounding, he’s averaging11.4 rebounds a game. Those are pretty good numbers for an all around two way player at 6’11, 242 lbs.
5. Joel Embiid
Three Year Average: 12.06 RPG
The all-star center is averaging only 10.5 rebounds a game, along with 27.1 points and 4.3 assists a game. The second Sixer on this list, Embiid is also a great rebounder, although his back up Drummond was the better rebounder over the last three years. Unlike Drummond though Embiid is the better two- way player and is more instrumental for the Sixers success at 23-17.
6. Nikola Vucevic
Three Year Average: 11.58 RPG
The starting Center for the Bulls, Vucevic is a solid rebounder and a good all around offensive player overall. His rebounding helps the otherwise smaller Bulls rebound and solidify their surprisingly good defense. What he doesn’t give in rim protection, he makes it up in his rebounding. For this season, he’s averaging 11.2 rebounds a game.
7. Karl-Anthony Towns
Three Year Average: 11.48 RPG
Towns’ rebounding has gone down to 9.3 a game but he has solid three year averages of 11.48, which matches his career rebounds of 11.4 according to BasketballReference.com. Towns is a good all- around offensive player but does lack in his defensive ability outside of rebounding.
8. Domantas Sabonis
Three Year Average: 11.12 RPG
Sabonis is another solid offensive player with solid rebounding numbers. This season he’s averaging 11.9 rebounds a game along with his 19 points a game and 4.7 assists. These numbers are surprising to me, being that he’s never played Center full time, playing with Steven Adams in his first season and then with Myles Turner after being traded to the Pacers. This shows a lot about his skill set, especially on the offensive end.
9. Deandre Jordan – Los Angeles Lakers
Three Year Average: 11.12 RPG
Jordan, who now plays for the Lakers (although barely playing) still has amazing rebounding numbers over the last three seasons. For this season he’s only averaging 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 points. Despite the low numbers this season, his past rebounding numbers still hold up and are amazing for a guy who’s an otherwise limited player. He doesn’t do much else well anymore but can still set screens and rebound for now. Hopefully he’ll find the right time that he can use his skills whenever the Lakers decide to let him go.
10. Hassan Whiteside – Utah Jazz
Three Year Average: 11.06 RPG
Whiteside, who is the second Jazz on this list (behind Gobert) has shown that, if nothing else, he can still provide solid rebounding for a team. He’s defense is inconsistent outside of that, but at least he is a big body at 7’0 and 265 lbs. He can block shots from time to time but is inconsistent outside of that. Can he stay focused to help the Jazz make a deep run? Or will he become unplayable when the Jazz play in the NBA playoffs? We’ll see.