The NBA has some incredible scoring talents. As the game has changed, more teams are looking to score as quickly as possible while getting up quick shots whenever possible.
Thanks to team initiative to score quickly, teams are looking to put up as many points as possible on the board in the most effective way. This ultimately leads to more possessions and thus more rebounds to be grabbed on both ends of the floor. For the league’s best rebounders, this is great for them.
With so many big men, and also a few spectacular guards and forwards, in the league looking to impact the game on the boards- only 30 stand out from the rest of the league. In order to rank them by their greatness on the boards, each player will be grouped until one man is standing at the top.
By separating into four major levels, including the Best of the Best, here are the 30 best rebounders ranked by ability and efficiency of production
Lauri Markkanen, Ben Simmons, Julius Randle, Ed Davis, Jonas Valanciunas
When it comes to level 1 rebounders, they are all big men who feast on the boards at a very high level. They stand out as easily the top 30 rebounders in the game and mainly use their size to their advantage.
Markkanen is developing into a solid all-around big man. Even when he is known for his scoring, he is a very effective rebounder on both ends of the floor. He is a strong player with tremendous size and is quick enough to position himself for easy boards.
Ben Simmons is a triple-double threat who uses his athleticism to grab rebounds from the tip of the rim. It seems only a matter of time before Simmons averages 10 rebounds per game, especially when he gains more size as he ages.
Julius Randle is another athletic forward who combines quickness and strength to box out opponents and snatch rebounds at a high level. He is looking to take a jump into an All-Star for the New York Knicks.
Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas are both big bodies who mainly rely on their pure size and strength to box out for rebounds. Davis is more athletic and can grab multiple rebounds in a matter of minutes when he starts or comes off the bench. Valanciunas is just so tall and strong, with great awareness to grab rebounds.
LeBron James, Enes Kanter, John Collins, Steven Adams, Domantas Sabonis, LaMarcus Aldridge
Level 2 rebounders are great rebounders and are usually some of the best rebounders on their teams. Steven Adams, John Collins, and Enes Kanter are all large bodies who mostly rely on strength and size in order to get their rebounds. Collins is the youngest of the bunch and is also very athletic. He has a great vertical and can use his hops much better than the other two. Adams is very powerful and can dish out contact in the paint in order to box out effectively. Kanter is very effective on the offensive side of the game and able to average multiple offensive rebounds per game.
Sabonis and Aldridge are known for their effective offensive skill set and usually rely on more of a finesse style of play rather than brute strength like most strong rebounders. Aldridge has a strong center of gravity and is experienced enough to position himself in the best possible way to grab rebounds. Sabonis is also very effective on the boards and is good at both offensive and defensive rebounding.
Last but not least, LeBron James is an excellent rebounder for his position. His mix of size, strength, and athleticism makes it very easy for him to average a minimum of 7 rebounds per game in a season. James, especially during his prime years, was able to leap over defenders and snatch rebounds to start fast breaks. It is quite surprising that James never averaged 10 rebounds per game in a season, but he is a Level 2 rebounder nonetheless.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook, Karl-Anthony Towns, Clint Capela, Nikola Vucevic, Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, Deandre Ayton, Tristan Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyson Chandler
Level 3 rebounders are All-Star quality rebounders and average a large number of rebounds per game. These guys have consistently been able to put up strong rebounding numbers over the span of their careers.
Giannis is a freak of the highest order and averaged over 12 rebounds per game with relative ease. His wingspan allows him to grab rebounds at a very high level and is the main man that generates the fastbreaks for the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite seemingly very slender, Giannis is strong enough to battle in the paint and use his athleticism to beat out big men to rebounds.
Westbrook is a freak of nature at the point guard position, using his supreme athleticism and sheer desire to grab 10 rebounds per game at the minimum. There is a reason Russ averaged a triple-double over the last few seasons, and his ability to grab rebounds at a historic rate is the major reason.
The rest of this level is dominated by traditional centers. Capela, Chandler, and Thompson are all defensive specialists whose main role is to grab as many rebounds as possible. Capela is the best of the three coming into the new season and is still young enough to become an All-Star player thanks to his defense and rebounding. Chandler has made a career off of his incredible rebounding ability and is one of the best rebounders in the league when it comes to rebounds per minute. Similarly, Thompson is a beast on the boards and was a major piece for the championship-winning Cavaliers team.
KAT, Jokic, Vucevic, and Nurkic are all great offensive players whose impact is mainly on that end of the floor. With a mix of shooting, passing, and inside the game; these big men attract a lot of attention when on the floor. But they are also excellent rebounders, who use their positioning skills and size to their advantage. KAT is very long and athletic, while Jokic and Nurkic use their strong base to box out for easy rebounds. Similarly, Vucevic can put up monster rebounds over the course of a season.
Cousins and Ayton are both dominate inside guys who love to rebound the basketball. Both guys are walking 20-10 performers, and Ayton is the younger of the two. He has great potential to put up monster 12+ rebounds per game, while Cousins is hoping to return back from unfortunate injuries.
Joel Embiid, DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, Hassan Whiteside, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard
Level 4 rebounders are unique talents that are simply the best rebounders in the NBA. As a matter of fact, these big men impact the game on both ends of the floor when it comes to rebounding. As possibly the best center in the league, Embiid can average over 10 rebounds per game in his sleep. He is very strong and has all the intangibles required to battle other bigs to rebounds.
Jordan, Gobert, and Whiteside are all defensive specialists who feast on the boards. Jordan, especially in his younger days, is a walking skywalker who could snatch rebounds at an incredible rate. He is great at tipping the ball to himself and is seemingly always in position. Whiteside, despite having a down year, is a monster rebounder and has been since the Heat gave him the chance to start games. Whiteside is strong and big enough to box out most bigs with ease. Gobert is a defensive monster with a very long wingspan, which allows him to dominate most matchups in the rebounding game.
Love and Davis are all-around players who are known for their perimeter scoring and inside offensive game. K-Love was the best rebounder in the league when he was with Minnesota, and could average 15 rebounds per game every season. With the Cavaliers, Love showcased a desire and ability to grab important offensive rebounds for second chances at an alarming rate. Davis is just a freak of nature and uses his incredible length and vertical to grab over 10 rebounds per game every single season. As one of the best talents we have ever seen, Davis is looking to become the best rebounder in the league.
In his prime, Dwight Howard was by far the best rebounder in the league. He could jump out of the building, with broad shoulders that allows him to dish contact and take it as well. Even in his later years, Howard can grab many rebounds in a matter of minutes. He has simply become a rebounding specialist at this point in his career.
Best of the Best
Drummond is the best rebounder in the league, and he has managed to separate himself quite well. After leading the league in rebounds during three of the past four seasons, Drummond is a big man who easily produces countless 20-rebound performances throughout the season.
He is obviously tall, but Drummond has mastered the art of both offensive and defensive rebounds. Whatever physical tools he possesses, Drummond maximizes them to the best of his abilities. Drummond is great at using his vertical to snatch multiple rebounds in a row and at many points during a game, Drummond can tip rebounds multiple times until it goes through the hoop.
Since coming into the league very raw, Drummond has become the best rebounder in the league by working on his body and learning how to position himself and box out better than anyone else. Once he started putting in the work, grabbing rebounds became natural to him.
After leading the NBA in rebounds in the 2018-2019 Season, it is expected that he can reproduce the high level of rebounding and lead the league once again in 2019-2020.