Dennis Rodman could easily be considered the greatest rebounder ever. He had a great craft when it came to gaining and maintaining position over bigger opponents and was a never-ending source of grit, hustle, and energy.
But, contrary to popular belief, Rodman wasn't just an athlete. He was also one of the smartest players out there, and put a lot of work on his rebounding, intellectually speaking. Hell, he went as far as to study how many times the ball spun in the air before going down, so he knew when to jump to grab the board.
Rodman knew and embraced his role. He knew he was out there to rebound and play defense, and he lived up to it by studying all the little things that could give him an edge, including knowing where the ball was supposed to bounce to depending on where it hit the rim or the backboard.
He recently said in The Last Dance' documentary that he studied how angles and shooters affected the trajectory of the ball, and went as far as to ask his friends to shoot the ball to different places so he could learn where the ball was going afterward:
"I had to react. I just practiced a lot about the angles of all. You got Larry Bird, you got a spin. You got Magic Johnson, maybe a spin, when Michael (Jordan) shoots here, I position myself right there. Now it hits the rim and goes boom (points forward)," The Worm said during his interview.
Coming from such an eccentric guy you may think he's saying all that for the show, but stats don't lie. He led the league in rebounds 7 years in a row and averaged over 11.3 boards over the final 10 seasons of his career, including back-to-back seasons of over 18 rebounds per game (18.7, and 18.3).
Rodman ended up with a career average of 13.1 rebounds a game despite being just 6'7''. He was undersized but his brains and athleticism made him one of the most dominant rebounders ever.