Friday, May 18, 2007
Rebounding: The Sweet Science
Why aren't these two better rebounders?
Amare Stoudemire, back tonight after that lame one-game suspension, is averaging twelve rebounds a night this postseason, but during the regular season, he has never averaged more than the 9.6 he averaged this year. This outrages me. Likewise, Yao Ming has never averaged more than 10.2 during the regular year. This also causes my temples to pulsate. Amare gets all of his rebounds because of his chiseled physique and stellar leaping ability, while Yao gets his simply because he's 7'6 and plays around the basket. Those 10 rebounds a game pretty much just fall into his hands. So why haven't these two physical specimen with such vast boarding potential become the dominant rebounders they should be? Because they haven't mastered the art of the skill (or the skill of the art, whatever).
By my count, there are four types of rebounders: A. Those who get boards because of their size. B. Those who collect them because of athleticism. C. The fundamentalists, if you will. D. And those who grab them because of pure desire. (I was going to include instinct before deciding that all great rebounders have great instinct.) Here goes a list of some of my favorite rebounders, past and present, in no particular order (except, of course, the order in which they randomly popped into my head) :
Shaquille O'neal: (A, B) Now 35, Shaq Cousteau is not the boarder he once was. But he still holds a career-average of nearly twelve per game, with a career-high of 13.9 his rookie year. At 7-1 and anywhere from 300 to 375 pounds at different points in his career, Shaq had such a massive figure (and such long arms) that he couldn't help but pull down twelve to thirteen "ballboards" (shout out to Oscar Robertson) a night. His legs are almost gone now, but in his youth, he was as athletic a big man as the game had ever seen. Put it all together and you have a true Chairman of the Boards.
Charles Barkley: (A, B, C) A real master. Charles was only about 6-4 1/2, but he weighed anywhere from 250 to 300 pounds during his career. Much like Shaq, he had a giant rump and used it to his utmost advantage. You didn't put a body on the Chuckster, he put a body on you. He was also a ridiculous leaper for his body-type (he had a body-type all his own), and nobody wanted it more. "It's all desire," he once stated in explaining his rebounding prowess.
Dennis Rodman: (B, C, D) Inch-for-inch, pound-for-pound, era-for-era, no one has ever been better. A 6-7, 228 pounds power forward, he averaged a career-high of 18.7 boards in 1992 (he averaged 18.3 the next year). Led the league in rebounding seven times. The Lakers picked him up off the free-agent market as 37 year-old in 1999, and he averaged 11.2 in 23 games. Then he got released for coming to practice one day barefoot (maybe he had on socks, I'm not sure) and telling Kurt Rambis he couldn't find his shoes. After that he took some time time off to, I don't know, do Dennis Rodman-type stuff, then returned with Dallas in 2000 to average 14.3 boards in 12 games. Great leaper, great determination, always boxed out, and got rebounds all over the court (the opposite of an "area rebounder"). Turned rebounding into an artform and made it cool. If K.C. Jones in the Hall-of-Fame for playing great defense and winning a bunch of titles, then Dennis Rodman should be voted in for playing great defense, winning a bunch of titles, and being the Greatest Rebounder of All-Time.
Bill Russell: (B, C, D) Solid springs, obviouly he had great fundamentals (the guy damn-near invented rebounding), and wanted to grab 25 rebounds literally every night.
Wilt Chamberlain: (See O'neal, Shaquille)
Kevin Garnett: (A, B, C, D) He's now led the league in rebounding four straight years. I'll give KG a four-for-four.
Tim Duncan: (A, C) Seven-footer who's nickname is the "Big Fundamental."
Dwight Howard: (A, B, C, D) Only 20, he's averaged 12-plus the last two years. Might be Rodman in David Robinson's body.
Alright, I'm done for today because I'm tired of typing. In the coming days I'll be posting some old stuff I did before I started this blog that's completely irrelevant now. Got a couple semester essays for college due next week that I have to work on. *I wonder if anybody is actually going to read this thing*