The NBA has morphed a lot since the grind and pound game of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. The NBA game is now much more perimeter oriented, small ball focused, and the 3-point shot is much more utilized than ever before in NBA history. This means that point guards and shooting guards handle the ball most of the time, and the game is much more fast tempo, where a shot is taken before a big can even get down the court, and the frequency of 3-point shooting leads to long rebounds that ricochet far off the rim, so that even if a big does box out, it would not matter anyway.
What this has led to is a copious amount of big men that barely average 6 rebounds a game. In some cases, even less. Unless a big man possesses an inordinate amount of speed and stamina, it is very difficult for them to even stay on the floor in today’s fast paced game. Half court sets only come into existence in the playoffs when defenses ramp up, but in the regular season, most NBA teams are by and large 3-point shooting teams or a run and gun on offense.
Still, there are some modern big men who have been able to channel their inner Dennis Rodman this year by averaging double digit rebounds, such as DeAndre Jordan (13.6 rpg), Andre Drummond (13.2 rpg), and Kevin Love (12.5 rpg). However, there are many other big men who play much smaller than they are by refusing to go into the paint.
This is a list of the Top 10 worst rebounding big men in the game today. Each of these power forwards and centers have averaged a minimum of 28 minutes per game, which is more than enough time to pull down double digit rebounds. Yet, these big’s flee the paint like the plague. They have a love for perimeter shots and are allergic to contact with an aversion for rebounds.
10. Chris Bosh – 6.6 rpg
The 3-point loving big man for the Miami Heat has averaged 32 minutes per game this season, but has only managed 6.6 rebounds per game. The Heat’s spread offense has forced Chris Bosh to extend his game to the 3-point line, something the skinny power forward more than welcomes. Bosh has all of the skills and athleticism to average over 10 rebounds per game, but his love for the 3-point shot leaves him at a tremendous disadvantage for getting offensive rebounds.
9. Roy Hibbert – 6.6 rpg
Roy Hibbert has been getting hammered by the media throughout the playoffs and for good reason. Hibbert is one of the tallest players in the NBA. He can grab the rim without even jumping. With his size, he should pull down 3 or 4 rebounds per game by just putting his arms up in the air. Yet, there were multiple games in the playoffs this season where Hibbert not only failed to score, but he failed to even grab a single rebound. This season, Hibbert has averaged 29.7 minutes per game, but has only managed to pull down 6.6 rebounds per game, which is totally unacceptable for a so-called All-Star.
8. Amir Johnson – 6.6 rpg
Amir Johnson has developed quite nicely over the past two years. Johnson is a large reason why the Toronto Raptors finished with the 3rd seed this season, despite being bounced out in the first round in 7 games. Johnson has developed his 3-point shot this season, but the other area that Johnson needs to improve dramatically is his rebounding. This season, Amir has averaged 28.8 minutes per game, but has only been able to pull down 6.6 rebounds per game. If Johnson is ever going to enter into the All Star conversation, it has to begin in this department.
7. Dirk Nowitzki – 6.2 rpg
Let’s be honest, Dirk Nowitzki has never been confused with the Round Mound of Rebound. It may be the only glaring weakness in his game. However, at 7 feet tall, the big man should be able to pull down at least 8 rebounds per game. But despite averaging 32.9 minutes per game, the big man from Germany has only averaged 6.2 rebounds per game. There was a time when Dirk averaged as much as 9.9 rebounds per game, but his rebounding numbers have gone down dramatically as his age has risen.
6. Brook Lopez – 6.0 rpg
Brook Lopez continues to remain an enigma. He is clearly one of the best centers in the NBA and he is arguably the best offensive center in the game. However, there are games where Lopez has as many block as he does rebounds. Brook can play offense and defense, but for some reason, he can’t rebound to save his life. Lopez was injured for most of this season, but when he did play, he only averaged 6 rebounds a game in 31 minutes per game. If Lopez is going to become the best big man in the game, he is going to have to become a 20/10 type of player.
5. Nene Hilario – 5.5 rpg
Nene has been able to stay surprisingly healthy this season. However, it did not necessarily help his rebounding game. Nene is one of the most massive and athletic big men in the league. He dunks in traffic with ferocity, but he has only been able to average 5.5 rebounds per game this season in 29.7 minutes per game. To give you an idea of just how bad that is, Russell Westbrook, who is a point guard, averages slightly more per game than Nene does. At Nene’s size, there is no excuse for him to averaged under 6 rebounds per game.
4. Andrea Bargnani – 5.3 rpg
When Bargnani is forced to play center, there are games where he shows flashes of being the number one pick in the draft. He will pull down rebounds, block a few shots, and even live in the paint a little. However, whenever Bargnani moves to the four spot, he falls in love with his jump shot and often loses interest in the game. This season, Bargnani has averaged 29.9 minutes per game, but has only averaged 5.3 rebounds per game. It is no coincidence that the New York Knicks were forced to put Carmelo Anthony at the power forward position to take care of all the rebounds for Bargnani.
3. Channing Frye – 5.1 rpg
The fact that Channing Frye is playing basketball right now is a miracle. There was a time when even Frye thought his career was over due to a heart condition. However, the 3-point shooting big man was able to make a strong contribution to the up and coming Phoenix Suns this year. Unfortunately, it was not in the rebounding category. Despite averaging 28.2 minutes per game this season, Frye has barely averaged 5 rebounds per game. Head Coach Jeff Hornacek likes to put Frye on the perimeter to help spread the floor, which has hurt Frye’s rebounding numbers. But that should be no excuse considering the amount of possessions that the run-n-gun Suns get per game, which should put Frye closer to 7 rebounds per game than his current five.
2. Josh McRoberts – 4.8 rpg
Josh was instrumental in helping lead the Charlotte Bobcats to the playoffs for the first time in a very long time this season. The veteran McRoberts was asked to do a lot for this young team and he showed it by nearly flirting with a triple double multiple times this season. With Big Al Jefferson manning the paint, McRoberts often drifts out into the perimeter and becomes a functional guard. This season McRoberts has averaged 30.3 minutes per game, but has only managed to pull down 4.8 rebounds per game, making him one of the worst rebounding big men in the NBA. If the soon-to-be Charlotte Hornets are going to make an even bigger splash next season, they need McRoberts to pull down closer to 7 rebounds per game, so that Jefferson is not alone in the paint.
1. Jeff Green – 4.6 rpg
No one doubts the talent of Jeff Green, but one of the biggest knocks on Jeff Green’s game is that he does not have a real NBA position. At 6’9”, Green often plays the power forward position, but his game resembles more of a small forward. To be fair, Green would probably play small forward on many teams in the NBA, but he has always played for teams without any depth in the frontcourt, which inevitably forces him to play power forward. This season, Green played 34.2 minutes per game on one of the worst teams in the league, but he only managed to pull down 4.6 rebounds per game. Additionally, there are times when head coach Brad Stevens goes really small and even has Green playing the five spot, but even then, Green fails to fill up his stat box. Anyone that plays a ton of minutes on a bad team should have inflated stats, but Green’s stats are deflated even on the woeful Boston Celtics. This easily makes Green the worst rebounding big man in the game.