We find ourselves 18 days away from tip off which seems close enough to start dusting off those old draft manuels and updating some assumptions. My big assumptions going into the draft this year are the effects from all of the moves in the NBA (have you checked your phone in the last hour? You might have missed 2-3 trades).
Next up is a less glamorous but very important stat - rebounds
2016-2017 Rebounds per game leaders
Hassan Whiteside (14.1)
Andre Drummond (13.8)
DeAndre Jordan (13.8)
Rudy Gobert (12.8)
Dwight Howard (12.7)
-Hassan really extricated himself as the star of the Heat over the last few years and few have done more over the years to fight and earn that roster spot than Hassan did working his way up team to team in the D-league. Andre and DeAndre are mainstays in the category and have carved out a Ben Wallace-esque niche for themselves. Dwight Howard will be joining his third team in as many years and should have plenty of playing time and rebounds with the Charlotte Hornets (look for him to land in the top 3 this year). Rudy Gobert really stepped up to a career year with the Jazz last year and could be a solid repeat candidate this year (but I’m keeping a watchful eye as a potential regression candidate).
2015-2016 Rebounds per game leaders
Andre Drummond (14.8)
DeAndre Jordan (13.8)
Hassan Whiteside (11.8)
Dwight Howard (11.8)
DeMarcus Cousins (11.5)
-The first thing that jumps out is DeMarcus Cousins who actually saw an INCREASE in his rebounds per game when he was traded to the Pelicans in February of 2017 (up 10.6 with Sacramento Kings to 12.5 with the Pelicans) while Anthony Davis saw his rebounds decrease from 11.05 to 10.12 once DeMarcus joined the team. I’m still not sure how this dynamic will play out in terms of rebound share between DeMarcus and Anthony, it could be a fluid situation. I think it’s safe to say that Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard will all land with 11+ rebounds per game this season as they remain the sultans of this stat.
2014-2015 Rebounds per game leaders
DeAndre Jordan (15.0)
Andre Drummond (13.5)
DeMarcus Counsins (12.7)
Pau Gasol (11.8)
Tyson Chandler (11.5)
-There are the “Andre’s” again holding the stat down. Pau and Tyson were monsters but the issue with these bigs is longevity which I think both of them far surpassed what someone of that size should be able to do in such a physical position for that long. Pau will still play but his stats continue to decline as he is now 37 years old and will share a healthy amount of time again with the San Antonio Spurs. Nikola Vucevic fell just outside of the top 5 at number 6 and is another solid option for 10+ rebounds per game with the Orlando Magic.
Rebounds per game recap: First I would like to point out that much like points, when you look at the top five players, their average points per game amongst the five of them went from 12.74 in 2015-2016 to 13.44 in 2016-2017, the trend of the NBA over the last few years is going up since 2012-2013 season where the average game had 42.1 rebounds per game increasing each year up to 43.5 last year. Second, unlike point per game, there is an opportunity in this stat to increase with the RIGHT added players. For example, Minnesota Timberwolves added Jimmy Butler and now have a very solid top four of Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio and Karl-Anthony Towns who should see more help in the supporting positions allowing him more time to focus on Rebounds. He has been in the 5-10 range in rebounds per game over the last two years. There has been on Golden State and Cleveland Cavalier player who excels each year (Draymond Green vs. Kevin Durant; Tristan Thompson vs. Kevin Love) but it’s tough to predict on a given year who it’s going to be. Julius Randle is another who looks to benefit from added skill on the roster and an increase in overall play (with another option being that Andrew Bogut steals serious time and rebounds from him). The other name who jumps out is Marcin Gortat who usually exceeds just past 10 rebounds per game and if John Wall and Bradley Beal are buckling down for a “non-super” but still solid Wizards team, Marcin could play another important role in their success.
Up next: Assists!