One could hardly blame Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine for briefly liking a tweet taking team owner Jerry Reinsdorf to task for his frugal approach to offseason spending. Whether the Bulls star was truly making a statement or not, there’s no doubt that Chicago was pinching pennies over the summer.
After ending their playoff drought and making significant progress as a team last season, the Bulls might have propelled themselves into the title conversation with one big move. Instead, they added to their bench without breaking the bank by bringing in a pair of well-traveled vets.
Even so, the players that were acquired — former All-Stars Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond — could pay dividends for Chicago this season. In particular, Drummond looks to be addressing a key shortfall area from 2021-22.
The big man has no qualms about taking credit for the turnaround, either, or touting his own skill set.
Drummond Sounds Off on His Rebounding Prowess
Through the first five contests of the new campaign, the Bulls look to have upped their game in the rebounding department. As of this writing, the team is averaging 44.6 rebounds per outing, a number that’s up from the 42.3 boards that were snagged last year (28th-best league-wide).
And Drummond clearly believes that his very presence has made a difference.
“You have the best rebounder of the past century on your team — I take rebounding seriously. And I know that’s something this team lacked in,” Drummond said on Wednesday, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “And I think our team now, we’re tough… Going after every rebound is something I bring to this team. And I think it’s showing.”
The 29-year-old currently leads the Association in rebounds per 36 minutes at a whopping 21.7. Curiously, though, the Bulls’ overall rebounding rate has actually been slightly lower when Drummond has been on the court. Chicago is grabbing 48.8% of available boards when he plays as opposed to 50.3% when he sits.
That could just be a simple case of small-sample-size theater, or there may just be a higher level for the team to hit this season.
Despite What One Thinks About His Claim, Drummond Probably Is That Good as a Rebounder
It takes major chutzpah to refer to oneself as the best “of the past century” in just about anything, let alone a skill that’s integral to winning at the highest level of a professional sport. However, Drummond isn’t exactly blowing smoke with his claim — there are numbers to back it up.
During his glory days with the Detroit Pistons, Drummond was almost undeniably the best rebounder in the Association. He led the league in rebounds per game on four occasions between 2015 and 2020. Additionally, he was tops in total offensive rebounds for six straight seasons from 2013-14 to 2018-19.
Now, let’s compare him to his peers.
Since the 2000-01 campaign, no player has averaged as many rebounds per game as Drummond (13.2). That includes elite glass-crashers like Dwight Howard (11.8) and Rudy Gobert (11.7). Meanwhile, Drummond’s rebounding percentage of 24.7 is the No. 1 mark all time; better than that of Hassan Whiteside (24.1%) and even Bulls legend Dennis Rodman (23.4%).