NBA Fantasy: Predicting the Top 3 in Total Rebounds for the 2019-2020 Season
Salt Lake Tribune
Athletes often find themselves with nicknames throughout their careers; some stick, and some don’t. To this day, one of the greatest NBA nicknames belongs to Charles Barkley, also known as the Round Mound of Rebound. The nickname was a reference to both Barkley's weight, which fluctuated throughout his career, and his all-time rebounding ability.
The NBA is moving away from traditional big men and towards a more versatile player who can hit shots away from the basket and make passes to the open man, but rebounding remains an important aspect of the game. For your NBA team to win games, they need to outrebound their opponent, and the same is true for your fantasy team.
Let's take a look at last year's top-3 rebounding players by total rebounds.
1. Andre Drummond. Drummond snagged 1,232 rebounds in 79 games last season. The addition of Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons two seasons ago has not slowed Drummond down at all. He’s led the league in rebounds the past four seasons and was runner-up the previous two.
2. Rudy Gobert. Gobert brought in 1041 rebounds in 81 games last season. He finished top-4 two seasons ago and is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate for the Utah Jazz.
3. Nikola Vucevic. The Vooch narrowly beat out Karl-Anthony Towns to finish in the top-3 by securing 960 total rebounds in 80 games. He signed a 4-year $100 million contract this offseason with the Orlando Magic, securing his spot in the starting rotation next to high-flyer Aaron Gordon for the foreseeable future.
For Gobert and Vucevic, this was their first appearancein the top-3 total rebounds list. Last year, those spots were held by DeAndre Jordan, and a tie between Karl-Anthony Towns and Dwight Howard (which almost doesn’t even seem possible that Howard put up such good numbers as a Hornet, but he did).
Looking towards this upcoming season for potential top-3 leaders, one name will stay, but two others could very well be newcomers. Even though most fantasy leagues only take into account rebounding totals in head-to-head matchups, and even in rotisserie league scoring, it’s important to take note of rebounding averages and total rebounding percentages (an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the court).
For instance, a player could not make the top-10 of rebounding totals, but make the top-10 for rebounding average due to the number of games they played that season. Joel Embiid is a perfect example. Embiid brought in 690 rebounds last season, which is good for 13th overall, however, his rebounding average of 11 rebounds per game is good for 6th last season. Embiid only played in 64 games last season, but with those 64 games, you got a player who rebounded well.
Sometimes you can draft a sleeper in the later rounds who others may overlook because their totals don’t look great on paper, but if they are healthy or have the opportunity to start, they could swing the matchup in your favor.
Predictions For This Year's Top Rebounders
1. Andre Drummond.
Drummond is like the James Harden of rebounding. He’s always at the top of the list, if not leading it each year. So just like we predicted Harden to finish in the top-3 for total points, Drummond gets the nod once again to lead the league in total rebounds.
2. Rudy Gobert.
Finishing back in the top-3, Gobert has the chance to dominate the boards this year. Derrick Favors has moved on to the New Orleans Pelicans, and newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic looks to slide into one of the forward spots with Joe Ingles, neither of which are relied upon for their rebounding as much as they are their shooting. This should free up Gobert to continue where he left off last season.
3. Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside gets an opportunity to start fresh for the Portland Trailblazers and should slot in where Jusuf Nurkic would normally be, who could be recovering all year from the devastating leg injury he faced in March. Whiteside will be looking to secure a big contract once this year is over, and he has no real competition to steal minutes or rebounds away from him as the Blazers roster currently stands. He also led the league in total rebounding percentage last year and should look to be on track to do the same this upcoming year.