Do you know what must be really cool? It must be really cool to have the kind of confidence that allows you to look around, see you’re doing a thing moderately better than your current peers and be able to leverage that into the conclusion that you’re “the best ever”.
Not so long ago, it was Joel Embiid who was receiving my acknowledgment for this kind of over-the-top, utterly unfounded, over-inflated-to-the-point-of-risking-explosion, self-confidence. Of course, he very awkwardly ran that back not too long afterward:
— Jade Johnson (@auxiliarythings) February 25, 2020
Today, I’m awarding a Belly Up Sports Dunce Award for Andre Drummond‘s hubris.
Andre Drummond’s Hubris or a Valid Argument?
So, first things first. Is he right? Well, those of you who are familiar with my writing and/or the BUSDAs will know that the answer can only be, “Heeeeell no.” Otherwise, Drummond would never have qualified for this dubious award in the first place. But, we here at the BUSDAs like to make ourselves incredibly clear, so let’s look at the numbers.
Andre Drummond is a solid rebounder. Undoubtedly one of the best in today’s game. With Drummond having only recently left behind his Detroit Pistons jersey, it is perhaps easiest to start by comparing him to one of the best #DetroitBasketball rebounders ever- The Worm. Dennis Rodman averaged 13.12 rebounds per game over 13 seasons. Drummond is averaging 13.84 over 10 seasons. On the surface, it looks like Drummond might be onto something, right?
Well, not so fast. Dennis Rodman is listed at 6’7″, 210 lbs. on basketball-reference.com. Andre Drummond comes in three inches taller (6’10”) and almost 70 lbs (279 lbs) heavier. Taking this into consideration, Drummond should be a better rebounder. In fact, looking at the numbers in this context does more to emphasize just how good Rodman was than it does to lend credibility to Andre Drummond’s hubris.
Also, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-Defensive team Selection, Dennis Rodman had incredible feet. He would often be given the task of guarding the opposing team’s best scorer. What does that mean in terms of rebounding? Simply put, it means it was not Rodman’s defensive job to box-out under the basket and grab boards. He had to fight for those rebounds every step of the way. Yet, Rodman managed to lead the league in rebounds for an insane seven consecutive seasons. Just the fact that he recorded those rebounds playing small forward and power forward tells you a lot about his rebounding skill and tenacity.
Oh, and let’s not forget, the NBA game is much faster now than it was when Rodman played. More possessions mean more rebounds regardless of rebounding skills.
Wild Overstatement of Facts
The part of Drummond’s statement that really gets me is the use of the phrases, “the best ever” and “I don’t think there’s anybody who’s even remotely close.” Woah. Woah. Woah, Andre Drummond. You have a smartphone like the rest of us, yes? There’s absolutely no excuse for this kind of unfounded, overstated, self-promotion.
The stats simply do not support Andre Drummond’s hubris. Looking at all-time rebounding leaders, Drummond is currently sitting eighth if you look at the ABA and NBA. For NBA only, he is seventh. In fairness, Drummond is the best rebounding currently active player by quite a bit. Only Dwight Howard and Hassan Whiteside are also in the top 20 all-time at numbers 15 and 20 respectively. But if you’re going to throw around words like “the best ever”, seventh or eighth simply is not good enough.
This is especially true since the guy sitting at number one, The Record Book himself, Wilt Chamberlain, has 22.89 rebounds per game. That’s almost 10 per game more than Drummond. Bill Russell is also up there at 22.45.
Duu-UUU-uude! Before you go declaring yourself “the best ever” at something; before you go claiming that no one else is “remotely close”, have a little awareness. A little respect for your betters. Here’s hoping this bright, shiny Belly Up Sports Dunce Award helps you remember in the future.
Follow me on Twitter @auxiliarythings. If you don’t’ get your fill of basketball-related sass, snark, and sarcasm there, check out my podcast, Hardcourt Hunnies. And don’t forget the Belly Up Sports Hoops team has got you covered with many more great NBA articles.