Bulls Big Man Sends Strong Message to Critics

Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls

Getty Andre Drummond #1 looks on

New Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond feels like he will go down as the best rebounder in the history of the game of basketball. If he is not already there, that is. Drummond is heading into his 11th season in the NBA.

“I think I’m already there,” Drummond told Mike Anthony of CT Insider, “I’m on my way. By the time I retire, I’ll go down as the best rebounder ever — if not already.”

He is the active rebounding leader.

But Drummond’s claim, which was met with some pushback including from some Bulls faithful, was not the only bold statement he gave to Anthony in the interview. There was also a fairly strong message for some of his loudest detractors.

Drummond’s Strong Message

We have seen the Bulls signing of Drummond be met with some side-eyes. Most believe that, while he should be a fine backup, he does not exactly address the needs the Bulls have, or move the needle for them as a team.

Others have taken it a step further saying that the 6-foot-10, 279-pound center is nothing more than “burnt toast” at this stage of his career.

To those people, the 29-year-old Drummond shares a message via Anthony.

“Drummond hopes to play well into his 30’s,” writes Anthony, “for as long as he remains capable, essentially.”

That would seem to indicate that Drummond – whom Anthony notes casually threw down a windmill dunk at the start of the interview – feels he has plenty left in the tank.

There are those that would agree like his teammate Alex Caruso or Forbes contributor Bryan Toporek who said Drummond could wind up being “one of the biggest steals” from this offseason.

Former Bulls guard Kendall Gill was also supportive of the move in large part because he will help out a 28th-ranked rebounding group.

He was sure to remind everyone of Drummond’s two-time All-Star pedigree.

Drummond the Best Rebounder?

Drummond’s standing as the active rebounding leader is one thing. And it is quite impressive especially as the league has transitioned into more of a small-ball style of play. He has basically transitioned from a focal point to a bench role over the past three seasons despite still being in what should be his prime.

But his claim of all-time boards king was met with quite a bit of pushback with many people pointing to one player – Hall of Fame five-time champion and former Chicago Bulls big man, Dennis Rodman.

Rodman’s legacy as one of the wildest characters in league history.

But anyone who saw “The Last Dance” got a glimpse into one of the game’s savants as “The Worm” broke down his approach to attacking the glass.

That isn’t to say Drummond’s approach isn’t great. It obviously works for him and, for their sake, the Bulls next season.

But Rodman stood 6-foot-7 and was listed at just 210 pounds. To put that into perspective, the Bulls’ current roster has been slammed for lacking players above that height while star forward DeMar DeRozan is listed at 10 pounds heavier than the Hall of Famer.

Art of the Rebound

There is an extremely high bar to clear. But Drummond’s claims are not without merit. Rodman has 2,453 more rebounds after his 14-year career. Drummond, however, is averaging 0.2 boards more per game.

He is also six years younger than Rodman was at the same stage of his career.

Add in his natural ability (see: size) and there is a path to Drummond overtaking Rodman but he would have to average 20.2 boards per 82 games to get there.

Of course, even if he did surpass Rodman on the all-time leaderboards he is still well off of the pace of the NBA all-time rebounding leader Wilt Chamberlain who averaged a mind-boggling 22.9 rebounds per game and snagged 23,924 boards total in his illustrious 14-year career.

Drummond would need to up his average by 9.5 rebounds per game to match Chamberlain’s rate and 3,601 per season (44.0 REBs per game) to catch him and truly solidify his place as the GOAT rebounder.