A rebound in basketball is the act of successfully gaining possession of the basketball after a missed field goal or free-throw. Rebounds in basketball are a routine part in the game, as all possessions change after a shot is successfully made.
Types of rebounds
Rebounds are divided into two main categories: "offensive rebounds", in which the ball is recovered by the offensive side and does not change possession, and "defensive rebounds," in which the defending team gains possession. All rebounds following a shot that is successfully made are defensive because the opposing team has the right to the ball. Also, most rebounds after a missed shot are defensive because the team on defense tends to be in better position (in other words, closer to the basket) to recover missed shots. Offensive rebounds lead to another opportunity to score for the offensive team, either right away or by resetting the offense. Team rebounds are credited to a team that gains possession of the ball after any missed shot that is not cleared by a single player (i.e. deflected out of bounds after the shot, blocked out of bounds, etc.). A team rebound is never credited to any player, and is generally considered to be a formality, as according to the rules of basketball, every missed shot must be rebounded whether a single player controls the ball or not.
Rebounds are credited to the first player that gains clear possession of the ball or to a player that successfully deflects the ball into the basket for a score. There are many attributes characteristic of great rebounders, the most common are height and strength. Because height is so important, most rebounds are made by centers and power forwards. However, some smaller players can be excellent rebounders; for example Jason Kidd, point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, had lead the Nets in rebounding the past two years. Great rebounders must also have a keen sense of timing. Great leaping ability is also an asset, but not necessary. Players such as Larry Bird and Bobby Jones were good rebounders, but never known for their leaping ability. (Bird has been quoted as saying "Most rebounds are taken below the rim. That's where I get mine." It is also important that players position themselves in the best spot to get the rebound. This is done primarily by boxing out. Because fighting for a rebound can be very physical, rebounding is often regarded as "grunt work" or a "hustle" play.
Boxing out is a technique used in basketball to obtain rebounds. A player boxes out another player by positioning himself between the other player and the basket. The action can also be called "blocking out". A team can be boxed out by several players using this technique to stop other players from rebounding.
Notable rebounders in the NBA
- Wilt Chamberlain — led the NBA in rebounds in 11 different seasons, has the most career rebounds in the regular season (23,924), the highest career average (22.9 rpg), the single season rebounding records in total (2,149) and average (27.2 rpg), most rebounds in a regular season game (55) and playoff game (41) in the NBA, and has the most career All-Star Game rebounds (197).
- Bill Russell — first player to average over 20 rebounds per game in the regular season, ranks second to Chamberlain in regular season total (21,620) and average (22.5) rebounds, averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in 10 of 13 seasons played, grabbed 51 rebounds in a single game (second best ever), grabbed a record 32 rebounds in one half, and is the all-time playoff leader in total (4,104) and average (24.9 rpg) rebounds.
- Bob Pettit — averaged 20.3 rebounds per game in the 1960-61 season, his career average of 16.2 rebounds per game is third all-time, and holds the top two performances for rebounds in an NBA All-Star Game with 26 (in 1958) and 27 (in 1962).
- Nate Thurmond — averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons (including 22.0 rpg in the 1967-68 season), career average of 15.0 rpg, and holds the all-time NBA record for rebounds in a single quarter with 18. He is also the only player besides Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to record more than 40 rebounds in a single game.
- Jerry Lucas — averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons (including 21.1 rpg in the 1965-66 season), and had a career average of 15.6 rpg. Along with Russell, Chamberlain and Thurmond is one of only four players to grab at least 40 rebounds in a single game.
- Moses Malone — led the NBA in rebounds per game in six different seasons including a high of 17.6 rpg in the 1978-79 season, ranks first in career offensive rebounds in the regular season (offensive and defensive rebounds were not recorded separately until the 1973-74 season), and ranks fifth all-time in total regular season rebounds in the NBA (third if ABA rebounds are also included).
- Dennis Rodman — led the league in rebounds per game an NBA record 7 consecutive seasons, including a high of 18.7 rpg in the 1991-92 season. Rodman holds the top seven rebound rate seasons since the 1970-71 season.
Other great rebounders, past and present, include Maurice Stokes, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, Robert Parish, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Ben Wallace and Kevin Garnett.
Statistics of a player's "rebounds per game" (RPG), both offensive and defensive, are kept and are a measure of a player's rebounding effectiveness.