The NBA's Most Ferocious Offensive Rebounders so Far in 2012-13
There are certain tricks of the trade when it comes to the art of rebounding, but at its essence, rebounding is mostly about desire.
It is impossible to be prolific on the glass in the NBA without exerting a concerted effort towards that part of the game, and those with a burning desire to collect every loose ball are typically the ones atop the leaderboard at the end of the season.
Offensive rebounding is a skill unto itself, yet a number of players have been tenacious on the boards in the early going of the 2012-13 season, creating dozens of second chance opportunities for their respective teams.
And since most of these big men are among the league's premier rebounders year in and year out, it won't be a shock if they keep up this torrid pace all season long.
6) Roy Hibbert, Indiana
Offensively, Roy Hibbert's game has taken a step back his season. A year ago, he represented the Indiana Pacers on the Eastern Conference All-Star team; now, he's averaging just a shade over eight points per game.
For what it's worth, he's making up for his scoring struggles by blocking shots and grabbing every loose ball in sight. Hibbert is actually averaging more offensive rebounds per game than defensive rebounds (4.1 vs. 3.8), and the efforts of the Pacers' 7'2" center have kept the Pacers among the league's best teams on the offensive glass for the second year in a row.
"With [Hibbert], you really have to box out, because if the ball bounces high, he's getting that," said Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "So it's a difficult matchup for anybody, because you've really got box him out and keep him as far as you can from the paint."
5) Omer Asik, Houston
Houston Rockets' center Omer Asik averaged fewer than 15 minutes per game during his first two NBA seasons, so it was fair to wonder if the Turkish center could continue to be monster on the glass if he was called upon to play more than 30 minutes per night.
Wonder no longer.
Based on his per-36 minute averages, the 7-foot Asik is more productive on the boards this season than he ever was with the Chicago Bulls. Asik is pulling down more than four offensive rebounds per game, and his offensive rebounding percentage (15.3) ranks seventh in the entire NBA.
4) J.J. Hickson, Portland
J.J. Hickson averaged less than two offensive rebounds per game prior to this season, but he's pulling down nearly five per night for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012-13.
Not bad for a player who is on his third team in less than five years. After previous stops in Cleveland and Sacramento, the 24-year-old Hickson finally seems to have found a home in the Pacific Northwest.
The 6'9" forward is the perfect complement to LaMarcus Aldridge, and the duo could potentially dominate the paint for years to come.
"It's all about heart," said Hickson when asked by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian about the art of rebounding. "When [other players] realize that you are going to rebound at a high rate, they...get out of your way."
3) Anderson Varejao, Cleveland
Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao is the current leader in the race for the NBA's Comeback Player of the Year Award thanks to his stellar all-around play so far this season.
Varejao has always been efficient (if not prolific) on the offensive end, so his 15.9 scoring average and .608 shooting percentage isn't a complete surprise. Yet his ability to create second chance opportunities for his team might be his greatest trait: The 6'10" big man is averaging an astonishing five offensive rebounds per game.
The season is barely two weeks old, and Varejao has already had two games in which he's grabbed 11 offensive rebounds or more. While he's primarily known for his wild hairstyle, Varejao may make a name for himself for an entirely different reason by the time April rolls around.
2) Zach Randolph, Memphis
While the 6'9" Randolph is a threat to go for 25 points virtually every night, it's his rebounding that is attracting most of the attention this season. Randolph is averaging a league-best 14.0 rebounds per game, with 5.3 of those coming on the offensive end.
The man affectionately known as Z-Bo twice averaged at least four offensive rebounds per game over the course of a season (2009-10, and again in 2010-11) and appears well on his way to doing so again.
Unless, of course, Kendrick Perkins finds a way to stop him.
1) Kenneth Faried, Denver
The nickname "Manimal" doesn't even come close to describing how much of a beast Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried is in the paint.
With all due respect to his teammates, it's clear that the former Morehead State star is the primary reason why the Nuggets are the best rebounding team in the NBA.
Quite simply, no one in the league is as prolific on the offensive glass as the 22-year-old Faried. Not only does he lead the NBA in offensive rebounds, but exactly half of the 86 total boards he had collected on the season prior to Thursday's night game against the Miami Heat were the result of errant Denver shots.
This isn't entirely new territory for Faried: He would have finished in the top 20 in the league last season in offensive rebounding had he played in enough games to qualify.
If the rest of the NBA wasn't paying attention to Denver's 6'8" bruiser before, they definitely are now.