The Detroit Pistons were one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA last season, ranking just 25th in team rebounds per game.
This was especially bad when you consider the Pistons were also one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA, so there were plenty of rebounds up for grabs, they just weren’t corralling them.
The Pistons were undersized at the position last season, with Isaiah Stewart flanked by guys like Kelly Olynyk and Trey Lyles, two perimeter bigs who are not known for their rebounding.
Detroit hopes they have remedied that problem by adding veteran Nerlens Noel and drafting Jalen Duren, as both will add some much-needed size and give the Pistons two more bigs who can grab a board.
Yesterday we looked at which player might lead the team in scoring and today we’re on to rebounding. So who is going to lead the team in boards? There are five possibilities and they aren’t all centers.
Detroit Pistons: Team leaders in rebounds next season
Rookie Jalen Duren hopes to own this category someday but it’s unlikely that starts next season. It’s possible he will shuttle back and forth to the G-League early in the season, as Duren is just 18-years-old and needs the extended minutes.
One of the things Duren needs to work on is his rebounding, as he is often out of position, flat-footed and doesn’t pursue the ball with much intensity, especially on the defensive end. He probably won’t get his chance until later in the season, so he’s probably a year or two away from competing for the team lead in this category.
Noel is not a guy who is going to play big minutes, as he averaged just over 22 minutes per game last season and grabbed just 3.7 rebounds in that time.
Noel may not even play that much next season for the Detroit Pistons, and he’s never been a prolific rebounder anyway.
Cunningham averaged 5.5 rebounds in his rookie season, one of only three active players to average at least 17 points, five assists and five rebounds in his rookie year. Cade has great size for the position and has been putting on muscle in the offseason, so I do think that number is going go up.
Could he get to seven or eight rebounds per game next season? I wouldn’t rule it out, as he loves to grab defensive boards and initiate the break and he’ll have even more opportunity to do so with Jaden Ivey streaking down the floor.
Even though the Pistons got bigger, I do think it’s possible that Cunningham will be close to the team lead in rebounds next season.
Marvin Bagley III
MBIII averaged 6.8 rebounds per game in his short time with the Pistons last season, but his career high was 7.6 per game way back in his rookie season. Bagley III’s chance of leading the team in boards really depends on his role.
If he starts and plays closer to 30 minutes per game, I do think he has a chance to lead the team, as MBIII is active around the rim and athletic enough to be a good rebounder.
But rebounding is more about will, desire and hustle than anything, which is why there is really only one choice to lead the team in rebounding.
Beef Stew averaged 8.7 rebounds in just 25 minutes per game and both of those numbers should go up.
Stewart is going to play some at power forward and should be a part of many different lineups whether the Detroit Pistons want to go big or small, so I expect him to play 30 minutes per game next season as long as he can reduce his propensity for getting into foul trouble.
Playing alongside another big may take some rebounds away, but it will also create more opportunities, especially on the offensive end. Stewart should be over 10 rebounds per game next season, and with an uptick in scoring, could average a double double.