Rebounding is less about luck and more about skill — and size. The last factor means that point guards aren’t supposed to get plenty of rebounds, let alone beat big men to loose balls from missed shots. But that’s not what this list is about. This is about the court generals who’ve put seven-footers to shame by having averaged more rebounds than them in a season.
We’re aware that some point guards sport frames of a power forward like a Magic Johnson or a Penny Hardaway so we filtered our selection to point guards no taller than 6-foot-5.
Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (1961-62): 12.5 RPG
You just know you’re going to find the Big O’s name in here, didn’t you? Oscar Robertson is well known for being a do-it-all guard for the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960’s. Nothing encapsulates his dominance as that of the season in which he became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire campaign back in the 1961-62 season when he averaged 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 12.5 rebounds per game. The glass-work he put up that season was way better than 6-foot-9 then-Detroit Pistons rookie Ray Scott (11.5) and seven-footer Walter Dukes (10.4), also of Detroit.
Fat Lever, Denver Nuggets (1988-89): 9.3 RPG
Fat Laver has a funny sounding name, but Horace Grant, Brad Daugherty, and Kevin Duckworth won’t probably be laughing when presented with the fact that a 6-foot-3 point guard in Lever averaged more rebounds than them in the 1988-89 season. Lever had 9.3 rebounds per contest that year, just as many boards per game as New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing! Lever also had the same rebounding average the following season, so yeah, wading into the painted area and wrestling bigger men for rebounds was really Lever’s thing.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets (2006-07): 8.2 RPG
Like Robertson, Jason Kidd had the size that helped him battle for rebounds during his illustrious career. As one of the premier defensive guards not only of his generation but all-time as well, Kidd never backed down from going after missed shots, as he finished with a career average of 6.3 rebounds per game. The best rebounding year of his career was in 2006-07 in which he plucked down 8.2 boards per game, more than Zydrunas Ilgauskas (7.7), more than Erick Dampier (7.4), and even more than Shaquille O’Neal (7.7).
Russell Westbrook , Oklahoma City Thunder (2016-17): 10.7 RPG
Whether you believe that Russell Westbrook was conveniently helped by teammates cheat on his stats by willingly getting out of the way to let the point guard get bonus rebounds, the fact still stands that the UCLA product hauled down an incredible 10.7 rebounds per game — 11th best at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Perhaps just as incredible was the names behind Westbrook in that season’s rebounding leaders: Nikola Jokic, Jonas Valanciunas, and Tristan Thompson to name a few towering bigs that Westbrook had beat in that statistical department.
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings (2015-16): 6.0 RPG
Go ahead and rip Rajon Rondo for his ever-broken jump shot, but he makes up for a lack of perimeter game in other ways — like snagging an unusual number of rebounds for a 6-foot-1 point guard. During his one-year, otherwise forgettable, stay with the Sacramento Kings during the 2015-16 season, Rondo recorded his best rebounding campaign so far in his career, racking up 6.0 per game. That’s a hairline more than Ersan Ilyasova (5.4) and a bit better than Danilo Gallinari’s average (5.3)
Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets (2008-09) 5.5 RPG
Paul is the smallest player on the list of top 20 rebounding seasons for active guards standing 6-foot-5 or smaller. The current Houston Rockets guard’s 2008-09 season, in which he averaged 5.5 rebounds per game is 17th on that list. That’s 83rd overall in the league that season, which means the diminutive future Hall of Famer played taller beneath the basket than Andrea Bargnani (5.3) and Andray Blatche (5.3).